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Elmer J. Fudd is a fictional cartoon character, one of the most famous Looney Tunes characters, and one of the archenemies of Bugs Bunny. He is one of the series' main recurring villains, along with Marvin the Martian and Yosemite Sam. However, unlike the tyrannical, power-hungry Marvin or the scheming, malevolent Sam, Elmer is dopey and unlikely to do Bugs great harm.

He has one of the most disputed origins in the Warner Bros. cartoon pantheon (second only to Bugs himself). It was evidenced that Elmer originated from Fred "Tex" Avery in 1937, as a "Running Gag" character with small, sometimes squinty eyes, a derby hat, and a green suit. His aim is to hunt Bugs, but he usually ends up seriously injuring himself and/or other antagonizing characters. Since Elmer made his ninth appearance in a cartoon named, "Elmer's Candid Camera" (1939, released in 1940) He speaks in an unusual way (rhotacism), replacing his R's and L's with W's, so "Watch the road, Rabbit," becomes "Watch da woad, wabbit!" Elmer's signature catchphrase is, "Be vewy vewy quiet, I'm hunting wabbits", as well as his trademark gloat, "huh-uh-uh-uh-uh-uh-uh-uh." The best known Elmer cartoons include Chuck Jones' masterpiece "What's Opera, Doc?", the Rossini parody "Rabbit of Seville", and the "Hunting Trilogy" of "Rabbit Fire", "Rabbit Seasoning", and "Duck! Rabbit, Duck!. He is also a millionaire, who lives in a mansion and owns a yacht.

He actually only appeared in about 37 (out of 168) of the original Bugs Bunny cartoons, although he did co-star with other characters in many other shorts, along with several of his own solo appearances, amounting to 71 classic shorts total, between 1937 to 1962.

History[]

Early appearances[]

ProtoElmerProfile

The early Elmer Fudd as he appears in "Cinderella Meets Fella"

In 1937, Tex Avery created a very early version of Elmer Fudd named Elmer [1] and introduced him in "Little Red Walking Hood", as a mysterious hero whistling everywhere he goes. In this cartoon, he had a derby hat, small squinty eyes, big reddish nose, a high collar around his neck, a green long sleeve shirt, green pants, and a bald head. At the end of the cartoon, the character tells the villain, the Big Bad Wolf, that he is "the hero in this picture" after he hits the wolf in the head with a mallet. He then continued to make more appearances in the Warner cartoons, mostly as a "running gag" character. In "A Feud There Was" (1938), Elmer made his entrance riding a motor scooter with the words "Elmer Fudd, Peacemaker" displayed on the side, the first onscreen appearance of that name. Elmer then appeared on early merchandise and of early Looney Tunes books in 1938 and 1939, and even on the lobby cards for "The Isle of Pingo Pongo" and for "Cinderella Meets Fella" with his name attached on them. This early prototype Elmer would be retired from the cartoons after 1939's "Believe It or Else".

Confusion with Egghead[]

Main article: Egghead

It is often confused by several sources, documentaries (including ToonHeads), and fans alike that another character created by Tex Avery, called Egghead who first debuted in 1937's "Egghead Rides Again", was a predecessor of Elmer, and that the two were the same individual and thus would eventually evolve together to form the finalized Elmer Fudd. However, Michael Barrier asserts that "Elmer Fudd was not a modified version of his fellow Warner Bros. character Egghead" and that "the two characters were always distinct. That was apparently evidenced by Elmer's early prototype being identified in a Warner publicity sheet for Cinderella Meets Fella (filed with the Library of Congress as a copyright description) as 'Egghead's brother.'" which was also explained on his website, and that "The Egghead-Elmer story is actually a little messy, my sense being that most of the people involved, whether they were making the films or publicizing them, not only had trouble telling the characters apart but had no idea why they should bother trying."

Further elevating this confusion is modern Looney Tunes media depicting Egghead as Elmer's early appearance, instead of his original Joe Penner depiction. Unlike Elmer at the time, the character would be inherited to Ben Hardaway and Cal Dalton's direction when Friz Freleng left Warner Bros. for MGM and would appear in two cartoons directed by the duo, last appearing in "Count Me Out". According to Thad Komorowski on Cartoon Brew, Egghead was originally intended to appear in "Confederate Honey" and "The Hardship of Miles Standish", but Freleng returned and used the finalized Elmer instead.[2]

Finalized Elmer[]

Screenshot 2022-12-05 203605

Elmer's finalized appearance in "A Wild Hare"

In the 1939 cartoon "Dangerous Dan McFoo", a new voice actor, Arthur Q. Bryan, was hired to provide the voice of the hero dog character. It was in this cartoon that the popular "milk-sop" wabbit voice was later used for Tex Avery's character, Elmer Fudd. Bryan was found because of the voice—a veteran of radio, he was a mainstay on The Grouch Club, of which a series of Warner Bros.-produced short films were made. Bryan appeared in a number of them. Sometime later on in this year, some new drawings and redesigns of Elmer Fudd were being created by character designers Charlie Thorson and Bob Givens.

In 1940, Elmer's appearance was refined, giving him a chin and a less bulbous nose (although still wearing his old clothing that he was wearing in Tex Avery's earlier cartoons) and Arthur Q. Bryan's "Dan McFoo" voice in what most people consider Elmer Fudd's first true appearance: a Chuck Jones short entitled "Elmer's Candid Camera", actually Elmer's Ninth appearance, in which a rabbit drives Elmer insane; the rabbit was an early appearance of what would become Bugs Bunny, beginning their long-standing rivalry. Later that year, he appeared in Friz Freleng's "Confederate Honey" and "The Hardship of Miles Standish", which were carryovers of Hardaway's and Dalton's work that would've featured Egghead. Elmer would get his next design in "Good Night Elmer". And Elmer Fudd has since been the chief antagonistic force in most of the Bugs Bunny cartoons, initiating one of the most famous rivalries in the history of American cinema.

Elmer's first hunting debut, however, was "A Wild Hare" in 1940. It is the first cartoon to feature Elmer in his usual hunting outfit and the fifth cartoon to feature Bugs Bunny (Bugs debut in "Porky's Hare Hunt" (produced and copyrighted in 1937, and released in 1938), as a zany white rabbit).

Fat Elmer[]

Shortly after "Elmer's Pet Rabbit", another Elmer cartoon, "Wabbit Twouble", notably changed Elmer's appearance to look very chubby based on Arthur Q. Bryan's physique. These cartoons depict Elmer as more incompetent and often has him provoked by Bugs in all his appearances. Due to theatrical backlash, this design was retired quickly after only four cartoons, with this version last appearing in "Fresh Hare".

Interpretations by director[]

As later years progressed, each director took their own spin on the character, as with most of the main characters made at the time. Notably, these later efforts often depict Elmer more sympathetic and often has him provoking conflict instead of his opponents starting turmoil.

Chuck Jones' Elmer[]

After realizing that Elmer was often considered a pushover in the cartoons directed by Bob Clampett, Jones would enforce a rule starting from "Hold the Lion, Please" where Bugs must be provoked to give a valid reason to torment the opponent. As a result, Jones often depicted Elmer as a bit of a kind fool, with him being taken advantage of his stupidity. Despite his efforts, he rarely causes harm over fleeing from overreaction, such as over disease in "Hare Tonic" and superiority of hats in "Bugs' Bonnets".

Jones would most notably rise Elmer's fame up in the hunting trilogy with Bugs and Daffy, where he attempts to hunt rabbits for the season, only to often be directed to instead target Daffy after Bugs tells the confused Elmer that it is really duck season. Jones would also repeat this similar formula in "Beanstalk Bunny", where Elmer portrays the mean giant from the Jack and the Beanstalk story and attempts to hunt Bugs, only to often be directed to instead target Daffy after Bugs tells the confused giant Elmer that the Giant of the Jack and the Beanstalk story is after Jack, not rabbits, and Daffy indeed is Jack.

He would also appear in various musical Bugs cartoons such as "Rabbit of Seville" and "What's Opera, Doc?", with the latter being inducted to the National Film Registry.

Friz Freleng's Elmer[]

After the early years, Freleng would rarely pair Elmer with Bugs, as the director claimed that Elmer was too dumb and made Bugs looked unforgiving as a result.[3] This would primarily lead to Freleng using tougher and less sympathetic opponents for his cartoons against Bugs, such as Yosemite Sam and Rocky and Mugsy. Despite that, Freleng would sporadically use Elmer, often depicting him as a rich everyman occasionally having conflict from outsiders such as Sylvester or ants. A few cartoons where he goes against Bugs often have the hunter resort to alternate techniques to catch the rabbit, such as a robot.

Bob Clampett's Elmer[]
The wabbit who came to supper-1

The fat Elmer Fudd redesign that was often used in five cartoons between 1941 and 1942.

Bob Clampett's direction with Elmer seems more contented on taking advantage of Elmer's dumbness, with Bugs being the provoker in almost all of his cartoons by Clampett, particularly in "Wabbit Twouble" and "The Wacky Wabbit". In these cartoons, Bugs would take every turn to make Elmer fall into his goofy ruses, and Bob's direction makes such gags outlandish for Elmer.

One notable cartoon, "The Old Grey Hare", has both Elmer and Bugs antagonizing each other even at old age, and have been revealed to be antagonizing each other since they were babies. The short even ends with Bugs tricking Elmer into burying himself alive, and even implied to have killed Elmer by handing him a large firecracker with a lit fuse which explodes off-screen while underground.

Robert McKimson's Elmer[]

Robert McKimson would use Elmer a few times prior to 1955, pairing him with Bugs in "Easter Yeggs", "Upswept Hare", and most notably "What's Up Doc?". He would also pair him with Daffy for two cartoons, one where Daffy commerses as a salesman bent on forcing Elmer to purchase an overly dangerous and destructive smart house, and another where Daffy tries to stop Elmer from hunting during duck season.

After McKimson's original crew was disbanded, McKimson would begin to use Elmer more often, depicting him as a bit brighter and more intelligent than most of his other appearances, but still rather gullible. He would also depict Elmer as an everyman working for smaller businesses with hunting as his hobby.

Later years[]

As time went on, Elmer's voice actor, Arthur Q. Bryan, experienced illness that affected his ability to voice the character. One cartoon, "Pre-Hysterical Hare", was the first example of such, in that Dave Barry had to replace Bryan's role for Elmer. However, the voice difference is largely obvious, and Bryan's health would deteriorate further as the years went on. Bryan voiced Elmer his final time with Freleng's "Person to Bunny", with Elmer's voice being roughened at this time. The cartoon would posthumously release after Bryan's passing in 1959, being released early the following year. With McKimson still in the middle of completing two cartoons featuring Elmer, Hal Smith took over the role of Elmer for two cartoons, "Dog Gone People" and "What's My Lion?". Elmer would make his final appearance in Freleng's "Crows' Feat", where he silently defends a cornfield from two dimwitted crows.

Post-Golden Age[]

Despite Bryan's passing and Elmer's retirement from the original theatrical run, Elmer would make a few appearances in commercials featuring the Looney Tunes cast during the 1960s and early 1970s. He is still voiced by Hal Smith in these commercials, although Mel Blanc would later take over Elmer's voice starting from Daffy Duck and Porky Pig Meet the Groovie Goolies.

Even though Elmer wasn't used in any of the cartoons directed by DePatie-Freleng Enterprises in the late 1960s, Elmer Fudd would later make appearances in several television specials in the 1970s and 1980s produced from the studio, such as Bugs Bunny's Bustin' Out All Over where his early origins with Bugs are shown. He would also make some cameo roles in two of the Looney Tunes feature-film compilations. Despite the difference in voice, when Elmer returned to theatrical cartoons in "Box Office Bunny", he would be voiced by Jeff Bergman who made the character's voice more replicant to Bryan's voice instead of the deeper voice used by Smith and Blanc, a practice which would later be continued by other present-day soundalikes such as Billy West, Greg Burson and Eric Bauza.

Elmer would also appear frequently in the animated series Tiny Toon Adventures as a teacher at Acme Looniversity, where he was the idol and favorite teacher of Elmyra Duff, the slightly deranged animal lover who resembles Elmer in basic head design, name and lack of intellect. On the other hand, a younger version of him makes a single appearance in the episode "Plucky's Dastardly Deed", and is named "Egghead Jr", the "smartest kid in class". Elmer also made cameos in Animaniacs, one in "Turkey Jerky", another in the Pinky and the Brain short "Don't Tread on Us".

Elmer also had a guest-starring appearance in Histeria! in the episode "The Teddy Roosevelt Show", in a sketch where he portrayed Gutzon Borglum. This sketch depicts Elmer/Gutzon's construction of Mount Rushmore, accompanied by Borglum's son Lincoln, portrayed by Loud Kiddington. Elmer made another appearance in Histeria!, this time in his traditional role, during a sketch where the bald eagle trades places with the turkey during Thanksgiving weekend, featured in the episode "Americana".

Elmer also appeared in The Sylvester & Tweety Mysteries in the first season episode A Ticket to Crime as detective Sam Fudd; at the end, he took off his clothes and turned into Elmer.

Elmer appears as part of the Tune Squad team in Space Jam. In one part of the game, he and Yosemite Sam shoot down the teeth of one of the Monstars dressed in black suits while Misirlou is heard in the background. Elmer took on a more villainous role in Looney Tunes: Back in Action, in which he is a secret agent for the Acme Corporation. In his scene, Elmer chases Bugs and Daffy through the paintings in the Louvre Museum, taking on the different art styles as they do so. At the end, Elmer forgets to change back to his normal style after jumping out of the pointillism painting Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte by Georges Seurat, allowing Bugs to easily disintegrate Elmer by blowing a fan at him.

A four-year-old version of Elmer was featured in the Baby Looney Tunes episode "A Bully for Bugs", where he kept taking all of Bugs' candy, and also bullied the rest of his friends. He also had short blond hair. He appeared in most of the songs, where he is a year old. An even more villainous Elmer appeared in two episodes of Duck Dodgers as The Mother Fudd, an alien who would spread a disease that caused all affected by it to stand around laughing like Elmer, a parody of the Flood in Halo and the Borg in Star Trek. In Loonatics Unleashed, his descendant Electro J. Fudd tried to prove himself the universe's greatest hunter by capturing Ace Bunny but settled for Danger Duck instead. Elmer himself also makes an appearance in the form of a photo which shows he presumably died at the hands of a giant squirrel.

In December 2009, Elmer made an appearance in a Geico commercial where the director tells him to say rabbits instead of "wabbits". He was again voiced by Billy West. Elmer Fudd appears in The Looney Tunes Show episode "Best Friends" voiced by Billy West, though only as part of the Merrie Melodies segment, and not part of the main plot. Portrayed as a wealthy businessman coming home after a hard day's work, he sings about his love of "gwiwwed cheese" sandwiches, which has become an infamous moment. He later had a brief cameo appearance in "Fish and Visitors" as a weather forecaster briefly exclaiming about the rainy weather and doing his famous chuckle at the end. In "Working Duck", Elmer Fudd appeared as a newsman where he reports that Daffy Duck was fired from his position as a security guard after falling asleep during a nighttime bank robbery where ten million dollars was stolen. Later, Elmer Fudd reports that Enormocorp went out of business due to the worst business decision in the history of business caused by its CEO Daffy Duck (who succeeded the previous CEO Foghorn Leghorn who retired) where he went with the "Proceed as Planned" choice instead of the "Delay the Merger" choice when he mistook Pete Puma as the new muffin man. As a result of this, Elmer mentioned that 10,000 of it's workers are now out of a job and states that experts fear that the world economy could collapse. Elmer also states that disgraced CEO Daffy Duck could not be reached for a comment. In "A Christmas Carol", Elmer Fudd reports on Foghorn Leghorn's plans to end the heat wave on Christmas. Elmer Fudd later joins the other characters in the Christmas song called "Christmas Rules" at the end of the episode. In "Dear John," Elmer Fudd reports on Daffy Duck winning a spot on the city council. Elmer Fudd later reports on Daffy Duck's apparent death where he supposedly lost control of his parade float and drove into the St. Bastian River. In "The Black Widow," Elmer Fudd reports on the theft of the Hillhurst Diamond from the museum caused by someone called "The Black Widow."

On 10 February 2012, Elmer starred in the 3-D short "Daffy's Rhapsody" with Daffy Duck, voiced by Billy West, which was shown during the intermission of the film Journey 2: The Mysterious Island. He is portrayed with blue eyes here.

Elmer Fudd appears in New Looney Tunes, voiced by Jeff Bergman, with Bugs Bunny. In one of the episodes, he appears in Season 1, he lures Bugs in to help him with his petting zoo, in which he treats the animals very poorly. Another episode has him competing with another ice cream truck business, with Bugs in the plot. In another episode, he reprises his Cupid role.

Elmer Fudd appears in Looney Tunes Cartoons, once again voiced by Jeff Bergman. Unlike previous appearances, Elmer hunts wild game using a scythe instead of his usual double-barreled hunting shotgun, due to the show's gunfire ban, which is also applied to Yosemite Sam. However, he uses his shotgun in the Season 2 episode "Rotund Rabbit". In addition, in this show Elmer is redesigned to closely resemble how Tex Avery drew him in "A Wild Hare", complete with a red nose and a red turtleneck instead of blue; he also ended up having to wear old clothing again in some shorts. "Salesduck", is the only short in where Elmer is not drawn with a red nose. Also, unlike the original cartoons, here Elmer has a much bigger hatred towards rabbits and is far more short-tempered in contrast to his more mild-mannered persona from the original cartoons, going so far as to inflict violence on Bugs to express his hatred in numerous episodes such as "Snow Laughing Matter". His name was shown on a tombstone in "Graveyard Goofs".

Elmer Fudd has a cameo appearance as Egghead in the Bugs Bunny Builders episode "Cousin Billy".

Impact on Popular Culture[]

  • The search engine Google has been translated into many languages, some of them for sheer comedic purposes. One of the novelty languages is "Elmer Fudd."
  • Comedian and actor Robin Williams also performed a famous sketch where he sang the Bruce Springsteen song "Fire" as Elmer Fudd.
  • Conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh expressed dissatisfaction with Republican candidate Mitt Romney on 10 September 2012 radio broadcast by saying, "I know that Romney ticks you off. He might as well be Elmer Fudd as far as we're concerned. We're voting against Obama." This led to jokes about Limbaugh's apparent endorsement of Fudd as a replacement for Romney, as in one YouTube video.[4]

Filmography[]

Main article: List of Elmer Fudd cartoons

Voice Actors[]

Gallery[]

Main article: Elmer Fudd/Gallery

Notes[]

  • In 2000, Mark V. McCollum had recorded the song called "Kill The Wabbit" (which is apparently based on the Looney Tunes short "What's Opera, Doc?") and named Elmer being the lead singer as Ozzy Fudd. Live at the Comedy Tonight club in San Francisco 1992 (which is from the VHS tape), Mark is seen on the stage asking the audience, "Speaking of dudes, what would it be like if Elmer Fudd had a punk song and his punk song was into heavy metal and Ozzy Fudd had a hit video on MTV? Did you ever think what there would be like? I have!", and performing the song as he portrays the voice impression of Elmer.[13] While it is currently unknown whatever happened to Mark V. McCollum, the song is often credited to other bands such as Metallica and Megadeth.

References[]

Characters
Main Characters
Bugs Bunny (Prototype Bugs Bunny) Daffy Duck Elmer Fudd Foghorn Leghorn Lola Bunny (Honey Bunny) Marvin the Martian (K-9) Pepé Le Pew (Penelope Pussycat) Porky Pig Road Runner Speedy Gonzales Sylvester (Sylvester Jr.) Taz Tweety Wile E. Coyote Yosemite Sam
Recurring Golden Age Characters
1930s debuts

Bosko Honey Bruno Foxy Piggy Goopy Geer Buddy Cookie Beans Little Kitty Oliver Owl Ham and Ex Petunia Pig Piggy Hamhock Gabby Goat Egghead Big Bad Wolf Little Red Riding Hood Yoyo Dodo Mrs. Daffy Duck The Two Curious Puppies Sniffles Inki Minah Bird

1940s debuts

Willoughby Three Little Pigs Cecil Turtle Beaky Buzzard Mama Buzzard Leo the Lion Babbit and Catstello Conrad the Cat Hubie and Bertie Claude Cat A. Flea The Three Bears Schnooks Hector the Bulldog The Drunk Stork Gossamer Rocky Barnyard Dawg Henery Hawk Charlie Dog Bobo the Elephant Goofy Gophers The Dog Wellington Gruesome Gorilla Hippety Hopper The Talking Bulldog The Crusher The Supreme Cat Playboy Penguin

1950s debuts

Melissa Duck Frisky Puppy Granny (Proto-Granny) Miss Prissy (Emily the Chicken) Sam Cat Nasty Canasta Marc Anthony and Pussyfoot Chester Ralph Wolf and Sam Sheepdog Toro the Bull The Weasel Witch Hazel Tasmanian She-Devil Ralph Phillips Egghead Jr. Mugsy Jose and Manuel The Honey-Mousers (Ralph Crumden, Ned Morton, Alice Crumden, Trixie Morton) Instant Martians Slowpoke Rodriguez Pappy and Elvis Blacque Jacque Shellacque

1960s debuts

Cool Cat Colonel Rimfire Merlin the Magic Mouse Second Banana Bunny and Claude

One-Off Golden Age Characters
1930s debuts

Owl Jolson

1940s debuts

The Gremlin The Dover Boys (Tom Dover, Dick Dover, Larry Dover, Dora Standpipe, Dan Backslide) Mr. Meek Russian Dog The Little Man from the Draft Board Colonel Shuffle Giovanni Jones

1950s debuts

The Martin Brothers Pete Puma George and Benny Babyface Finster Michigan J. Frog Shropshire Slasher Mot Pablo and Fernando Charles M. Wolf Señor Vulturo Mighty Angelo

1960s debuts

Hugo the Abominable Snowman Nelly the Giraffe Count Bloodcount Spooky Rapid Rabbit and Quick Brown Fox

Post-Golden Age Characters
Tiny Toon Adventures

Buster Bunny Babs Bunny Plucky Duck Hamton J. Pig Fifi La Fume Shirley the Loon Sweetie Bird Elmyra Duff Montana Max

Taz-Mania

Jean Hugh Molly Jake Dog the Turtle Drew

Pinky and the Brain

Pinky The Brain

Baby Looney Tunes

Floyd Minton

Duck Dodgers

Dr. I.Q. Hi Captain Star Johnson Commander X2

Loonatics Unleashed

Ace Bunny Lexi Bunny Danger Duck Slam Tasmanian Tech E. Coyote Rev Runner

The Looney Tunes Show

Tina Russo

New Looney Tunes

Squeaks the Squirrel Bigfoot Barbarian Boyd Cal Carl the Grim Rabbit Claudette Dupri Dr. Clovenhoof Eagle Scout Elliot Sampson Horace the Horse Ivana Jack Thes Leslie P. Lilylegs Miss Cougar Pampreen Perdy and Paul Perdy Rhoda Roundhouse Shameless O'Scanty Sir Littlechin Slugsworthy the First Squint Eatswood Tad Tucker Trey Hugger Viktor Winter Stag

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