SUMMARY: A parody of the Fleischer Superman cartoons, starring Bugs as the superhero.
WHY IT’S HERE: Chuck Jones’s ‘Super Rabbit’ is an excellent parody of the Fleischer Brothers ‘Superman’ cartoons, starring Bugs Bunny in the title role. Starting with an incisive comic recreation of the Fleischer opening sequences, ‘Super Rabbit’ quickly shows us the origins of Bugs’s super powers before segueing into an extended battle in the Texas desert with the Yosemite Sam prototype, Cottontail Smith (via a wacky Clampett-esque gag involving a horse walking in the sky). The early parts of the cartoon are good but once the main plot kicks in, ‘Super Rabbit’ goes from great to classic. Particularly exceptional is a basketball game with a cannonball in which Bugs manages to dupe his enemies into actually cheering for him. ‘Super Rabbit’ is as gorgeous to look at as it is funny and, while I was disappointed with the patriotic ending as a child (I didn’t really get it), I now find it a fascinating climax which gives us a glimpse at the mentality of cinema goers during World War 2. It’s even more interesting to note that the US Marines were so flattered by Bugs deeming them as the greatest superheroes of all that they officially made him a US marine. It’s perhaps the most telling example of just how important these cartoons were in keeping up morale during wartime and how seriously this issue was taken. It’s a historically significant climax to a classic early Bugs Bunny short which has been one of my favourite of the rabbit’s films since I was very young.