Hare Trigger

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Hare Trigger
HareTrigger Lobby Card.png
Lobby card
Directed byI. Freleng
Produced byEdward Selzer (unc.)
Story byMichael Maltese
StarringMel Blanc
Music byCarl W. Stalling
Animation byManuel Perez
Ken Champin
Virgil Ross
Gerry Chiniquy
Jack Bradbury (unc.)
Layouts byHawley Pratt
Backgrounds byPaul Julian
Color processTechnicolor
Production
company
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
The Vitaphone Corporation
Release date
May 5, 1945 (USA)
Running time
8:00
LanguageEnglish

Hare Trigger is a 1945 Merrie Melodies directed by Friz Freleng, and stars Bugs Bunny. The short is noticeable for the first appearance of Yosemite Sam, as well as the first short to credit (almost) the whole animation staff who worked on the short (previously, shorts credited the director, one animator, writer, musical director and sometimes the voice actor).

The shorts also the first to use the shortened version of Merrily We Roll Along that played from 1945, to 1955.

Title[edit]

The title is a play on "hair trigger", referring to any weapon or other device with a sensitive trigger.

Plot[edit]

After opening credits underscored by a lively instrumental of "Cheyenne", an old-fashioned train is seen rolling along through the desert. It passes another train going around a utility pole, and voices are heard repeating "Bread and Butter".

Bugs is riding in the mail car of a train, singing a nonsense song called "Go Get the Axe", when a pint-sized bandit attempts to rob the train (with the underscore playing stereotypical "villain music"), only to have it pass clear over his head. He then calls for his horse, which he needs a rolling step-stair to mount. He catches up and boards the train and begins to rob it while the mail clerk wraps himself in a package marked DON'T OPEN 'TIL XMAS. The bandit accidentally throws Bugs Bunny in his sack. Bugs assumes he's Jesse James. The bandit scoffs and tells him (and the audience), "I'm Yosemite Sam, the meanest, toughest, rip-roarin'-est, Edward Everett Horton-est hombre what ever packed a six-shooter!" (This pattern of Sam introducing himself to Bugs and the audience continued in other cartoons.) Bugs tells Sam that there is another tough guy in the train packing a "seven-shooter", and Sam goes looking for him – and it's Bugs in disguise.

Various fights ensue, as each character temporarily gets the upper hand for a while. In one scene Bugs dumps red ink on Sam, compelling him to think he's been shot; he collapses but eventually gets the joke. In one of the funniest moments of the toon, Sam pushes his face furiously into Bugs', then pulls back and with a quiet, offended tone asks, "Why did you pour ink on mah haid?" After another skirmish, Bugs tricks Sam into dashing into a lounge car in which a horrific fight is occurring. Stock film footage of a stereotypical western saloon fight (taken from the Warner Bros western film Dodge City, was used for this). With the sounds of crashes and bangs in the background, Bugs calmly sings "Sweet Georgia Brown" to himself. Sam emerges tottering, banged and bruised, to a comical instrumental of "Rally 'Round the Flag", and a gag occurs where Bugs affects the stereotyped voice of an African-American train porter, and has the dazed Sam convinced he's supposed to disembark the train, piling him up with luggage; Sam even hands Bugs a silver coin as a tip, and Bugs says, "Thank you, suh!" As Sam steps off the moving train, the mail-drop hook grabs him and temporarily whisks him off the train. Bugs thinks he has vanquished Sam, and yells, "So long, screwy, see ya in Saint Louie!" a line that will be echoed in Wild and Woolly Hare and A Feather in His Hare. But Sam gets back on board somehow. Bugs and Sam start a fight on top of the passenger train.

Finally, Sam has Bugs tied up, dangling from a rope, weighted down by an anvil, and fiendishly cutting through the rope, while the train is passing over a gorge. ("Now, ya lop-eared polecat, try and get out of this one!") The screen fills with the words the narrator (Mel Blanc, in close to his natural voice) is saying, "Is this the end of Bugs Bunny? Will our hero be dashed to bits on the jagged rocks below?" and so on. Then Bugs walks across the screen, dressed in top hat and tails, carrying a bag full of gold (reward money), and dragging the now tied-up Sam behind him, mocking the on-screen words ("Is he to be doomed to utter destruction? Will he be rendered non compos mentis?"). Bugs closes by turning to the audience and repeating a popular radio catch-phrase from Red Skelton's "Mean Widdle Kid": "He don't know me vewy well, do he?" as a bar of "Kingdom Coming" plays on the track at iris-out.

Availability[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  • The engines on both trains are 4-4-0s or American type locomotives, which were the most common wheel arrangements for locomotives, during the 1800s on American railroads, despite the engine being a 2-4-0, converted to a 2-4-0.
  • "Hare Trigger" contains the first appearance of Yosemite Sam, who would go on to be one of Bugs Bunny's most common rivals, after Elmer Fudd. Freleng created Yosemite Sam because he thought Elmer Fudd was too stupid and soft and he needed a smarter and tougher foe for Bugs. The character was well received and would go on to star in thirty-two more shorts in the Golden Age.
  • This is the first cartoon with the 1945-55 opening rendition of Merrily We Roll Along.
  • This is the first cartoon with full credits.
  • This is also the first Bugs Bunny cartoon with the "Bugs Bunny in" opening.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
The Unruly Hare
Bugs Bunny Cartoons
1945
Succeeded by
Hare Conditioned