Wednesday, December 5, 2007

(Western Week Part III) goes Warner Brothers

With the rootinest, tootinest, shootinest character, "north, south, east, aaaaand west of the Pecos", Bugs Bunny's frequent nemesis - - - YOSEMITE SAM!

Introduced by animator Friz Freleng in the 1945 cartoon Hare Trigger, the fiery haired, height-impaired western rapscallion was somewhat of an animated alter-ego for Freleng, but the character is best remembered for the "large" voice of Mel Blanc.

Always extremely violent and belligerent, the hot-tempered cowboy doesn't prove much brighter than Elmer Fudd in his encounters with Bugs. For all his bluff and bluster, Sam stands in direct contrast to Freleng's calmly cocksure rabbit. Sam is significantly tougher and more aggressive than mild-mannered Elmer Fudd when challenging Bugs. He is also quicker to learn from his mistakes, and never falls for the same ploy twice. However it is Sam's own cockiness that always gets the best of him; Bugs learns to deal with Sam upon learning that he is incapable of turning down a challenge. Every time Bugs dares Sam to "step across that line," Sam simply can't help but do so, even if he steps off into empty space or down a mine shaft.

Another chief foil of Sam's humor is the ludicrous lengths he'll go to just to "get even" -- often with disastrous results to himself and his surroundings.

Here is a list of some of Yosemite Sam's classic Looney Tunes appearances: Bugs Bunny Rides Again, 14 Carrot Rabbit, Sahara Hare, Big House Bunny, Buccaneer Bunny, Mutiny on the Bunny, Bunker Hill Bunny and variations on the character also popped up in other Warners shorts.

Of course, the Looney Tunes gang, including Yosemite Sam, have also appeared in comic book form continuously for decades.

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