Posted at 4:10 PM on July 9, 2007
by Valerie Kahler
Speakina notable birthdays - the brilliant "What's Opera, Doc?" turned 50 yesterday!
A few years ago, when I staged a tribute to Chuck [Jones] and his incredible body of work, showing 15 of his greatest cartoons on the big screen as they were originally meant to be seen, it wasn't "What's Opera, Doc?" that got the biggest reaction, initially. The nearly 500 people in attendance gave their most enthusiastic reaction to the opening credits of "One Froggy Evening" featuring Michigan J. Frog, and "Rabbit of Seville," the famous Bugs Bunny-Elmer Fudd barbershop ditty. Both great cartoons, to be sure, and both on any animation historian's top 10. The interesting thing was that for weeks afterward, people told me how moved they were by "What's Opera, Doc?" Some had never seen it before. Others had seen it on TV, but absent the big screen and big sound, they had failed to fall under its spell. Seeing it that day, the way audiences first saw it in 1957, they were enthralled.
Whenever we get severe weather, I always hear Elmer's voice in my head: "Nohf winds bwoh! Sowf winds bwoh! Typhoons! Huwicanes! Ewfquakes! SMOG."
I'm off to kill the wabbit. With my spear and magic helmet!