Director: Chuck Jones
Release Date: 
August 11, 1945
 Bugs Bunny

Hare Conditioned © Warner BrothersIn ‘Hare Conditioned’ Bugs Bunny is working in a display at a department store. But the manager has other plans with him and wants our hero stuffed.

‘Hare Conditioned’ is full of director Chuck Jones’ typical sophisticated humor and extreme posing. For example, at the beginning of the chase scene we can see the manager looking for Bugs in three places. His move from one place to another is done in smears only one frame long, leading to extremely fast takes between the poses. Also, the final chase, involving elevators and stairs, is wonderfully timed. One of the short’s best gags, however, is set to a slower pace, and involves Bugs cross-dressing as a female customer and the manager courting him/her by tickling his/her feet.

Unfortunately, the cartoon ends abruptly with a rather trite ending: when the manager has Bugs Bunny cornered on the roof, Bugs convinces his adversary there’s a monster behind him, with himself posing as the monster, making the manager jump off the roof. But then he looks into the mirror himself…

‘Hare Conditioned’ is one of the great entries in the Bugs Bunny canon. The short clearly establishes Jones’s concept of the rabbit, as the director stated in his book ‘Chuck Amuck’:

“Golden Rule. Bugs must always be provoked. In every film, someone must have designs upon his person: gastronomic, as a trophy, as a good-luck piece (…..), as an unwilling participant in a scientific experiment (laboratory rabbit or outer-space creature). Without such threats Bugs is far too capable a rabbit to evoke the necessary sympathy”.

Indeed, Bugs only comes into action in this cartoon when threatened by death. First he tries to flee his foe, but when this proves impossible he takes control of the situation himself. Only then he does serious harm to his opponent. Nevertheless, Bugs remains calm throughout the cartoon.

Jones kept to his golden rule in the rest of his cartoons, giving Bugs other large or powerful adversaries like a giant red monster in ‘Hair-Rasing Hare’ (1946), a large boxer in ‘Rabbit Punch‘ (1948), or a Martian, capable of blowing up the earth, in ‘Haredevil Hare‘ (1948).

Watch ‘Hare Conditioned’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Bugs Bunny cartoon No. 33
To the previous Bugs Bunny cartoon: Hare Trigger
To the next Bugs Bunny cartoon: Hare Tonic

‘Hare Conditioned’ is available on the DVD-set ‘Looney Tunes Golden Collection Volume Two’