You’d think I knew
“The way I run this thing you’d think I knew something about it.” — Bugs Bunny
Bugs Bunny is 75 years old today! No puns about gray hares, just heartfelt celebration for the laughs he has given us all these years. Bugs had some very similar cartoon cousins who came before him, but the general consensus is that the Bugs we know and love made his debut in the animated film A Wild Hare, released on this day in 1940. (That is, the film was released on this day, not the rabbit.)
Bugs Bunny is, hands down, my favorite cartoon character of all time. For as long as I can remember, I have admired his casual confidence and ability to be unfazed by any situation. He’s a lovable smart aleck whose wisecracks manage to be congenial rather than combative. His irrepressible personality must appeal to a lot of other people, too, because he’s the 9th most portrayed film personality in the world, according to Warner Brothers.
He’s even a veteran of World War II, having been named an honorary Master Sergeant in the Marine Corps, and the official mascot of Kingman Army Air Field in Arizona, where Clark Gable and Charles Bronson were among the trainees. Bugs showed up as a mascot for a number of other military squadrons, decorating the noses of aircraft. Though his personality is relaxed, good-natured and mostly passive, his ability to outwit Elmer Fudd (or anyone else who had it in for him) sends a clear message: don’t mess with me, or your aggression will backfire.
Bugs moves through his world with a detached curiosity, inquisitive without ever being drawn in by any attempts to sabotage him. But he doesn’t take himself too seriously, and when he’s wryly amused at the foolishness of others, he cuts his eyes towards us with a conspiratorial expression that tells us he knows we are in on the joke.
Bugs is still going strong at 75, which should be an encouragement to those of us who are getting closer to that milestone. He is an amusing illustration of the truth behind the old saying that those who laugh, last.