Southern Fried Rabbit on National Bugs Bunny Day

April 30 is National Bugs Bunny Day. (Bet you didn’t even know there was such a thing!) Bugs made his first appearance in this date in 1938 in a theatrical featurette called “Porky’s Hare Hunt.” Porky Pig, not Elmer Fudd, showed up to hunt hare. The Bugs-like bunny in the cartoon was actually called “happy rabbit,” but on July 27, 1940, Bugs finally appeared with his official, formal name.

During his decades of irreverent poking-fun-at-things, Bugs of course eventually managed to have a Civil War-themed adventure. “Southern Fried Rabbit” was released on May 2, 1953 (the 90th anniversary of the battle of Chancellorsville, as it happened). The episode pitted Bugs against another perennial antagonist, Yosemite Sam. “Colonel Sam” is an unreconstructed rebel, and coupled with his usual hairtrigger temper, he’s as cartoonish a Confederate as you could imagine. The episode has great fun lampooning Dixiesque stereotypes.

More recently, the cartoon has come under fire for its portrayal of racial stereotypes and slavery. As a result, the full episode is no longer available.

To celebrate National Bugs Bunny Day, here are some snippets from “Southern Fried Rabbit.” The selections we offer here give you most of the cartoon, with the most controversial part left out. I found much to laugh at in these sections–references that went right over my head as a kid but brought me great delight (particularly as a Stonewall Jackson fanboy). I don’t want to spoil any surprises in case you catch them now, too, after all these years.


6 Responses to Southern Fried Rabbit on National Bugs Bunny Day

  1. To paraphrase the eminent philosopher Forrest Gump,
    “Emerging Civil War Blog is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you are gonna get”.
    Bugs Bunny Looney Tunes cartoons, who would have guessed ?

  2. This cartoon was my first “funny” exposure to the Civil War during the centennial. Thank you for providing a good laugh or two to start the week!

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