Wideo Wabbit is a 1956 Warner Bros. cartoon featuring Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd. The voice of Bugs Bunny and other characters are played by Mel Blanc while the voice of Elmer Fudd is played by Arthur Q. Bryan. Bugs' Groucho Marx and Ed Norton impressions were performed by Daws Butler who had an uncanny ability to impersonate a whole host of celebrities of the time period.
Bugs Bunny is singing "This Is My Lucky Day" when he comes on an ad in the newspaper wanting a rabbit for a show at the QTTV-TV studio. When he gets there, the producer
makes Bugs climb a ladder whereupon Bugs asks why he has to climb the ladder and the producer says "Most of our actors, we start at the bottom. We're starting you at the top."
However, unbeknownst to Bugs, it is a hunting show starring Elmer Fudd called "The Sportsman's Hour", sponsored by The French Fried Fresh Frozen Rabbit Company of Walla Walla, Washington. He tells the audience how he goes about getting a rabbit. He signals the cue for Bugs to come up out of the hole by push button and 10,000 volts' worth of electricity. When Bugs comes out of the hole, Elmer starts shooting. Bugs starts a fuss about the shooting, and Elmer tells him not to make a scene and everybody is watching ("How d'you expect me to bwast you when you're moving awound wike that?") and Bugs tells Elmer to let them look and that it is his first chance on TV. Elmer takes a couple of shots at Bugs as he runs away and Bugs takes this as professional jealousy, but on a scale he had never imagined. The producer holds a sign up in front of the camera that says "Program Temporarily Interuppted. Please Stand By."
This leads to a chase all over the studio wherein Bugs goes into each and every show in the studio. The first show he does is a parody of You Bet Your Life with Groucho Marx called "You Beat Your Wife" (see "Censorship" for information about this gag). Elmer comes in, and Bugs as Groucho asks Elmer what the secret word was for $50, what his name was and what he was looking for. Elmer says he was looking for a rabbit, a crazy fresh rabbit. In response, Bugs as Groucho says "Oh, a fresh hare fiend." As Groucho, Bugs asks Elmer "Have you stopped beating your wife?" (The question is known for trapping the questionee whether the answer is "yes" nor "no" since neither answer allows for the possibility that the questionee has never beaten his wife and therefore cannot "stop" doing what he has never done in the first place.) As Elmer stutters and stammers for a reply, Bugs walks out and says, "While you're making up your mind, I'll go slip out of these wet clothes — and into a dry martini, eh!" (note: the line was actually attributed to Robert Benchley). Elmer sees Bugs in disguise and tells him off, Bugs kisses him and tells him, "Aw, you been peekin'" (a reference to the blindfolds the panel wore to guess the "mystery guest" on What's My Line?).
Next, Elmer gets hit by a pie by Bugs on a parody of You Asked for It called "You're Asking For It."
Next, Bugs plays Liberace who is called "Liver-ace", and when Elmer comes in, he is playing the piano. When Bugs sees Elmer, he does his Liberace imitation showing his teeth as piano keys, calling Elmer "his brother George", and tells Elmer to take the candelabra over to Mother. The candles are actually sticks of dynamite; when Elmer walks slowly and stops, there is an explosion. Bugs as Liberace says, "I did that because I want my show to go over with a bang."
Next, Bugs as a studio usher sends Elmer into the show "You Were There" (a takeoff of the show You Are There) depicting Custer's Last Stand. When he comes out, Elmer has arrows in his back and a tomahawk in his head, prompting Bugs to direct Fudd to Studio C for "The Medic".
The final time, Bugs as a producer, sends Elmer into a show called Fancy Dress Party (Masquerade Party) where he is now disguised as a rabbit and Bugs as Elmer in his hunting outfit. Bugs goes back on "The Sportsman's Hour" and shoots Elmer in his rabbit suit and then Bugs as Ed Norton from The Honeymooners comes out and gives Elmer a cigar with Groucho Marx's glasses and eyebrows and says "Gee, what a Groucho."
This is the second time that Bugs has played Groucho Marx to avoid Elmer. The first time was Friz Freleng's cartoon Slick Hare (1947), but Elmer comes much closer to catching Bugs in that Groucho scene than in the one in Wideo Wabbit, by means of disguise as Groucho's brother Harpo.
When Bugs is masquerading as Liberace and playing the piano, the part where he gets his fingers tied in a knot was lifted from another Freleng cartoon Rhapsody Rabbit (1946).
When Elmer is tracking Bugs' footprints while giving tips, music is reused from A Wild Hare where Bugs taps on Elmer's head and introduces his catch phrase. Interestingly, McKimson (who directed this cartoon) animated A Wild Hare without receiving screen credit.
The call letters for the TV station in the cartoon, "QTTV", is lifted from KTTV, a local television station in Los Angeles.
This is the final Bugs Bunny cartoon which uses the Carl Stalling melody "What's Up, Doc?" over the title cards.
In the mid-1990s, whenever Cartoon Network would have technical difficulties interrupting a broadcast, in lieu of a slide showing the channel logo/name, a screenshot of the producer holding the "PLEASE STAND BY" sign up to the TV camera would be used.
- On The WB! and post-2001 Cartoon Network, the "You Beat Your Wife" sequence is edited (for fear that viewers may misconstrue it as a joke about spousal abuse) to remove all references in dialogue to the title, as well as the title of the show on the podium.
- Cartoon Network removed the title using digital editing to make the entire platform one color,
- The WB! placed a light brown square over the name on the podium (which blinked/disappeared for a single frame).
- On the WB, in addition to the above edit, the entire "Custer's Last Stand" sequence was cut.
- ABC left the "You Beat Your Wife" sequence intact, but cut the following scenes (this cartoon though was only shown once because of complaints about this sequence):
- A dynamite gag during the Liberace sequence where dynamite sticks are substituted for candles was edited to remove the explosion (though Bugs' comment "I did that because I wanted my program to go over with a BANG!" was left in).
- A gun gag that leaves silhouettes in the wall behind Bugs.
- The "Custer's Last Stand" sequence to remove the shot of Elmer with arrows in his back and a tomahawk in his head.
- Wideo Wabbit is available, uncut and restored, on Looney Tunes Golden Collection: Volume 3, Disc 2.
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To Hare Is Human