‘Hare Brained Hypnoist’ (1942)

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Cap­sule Descrip­tion: Bugs Bun­ny’s eter­nal neme­sis, hunter Elmer Fudd, tries a new tac­tic this time: hyp­no­sis. Using a book on hyp­no­sis, he first hyp­no­tizes a bear then tries to hyp­no­tize Bugs, only to be hyp­no­tized in return. Bugs turns the tables on him by com­mand­ing him to be a rab­bit, but, when turn­ing the tables, Bugs dis­cov­ers that the tables can be turned in both directions.

Descrip­tion: Armed with a book on hyp­no­sis, Elmer Fudd first encoun­ters and hyp­no­tized a bear into becom­ing a canary, then chas­es Bugs, try­ing to hyp­no­tize him. Final­ly, Bugs relents, or seems to, and as Elmer tries to hyp­no­tize him (light­ning bolts from their eyes com­bined with crack­ling sounds) Bugs turns the tables and hyp­no­tizes Elmer. That’s where things start to go wrong for Bugs. Bugs com­mands Elmer to be a rab­bit, and Elmer pro­ceeds to pull every fun­ny stunt and gag Bugs ever pulled on him. Final­ly, Bugs has enough and has a hyp­not­ic stare­down in his rab­bit hole. Elmer emerges, ter­ri­fied, and runs off. Bugs then emerges, gloat­ing over the fact that Elmer thought he could hyp­no­tize Bugs, but then sud­den­ly looks at his watch and leaps into the air, claim­ing he’s a B‑19 due at the air­port. So what was that about Elmer not being able to hyp­no­tize him?

Com­men­tary: It is a car­di­nal rule in car­toons: you can get away with any­thing as long as its fun­ny. (Para­phrased from “Who Framed Roger Rab­bit?”.) The reverse is also true: you can nev­er suc­ceed at any­thing if its not fun­ny. Elmer is always the straight man in these car­toons and nev­er gets to do any­thing fun­ny, so he’s always, ulti­mate­ly a fail­ure, where­as Bugs gets all of the laughs, so he always suc­ceeds. But this time, the tables are turned and their roles are reversed: Elmer is doing to Bugs every­thing Bugs would do to him, and its fun­ny and it dri­ves Bugs crazy.

Rec­om­men­da­tion: Rec­om­mend­ed if only for how sil­ly the car­toon stereo­typ­ing is here, but its also rec­om­mend­ed just to see Bugs get a taste of his own med­i­cine for once.



  • Bugs mut­ters “Heh, Drac­u­la?” as Elmer tries to hyp­no­tize him.

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