Hare Tonic

Hare Tonic
Looney Tunes (Bugs Bunny) series
Hare Tonic Lobby Card.PNG

Lobby card.
Directed by Charles M. Jones
Produced by Eddie Selzer
Story by Tedd Pierce
Voices by Mel Blanc
Arthur Q. Bryan (uncredited)
Music by Carl W. Stalling
Animation by Ken Harris
Basil Davidovich
Lloyd Vaughan
Ben Washam
Layouts by Earl Klein
Backgrounds by Robert Gribbroek
Studio Warner Bros. Cartoons
The Vitaphone Corporation
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Release date(s) November 10, 1945 (USA)
Color process Technicolor
Running time 8:18
Language English

Hare Tonic is a 1945 Warner Bros. cartoon in the Looney Tunes series, directed by Chuck Jones and written by Tedd Pierce. It stars Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd making this the second cartoon directed by Jones to co-star the two (the first being Elmer's Pet Rabbit). Voice characterizations are by Mel Blanc and Arthur Q. Bryan, respectively.

The title is a play on "hair tonic", a type of patent medicine, reinforced by Bugs' portrayal of a fake doctor at one point in the picture. A bottle of "hare tonic" would appear as a prop in a 1946 cartoon, The Big Snooze.


Elmer Fudd has purchased Bugs Bunny at a local grocery store (with a sign visible in the window offering a special on "Fresh Hare") and is taking him home to make a meal. As he walks along, he sings the tune of "Shortnin' Bread", substituting "Wabbit Stew". Bugs pops out of Elmer's basket, munching on a carrot that was in there with him, and asks, "Eh, whatcha got in the basket, doc?" Elmer replies, "I got me a wabbit! I'm gonna cook me a wabbit stew!" Bugs states his "love" of rabbit stew (though he is clearly a rabbit) and then begs to see Elmer's rabbit. When Elmer opens his basket and finds it empty (Bugs had quickly climbed out), Bugs pushes his nemesis into his own basket and then sings the tune Elmer had been singing — but then Elmer realizes he's been tricked, and so he re-reverses the switch. Foreshadowing pranks to come, Bugs tells the audience from inside the basket (à la Red Skelton's "mean widdle kid"), "He don't know me vewy well, do he?"

Once at home, Bugs easily secures his escape by distracting Elmer, tricking him into thinking the phone has rung. However, just as he's about to leave, he decides he'd rather stay and heckle his would-be devourer. Bugs effects a radio broadcast that warns of the dread disease "rabbititis", which is contracted from rabbits "sold within the last three days" and which causes people to see spots and have "delusions assuming the characteristics of rabbits". This frightens the gullible Elmer and he informs Bugs that he is free to leave. Bugs, however, decides he doesn't want to leave by saying "Oh, no, Doc. Wouldn't think of it. We're gonna brew a stew, remember?", only to make Elmer back away, forcing him to hide on top of his door: "Oh no! Pwease, Mr. Wabbit! Go away! Don't come any cwoser! D-Don't come near me! NOOOOOOOOO!". Bugs, thinking he has B.O., sniffs his glove and tells the audience "Oh, goodness! Don't tell me I offend." just as Elmer pleas Bugs to "Make twacks. Scuwwy away. SCWAM!" to which Bugs angrily replies as he leaves "OKAY! I CAN TAKE A HINT! I KNOW WHEN I'M NOT WANTED! GOODBYE!". But when Bugs returns, Elmer reminds him that Bugs has to "scwam", but Bugs points to a sign on the door that states "QUARANTINED FOR RABBITITUS (RABBITITIS). NO ONE MAY LEAVE PREMISES."

File:Hare Tonic.jpg

Bugs as "Dr. Killpatient", about to confuse Elmer again.

Thus Bugs stays to torment Elmer, and many hijinks ensue, including Bugs posing as Elmer's shower faucets {"Gurgle, gurgle. Why don't ya' pay ya' water bill, Doc?"} and a doctor ("Dr. Killpatient", parodying Dr. Kildare), and pretending to be Elmer's reflection in the mirror (a scene inspired by the famous mirror scene in the Marx Brothers' film, Duck Soup) and his own rabbity image reflected at him in a mirror that's really just Bugs after the glass has been removed. And when Dr. Killpatient (Bugs) tests Elmer's reflexes, Elmer goes into a familiar Russian kick dance, and Bugs decides to join him in a busby hat and boots; the subsequent heys are hilarious! Finally, Elmer sees Bugs' game and chases him out of the house with a shotgun. But Bugs quickly halts the chase and, in an unusually lengthy breaking of the fourth wall, even by Bugs' standards, he convinces Elmer that members of the audience are now afflicted with rabbititis by saying "Hey, wait a minute. Wait a minute. Look, the people out there in the audience - the lady there with the long ears. They're getting longer all the time. And the guy back there in the seventeenth row with the cute tomato - he's gettin' all fuzzy. Yeah, they've got it. Everybody out there's got rabbititis! Yaah!" which causes Elmer to flee back into his house in a terror of panic.

Bugs then addresses the audience and says the whole thing was "just a gag, of course" and that they don't have rabbititis, but if they do, they'd see swirling red and yellow spots, and then, they start swirling and swirling around, which the spots' swirling speed goes from slow to fast on the screen, and the underscore starts to build dramatically. Immediately after Bugs says to the audience, "And then suddenly, everything'd go black!", the screen does suddenly go black, and the music stops abruptly and dramatically, shortly in forte, followed by a second or two of dark silence. Bugs snickers as the cartoon ends.


"And dat's de end!"


  • This cartoon marks one of the few times Bugs addresses Elmer by name, albeit in the guise of "Dr. Killpatient", who addresses him as "Mr. Fudd". Despite their frequent cinematic encounters, many of their cartoons are played as if they had never met before.
  • This cartoon possibly has some scenes which are similar to The Cat in the Hat: the scene where Bugs Bunny forces Elmer to panickedly climb up to the top of his door is similar to the scene where The Cat in the Hat is putting Mr. Krinkelbein on top of a stack of bubbles, and the scene where Bugs Bunny comes back into the house is similar to the scene where The Cat in the Hat storms back in and accuses Mr. Krinkelbein of deliberately stealing his "moss-covered three-handled family gradunza."
  • Bugs impersonates Frankenstein's monster to chase Elmer.[1][2]


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This cartoon is found on Volume 3 of the Looney Tunes Golden Collection, and on Volume 1 of the Looney Tunes Platinum Collection.


  1. Picart, Smoot, Blodgett (2001), p. 148
  2. Glut (2002), p. 102
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