(RNN) - When going through Albuquerque, always make a left turn.
Bugs Bunny taught the world this simple geographic anomaly. If you don't turn left in "Albukoikee" you will end up literally anywhere. Apparently, the underground system of tunnels Bugs used in his travels is not as navigable as the Interstate Highway System and Albuquerque serves as a sort of Grand Central Station for the world.
Missing that turn can send you to Antarctica, Canada, the Sahara Desert or the 1700s. Bugs even once ended up in Medieval England while trying to get to the Georgia Peanut Festival, though he mistook it for Pittsburgh.
An early version of Bugs Bunny - one almost virtually unrecognizable - appeared April 30, 1938, in Porky's Hare Hunt where he was named "Happy Rabbit." Aside from saying one of his famous catchphrases - "Course you know that this means war" - there are few similarities between the character and what Bugs Bunny would eventually become. Bugs' name comes from Ben Hardaway, whose nickname was "Bugs" and conceived the rabbit character.
In fact, he acts more like Daffy Duck than the familiar Bugs Bunny and deploys a couple of Wile E. Coyote-esque devices (except they work to his advantage) and he is actively antagonistic towards the hunter rather than using the passive-aggressive techniques he would become famous for.
Bugs' official debut wasn't for another two years in A Wild Hare on July 27, 1940, in a still barely recognizable version before the character had fully evolved. Bugs' voice is slightly different, but he does say his catchphrase "What's up, Doc?" and plays his carrot like a flute, which he did at the end of many of his cartoons after he had bested one of his various antagonists. He later became known for his Brooklyn accent, carrot chomping, garish disguises and brash overconfidence, and was the second fictional character - after Mickey Mouse - to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Appearing in more than 200 cartoons, Bugs never backed away from a challenge and had many competitors - Elmer Fudd, Yosemite Sam, Wile E. Coyote, Marvin the Martian and Porky Pig - but it was his rivalry with Daffy Duck for which he is legendary. Perhaps the most famous of Bugs' antics involves "pronoun trouble" where he confuses both Daffy and Elmer Fudd using rhetorical devices and one particularly ridiculous duck disguise to coax the hunter into repeatedly shooting Daffy in three cartoons - Rabbit Fire, Rabbit Seasoning and Duck! Rabbit, Duck!.
Bugs, of course, emerged victorious in all three encounters. He further antagonized Daffy in Duck Amuck - one of the most famous cartoons ever made - by taking the role of animator and putting Daffy in many odd and embarrassing situations. Elmer Fudd would later pull the same trick on Bugs in Rabbit Rampage - perhaps the only time a cartoon did not end with Bugs as the victor.
Happy "birthday," Bugs Bunny. You really are a stinker.
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