Hare Ribbin' is a 1944 animated short film in the Merrie Melodies series, directed by Bob Clampett and featuring Bugs Bunny. The plot features Bugs' conflict with a red-haired hound dog, whom the rabbit sets out to evade and make a fool of using one-liners, reverse psychology, disguises and other tricks. It was released in theaters by Warner Bros. Pictures on June 24, 1944. The title is a pun on "hair ribbon".
Although this cartoon short is a typical Bugs Bunny chase plot, there are a number of things that stand out:
- Bugs is pursued by a dog with a frizzy hair and a Russian accent. The accent is a play on The "Mad Russian" character originated by comedian Bert Gordon (with his catchphrase, "How DO you DO?") that was popular on radio at the time (the voice here is provided by Sammy Wolfe.
- When the dog sniffs Bugs' armpit, he says "body odor" in a foghorn-like voice. That was inspired by radio commercials for Lifebuoy soap.
- This is sometimes called the "Underwater Short." Early in the short Bugs is chased into a lake by the dog and the rest of the cartoon takes place at the bottom of the lake. This may be to set up a long gag in which Bugs disguises himself as a sexy mermaid. In any case, the action remains underwater for the rest of the film.
- The cartoon has two endings, both of which are considered too objectionable to be shown on TV nowadays (see Censorship note below).
- This cartoon short holds the distinction of having two endings, both of which are too violent by today's standards to be shown on children/family-friendly television in America:
- The original ending—where the Russian Dog, distraught over Bugs' "death", wishes he were dead too, and Bugs obliges by giving the dog a gun so he can shoot himself in the head—once played in theaters to a general audience, is now commonly cut from television versions (on network TV and cable TV, excluding an episode of Cartoon Network's The Bob Clampett Show and two appearances on Cartoon Network's New Year's Day Looney Tunes marathons in 2009 and 2010).
- The "director's cut" ending—where the Russian Dog, distraught over Bugs' "death", wishes he were dead too, and Bugs obliges by pulling out a gun and shooting the dog through the mouth—was never shown in theaters or on television (despite that the episode of Cartoon Network's The Bob Clampett Show that aired "Hare Ribbin" with its general release ending mentioned that Hare Ribbin had an alternate ending (which was this one) that was never shown—and due to its violence, never will be), but was discovered on the fifth volume of the "The Golden Age of Looney Tunes Volume 5" laserdisc set and is now on the fifth volume of the Looney Tunes Golden Collection DVD set as a special feature.
- In Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker when Bruce Wayne's dog Ace is recovering from the Joker's attack he is shown watching this cartoon on TV, it's at the part where the dog thinks he killed Bugs and says "I don't deserve to live!, I wish I was dead!".
- When Bugs Bunny tells the "chef" to get a Bunny, audio of the chef talking was captured from Bugs Bunny Nips the Nips.