Bowery Bugs is a 1949 Merrie Melodies cartoon directed by Arthur Davis. It was Davis' only Bugs Bunny cartoon before his unit was dissolved due to a budget problem. After his unit was dissolved, Davis' crew moved around to other studios or other units of the Termite Terrace studio, while Davis himself spent the rest of his career at Warner Bros. as a key animator in Friz Freleng's unit until 1962, when he left to join Hanna-Barbera Productions briefly, before moving over to DePatie-Freleng Enterprises to work on Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies shorts in addition to The Pink Panther Show.
Bugs Bunny stands at the base of the famous Brooklyn Bridge, (about 1/2 mile from the southern end of the actual street called the Bowery), telling an old man a story, in carnival-barker style, about how and why Steve Brody jumped off the bridge in July 1886 in the form of pictures. Steve Brody had a terrific run of bad luck. He decided he needed a good luck charm - ideally, a rabbit's foot - and the place he hoped to find it was in the country forest.
At this point, the story is animated. Brody cycles to Flatbush and finds Bugs' house. Brody holding a knife, pulls Bugs (singing "All That Glitters Is Not Gold") out of a hole. Brody tells Bugs that he needs a good luck charm and that "he is it". Bugs responds by explaining why rabbits feet are not lucky. Bugs directs Brody to "Swami Rabbitima". Brody decides to chance it on condition he'll come back for Bugs if it doesn't work.
The Swami (Bugs in disguise) asks Brody if he wants his palm read. When he says yes, Bugs paints his right palm the color red. Then Bugs asks if he wants him to read the bumps on his head. Brody says he has none, so Bugs takes a hammer and makes bumps. Brody, angry at Bugs starts to chase him but Bugs starts dealing out playing cards for cartomancy. He tells Brody that he has a meeting coming up with a man wearing a carnation (also Bugs in disguise), who will be his lucky mascot at gambling.
Brody's luck does not change, though - Bugs plays craps, he shoots a 7 but it turns up snake-eyes. Next he plays a slot machine and receives a mere three—literal--lemons for his trouble). After being kicked out of the gambling establishment by a gorilla bouncer, he heads back to Swami. Bugs asks Brody when he was born, but Brody doesn't remember. Bugs then spins a zodiac wheel then when it lands on the sign of the wolf. He tells Brody that he is lucky with love. However, flirting with a "lady" (also Bugs in disguise) only nets him a multiple bonking by a policeman for being a "masher". When Brody returns to the Swami and clarifies why he wants his luck to change ("So I can get me hands on some dough!), Bugs then tells Brody to go to 29 River Street, home of "Grandma's Happy Home Bakery".
Brody arrives at the bakery pointing a gun at the baker (Bugs again, wearing glasses). Brody then moves towards a conveyor belt while telling Bugs, "I know you have a mess of dough. Let me have it," to which Bugs replies, "If you insist!" Because Brody is on the conveyor belt, Bugs drops dough on him, moves the belt towards an oven and Brody comes out baked as a pie.
Bugs, clueless that Brody saw him, unmasks himself. Brody then comes back to life from the pie and Brody realizes that Bugs tricked him from the beginning. Running out of the bakery, Brody retraces his steps to unmask Bugs' previous disguises as the lady, the man, and the fortune teller, leading Brody to believe "Everybody's a rabbit!". Brody then says, "Aw, cmon now Brody, get ahold of yourself. You ain't a rabbit." then into what he thinks is a mirror (but is actually a window) and sees Bugs looking back at him, he thinks he has turned into a rabbit and snaps, while Bugs laughs and pops out. Brody then hops down the street, hysterically shouting "What's up, doc?!" three times.
Seeing a police officer, apparently staring contemplatively at the river from the Brooklyn Bridge, Brody begs (to his back) for help. Turning, the officer reveals himself to be Bugs, demanding (in a thick Irish accent) "What's all this about rabbits, Doc?". As the last straw, Brody can't take this anymore and leaps into the East River apparently as suicide (although the real Steve Brody did not die from jumping off the bridge). The scene freezes of Brody jumping off to a poster seen behind Bugs.
Bugs' story ends there, but asks if there is anything else he wants to tell the old man, but the man says: "That's enough, son! I'll buy it!" and hands Bugs some money. Bugs then blinks at the audience as the cartoon irises out.
- There actually was a real Steve Brodie who claimed that he jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge in 1886 and survived. Even though the newspapers enthusiastically reported his story, there's no evidence that it actually happened. The fact that his name was used in this cartoon means that it caricatured an already-deceased celebrity.
- While Lloyd Turner and Bill Scott are both credited for story, in actuality Turner wrote the cartoon all by himself and Scott had no involvement at all. Scott's onscreen credit was a mistake on the part of title card artist Don Foster.
- Shep the Dog from "Bone Sweet Bone" (also directed by Art Davis the previous year) makes a small cameo appearance when Steve Brody gets kicked out of the gambling establishment.
- When asked when he was born Brody says he doesn't remember. Brodie in real life was born on July 23. This makes his correct zodiac sign Cancer, which is located just to the right of "Lobo" [sic], the selected incorrect sign on Bugs' spin wheel.
- Main article: Bowery Bugs/Transcript
- VHS - Looney Tunes: The Collectors Edition, Vol. 1: All-Stars
- VHS - The Looney Tunes Video Show, Volume 6
- DVD - Looney Tunes Golden Collection: Volume 3, Disc One (with optional audio commentary by Michael Barrier)
The version shown on ABC's The Bugs Bunny and Tweety Show shortened two scenes of Steve Brody being hit on the head:
- The first time when Bugs (as the fortuneteller) asks him to read the bumps on his head, with Brody saying he has no bumps on his head and Bugs hitting him with a mallet: On the uncut version, Brody was hit six times; on ABC's version, it was cut down to two
- When Brody tries his hand at being lucky in love, and encounters Bugs dressed as a woman calling him a "masher," "cad," and "ruffian" and yelling for the police: Brody is hit by the cop eleven times in the uncut version. On ABC, the beatings were drastically shortened to one and a half before a fake fade-out.
- ↑ https://books.google.com/books?id=2KvcAgAAQBAJ&pg=PT70&lpg=PT70&dq=bill+scott+bowery+bugs&source=bl&ots=1zywSt-twn&sig=xopxO29mUO-yv3eg9RaaoBQGE98&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwigouXZ1vDUAhVJw1QKHeAQADgQ6AEIWDAI#v=onepage&q=bill%20scott%20bowery%20bugs&f=false
- ↑ http://www.intanibase.com/gac/looneytunes/censored-b.aspx