A 1951 Looney Tunes short directed by Chuck Jones, featuring another attempt by Elmer Fudd to hunt Bugs Bunny, only with a new twist: this one also features Daffy Duck, and he and Bugs each spend the entire picture trying to get Elmer to shoot the other.
This short was very popular, featuring the famous "Duck season!", "Wabbit season!" scene, and establishing the rivalry between Bugs and Daffy. This was the first time that the two of them appeared in a short together, and audiences immediately loved their chemistry. It was the first in a trilogy of Bugs-Daffy-Elmer cartoons known as the "hunting trilogy," the others being Rabbit Seasoning (1952) and Duck! Rabbit! Duck! (1953). The duo proved so successful as a team that later cartoons, shows, and movies all paired these two up in one way or another. It's also the point where Daffy's persona changed from the screwball prankster, whose wacky-yet-clever behavior made him as formidable a foe for hunter-types as Bugs, to the often-greedy, selfish, bitterly sarcastic and jealous Daffy that's better known in modern times (in order to make Daffy a better foil for Bugs, rather than simply have two alpha personalities bounce off of one another).
Tropes Used In This Short Include:
- Amusing Injuries: Getting shot in the face has never been funnier.
- Aside Glance: Easy to miss, but Bugs does one - complete with eyebrow wiggle - just before pulling the switch on Daffy in the Duck Season, Rabbit Season argument.
- Ass in a Lion Skin: Bugs pretends to be a duck; Daffy pretends to be a rabbit and a dog.
- Attractive Bent-Gender: Elmer falls for one of Bugs' female disguises again.
- Bowdlerise: These cartoons were shown edited on many network TV channels (and one cable channel), all for the same gag: Daffy getting shot in the face by Elmer.
"The ABC, 'Merrie Melodies Show', and Nickelodeon cuts you can tolerate. The CBS and WB versions aren't recommended for theatrical cartoon lovers with short tempers...Without it [the edited scenes], they [the cartoons] just lie there, like an unsatisfied wife waiting for her husband to finish penetrating her when really he's just humping a blanket fold."
- Versions of these cartoons shown on ABC and "The Merrie Melodies Show" (the syndicated '90s version) would cut to a freeze-framed shot of Bugs looking off-camera while the audio of Daffy getting shot was still heard.
- CBS and the now-defunct WB, however, chose not to give viewers the satisfaction of using their imaginations and edited both audio and visual of Daffy getting blasted. In both cases, Elmer levels his gun at Daffy, and then it abruptly cuts to the duck already shot.
- Nickelodeon (the one cable channel mentioned above) actually left "Rabbit Seasoning" and "Duck! Rabbit! Duck!" intact in the editing department, but "Rabbit Fire" wasn't so lucky. In this case, the famous "no more bullets" part (where Daffy looks down the barrel of Elmer's rifle and gets shot through his scalp) was cut.
- To quote the blog, Saturday Morning Hangover on how editing the gun violence affects the cartoons:
- Averted with the Turner network (TBS, TNT, Cartoon Network, and Boomerang) airings and home video/DVD releases, which have the gun violence intact.
- Bullying the Dragon: Daffy Duck, who up until this point had been the franchise's perennial Screwy Squirrel, finally meets his match when he attempts to scapegoat Bugs.
- Duck Season, Rabbit Season: The argument in this short is the Trope Namer.
- Elmuh Fudd Syndwome: The Trope Namer himself appears.
- Enemy Mine: Bugs and Daffy start working together towards the end.
- Eyebrow Waggle: Bugs gives a very subtle one to the audience during the Duck Season, Rabbit Season bit, hinting that he's about to switch it around.
- Hollywood Healing: Though Daffy hardly seems injured by his shotgun blasts to the face anyway, all it seems to do is misplace his beak.
- The Hunter Becomes the Hunted: At the end of the short, as Bugs and Daffy continue to pull away posters saying "Rabbit Season" and "Duck Season" alternately, each trying to convince Elmer to shoot the other, they finally reach the final poster, which reads "Elmer Season". In the next shot we see Bugs and Daffy dressed as hunters, carrying rifles and "hunting for Elmers".
- Irony: Elmer is a vegetarian who hunts for the fun of it.
- Juggling Loaded Guns: Turns out there was One Buwwet Weft.
- Karmic Trickster: As expected. Yes, Bugs puts Daffy through the wringer, but Daffy started it with the fake rabbit tracks. Then Elmer insists on shooting both of them, and it doesn't end well for him either.
- Misplaced Wildlife: What's an elephant doing in the North American woods? Rule of Funny.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: The elephant's voice is based on comedian Joe Besser (best known today as one of The Three Stooges), and his one line includes one of Besser's catchphrases. ("You do and I'll give you such a pinch!")
- Oh, Crap!: The look on Elmer's face when he realises that Bugs and Daffy have found a poster proclaiming it to be Elmer Season, and are giving him very evil grins indeed.
- One Bullet Left: Formerly the Trope Namer.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: Daffy as a hunting dog, which entails fake doggie ears and a plunger for a tail. Also, Bugs and Daffy disguising themselves as each other. And they all work!
- Point That Somewhere Else: Bugs and Daffy move Elmer's rifle back and forth between the two of them during the Rabbit Season Duck Season routine.
- Pun-Based Title : Like so many shorts involving Bugs, this one is a pun on 'Rapid Fire'.
- Take a Third Option: The ending, with Elmer Season.
- Too Dumb to Live: "I say it's duck season. And I say fire!" He does this several times.
- Wholesome Crossdresser: Take a wild guess.