All This and Rabbit Stew (Merrie Melodies)

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All This and Rabbit Stew (Merrie Melodies)
All this and rbbit stew title card.jpg
...and also this racist cartoon.
Episode Number: 340
Air Date: September 13, 1941
Writer: Dave Monahan
Director: Fred Avery (Uncredited)
Previous episode: "Snowtime for Comedy"
Next episode: "Notes to You"


All This and Rabbit Stew is a 1941 Warner Brothers cartoon starring Bugs Bunny and was one of the final Warner Brothers cartoons directed by Tex Avery. This cartoon is part of The Censored Eleven. In it, Bugs Bunny is pitted against an offensive African-American hunter.

Why It Should Get Hunted

  1. Instead of getting pitted against Elmer Fudd, Bugs Bunny is pitted against an African American hunter who is a full-blown stereotype: large lips not unlike these of blackface actors, ragged clothes, being a doofus that has no wit whatsoever, moves and talks very slowly, and of course speaking in a "negro" accent.
  2. Poor and idiotic writing from Dave Monahan.
  3. The African-American hunter isn’t very enjoyable due to how slow and stupid he is. While Bugs has dealt with dumb antagonists before and after this cartoon such as Elmer Fudd, Beaky Buzzard, Yosemite Sam and Willoughby the Dog for examples, however, they're more enjoyable to watch than this Black hunter character.
  4. Slow pacing when compared to Avery's other shorts, especially during the dice game sequence near the ending.
  5. While the ending is very funny, here's an unfunny scene with Bugs takes a fig-leaf that covers the hunter after already winning practically everything the hunter had, leaving the unfortunate fellow naked (albeit off-screen in order to comply with the Hays Code).
  6. This cartoon was not a good way to end Tex Avery's career with Bugs Bunny.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. Bugs Bunny is still a lovable character, as the Warner Bros. icon.
  2. As usual, good voice acting by Mel Blanc and Danny Webb.
  3. Some funny moments such as a skunk on the plunger, the log-over-the-cliff scene (which includes a brief "SUCKER" moment gag) which is repeated in many later Bugs Bunny cartoons such as "The Big Snooze", "Foxy by Proxy" and "Person to Bunny", as well as Bugs doing a wild double-take when the angry Black hunter confronts him.
    • While the ending gag is offensive, it is pretty clever as well, due to idea of Bugs grabbing something (in this case, a fig leaf covering the Black hunter's naked crotch) over the iris-out.
  4. Very excellent animation that will reflect the animation of Avery's career at MGM for its time as well as good music by Carl Stalling.
  5. If you take out everything that makes this short racist (e.g. replace the Black hunter with Elmer Fudd or some other non-racist substitute), it's actually a decent Bugs Bunny cartoon.

Reception

This was one of the many Warner Brothers cartoons, as well as the only Bugs Bunny cartoon, to be included in the Censored Eleven due to how African Americans are portrayed.

Despite this, it received a 6.2/10 on IMDb (along with "Goldilocks and the Jivin' Bears"; which is widely considered to be one of the more passable cartoons of the notorious Censored Eleven).

Trivia

  • Ironically, the animation of the hunter realizing there's no ground after running out of a log is reused in the Bugs Bunny/Elmer Fudd cartoon "The Big Snooze" with Elmer redrawn over the hunter, which is also the last cartoon directed by Bob Clampett.
  • This was Tex Avery's final Looney Tunes cartoon to be released, but not the last to be produced; the last one produced was "The Heckling Hare", which is what caused him to leave the Warner Bros. cartoon studios (he and Leon Schlesinger got into a fight over that cartoon's ending).
  • Do be aware that, however, much as the cartoon is seen as racist humor nowadays, jokes about and mockery of black people were much more acceptable back in the 1930s and 1940s, so this is more a case of outdated social positions rather than any intentional racism.

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