Hare Tonic is a 1945 Warner Bros. cartoon in the Looney Tunes series, directed by Chuck Jones and written by Tedd Pierce. It stars Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd making this the first cartoon directed by Jones to co-star the two. Voice characterizations are by Mel Blanc and Arthur Q. Bryan, respectively.
The title is a play on "hair tonic", a type of patent medicine, reinforced by Bugs' portrayal of a fake doctor at one point in the picture. A bottle of "hare tonic" would appear as a prop in a 1946 cartoon, The Big Snooze.
Elmer Fudd has purchased Bugs Bunny at a local grocery store (with a sign visible in the window offering a special on "Fresh Hare") and is taking him home to make a meal. As he bounces along, he sings the tune of "Shortnin' Bread", substituting "Rabbit Stew". Bugs pops out of Elmer's basket, munching on a carrot that was in there with him, and asks, "Eh, whatcha got in the basket, doc?" Elmer replies, "I got me a wabbit! I'm gonna cook me a wabbit stew!" Bugs states his "love" of rabbit stew (though he is clearly a rabbit) and then begs to see Elmer's rabbit. When Elmer opens his basket and finds it empty (Bugs had quickly climbed out), Bugs pushes his nemesis into his own basket and then sings the tune Elmer had been singing — but then Elmer realizes he's been tricked, and so he re-reverses the switch. Foreshadowing pranks to come, Bugs tells the audience from inside the basket (à la Red Skelton's "mean widdle kid"), "He don't know me vewy well, do he?"
Once at home, Bugs easily secures his escape by distracting Elmer, tricking him into thinking the phone has rung. However, just as he's about to leave, he decides he'd rather stay and heckle his would-be devourer. Bugs effects a radio broadcast that warns of the dread disease "rabbititis", which is contracted from rabbits "sold within the last three days" and which causes people to see spots and have "delusions assuming the characteristics of rabbits", among other dubious symptoms. This frightens the gullible Elmer and he informs Bugs that he is free to leave. Bugs, however, points out a sign on the door that states that the house is "QUARANTINED DUE TO RABBITITIS" and that no one can enter or leave.
Then Bugs tells the audience that it was all just a gag and that they don't have rabbititus. He then says if they do have rabbititus, then red and yellow spots will appear, swirling. Bugs said that, Then, suddenly, everything would go black!' The screen Does go black, but what Bugs meant was that the cartoon would end. The cartoon ends and Bugs snickers right before he pops out of the Looney Tunes drum at the end of this cartoon.
Looney Tunes drum with Bugs Bunny
Bugs reappears from inside of the Looney Tunes drum (instead of Porky Pig), as he sometimes does at the end of Looney Tunes, munching a carrot and saying, "And dat's de end!" rather than the usual "That's All Folks!" of Warner cartoons (see illustration on the right).
- This cartoon marks one of the few times Bugs addresses Elmer by name, albeit in the guise of "Dr. Killpatient", who addresses him as "Mr. Fudd". Despite their frequent cinematic encounters, many of their cartoons are played as if they had never met before.
- The Looney Tunes Show episode, Peel of Fortune has Bugs coming out of the WB shield, saying And that's the end. again instead of That's all Folks! at the end of the episode.
This cartoon is found on Volume 3 of the Looney Tunes Golden Collection.