Show Biz Bugs is a 1956 Warner Brothers cartoon. It is billed as a Looney Tunes cartoon and stars Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck as its main characters. Show Biz Bugs is notable for portraying the modern interpretation of Daffy in a more sympathetic light: In this film, Daffy is a jealous and arrogant competitor to Bugs, but his shabby treatment by the theater management and audience is depicted as being unfairly out of proportion to the genuine talent he possesses.
The basic setting and conflicts of this film were reprised for the linking footage for The Bugs Bunny Show television series.
Arriving at the theater where he and Bugs are appearing, Daffy is furious to discover that the rabbit's name on the marquee is above his in much larger letters. Rebuffed by the unseen manager's claim that he gives his performers billing "according to drawing power", Daffy is determined to prove that he's the star of the show.
That evening, Bugs and Daffy are performing an on-stage number to Tea for Two. Daffy, tired of Bugs hogging up all the cheering and applause (especially after the reception Bugs gets for his Shave and a Haircut bit) even though Daffy himself is genuinely talented, decides to try numerous numbers on his own in order to impress the audience. He begins on the spot with a backbreaking time step to Jeepers Creepers. Then Daffy did a trained pigeon act. He sets up various pigeon-sized acrobatic equipment and releases the pigeons from a box, but the pigeons fly out the window. Daffy tap danced his way off the stage and peeked out, only to get hit with a tomato. Bugs then does a sawing in half trick and Daffy is the volunteer. Daffy says that the thing is a fake. As Bugs saws him in half, the audience applauds. Daffy yells "Don't applaud him! Look! I'm not cut in half! Stop applauding! It's a fake!" When he lifts his torso, it is revealed that Bugs did saw him in half! Daffy says to the audience "Good thing I got Blue Cross." Next, Daffy tried sabotage Bugs' own act, playing the xylophone by sticking TNT in it, which he fails to do. Finally after Bugs did a juggling act and in order to impress the audience, Daffy performs a deadly stunt (which he refers as "An act that no other performer has dared to execute!"), by drinking gasoline, nitroglycerin, gunpowder, and uranium 238. ("shake well,") Swallows a lit match ("Girls, you better hold onto your boyfriends!"), causing him to explode. The audience loves the performance, but Daffy, is now a transparent ghost and is ascending to heaven. ("I can only do it once.")
The scene at the end of this cartoon where Daffy performs his final act by drinking dangerous chemicals is almost always edited on TV, but in different ways:
- The CBS version in the 1970s and 1980s, the WB version, and the BBC version of the cartoon ends with a fake fade-out on the shot of Daffy black and smoldering after getting frustrated by Bugs missing the final note on the booby-trapped xylophone.
- The BBC version also adds applause after the exploding xylophone gag just before the cartoon ends. On "The Looney, Looney, Looney Bugs Bunny Movie" version, the sound of scant audience laughter was added after the xylophone explosion gag.
- Cartoon Network used to air the original ending, but edited it by removing Daffy drinking the gasoline and replace it with a frozen shot of Bugs off-stage. Starting in 2003, CN has used the BBC and WB version of the ending.
- The syndicated Merrie Melodies version, several local station airings, and the version that aired on ABC's "Bugs Bunny and Tweety Show" left in the ending, but cut Daffy drinking the gasoline, so that way it looks as if he drinks the nitroglycerin first. This is also how the short is shown on the The Looney Looney Looney Bugs Bunny Movie.
- Nickelodeon's version aired this cartoon with the original ending, but cut the part where Daffy strikes the match, asides to the audience "Girls, you better hold on to your boyfriends," and swallows the match (making it seem as if he exploded from "shaking well" after swallowing the uranium 238).
- When The Looney Looney Looney Bugs Bunny Movie (which includes clips from this cartoon as the climax) aired on The Disney Channel, Daffy's death defying act was edited so severely that the only scenes left were Daffy holding the bottle of nitroglycerin and the explosion from after the match swallowing (making it seem as if Daffy's holding the nitroglycerin caused the explosion).
Previous Film References
The xylophone gag was previously used in the Private Snafu short Booby Traps and the Bugs/Yosemite Sam short Ballot Box Bunny (and later in Rushing Roulette), only in both cases the instrument used was a piano. The song used in each case, as in Show Biz Bugs, is Believe Me, if All Those Endearing Young Charms.
Two of the acts have been used in an earlier Porky Pig cartoon called Curtain Razor. One saw a man named Crawford Coo do a pigeon act, but the birds flew out of the window. It was later used in Unnatural History. And the last one saw a fox do the same act Daffy does attempting to show Porky he is a star, and, much like "Show Biz Bugs", the final act in Curtain Razor has been censored on Cartoon Network to remove him ingesting gasoline (the syndicated version of The Merrie Melodies show also cuts the gasoline-drinking and edits it even further by cutting out the fox swallowing a match).
- Show Biz Bugs is available (uncensored and uncut) on Looney Tunes Golden Collection: Volume 2, Disc 4.