Bugs Bunny, the creation of the Looney Tunes, has been called everything from "classic" to "perennial" to "an American institution" to "one of our national heroes"--and "wascally wabbit," "long-eared galoot," and a lot of other things besides! But most of us just like to call him Bugs. Bugs was voted the most popular in the entire short-subject field in the United States and Canada for the year 1945, and then stayed in the Number One spot for the next 16 years straight. Today Bugs continues to draw a crowd - in fact, a recent survey showed him to be the most popular animated character in the world! When Bugs' classic cartoons were being made and regularly released to theaters in the 1940s and 1950s, it was his stardom in short subjects that skyrocketed his studio to prominence in the animation field. Part of Bugs' great achievement had been to establish a strong personality who can exist for 7 minutes at a time, show us a facet of his personality, disappear for weeks, months; maybe years at a time, then reappear and still be recognizable and entertaining. His possibilities were not exhausted by any single episode. a theater's marquee had to say no more than "2 Bugs Bunny Cartoons" for people to plunk their money down--forgetting what features or other short subjects were playing, forgetting that the "2 Bugs Bunny Cartoons" would be over in 15 minutes--and, most of all, forgetting their troubles. "After a while, Bugs Bunny was so well loved by the audience that he could do no wrong, they loved the rabbit, and what he stood for." When asked how Bugs came into being, Tex Avery, a soft-spoken Texan, was laconic. "Oh," he said, "it just came out of a cartoon. We decided he was going to be a smartaleck rabbit, but casual about it, and his opening line in the very first one was `Eh, what's up, Doc?' And, gee, it floored `em! They expected the rabbit to scream, or anything but make a casual remark--here's a guy with a gun in his face! It got such a laugh...
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