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Scrooge U: Part XII -- Bugs Bunny battles Yosemite Scrooge

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Scrooge U: Part XII -- Bugs Bunny battles Yosemite Scrooge

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First of all, I want to thank all of you JHM readers who have sent nice notes my way, saying how much you've been enjoying the site's new series.

 

A fairly typical example of these e-mails comes from Katie G. Who wrote in to say:

Dear Mr. Hill,

I'm a longtime lurker at your website and ,up until now, I've never felt the urge to write you. But given how much I've been enjoying your new "Christmas Carol" series, I thought that I should take the time to write to you today and tell you how much I've been enjoying all of these behind-the-scenes stories.

It's clear that you've put a lot of time and effort into creating these articles. Every time that I read a new installment, I learn a little more about a story that I already loved. I feel like I've taking part in a great online course about "A Christmas Carol".

Whatever you do, please don't pull another "Remembering Light Magic" on jimhillmedia readers. You have to finish all forty installments. Otherwise we will hunt you down, boil you in your own pudding and bury you with a stake of holly through your heart (ha ha just kidding).

Thanks again for your hard work. I'm really looking forward to your article on "Mickey's Christmas Carol".

Happy holidays!

Katie G.

Dear Katie G.

Thanks for your kind words. It was actually your e-mail that made me realize that we needed a better title for this JHM series. If "God Bless Us, Every One ... Two ... Three ... Four ... Five ... Six ... Seven ... " really is coming across as this " ... great online course about 'A Christmas Carol,' " ... Then we clearly need a name that sounds a bit more academic.

But -- at the same time -- the new title for this series has to sound fun. Given that the point of every article that we post here on JHM is " ... to entertain & inform ... But mostly entertain."

So late last week, I spent a couple of hours puzzling over this matter. Until it hit me. The perfect new name for JHM's "Christmas Carol" series was ... Scrooge U.

Think about it, folks. This new title does actually touch on the subject matter of the series. Plus it captures that pseudo-academic feel that Katie G. was talking about. More to the point, it's slightly naughty and (let's be honest here) a lot funnier than "God Bless Us, Every One ... Two ... Three ... Four ... Five ... Six ... Seven ..." ever was.

So -- as of today -- that's the new overall title for this JHM series. And -- as you can see -- we've already got some "Scrooge U" t-shirts available for sale. Which (you'll have to admit) would really make a statement at this year's holiday dinner.

Anyway ... That explains the sudden name change for JHM's newest series. FYI: Late last night, we also changed the titles of all the earlier installments. Which is why you'll no longer find "God Bless Us, Every One ... Two ... Three ... Four ... Five ... Six ... Seven ..." listed anywhere on the site.

Mind you, the stories themselves remain the same. It's only the overall title of this JHM series that has been changed.

Okay. That completes the housekeeping portion of today's article. Now let's get back to discussing yet another adaptation of "A Christmas Carol," shall we?

This time around, I want to talk about "Bugs Bunny's Looney Christmas Tales." Which originally aired on CBS back on November 27, 1979.


Copyright 1993 Warner Home Video

Unfortunately, this is really one of the lesser animated adaptations of "A Christmas Carol." Truth be told, the Looney Tunes version of Charles Dickens' classic tale only takes up a third of the running time of this half-hour-long holiday special. It also plays fairly fast & loose with the various plot points of this story.

This time around, it's hot-headed Yosemite Sam who plays the greedy miser while Porky Pig plays Scrooge's put-upon clerk.


Copyright 1993 Warner Home Video

Bugs Bunny seems to be cast in the Nephew Fred role. But the first time that he drops by Ebenezer's counting house, Bugs accidentally leaves the door open. Which blows all of this miniature miser's money around. This infuriates Scrooge. So he quickly tosses the rabbit out into the cold.


Copyright 1993 Warner Home Video

Given Yosemite's over-the-top reaction, Bugs thinks that Sam has somehow lost his holiday spirit. With the hope that a little Christmas music might improve the miniature miser's mood, the rabbit soon returns with three old friends: Elmer Fudd, Pepe Le Pew and Foghorn Leghorn. Who -- after busting into Sam's office -- proceed to serenade him with a particular Looney rendition of "Decks the Halls."

But Yosemite's just not in the mood for nonsense like this on Christmas Eve. He first tosses Bugs, Elmer, Pepe and Foghorn out into the snow. Then -- for good measure -- Sam also fires Porky. Putting his clerk out of work right before the holiday.


Copyright 1993 Warner Home Video

Porky is devastated. But Bugs promises the stuttering pig that he'll soon get him his old job back. So later that same night, the rabbit sneaks into Yosemite Sam's house. Where -- after pulling a sheet over his head & wrapping chains around his body -- that Oscar-winning rabbit now pretends to be a ghost.

But when dragging chains right outside Yosemite Sam's bedroom fails to rouse the greedy little miser, Bugs resorts to other, louder means.


Copyright 1993 Warner Home Video

Finally Sam awakens and discovers Bugs dressed as an avenging spirit. Faced with this frightful sight, the cowardly crumudgeon quickly caves in. He falls to his knees & begs the bunny's forgiveness. Yosemite even promises to give Porky his old job back.


Copyright 1993 Warner Home Video

To show how willing he is to make amends, Sam (now dressed in a Santa suit) races through town giving out money to the poor, throwing bundles of cash at orphans, generally trying to buy his way out of trouble.

Which seems to have worked. Given that the very last image that we see in this "Christmas Carol" parody is Sam & Bugs sitting down to have dinner with Porky Pig's family. Oh ... And who's that cameo-ing in the role of Tiny Tim? Would you believe Tweety Bird?


Copyright 1993 Warner Home Video

Like I mentioned earlier, this is really one of the lesser animated adaptations of "A Christmas Carol." Though the direction of this section of the "Bug Bunny's Looney Christmas Tales" special was handled by Termite Terrace veteran Friz Freleng (With the animation for this portion of the program being provided by the studio that Friz helped found, DePatie-Freleng Enterprises) ... The end result here is ... Well ... just sloppy and unfunny. This holiday special doesn't serve Dickens' classic holiday story OR the Looney Tunes characters all that well. In the end, "Bug Bunny's Looney Christmas Tales" is basically a botch.

Mind you, over a quarter of a century later, Warner Brothers would revisit the idea of having the Looney Tunes characters appear in a parody of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol." But we won't get around to discuss that holiday special -- "Bah, Humduck! A Looney Tunes Christmas" -- here on JHM 'til almost the end of December.

But for those of you who can't wait, here's a teaser image from that 2006 Warner Home Video production. Pretty good looking, don't you think?


Copyright 2006 Warner Home Video


Okay. That wraps up today's installment of "Scrooge U." Tomorrow, we take a look at the Guthrie Theater's acclaimed production of Dickens' classic holiday tale.

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  • What were the other tales included, if this only took a third of the time?  I remember this version from childhood as well, and also remember not really liking it.  I do still appreciate the gag with ghost Bugs having to get out the bass drum though - the screenshot made me laugh all by itself.

  • Think there was one with Wile E. using snow machines and skis to chase the Road Runner, and...something with Taz in a Santa suit?  Let's just say, the New Guys didn't have it, and this was years before "Space Jam".

    (And waking Sam with the drum was stolen from "From Hare to Heir", but it was funny there too.)  :)

  • Using Yosemite Sam as Ebenezeer Scrooge was about the only inspired thing in this version. Otherwise, everything else was as you say, a botch. But whatever shortcomings this one had, that new Bah! Humduck! special on Cartoon Network the other night so bad I was unable to sit through the whole thing.

    At least the Freling special was blessedly brief, this new one dragged on interminably, and while the animation was slicker(if you are fond of the present-day/ post Tiny Toons look of the characters, which, confidentially, I am not.)the script was horrible. Daffy spends the whole cartoon acting like a jerk saying really unfunny dialogue while tormenting all the other Looney Tunes characters, who all seem to be locked in this nightmare world without any recollection of what their original personalities were or what made them popular in the first place.

    By comparison, the Bugs Bunny special looks like a classic compared to this bloated new Daffy Duck abomination. You know, if the right people were involved, the Bugs Bunny/ Yosemite Scrooge version would have served as a suitable template for a longer version, but I've come to the conclusion that no one handling these characters today have the slightest idea as to how to make them funny anymore.

  • Thanks for the laugh BrerArtist!  I laughed out loud (in the office, how embarrasing!) at this line:

    while tormenting all the other Looney Tunes characters, who all seem to be locked in this nightmare world without any recollection of what their original personalities were or what made them popular in the first place.

    Tee hee!  Also, thanks DerekJ for helping me place that bit...I knew it was familiar!

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