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Western Animation / Ballot Box Bunny

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And the race is on!

"Ballot Box Bunny" is a 1951 Looney Tunes cartoon directed by Friz Freleng and starring Bugs Bunny.

In the short, Bugs throws himself into the race for small-town mayor after hearing that candidate Yosemite Sam's campaign platform includes a promise to wipe out every last rabbit. An escalating dirty-trick campaign ensues (including a cigar swap), along with hilarity.

"Ballot Box Bunny" provides examples of:

  • Action Politician: Sam might be a big jerk, but he sure is a man of action.
  • Ant Assault: Sam unleashes intelligent ants to ruin the picnic organized by Bugs. They don't attack people per se, they merely steal food (they're somehow strong enough to do it). Bug counter-attacks by putting dynamite in the watermelon that's being carried away by an ant. It then goes boom on Sam.
  • Ash Face: Exaggerated. After the Explosive Cigar goes off, a man's whole head seemingly turns to ash, which then blows away. Fortunately, his real head was hidden under his coat. Unfortunately for Sam, the guy believes he did the prank and Sam gets Blown Across the Room with a punch.
  • Bowdlerise: The ending gag, in which Bugs and Sam play Russian Roulette after they both lose the mayoral race to an actual "dark horse mare", was deleted for many years on American TV airings regardless of channel (it has been edited on ABC, CBS, WB, FOX, Nickelodeon, even Cartoon Network and Boomerang), with a fake iris-out after Bugs says: "Dark horse?" and Sam says: "Mare?" (Mayor). Since 2011, Cartoon Network has aired the cartoon uncut and uncensored. One local station left the first part of the ending scene intact, but edited the short by ending it just as Bugs puts the gun to his head and the cartoon irises out, deleting the scene of Bugs missing and shooting Yosemite Sam instead. Because of the darker implications of this edit (that Bugs committed suicide, rather than having blasted Yosemite Sam), this edited version has only aired once.
    • On Nickelodeon, in addition to the above main edit, the part in which Bugs plays his "juteybox" (read: Bugs' marching one-man band) and Sam shoots him is altered so that way, Bugs' marching is played in a loop and Sam is merely heard saying, "Shut off that juteybox! I can't hear myself a-speechin'," followed by a cut to Sam saying: "Now, where was I?", making it seem that Bugs merely stopped because Sam told him to rather than be forced to do it by use of firearms.
  • Carry a Big Stick: During a campaign speech, Bugs does an impression of Theodore Roosevelt, quoting his saying about speaking softly and carrying a big stick. Sam retorts that he speaks loudly and carries a bigger stick — which he then hits Bugs with.
  • Dark Horse Victory: In the end, Sam and Bugs both lose to a previously-unseen third candidate, who is literally a dark horse, and is declared the town's "new Mare".
  • Driven to Suicide: "Well, anyone for Russian Roulette?"
  • Election Day Episode: One of the central tropes of this feature.
  • Escalating War: Another central trope of this feature.
  • Explosive Cigar: When Sam decides to hand out cigars to prospective voters, Bugs swaps out his brand (Smello) for the exploding variety (Atom). One prospective voter finds this out the painful way, much to Sam's chagrin.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: The poster in Bugs' headquarters during Sam's attempt to kill Bugs with a cannon reads "Vote for Bugs: Loyal. Lovable. Literate."
  • Goo Goo Getup: When Sam shows his appeal to the common voter by kissing babies, Bugs disguises himself as a baby, and when Sam kisses him, Bugs cries that Sam bit him on the nose, prompting all the women present to beat Sam up.
  • Handbag of Hurt: Sam gets a dose of this from some angry mothers.
  • Hat Damage: The man that fell prey to the Exploding Cigar.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • Sam sets a trap for Bugs using a cannon at his front door, only for Bugs to fool him into opening it.
    • Bugs purposefully avoids playing that one note that would trigger the explosives in the piano, only for Sam to get annoyed and replace him to play the full melody. With predictable results.
  • It's Like I Always Say:
    Sam: No one will vote for a flattened-out rabbit skin, I always say.
  • Large Ham: Sam, as per usual.
  • No Indoor Voice: Sam again.
  • Noodle Incident: Whatever fun that Sam and his lady-friend Emma got up to in St. Louis.
    Sam: Same ol' Emma! Fulla laughs!
  • Parasol of Pain: Again, Sam and the crowd of angry mothers.
  • Politicians Kiss Babies: Sam attempts this as a campaign tactic, with little apparent success even before Bugs disguises himself as a baby, kisses him, then cries that "the bad man bit my widdle nose!", leading all the women present to start to hitting Sam over the head with their handbags and umbrellas.
  • Reduced to Dust: What seems to happen to the head of the man Sam gives the exploding cigar to. Of course, since it's Looney Tunes, he's relatively okay moments later. Sam, however...
  • Sausage String Silliness: When Bugs throws a picnic for the voters, Sam releases ants than run off with the food. One group carry off a string of sausages, treating it like a mule train.
  • Shout-Out: When Bugs kisses Sam disguised as a baby, he says, "He bit my widdow nose! He bit my widdow nose! Da bad man bit my widdow nose!"
  • Sleazy Politician: Sam is willing to use any trick in the book to beat defeat Bugs, no matter how violent and underhanded. And to be honest, Bugs is only a step or two behind him.
  • Spit Take: Bugs' reaction to Sam's initial campaign speech.
  • Strong Ants: The ants carrying off whole items of picnic food — especially the one ant who carries an entire watermelon by itself.
  • Tap on the Head: This particular short is remarkable in that it features one of the rare occasions where Bugs receives one from one of his usual Butt-Monkey antagonists. Specifically, during which Sam takes out his bigger stick and whacks Bugs over the head with it.
  • This Means War!: Bugs decides to take on Sam and run for mayor himself when he overhears Sam vowing to exterminate all rabbits in the country as one of his campaign promises.
    "Say, this calls for stragety! I'll fight fire with fire!"
  • Visual Pun: The actual winner of the election is literally a dark horse, and a mare who won the race for mayor.
  • Xylophone Gag: Sam tries it on Bugs with a rigged piano, and gets the usual outcome.


Video Example(s):


Ballot Box Bunny

The second cartoon to use this gag--Yosemite Sam rigs a piano with explosives for Bugs to play. When Bugs deliberately plays the wrong note twice, Sam then tries to correct his errors by playing the song correctly himself, only to have his plan literally blow up in his face.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (12 votes)

Example of:

Main / XylophoneGag

Media sources: