Template:Infobox Hollywood cartoon Falling Hare is a 1943 Merrie Melodies cartoon directed by Robert Clampett, starring Bugs Bunny. The title is another play on "hair", as "falling hair" refers to impending baldness, while in this cartoon's climax, the title turns out to be descriptive of Bugs' situation.
Within the cartoon are several contemporary pop culture references, including to Wendell Willkie, John Steinbeck's novel Of Mice and Men and the folk songs "Yankee Doodle," "I've Been Working on the Railroad," and the Russian folk song "Dark Eyes. In addition, the Gremlin's behavior is possibly a homage to Bob Clampett's version Daffy Duck (for example, he is seen in one scene riding an invisible bicycle, one of Daffy's old trademarks, among other acts.)" Bugs' Gremlin nemesis also makes a reappearance in the 1990 cartoon Tiny Toons episode Journey to the Center of Acme Acres with two look-alikes as the secondary antagonists of the episode. The Gremlin holds the distinction, along with Cecil Turtle and the unnamed fly in Baton Bunny, of being one of the very few antagonists to actually outsmart and rattle Bugs.
This cartoon probably influenced Russian Rhapsody, which portrayed Adolf Hitler making a bomb run on Moscow and being plagued by gremlins.
An excerpt from this short is actually used in Gremlins 2: The New Batch. It's the part where Bugs Bunny says, "Do you think that...it might have been a...Gremlin!?". This part is actually used in a part where the Gremlins invade the viewers' television sets, the joke being that Bugs has supposedly noticed the invading Gremlins.
This cartoon opens with an extended series of establishing shots of an Army Air Force base, to the brassy strains of "We’re In To Win" (a WWII song also sung by Daffy Duck in Scrap Happy Daffy the same year).
Bugs is found reclining on a piece of ordnance, idly reading Victory Through Hare Power (a parody of the book "Victory Through Air Power") and laughing uproariously at the book's claim that gremlins wreck American planes with "di-a-bo-LICK-al sab-oh-TAY-gee" (diabolical sabotage). He immediately encounters one of the creatures, who is experimentally striking a bomb with a mallet to the tune of "I've Been Working on the Railroad". In response to Bug's "What's all the hubbub, bub?" the gremlin replies, "These Blockbuster bombs don't go off unless you hit them juuuuuuuust right." Noticing the gremlin's lack of success, Bugs offers to "take a whack at it" but comes to his senses an instant before striking the detonator, screaming "WHAT AM I DOING?!" Bugs asks the audience sotto voce, "Say, do youse t'ink dat was a... gremlin?" The gremlin, perched on Bugs' shoulder the whole time, yells in his ear, "IT AIN'T VENDELL VILLKIE!"
The Gremlin continues to outsmart Bugs throughout the film, frequently hitting him with a mallet or otherwise giving him grief. Bugs soon finds himself fighting a losing battle with the gremlin inside a flying but unpiloted bomber (resembling a Douglas B-18 Bolo). In the finale, the plane goes into a tailspin (ripping apart during its descent, with only the fuselage remaining), but comes to a sputtering halt (Blanc, borrowing his Maxwell bit from the Benny show) about six feet before hitting the ground, hanging in mid-air, defying gravity, a scene bringing to mind Chico Marx's nonsensical speech from the 1935 MGM film A Night at the Opera.
Bugs and the Gremlin now seem to be on friendly terms as they both address the audience. The gremlin apologizes for the plane having "run out of gas". Bugs chimes in and just as he speaks, the camera pans to the right, revealing a wartime gas rationing sticker: "You know how it is with these 'A' cards!"
That unexpected gag probably resonated well with the audience. The "A" card, under the reverse-psychology of the rationing scheme, was the least generous of the classifications, limiting the bearer to minimal gasoline purchases.
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- Merrie Melodies: Falling Hare at Internet Archive Movie Archive
- "Falling Hare" at Cinemaniacal