It’s Bugs Bunny and the first appearance of Yosemite Sam — filmed entirely onboard a train in this cartoon short from the golden days of “Termite Terrace”. The details are outstanding with lots of Old West cliches: A working R.P.O. car, a section sleeper, fights in the saloon and on top of the train to name a few.
Voice Artist extraordinaire Mel Blanc provides the voices for the two characters. Hare Trigger comes from my Looney Tunes Golden Collection, Volume Six, Disk 2 on DVD (I wish they would release more cartoons on DVD — I’d buy them all).
Let’s check out this action-packed animation from the glory days of Warner cartoons.
Under Western Skies, the Super Chief (complete with Superman outfit) trundles through the wide open spaces.
The first gag are two trains passing beside a telegraph pole saying, “Bread and Butter” to each other.
To the tune of “Yankee Doodle Dandy”, the 4-4-0 steam locomotive whistles along — at one point exploding, then reassembling itself — Ahh…the things you can do with animation….
Look at all that detail on the coach and R.P.O.! They even bothered to draw in spikes in the ties and stained glass upper windows.
Inside the mail car, we find the postal clerk going about his duties as our hero Bugs is mailing himself somewhere whilst playing, “Go Get The Axe” on his banjo. Again it’s the details — sleeve garters and green eye-shade on the mail clerk as well as pigeon holes for sorting mail on the wall.
$5,000 reward! Sam tries to hold up the Super Chief, but he’s so short, the train passes right over him. Getting on his horse (with the aid of a rolling set of steps), he boards the R.P.O. at full gallop.
In short order (no pun intended), Sam holds up the R.P.O clerk who hastily mails himself to the North Pole. As Sam starts throwing packages and other loot into a mail sack, he also tosses Bugs in with his booty.
With extended pinkie, Bugs asks who he is, whereupon Sam goes into a long-winded explanation including levitating himself using his six shooters — for emphasis.
Beautiful interior of the section sleeper with stained glass and painted scroll work on the overhead which would drop down as an upper berth. Red velvet seats as this is the “day” configuration of the section. Meanwhile Bugs is at the other end of the car rolling himself a cigarette and doing his best Gary Cooper. The classic dusty western street duel complete with clinking spurs.
Bugs “draws a gun” and a frustrated Sam has difficulty doing the same. I always liked how the animators used huge teeth with red gums. They used practically every color of the rainbow in this shot.
Sam chases Bugs into a section sleeper made up for “night” configuration (complete with numbered red plush curtains). Bugs in drag! When Sam sticks his nose through the curtains, female Bugs grabs a wrap and screams for help.
As Bugs runs off, Sam manages to shoot him in the ass. Upon encountering the Club Car, the animators borrowed some stock saloon footage from Dodge City 1939 which Bugs refers to as deluxe accommodations!
Back in the day configuration sleeper, Sam & Bugs realize they need cover during their gunfight and move to the seats. Even shooting face to face, neither can seem to hit the other! Bugs fires two anthropomorphic bullets who patiently wait (with crossed arms and tapping feet) for Sam to appear before shooting off his hat.
Once more Sam chases Bugs back to the Club Car where there’s a spectacular fight now taking place in the saloon (more footage from Dodge City).
Dressed as a Pullman Porter, Bugs convinces Sam (a bit loopy from taking on the brawlers), that this is his stop — piling him up with luggage. Bugs even receives a tip for his services.
The baggage-laden Yosemite is then hooked and whisked away by a trackside mail crane. Bugs gives him a farewell from the coach window. Hmmm….I wonder who Sharon is — girlfriend of one of the animators? ;p
In the final showdown, Sam & Bugs have a knock down, drag out tussle atop the moving train. Soon thereafter, Bugs finds himself tied up & weighed down with an anvil as the train speeds over an impossibly high bridge.
Thus ends the train scenes. I won’t give away the ending, but rest assured it involves over-the-top melodrama.
A great train-related cartoon by animators at the top of their game. If you’ve never explored these Warner Brothers cartoons (or would like to see them uncut & restored in all their glory), I highly recommend the Looney Tunes Golden Collection for your perusal. (links to Amazon.com)
And, That’s All, Folks!
Here’s what IMDb has to say about Hare Trigger:
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