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Western Animation / Hiawatha's Rabbit Hunt

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"Hiawatha's Rabbit Hunt" is a 1941 Looney Tunes (actually Merrie Melodies) animated short (7 minutes) starring Bugs Bunny, directed by Friz Freleng.

Bugs is relaxing deep in the forest somewhere, reading The Song Of Hiawatha by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. He is startled when he gets to the part about Hiawatha hunting for rabbit. Sure enough, at that exact moment a Native American named Hiawatha comes sailing down the river in his canoe. Hiawatha looks like Elmer Fudd in Brownface but does not have Elmer's speech impediment, talking in a stereotypical "dumb guy" voice. He disembarks from his canoe and sets out to catch some rabbit. As usual, Bugs has to avoid winding up a hunter's dinner.

Although this cartoon is not one of the infamous Censored Eleven, it's rarely shown in latter days due to some pretty racist caricature of Native Americans.

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Tropes:

  • Art Shift: The three animators of this cartoon seemed to have contrasting styles for Bugs, the most jarring when Bugs has Hiawatha tied up and he does a war dance around him.
  • Big Ball of Violence: Hiawatha proclaims that he's going to tie Bugs up. Bugs laughs derisively, followed by a Big Ball of Violence fight. When the smoke clears, Hiawatha is tied up.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The character of Bugs Bunny was still pretty new and his appearance was in flux. Here he has a more ovoid-shaped head and longer ears than he would later on. He also talks with a stronger, more nasal Brooklyn accent.
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: Hiawatha is Elmer with the serial numbers filed off, and he is just as much an ineffectual bumbling goof.
  • Riding into the Sunset: Played with. The short appears to be ending with Hiawatha paddling away downriver into the setting sun, as Bugs quotes again from The Song of Hiawatha. Then suddenly Hiawatha zooms back to the riverbank, gives Bugs a big wet kiss, and then rapidly zips away.
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  • Stewed Alive: Hiawatha starts to boil Bugs in a pot. Bugs mistakes it for a hot bath.
  • Take That!: The whole cartoon is a parody of a 1937 Disney cartoon called "Little Hiawatha" that takes The Song of Hiawatha a bit more seriously.
  • Tempting Fate: Bugs luxuriates in his cleverness, saying "Imagine a jerk like that trying to catch a smart guy like me." This is followed immediately by Hiawatha showing up with a drawn bow-and-arrow pointed at Bugs's ear.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: After Hiawatha appears with a notched arrow pointing at Bugs's ear, Bugs hops a step away. Hiawatha hops in turn. Bugs hops, Hiawatha hops, until eventually Bugs gets Hiawatha to hop off a cliff. At no point does Hiawatha think about shooting Bugs and starting dinner.
  • You No Take Candle: Although Hiawatha doesn't talk this way, Bugs does when pretending to be a Native American, saying "He go that way."
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