#11 -- Show Biz Bugs

Title - Show Biz Bugs
Director - Friz Freleng
Released - 1957

Reason for Placement --

It's well known that of all the great pairings/rivalries in Looney Tunes history, none stick out so much like the classic combination of Bugs vs. Daffy. The pair worked so well together on the screen, it's no surprise that the two are still considered the mascots of Warner Bros. animation. Show Biz Bugs was a great short that really put the rivalry between the two characters into the spotlight and showed us just why Daffy hates the long-eared rabbit so much.

The toon starts with our main characters preparing to do a show together at a theatre. Daffy is determined to prove that he's the star of the show, but no matter what he does, he just can't get any respect (or applause for that matter) from the audience. This is the start of one of the longest gags in this pairing: all Bugs has to do is show up on stage, smile, and the audience goes nuts; Daffy pulls out all the stops in his singing and dancing, but all we hear are crickets. But this is what really fuels Daffy's jealousy: he's not just arrogant and competitive, he really wants to get his due on the stage, and we can all identify with that. It's not just about wanting to be on top... it's about wanting to be noticed in the first place.

Personally, I don't think I'll ever fully understand why Daffy never gets a hint of applause from the audience, but in reality, I don't really want to know. Part of the fun is knowing that no matter what Daffy does, no matter how hard he tries, he's always going to come in second place... that is, until the last gag in the show.

Daffy decides to whip out his biggest act, dresses in a devil costume, and literally drinks a number of flamable liquids, swallows a match, and EXPLODES! (And yes, this scene has been edited countless times for broadcast, Lord knows parents can't have their kids thinking it's cool to drink gasoline and nitro glycerin). Well, the act is a success and Daffy finally gets the applause he wanted so badly... it's too bad that he can only do the act once.

1 comment:

  1. Don't be surprised that the last part of Show Biz Bugs was edited (sometimes part of it was cut; other times, it was the whole ending -- read this Wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Show_Biz_Bugs#Censorship); the same thing happened to this late 1940s cartoon called "Curtain Razor" (where Porky is a talent agent searching for a new act). It's even directed by the same guy. I think Freleng had a thing for characters ingesting dangerous chemicals -- just like he had a thing for implying jokes with a few mere shots instead of showing them (cf. the beginning of "Bad Ol' Putty Tat"), parodying Westerns, parodying The Civil War (black slaves and all), and putting his name and/or face in his cartoons ("Putty Tat Trouble", all of the Yosemite Sam cartoons, and "Canary Row").

    And, if you're not busy, check out my cartoon blog, Saturday Morning Hangover (http://satamhangover.wordpress.com/). I haven't updated in a while, but it does have two interesting articles about cartoons that have been censored.