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Lighter Than Hare is a 1960 Merrie Melodies short written and directed by Friz Freleng.

Title

The title is a play on the phrase "lighter than air."

Plot

A flying saucer descends near Highway 17, and lands next to the city dump, as Bugs Bunny returns to his home there. Inside the spaceship, Yosemite Sam of Outer Space, dressed in a green spacesuit, sees Bugs on his radar and orders Robot ZX29B to go capture Bugs and bring him back to the ship. ZX29B trundles out of the spaceship and peers down Bugs' hole. Bugs is cleaning up from breakfast and gets the feeling he's being watched. ZX29B scurries away and hides among the garbage cans when Bugs exits his hole to empty his trash in the garbage cans. Bugs thinks ZX29B's a new garbage can and dumps his trash in the robot. When Bugs goes back to his hole, ZX29B coughs out the garbage.

Sam says he shouldn't have sent ZX29B since he is the "most stupidest" he has, then summons the Demolition Squad, a trio of red robots, to destroy Bugs. These robots carry lit bombs and drop them down the vent pipe to Bugs' shelter. Bugs tosses in a giant magnet, which attracts the robots into the pipe. The bombs explode and blow the Demolition Squad to smithereens, and a Medical Robot comes to sweep up the mess.

Sam decides to go after Bugs himself in an indestructible tank. As Sam crosses the dump, Bugs drives above him in a high-clearance tractor and drops a lit stick of dynamite into the tank. Sam tosses it out, but Bugs drops it back in and rivets the hatch shut. Just as Sam is hammering out the last rivet, the dynamite explodes, then Sam drives his crippled tank back to his ship.

Bugs decides to make his getaway by taking a handcar from the Flag Station. As he pumps away, Sam gives chase in the spaceship. The spaceship lowers a ladder and Sam climbs down, but Bugs' handcar goes through a tunnel and Sam slams into the rock face. The spaceship picks him up with a plunger and pulls him back in.

Sam flies up to Bugs by jetpack. Bugs escapes by spinning his ears like the blades on a helicopter and flying away and down a nearby hole. As Sam waits for the rabbit to resurface, Bugs comes up in a hollow tree behind him and replaces his jetpack with a lit stick of dynamite. Bugs flies away as the dynamite explodes and destroys Sam's spacesuit.

Sam returns with his Robot Ferret, but Bugs builds a Robot Rabbit out of old war surplus stuff. Sam sends the Robot Ferret down Bugs's hole. It meets the Robot Rabbit, thinks it's Bugs, and demands it return with him. The Robot Rabbit agrees to go with it, provided that the Ferret doesn't press the button on his stomach. The Robot Ferret ignores this command and presses the button anyway, releasing a hammer that smashes the Ferret to pieces.

Bugs builds another robot, sets a time bomb in its belly, and dresses it in a rabbit costume. Sam aims a huge ray gun at Bugs' hole, and Bugs sends out the new robot. It walks into the flying saucer and Sam flies away with it. Later, Bugs tunes his radio and hears Sam presenting the Robot Rabbit to his Potentate. The Potentate orders the Robot Decoy to come forward and speak, then the time bomb explodes. Laughing, Bugs changes the station, wondering if Amos and Andy is on yet.

Trivia

  • This is Friz Freleng's first science fiction cartoon, and the first time Yosemite Sam is a spaceman.
  • This cartoon was released to theaters just one month after Amos and Andy was cancelled on the radio. Friz Freleng chose this gag instead of having Bugs watch a television and decide to switch over to I Love Lucy after watching the Robot Decoy's demise.

Censorship

  • The CBS version of this cartoon cuts the part where Bugs replaces Yosemite Sam's rocket pack with a stick of dynamite ("Yosemite Sam from outer [boom!] space?!")
  • The FOX and WB airings of this cartoon cut out the very end where after Bugs listens to the radio broadcast of Yosemite Sam and his planet getting blown up, fiddles with the radio dial and says, "I wonder if Amos and Andy is on yet", instead irising out after the blow-up of the robot Bugs. The reason for the cut was most likely because the censors knew that Amos 'n Andy featured stereotypically black characters in it, similar to why "I've Got to Sing a Torch Song" had a broadcast of Amos 'n Andy redubbed with music on Nickelodeon.

Gallery

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Warner Bros. Entertainment Wiki has a collection of images and media related to Lighter Than Hare.

External links

Preceded by
From Hare to Heir
Bugs Bunny Cartoons
1940-1964
Succeeded by
The Abominable Snow Rabbit
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