Bugs Bunny in Hare Trigger

Friz Freleng (1945)

Hare Trigger is a 1945 Merrie Melodies short directed by Friz Freleng and stars Bugs Bunny. The short featured the first appearance of Yosemite Sam, as well as the first short to credit the whole animation staff who worked on the short.

The short is also the first to use the shortened version of the song Merrily We Roll Along that played from 1945 to 1955.

Yosemite Sam is an American animated cartoon character in the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series of cartoons produced by Warner Bros. Animation. His name is taken from Yosemite National Park. Along with Elmer Fudd, he is an adversary of Bugs Bunny. He is commonly depicted as an extremely aggressive gunslinging prospector, outlaw, pirate, or cowboy with a hair-trigger temper and an intense hatred of rabbits — Bugs in particular.

Animator Friz Freleng introduced the redesigned or renamed character in the 1945 cartoon Hare Trigger. With his grumpy demeanor, fiery temper, strident voice and short stature, and fiery red hair, Sam was in some ways a caricature of Freleng.

Other characters with Sam-like features appear in several Merrie Melodies shorts shown below.

Super-Rabbit

The Bugs Bunny entry Super-Rabbit (1943) features the cowboy character Cottontail Smith, whose voice is similar to Sam.

Stage Door Cartoon

Stage Door Cartoon (1944), however, features a southern sheriff character that looks and sounds similar to Sam, except for a more defined Southern stereotype to his voice. 

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