1 9 6 0 – 2 0 0 0 (USA)
One of the most popular and enduring cartoon series of all time, the Warner Bros. stable of cartoons headed by that award-winning wisecracking wabbit known as Bugs came to Saturday morning in 1962 . . . and didn’t leave for nearly 40 years.
The Bugs Bunny Show was originally a half-hour programme composed of WB theatrical shorts from the 1940s and 1950s, later expanded to an hour under the title The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Show.
Many segments pitted the wascally wabbit against his nemeses, including easily confused, bulb-headed hunter Elmer Fudd; diminutive, gruff-voiced cowpoke Yosemite Sam; a whirling Tasmanian devil; and even Marvin the Martian, an alien hell-bent on destroying the earth.
Bugs responded to their threats with some of the greatest animated slapstick and wordplay ever put on film, and the tightly drawn and directed films with their incisive plots and dialogue held up wonderfully.
There was a first-class supporting cast including stuttering Porky Pig; insufferably vain Daffy Duck; slurring Sylvester the Cat and his prey the yellow Tweety Bird, whose protector was the kindly Granny; and self-proclaimed genius Wile E. Coyote and his prey the Road Runner.
All of them headlined their own network Saturday morning series at one time, but none fared as well as this show. Various one-shot animated shorts also ran on some episodes.
The legendary Mel Blanc did most of the voices (he said Bugs was his favourite character), while Granny and most female voices were voiced by the talented June Foray, later Rocky on The Bullwinkle Show. Daws Butler, Stan Freberg and others also contributed their considerable vocal talents.
While on CBS, the show opened with a very popular “vaudeville” theme song that introduced the entire cast:
“Overture! Curtain, Lights!
This is it – The night of nights!
No more rehearsing, and nursing our part-
We know every part by heart!
Overture! Curtain, Lights!
This is it – We’ll hit the heights!
And oh, what heights we’ll hit-
On with the show, this is it!”
Wile E. Coyote
Marvin the Martian
Pepe le Pew
Arthur Q. Bryan
Smoky the Genie