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“Be vewy vewy quiet; I'm hunting wabbits.”
―Elmer Fudd in various appearances
Elmer J. Fudd is a fictional cartoon character, one of the most famous Looney Tunes characters, and the tertiary archenemy of Bugs Bunny. He has one of the most disputed origins in the Warner Bros. cartoon pantheon (second only to Bugs himself). His aim is to hunt Bugs, but he usually ends up seriously injuring himself and/or other antagonizing characters. He speaks in an unusual way (rhotacism), replacing his Rs and Ls with Ws, so "Watch da road, Rabbit," is replaced with "Watch the woad, wabbit!" Elmer's signature catchphrase is, "Be vewy vewy quiet, I'm hunting wabbits", as well as his trademark gloat, "huh-uh-uh-uh-uh-uh-uh-uh." The best known Elmer J. Fudd cartoons include Chuck Jones' masterpiece What's Opera, Doc? (one of the few times Fudd bested Bugs, though he felt bad about it), the Rossini parody Rabbit of Seville, and the "Hunting Trilogy" of "Rabbit Season/Duck Season" shorts (Rabbit Fire, Rabbit Seasoning, and Duck! Rabbit, Duck!) with Fudd himself, Bugs Bunny, and Daffy Duck. He is also a billionaire, who lives in a mansion and owns a yacht.
In 1937, Fred Avery introduced a new character in his cartoon short Egghead Rides Again. Egghead initially was depicted as having a bulbous nose, funny/eccentric clothing and an egg-shaped head (thus the moniker "Egghead"). Many cartoon historians believe that Egghead evolved into Elmer over a period of a couple of years. However, animation historian Michael Barrier asserts "The Egghead-Elmer story is actually a little messy, my sense being that most of the people involved, whether they were making the films or publicizing them, not only had trouble telling the characters apart but had no idea why they should bother trying." Egghead made his second appearance in 1937's Little Red Walking Hood and then in 1938 teamed with Warner Bros.' newest cartoon star Daffy Duck in Daffy Duck & Egghead. In 1938, Egghead continued to make appearances in the Warner cartoons, including The Isle of Pingo Pongo, and A-Lad-In Bagdad. In A Feud There Was (1938) Egghead made his entrance riding a motorscooter with the words "Elmer Fudd, Peacemaker" displayed on the side, the first onscreen use of that name. Egghead shifts from having a Moe Howard haircut to being bald, and wears a brown derby, a baggy suit, and a high-collared shirt. Egghead himself returned decades later in the compilation film Daffy Duck's Quackbusters. More recently, he also made a cameo appearance at the end of Looney Tunes: Back in Action and was also given in his own story, which starred him alongside Pete Puma, in the Looney Tunes comic book. Egghead has the distinction of being the very first recurring character created for Leon Schlesinger's Merrie Melodies series.
Elmer's first official debut, however, was A Wild Hare in 1940. It is the first cartoon to feature Elmer in his usual hunting outfit and to feature Bugs Bunny. Shortly after this, they changed Elmer's appearance to look very chubby. After four cartoons and a short 2-minute film named Any Bonds Today?, however, he went back to his original design.
Fudd was originally voiced by radio actor Arthur Q. Bryan, but three times in Bryan's lifetime the voice was provided by the versatile Mel Blanc: in To Duck or Not to Duck, Blanc spoke as Fudd saying "that one", in The Scarlet Pumpernickel (1950), only a single line was needed, and bringing in Bryan was not cost effective, and in What's Opera, Doc?, Elmer's furious scream "SMOG!" was dubbed by Mel Blanc, although Bryan had voiced the rest of the part. Later, during the musician's union strike of 1958, another artist did the voice for Elmer's co-starring appearance in Pre-Hysterical Hare. There is no documented reason for Bryan's absence, leaving some fans to speculate that he refused to cross the picket lines.
In 1959, Bryan died aged 60, and Hal Smith was selected to replace him as Elmer, but after just two cartoons were recorded by the new actor, and another was made in which Fudd has no lines and therefore no voice, the character was soon retired. Although in more recent years other voice actors have alternated as Elmer's voice, Bryan's characterization remains the definitive one. He was never credited onscreen, because Blanc had a clause in his contract that required him to receive a screen credit and, perhaps inadvertently, denied the same to other voice performers.
Blanc would take on the role regularly in the 1970s and 1980s, supplying Elmer's voice for new footage in compilation feature films and similar TV specials, as well as some all-new specials. He admitted in his autobiography that he found the voice difficult to get "right", never quite making it his own. In Speechless, the famous lithograph issued following Blanc's death, Elmer is not shown among the characters bowing their heads in tribute to Blanc.
Other voice actors
Besides Arthur Q. Bryan, other actors have voiced Elmer:
Elmer would also appear frequently on the animated series Tiny Toon Adventures as a teacher at Acme Looniversity, where he was the idol and favorite teacher of Elmyra Duff, the slightly deranged animal lover who resembles Elmer in basic head design, name and lack of intellect. On the other hand, a younger version of him makes a single appearance in the episode Plucky's Dastardly Deed, and is named "Egghead Jr", the "smartest kid in class".
Elmer also had a guest starring appearance on Histeria! in the episode "The Teddy Roosevelt Show", in a sketch where he portrayed Gutzon Borglum. This sketch depicts Elmer/Gutzon's construction of Mount Rushmore, accompanied by Borglum's son Lincoln, portrayed by Loud Kiddington. Elmer made another appearance on Histeria!, this time in his traditional role, during a sketch where the bald eagle trades places with the turkey during Thanksgiving weekend, featured in the episode "Americana".
A four-year-old version of Elmer was featured in the Baby Looney Tunes episode "A Bully for Bugs", where he kept taking all of Bugs' candy, and also bullied the rest of his friends. He was also shown with short blond hair. He appeared in most of the songs.
An even more villainous Elmer appeared in two episodes of Duck Dodgers as The Mother Fudd, an alien who would spread a disease that caused all affected by it to stand around laughing like Elmer (a parody of the Flood in Halo and the Borg in Star Trek).
In Loonatics Unleashed, his descendant, Electro J. Fudd, tried to prove himself the universe's greatest hunter by capturing Ace Bunny, but settled for Danger Duck instead. Elmer himself also makes an appearance in the form of a photo which shows he presumably died at the hands of a giant squirrel.
Elmer Fudd appears in The Looney Tunes Show episode "Best Friends" voiced by Billy West, though only as part of the Merrie Melodies segment, and not part of the main plot. Portrayed as a wealthy businessman coming home after a hard day's work, he sings about his love of "gwiwwed cheese" sandwiches. He later had a brief cameo appearance in "Fish and Visitors" as a weather forecaster briefly exclaiming about the rainy weather and doing his famous chuckle at the end. In "Working Duck," Elmer Fudd appeared as a newsman where he reports that Daffy Duck was fired from his position as a security guard after falling asleep during a nighttime bank robbery where $10,000,000.00 were stolen. Later on, Elmer Fudd reports that EnormoCorp went out of business due to the worst business decision in the history of business caused by its CEO Daffy Duck (who succeeded the previous CEO Foghorn Leghorn who retired) where he went with the "Proceed as Planned" choice instead of the "Delay the Merger" choice when he mistook Pete Puma as the new muffin man. As a result of this, Elmer mentioned that 10,000 of it's workers are now out of a job and states that experts fear that the world economy could collapse. Elmer also states that disgraced CEO Daffy Duck could not be reached for a comment. In "A Christmas Carol," Elmer Fudd reports on Foghorn Leghorn's plans to end the heat wave on Christmas. Elmer Fudd later joins the other characters in the Christmas song called "Christmas Rules" at the end of the episode. In "Dear John," Elmer Fudd reports on Daffy Duck winning a spot on the city council. Elmer Fudd later reports on Daffy Duck's apparent death where he supposedly lost control of his parade float and drove into the St. Bastian River. In "The Black Widow," Elmer Fudd reports on the theft of the Hillhurst Diamond from the museum caused by someone called "The Black Widow."
Elmer appears as part of the TuneSquad team in Space Jam. In one part of the game he and Yosemite Sam shoot down the teeth of one of the Monstars dressed in black suites while Misirlou is heard in the background.
Elmer took on a more villainous role in Looney Tunes: Back in Action, in which he is a secret agent for the Acme Corporation. In his scene, Elmer chases Bugs and Daffy through the paintings in the Louvre museum, taking on the different art styles as they do so. At the end, Elmer forgets to change back to his normal style after jumping out of the pointillism painting Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte by Georges Seurat, allowing Bugs to easily disintegrate Elmer by blowing a fan at him.
According to the Looney Tunes fans, there are various songs where the lead singer vaguely sounds like Elmer including "Let's Dance" by David Bowie, "Sweating Bullets" by Megadeth, and "Someday" by Sugar Ray.
In 2000, Mark V. McCollum had recorded the song called "Kill The Wabbit" (which is apparently based on the Looney Tunes short "What's Opera, Doc?") and named Elmer being the lead singer as Ozzy Fudd. Live at the Comedy Tonight club in San Francisco 1992 (which is from the VHS tape), Mark is seen on the stage asking the audience "Speaking of dudes, what would it be like if Elmer Fudd had a punk sun? And his punk sun was into heavy metal and Ozzy Fudd had a hit video on MTV. Did you ever think what there would be like? I have." and performing the song as he portrays the voice impression of Elmer. While it is currently unknown whatever happened to Mark V. McCollum, the song is often credited to other bands such as Metallica and Megadeth.
Impact on Popular Culture
The search engine Google has been translated into many languages, some of them for sheer comedic purposes. One of the novelty languages is "Elmer Fudd."
Comedian and actor Robin Williams also performed a famous sketch where he sang the Bruce Springsteen song "Fire" as Elmer Fudd.
On the TV show The Big Bang Theory there is a recurring character named Barry Kripke, who talks like Elmer.
Conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh expressed dissatisfaction with Republican candidate Mitt Romney on a September 10, 2012, radio broadcast, by saying, "I know that Romney ticks you off. He might as well be Elmer Fudd as far as we're concerned. We're voting against Obama." This led to jokes about Limbaugh's apparent endorsement of Fudd as a replacement for Romney, as in one YouTube video, Limbaugh: Elmer Fudd replaces Romney.
In the Israeli Eductaional TV series Shuster and Shuster (Hebrew: שוסטר ושוסטר), the main antagonist, Gabriella Bushmitz (גבריאלה בושמיץ), talks like Elmer Fudd.
Theme Song | Fly Like an Eagle | The Winner | I Believe I Can Fly | Hit 'Em High (The Monstars' Anthem) | I Found My Smile Again | For You I Will | Upside Down ('Round-N-'Round) | Givin' U All That I've Got | Basketball Jones | I Turn to You | All of My Days | That's the Way (I Like It) | Buggin'