Shed a Tear: 34 Percent of Americans Don't Know Bugs Bunny

bugs_225.jpgKnowing about the easy money that awaits actors and actresses in the land of animation (Renee Zellweger, get back on this), there isn't anything very out of the ordinary about the Vulture report that Mike Myers will voice Pepé Le Pew. After all, Myers has made untold millions doing similar duties on the four Shrek films, and hopping -- or slinking, as Pepé does -- into the world of Looney Tunes for Warner Bros. will at least give him some extra spending money. And, hey, that Le Pew is part of an iconic group of cartoon characters probably doesn't hurt Myers' interest either. Though about that last part...

Consider this disconcerting fact about the entire Looney Tunes franchise, and, by proxy, America: According to E-Poll Market Research data, "more Americans over the age of 13 can recognize Mike Myers (68 percent) than can recognize Bugs Bunny (66 percent) or Daffy Duck (56 percent)."

First of all: Seriously? And second: Seriously? Bugs Bunny is as American as apple pie (if not Shrek); you're telling me that if you pulled 100 people at random and showed them a picture, 34 would have no idea what they were looking at? And don't even get me started on the fact that Bugs Bunny should be more recognizable to people over the age of 13 than under -- after all, when was the last time you saw a kid playing with a Bugs Bunny doll?

Anyway, if that many people have trouble identifying Bugs, hope for box office millions from Pepé Le Pew has to immediately get called into question. (That he's French is obviously a demerit, too, here in the land of Freedom Fries.) This wasn't designed to be one of those, "Throw another log on the fire of the apocalypse" posts, but if the bunny ears fit...

· Mike Myers to Voice Pepé Le Pew [Vulture]


  • incredulous says:

    What people are forgetting is that the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons were never produced solely for children.

    These cartoons were produced in the 30's, 40's. and 50's and were screened in movie theaters prior to the main feature film.

    The audiences who saw these cartoons were typically adult audiences; although the cartoons eventually were also shown at kid's matinees and later became an integral part of Saturday morning TV.

    No one back then was concerned about young minds being warped from watching cartoon slapstick. That's right... "slapstick", a time-honored form of physical comedy that goes all the way back to the silent days of Chaplin and Keaton (the films of whom had served as inspiration for the antics of Bugs, et al).

    Yes, there are dozens of "educational" cartoons on TV, and there's nothing wrong with having kids watch them... although some of them can downright saccharine and boring.

    I wouldn't necessarily recommend showing Bugs Bunny or Tom and Jerry cartoons to a two-year-old... it's probably better to wait until kids are at least 9 before introducing them to those cartoons. Any concerned parents can, of course, choose to sit with their kids and watch the cartoons together.

    The problem is that Warner Bros., who own the Looney Tunes and Tom and Jerry cartoons, keep trying to market the cartoons to little kids and soccer moms; when they were never intended for that particular audience.

    The actual title of that movie, BTW, is "Looney Tunes: Back in Action". Personally I never cared for the film... I thought the plot was insipid and the premise of mixing the cartoon characters with live-action ones was ludicrous.

  • Jean Mank says:

    Unthinkable! As a Baby Boomer, we were really the second generation to grow up watching these classics, but the first to watch them on TV. I can't imagine not knowing Bugs!

  • victorray says:

    bugs bunny rules..the saturday morning cartoons are NOT FUNNY anymore and they suck..bring back bugs bunny road runner show.they used to be on sat. mornings for like 3 hrs. it was more bugs on sat morning cartoons and america will wake up outa its lame cartoon haze..looney tunes is CLASSIC stuff ,all kids should watch.they might even learn something.take away the LAME sat morning cartoons and replace it w/ b bunny..that would be a great start..anyone who DOESNT know who bugs is a....MAROON..ha ha

  • Walt Mitchell says:

    @ Incredulous: Not letting a kid see a Bugs Bunny cartoon until said kid is "at least nine" is waaay too cautious! Although I didn't see Bugs Bunny cartoons when I was a kid (they weren't sold to TV yet), I knew Bugs Bunny and the others by the time I hsd reached my seventh birthday! This was due to the wonderful Capitol children's records of that time, made by Mel Blanc himself (often assisted by Arthur Q.Bryan, the original voice of Elmer Fudd). And that exposure didn't turn me into a raving anarchist! Another point: Kids today are more precocious than the kids were when I was a boy--no need to wait until they're "mature" nine-year-olds! But the basic story is accurate: WB cartoons need to be put back on networks and cable. The current mindset among programmers seems to be that if it's old, it's no good! Try telling THAT to TCM, where the people are rakin' in the dough, and the enthusiastic viewers enjoy the classics all the way back to the silent days! (BTW, my BFF and I met Mel in 1978 for my in-depth interview. He liked the magazine piece that I wrote--50 pages!--so much that BFF and I were his close friends throughout his last 11 years!)