Since his big-screen debut in 1940, Bugs Bunny and his trademark greeting, “Eh, what’s up, Doc?” have become fixtures of American popular culture. Best known for his uproarious performances in Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodie cartoons, Bugs also appeared in newspaper comics, comic books, and children’s books.
A character closely resembling Bugs was used during the late 1930s in several cartoons directed by Ben “Bugs” Hardaway and Cal Dalton. When designer Charlie Thorson labeled the character sheet as “Bugs’ bunny,” the “wascawwy wabbit” got his name. But it wasn’t until 1940 that the character known and loved as Bugs Bunny made his appearance. The cumulative creative effort of several brilliant individuals, most notably Tex Avery, Friz Freleng, Chuck Jones, Bob Clampett, and Robert McKimson, Bugs made his big-screen debut in Tex Avery’s 1940 short, A Wild Hare. Talented actor Mel Blanc gave a voice to the Brooklyn bunny.
During World War II, Bugs was enlisted to promote the war bond effort and was adopted as a member of the Seabees. Appointed “Ambassador for the Stampers program” by the United States Postal Service in 1996, the famous hare was honored with his own postage stamp in an effort to interest young people in stamp collecting.