What gives Bugs Bunny his lasting power? In the cartoon masterpiece Duck Amuck, a rogue animator tortures Daffy Duck by constantly changing the background around him. The ending reveals Bugs Bunny as the animator. (Smithsonian.com)
What gives Bugs Bunny his lasting power?

Seventy-five years ago, a gangly, gray rabbit hopped out of a hole in the ground. He knocked on a bald man's head and asked, "What's Up, Doc?" to the tune of the crunch of a large carrot.
Though the rabbit had appeared in previous short films, this fateful scene in the 1940 Warner Brothers animated short "A Wild Hare," introduced the version of the rabbit that would become the cultural icon of Bugs Bunny. (Earlier shorts referred to "Happy Rabbit," and while "A Wild Hare" didn't use the name Bugs Bunny, it was the first where the character had a specific personality and appearance. And, a catchphrase.) In the short film, Bugs takes great pleasure in eluding the "wabbit" hunting Elmer Fudd.
In the decades since, Bugs has appeared in over 150 films. He has earned a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. And he was the first animated character to get his face on a postage stamp. TV Guide ranked him number one atop a list of the 50 greatest cartoon characters.
The "Looney Tunes" and "Merrie Melodies" films came out of the Warner Brothers animation studios. A team of artists, directors and voice actors collaborated on the classic cartoons.  Bugs was unlike Disney's Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. They came with their own set of physical characteristics but with little personality. Bugs was defined by his wiseacre attitude and witty banter.
According to Linda Jones Clough, the business partner and daughter of famed animator Chuck Jones, Bugs rocketed to fame because he was "character driven, rather than gag driven."  And while every director put his own spin on Bugs Bunny, they all agreed on one thing. Bugs was never to be mean-spirited.
That quality was critical to his fame.
"It was very important that he be provoked," said Chuck Jones in a 1998 interview. "Because otherwise he'd be a bully and we didn't want that. We wanted him to be a nice person." 
They wanted him to be a nice person, but not a pushover. But for the directors and audiences alike, Bugs was more than just a cartoon character.
"[My father's] attitude was that Bugs already existed and they were just writing about him," said Jones Clough. "He would come home in the evening and say to my mother, 'You won't believe what Bugs Bunny said today!'"

"'What do you mean?' she would say. 'You wrote it.'"
"'No, I discovered under the circumstances that this is what he would say."
For years after Bugs first uttered his signature question, it seemed as though America couldn't get enough of the character and his trickster ways. Within four years, films starring Bugs from the "Merrie Melodies" and "Looney Tunes" series were popular enough to be sold to theaters. They appeared in a separate category called "Bugs Bunny Specials."
In that same era, Bugs successfully straddled the world of entertainment and politics. He sneaked his way into World War II propaganda and advertisements for war bonds. The Marine Corps gave him honorary status as a private. That came after he appeared in a marine uniform exclaiming that a marine was a real superman, in the 1943 film "Super-Rabbit."  But like any public figure, Bugs has engaged in his fair share of controversial activity. War-era films star Bugs as the hero pitted against offensively caricatured Japanese and German soldiers.
Still, Bugs moved past that questionable phase. He continues to win the hearts and laughs of the people all over the world.
Perhaps what audiences love the most about Bugs Bunny is not his unique personality. Rather, it is his ability to stay true to it. From his opera debut in "What's Opera, Doc?" to his jaunt in live action films, such as "Space Jam", Bugs Bunny doesn't change.
More recent animated characters from Bart Simpson to Eric Cartman have established themselves through a sliding scale of meanness. But Bugs remains the lovable character that only plays tricks on those who deserve it most.

Merrie Melodies - A Wild Hare (1940) by Cartoonzof2006
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How did Warner Brothers keep Bugs a "nice person?"
Write your answers in the comments section below

  • samanthao-ver
    9/18/2015 - 01:13 p.m.

    I think the article is cool and that it is very unique of how he got his powers.

    • luket-rei
      9/21/2015 - 10:30 a.m.

      The Warner Brothers kept Bugs Bunny a nice person by letting him become a nice person by his fame.

    • luket-rei
      9/21/2015 - 10:33 a.m.

      I also think that too because he was very unique to get his powers.

  • zache-mil
    9/18/2015 - 03:35 p.m.

    Bugs Bunny is awesome and funny. He was in a movie that had Michael Jordan in it. I like when he said "Whats up Doc" its funny. Bugs is to fast that hunter guy can't get him. If you don't like him you don't like life.

  • genevieveb-6-bar
    9/18/2015 - 07:54 p.m.

    Warner Brothers keeps Bugs a "nice person" by making sure he is always provoked before pranking or injuring someone. In the article's middle, Chuck Jones states,"'It was very important that he be provoked'[...] Because otherwise he'd be a bully and we didn't want that'" (paragraph 7). Warner Brothers agreed to make sure that Bugs was never perceived as mean or malicious, but rather a witty smart-mouth. Every time Bugs hurts someone, it is someone whom deserves to be reprimanded. Through the use of other characters actions, Bugs is never seen as nasty.

  • michaely-6-bar
    9/20/2015 - 05:34 p.m.

    I think it is unique how Bugs Bunny got his latest power. Bugs Bunny is also very funny.

  • roberth1-mcc
    9/21/2015 - 10:28 a.m.

    Warner Bros kept him a nice person because otherwise he would be a bully and they didn't want that.

  • miap-mcc
    9/21/2015 - 10:30 a.m.

    They kept Bugs a nice person because they didn't want him to be a bully, because maybe then he would become less popular because no one wants a bully in any situation.

  • taylorn-mcc
    9/21/2015 - 10:31 a.m.

    The Warner Brothers agreed that no matter what, Bugs had to be a nice character, not a bully who was mean spirited. This decision was important in his fame because no one would love a mean character as much as they love the adorable and funny Bugs Bunny.

  • gracem-mcc
    9/21/2015 - 10:32 a.m.

    The Warner Brothers kept Bugs Bunny a nice person because it is important that he be provoked and not a bully. They didn't want Bugs to be nice person but not a pushover because he was more than a cartoon character.

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