Southern Fried Rabbit

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Southern Fried Rabbit
Looney Tunes (Bugs Bunny/Yosemite Sam) series
Southern Fried Rabbit title card.png
Directed by I. Freleng
Produced by Edward Selzer
(uncredited)
Story by Warren Foster
Voices by Mel Blanc
Music by Carl W. Stalling
Animation by Ken Champin
Arthur Davis
Manuel Perez
Virgil Ross
Layouts by Hawley Pratt
Backgrounds by Irv Wyner
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Release date(s) May 2, 1953
(USA premiere)
Color process Technicolor
Running time 6 min. 45 sec.(one reel)
Language English

Southern Fried Rabbit is a Looney Tunes cartoon by Warner Bros. starring Bugs Bunny and Yosemite Sam. Directed by Friz Freleng, the animated short was first released on May 2, 1953.

In it, Bugs Bunny attempts to shake off Yosemite Sam (here, cast as a Civil War-era Confederate colonel), who is preventing him from crossing the Mason–Dixon line.

Plot

A severe drought has ruined the carrot crop in Bugs Bunny's northern home. Upon learning of a boom crop in Alabama, Bugs decides to happily make the trip to the fertile soils. After a lot of walking, he exhaustedly asks, "I wonder why they put the South so far south?", but finds himself near the Mason–Dixon line that separates the drought-ravaged north from the fertile south. As soon as he crosses the line he is shot at by "Colonel" Sam, who chases Bugs back over the line, but then, realizing he is north, quickly runs back over the line, saying he has to burn his boots as they "touched Yankee soil!".

Bugs asks Sam what the deal is, only to hear that Sam somehow believes that he is a soldier of the Confederate States of America and has received orders from General Robert E. Lee to guard the borders between the Confederate States and the United States. When Bugs points out that "The War Between the States ended almost 90 years ago,” (the cartoon itself was animated in 1953) Sam says that "I ain't no clock watcher!", and as he will stay there unless he hears otherwise from Lee; he shoots at Bugs and forces him to run away, prompting the rabbit to make several attempts to shake his antagonist.

First, Bugs disguises himself as a banjo-playing slave, singing "My Old Kentucky Home." When Sam asks for something "more peppy", Bugs promptly sings "Yankee Doodle," leading Sam to call Bugs a traitor. Bugs then begs Sam, calling him his master, not to beat him, and forcing a banjo string into Sam's hands to make it look like Sam is holding a whip. After fleeing from Sam, Bugs immediately comes in disguised as Abraham Lincoln and with a voice that sounds like Foghorn Leghorn, scolds Sam for "whipping slaves". Sam tries to protest with repeated "buts" but Bugs silences him and hands him a card to "look me up at my Gettysburg Address". Bugs' cover is blown, however, when his cotton tail shows through Abe's trenchcoat, prompting an infuriated Sam to chase Bugs into a tree. Bugs blows out Sam's match when he tries to light a cannonball, and when Sam tries it again away from the tree, he blows it out with extended pipe. Sam goes even further away from the tree in the third attempt, but with more ground to cover, the fuse runs out when Sam runs back to the tree and he takes the explosion.

Bugs then disguises himself as Stonewall Jackson (here as "General Brickwall Jackson"), fooling Sam into marching into a well. Later, Bugs flees from Sam into a mansion, where he disguises himself as Scarlett O'Hara (from Gone with the Wind), and when Sam attempts to search the mansion, he takes a cannon explosion looking inside a closet and is dissuaded from searching any further.

Bugs at last succeeds in getting Sam when, disguised as an injured Confederate soldier, he informs him that "the Yankees are in Chattanoogee" in Tennessee. Sam heads to "Chattanoogee", and the finale has him using a shotgun to threaten the New York Yankees, preventing them from competing in an exhibition baseball game against the Chattanooga Lookouts: "The first dang Yankee to step out of that dugout gets his head blasted off!!!". (Sam was presumably arrested shortly afterwards.)

Censorship

On TV airings of this cartoon, the following scene is cut: To pass the Mason-Dixon Line guarded by Sam, Bugs disguises himself as a black man playing a banjo and singing a sombre song. Sam allows him to pass into the South ("One of our boys"), until Bugs starts a rendition of "Yankee Doodle" and his "cover" is blown. Bugs then acts like a poor slave ("Please don't beat me, massa! Don't beat this tired old body!") and places a whip in Sam's hands, before then appearing as Abraham Lincoln to scold Sam ("What's this I hear about you whippin' slaves?"). The first instance of Yosemite Sam yelling, "Charge!" has now been removed, probably because of the Confederate flag which is seen at that point in the cartoon when it is seen uncut.

Availability

  • Southern Fried Rabbit is available (uncut and restored) on Looney Tunes Golden Collection Volume 4, Disc 1. It was omitted from the Region 2 United Kingdom release due to the racist imagery (due to Bugs posing as a slave singing Yankee Doodle Dandy). It is also available on the "Yosemite Sam's Yeller Fever" VHS, uncut.

See also

References

External links

  • Southern Fried Rabbit
  • New York Times Review
  • Southern Fried Rabbit on IMDb
Preceded by
Upswept Hare
Bugs Bunny Cartoons
1953
Succeeded by
Hare Trimmed
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