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Bugs Bunny is an American fictional character who starred in the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series of animated films produced by Leon Schlesinger Productions, which became Warner Bros. Cartoons in 1944. In 2002, he was named by TV Guide as the greatest cartoon character of all time. Bugs starred in 163 shorts in the Golden Age of American animation, and made cameos in three others along with a few appearances in non-animated films.
According to Bugs Bunny: 50 Years and Only One Grey Hare, he was born in 1940 in Brooklyn, New York (in a warren under Ebbets Field, famed home of the Brooklyn Dodgers), created by Tex Avery (who directed A Wild Hare, Bugs Bunny's debut) and Robert McKimson (who created the definitive Bugs Bunny character design), among many others. According to Mel Blanc, the character's original voice actor, Bugs Bunny has a Flatbush accent, an equal blend of the Bronx and Brooklyn dialects (of the New York Accent). His catchphrase is a casual "Eh...what's up, doc?", usually said while chewing a carrot. His other popular phrases include "Of course you realize, this means war", "Ain't I a stinker?" and "I knew I shoulda taken that left turn at Albuquerque."
Bugs Bunny is considered the main character of the Looney Tunes series, and as such, is used as a mascot, both of the Looney Tunes series, and sometimes of Warner Brothers in general.
An unnamed rabbit bearing some of the personality, if not physical characteristics of Bugs, first appeared in the cartoon short Porky's Hare Hunt, released on April 30, 1938. Co-directed by Ben Hardaway and an uncredited Cal Dalton (who was responsible for the initial design of the rabbit), this short had a theme almost identical to that of the 1937 cartoon, Porky's Duck Hunt (directed by Tex Avery), which had introduced Daffy Duck. Porky Pig was again cast as a hunter tracking another silly prey who seemed less interested in escape than in driving his pursuer insane; this short replaced the black duck with a small white rabbit. The rabbit introduces himself with the odd expression "Jiggers, fellers", and Mel Blanc gave the rabbit nearly the voice and laugh that he would later use for Woody Woodpecker. This cartoon also features the famous Groucho Marx line that Bugs would use many times: "Of course you know, this means war!" The rabbit developed a following from the audience viewing this cartoon which inspired the Schlesinger staff to further develop the character.
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