Merrie Melodies - Bugs Bunny - Stage Door Cartoon (1944)
Stage Door Cartoon is a 1944 Merrie Melodies cartoon directed by Friz Freleng. The short was released on December 30, 1944, and features Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd.
The cartoon's title is a parody of the 1943 musical film Stage Door Canteen.
This is the first cartoon to feature Bugs' signature song "What's Up Doc?" playing during the title card.
Bugs' goofy yell to Elmer, "Here I ya-um!" was a catchphrase used by radio star Red Skelton's country bumpkin character "Clem Kadiddlehopper".
The Southern sheriff in this cartoon is a prototype of Yosemite Sam, which was later confirmed in the Toonheads episode "Before They Were Stars". This prototype version of Sam appears to be a little taller in height (almost as tall as Bugs), older in age (hence the white hair), and is a good guy who is a fan of Bugs and his cartoons, in contrast to the "official" Sam who is evil, hates rabbits (including Bugs), shorter in height and younger in age with red hair.
Bugs' final line, "I got a million of 'em!" was a Jimmy Durante catchphrase; Bugs also mimics Durante's standard body language while saying it.
This cartoon marks the debut of "Untitled Soft Shoe Number", an original music score by Carl Stalling. Portions of the foreground (character) animation layer from the scene of Bugs dancing to this music cue would later be re-used in Bugs Bunny Rides Again and Hot Cross Bunny (both 1948).
The basic plotline was re-used in the 1949 Bugs-and-Elmer cartoon, Hare Do and again in the 1950 Bugs-and-Elmer cartoon, Rabbit of Seville. A modified version of the high dive is used in Hare Do, where Bugs tricks a blindfolded Elmer into riding a unicycle from a wire high above a stage into the jaws of a man-eating lion, with the result having an ending reminiscent to the ending of A Day at the Zoo (1939), which featured Elmer's prototype Egghead being swallowed up by a lion.
The high-diving gag from this cartoon is later used as the entire plot device for High Diving Hare (1949), where Yosemite Sam tries to force Bugs Bunny to perform the high-diving act when Fearless Freep is unavailable.
The line Elmer is prompted by Bugs Bunny to recite is based upon Romeo and Juliet II.ii.2 (which is actually "But soft, what light through yonder window breaks?")
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