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Bugs & The Sheriff of Nottingham in “Rabbit Hood” Animation by Phil Monroe
|Directed by||Charles M. Jones|
|Produced by||Edward Selzer|
|Story by||Michael Maltese|
(uncredited live-action appearance)
|Music by||Carl W. Stalling|
|Animation by||Ken Harris|
|Layouts by||Robert Gribbroek|
|Backgrounds by||Peter Alvarado|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Pictures|
The Vitaphone Corporation
|December 24, 1949 (USA)|
Rabbit Hood is a 1949 Bugs Bunny cartoon which parodies the Robin Hood story. Originally released on December 24, 1949, the short was directed by Chuck Jones and written by Michael Maltese. As usual, Mel Blanc picked up all the voice characterizations. The layouts were done by Robert Gribbroek and the backgrounds by Peter Alvarado. This is the last Warner Bros. cartoon to ever release during creator Leon Schlesinger's lifetime, as he died the day after this cartoon was released. 
This cartoon is the origin of the infamous "knighting" exchange, where Bugs Bunny is dressed up like a king, and proceeds to pound the Sheriff's head with his sceptre while dispensing an oddball title with each strike:
- Sheriff: bows
- Bugs: "In the name of my most Royal Majesty, I knight thee: (strikes Sheriff over the head with his sceptre) “Arise! Sir Loin of Beef.”
- (strike) "Arise! Earl of Cloves.”
- (strike) “Arise! Duke of Brittingham.”
- (strike) “Arise! Baron of Munchausen.”
- (strike) “Arise! Essence of Myrrh,”
- (strike) “Milk of Magnesia,”
- (strike) “Quarter of Ten....”
- Sheriff: (dazed, slurred, but still on his feet) “You are too kind, your majesty.”
- Bugs: (to audience) ���Got lots of stamina!”
There is a wall covered with anti-poaching notices and wanted posters of Robin Hood and Little John. Bugs is trying to silence an alarm attached to a carrot he just pulled out of the King's Carrot Patch. He is caught by the Sheriff of Nottingham and is about to be put to the rack when Little John (depicted as a fat goonish fellow) appears and introduces Robin Hood. However, Robin Hood does not appear. Bugs and the Sheriff continue to converse, and Bugs averts the latter's attention by lying about the king's arrival. Bugs clubs the Sheriff while the latter is bowing and runs off.
While examining the castle wall in an attempt to scale it, Bugs is chased by the Sheriff up to the Royal Rose Garden, which the Sheriff regards as "royal ground". Here, Bugs dupes the Sheriff once again by acting as a real estate agent and successfully selling the land to the Sheriff, who plans to turn the garden into a "six-room Tudor". The Sheriff builds the house to half-completion before he realizes he's been tricked and, now infuriated, declares revenge, all the while hitting himself on the head with a hammer ("OOOH! I HATE MYSELF! I DO! I DO! I DO!").
The Sheriff shoots an arrow which grazes Bugs while he is scaling the castle wall. Bugs falls into Little John's hands. Bugs then uses the opportunity to introduce Little John and the Sheriff to each other several times over, diverting the Sheriff's attention once again. During the exchange, the Sheriff spies Bugs leaving and angrily shrugs off Little John, saying "Stop it, Oaf!". Bugs convinces the Sheriff that the King is indeed coming while the Sheriff tries not to be fooled once again. But when the Sheriff turns to prove to himself that Bugs is just lying, he is surprised to see Bugs dressed first as a clarion player and then as a royal crier before reappearing as the King. The Sheriff recognizing Bugs as the King, obligingly bows down. The famous knighting scene ensues, the titles getting progressively more nonsensical. Afterwards, the Sheriff, already dazed from the repeated hits, sings "London Bridge Is Falling Down" and falls on a cake quickly baked by Bugs during the song.
Bugs hears Little John once again introducing Robin Hood, but Bugs interrupts and mocks Little John, remembering Robin's failure to appear the first time. This time however, Little John tells Bugs not to "talk mean like that", as this time, he is telling the truth, and Robin indeed appears (played by Errol Flynn, in live-action footage from The Adventures of Robin Hood). Bugs, however, doubts that's "him".
The cartoon ends with the appearance of "the real" Robin Hood in the form of a clip from the classic 1938 movie, which starred Errol Flynn. Flynn received a personal copy of this film in exchange for the right to use his earlier image.
The film's music takes advantage of the similarities between the fanfare of the Middle Ages and the reveille. The oafish Little John uses a tiny trumpet to sound a standard reveille tune. Later, Bugs disguised as a page plays another reveille melody. The sound and effect is similar to the tune used in A Knight for a Day (1946).
Rabbit Hood is also included with Robin Hood Daffy (see below) in the "Special Features" of the 2003 two-DVD Special Edition release of The Adventures of Robin Hood. Both are also included on the Blu-ray disc release of the film. It is also one of three Bugs Bunny shorts included as special features on the 2014 DVD release of Rankin/Bass Productions' animated version of The Hobbit (along with Knight-mare Hare and Knighty Knight Bugs), made possible by Warner Bros.' acquisition of much of the Rankin-Bass home video library.
- The phrase "Sir Loin of Beef" is used again to name one of King Arthur's knights in "Knighty Knight Bugs."
The reference to Duke of Brittingham was an in-joke. According to former Warner's writer Lloyd Turner in an interview, Brittingham's was a bar across the street from the Warner Animation offices.
Wagon Heels (1945), another cartoon (also a Merrie Melodies cartoon) [but featuring Porky Pig instead of Bugs Bunny] which has a reference to "London Bridge Is Falling Down" (Sloppy Mo singing 'I know something I won't tell' to the tune of this nursery rhyme).
- Dunne, Michael (2001), "Intertextual Animation: The Classic Warner Brothers Cartoons and Rocky and Bullwinkle", Intertextual Encounters in American Fiction, Film, and Popular Culture, Popular Press, ISBN 978-0879728489
- Haines, John (2013), "The Making of the Middle Ages", Music in Films on the Middle Ages: Authenticity Vs. Fantasy, Routledge, ISBN 978-1135927691
- Haines, John (2013), "Music in Films of the Middle Ages", Music in Films on the Middle Ages: Authenticity Vs. Fantasy, Routledge, ISBN 978-1135927691
- "Rabbit Hood". BCDB. 2012-11-16.
- Dunne (2001), p. 148
- Haines (2013), p. 16-17
- Haines (2013), p. 57-58
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| Bugs Bunny Cartoons