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I've heard that when Bugs Bunny was first shown eating a carrot, he was impersonating a popular movie of the time. People of that time got the "joke," and he just kept eating carrots.

In time, that movie has been forgotten, and now people associate carrot-eating with Bugs Bunny.

And the moral of the story is: rabbits don't eat/like carrots normally, but they are given them because Bugs Bunny likes them.

Is it true that he was impersonating someone? If so, what was the movie called?

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    My bunny likes to eat carrots. See also. Jan 9, 2013 at 12:27
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    Rabbits LOVE carrots. In nature, they're probably more interested in the greens, since that's more accessible without digging. Carrots are also not healthy, and not recommended for pet rabbits in any kind of quantities because of the high sugar/starch content, but rabbits think they're great. Where did you get the idea that they don't? May 3, 2017 at 17:05
  • If rabbits love carrots we shouldn't feed these animals mostly on them. Carrots grow a rabbit's teeth so much that they can harm themselves by piercing of the teeth to their lip flesh. That's why it's always said that we should give hays to rabbits in abundance. They can shorten the teeth.
    – user71192
    Aug 8, 2023 at 14:27

2 Answers 2

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After looking into it, I found this on wikipedia:

Bugs Bunny's nonchalant carrot-chewing standing position, as explained by Chuck Jones, Friz Freleng, and Bob Clampett, originated in a scene in the film It Happened One Night, in which Clark Gable's character leans against a fence, eating carrots rapidly and talking with his mouth full to Claudette Colbert's character. This scene was well known while the film was popular, and viewers at the time likely recognized Bugs Bunny's behavior as satire.

And this

Clarke Gable is bugs bunny

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    +1 well done. hey, anyone happen to know if Bugs's line "what's up, Doc?" is spoken by Clark Gable while he's chomping the carrot?
    – Shiz Z.
    Jan 11, 2013 at 3:30
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    @ShizZ.: There's a copy of the screenplay here. It doesn't look like anyone ever says "What's up, doc" in the film. Jul 25, 2014 at 18:00
  • I thought it was impersonating "eating" a cigar, ala The Man With No Name, but they couldn't really do that in a cartoon
    – CSM
    Dec 21, 2020 at 18:48
  • I only know one ocassion where the line "What's up, Doc?" is inspired from Bugs Bunny himself. It's 1980 film The Shining.
    – user71192
    Aug 8, 2023 at 14:32
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To say that Clark Gable is the only inspiration is flatly wrong:

The inspirations for Jones' animations came from sources old and new, near and far, high and low. Bugs Bunny was a characteristic composite, drawing on a rabbit character created for Warner Bros. by Ben "Bugs" Hardaway in 1938. Jones totally transformed Hardaway's Disneyesque bunny. He based Bugs's carrot-munching on how Groucho Marx smoked cigars, and the way Bugs would halt mid-sprint, balanced on one foot, was adapted from Edgar Degas' paintings of ballet dancers. The content of Jones' cartoons was at least as wide-ranging. In What's Opera Doc, he managed to lampoon both Richard Wagner's Ring Cycle and Disney's Fantasia. And the bedroom in One Froggy Evening appropriates a room in a Vincent Van Gogh painting.

-- This Exhibit Shows How Animator Chuck Jones Made Looney Tunes Great By Mixing Groucho Marx and Mark Twain, Forbes Magazine e-article, Jul 31, 2014

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  • Did anyone suggest that anything about Bugs, other than that first carrot scene, was based on Gable? Aug 13, 2023 at 15:47
  • I don't understand your question. Aug 13, 2023 at 21:53

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