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8 Ball Bunny is a Looney Tunes cartoon directed by Chuck Jones and written by Michael Maltese where Bugs Bunny travels around the world with Playboy Penguin to take him back home to the South Polemarker. It was animated in 1949 and released theatrically on July 8, 1950.

Synopsis

Bugs discovers a lost stage show penguin (whom he nicknames "Playboy") and, touched by the young bird's plight, promises to take him home. Only after making this promise does Bugs learn that (as he pronounces it) a "pen-gu-in" is native to the South Polemarker, or Antarcticamarker, rather a further trip than Bugs had in mind.

Nevertheless, Bugs travels with the penguin to New Orleansmarker and puts him aboard a ship named Admiral Byrd, which he believes is going to the South Pole. Pleased with his good deed, Bugs remains in New Orleans, planning to attend Mardi Gras, but then overhears that the ship is actually bound for Brooklynmarker, New Yorkmarker (ironically back to where the journey started). Determined to keep his promise, Bugs swims out to catch up with the ship. He and Playboy (whom he rescues from the ship's galley) resume their journey, passing through Martiniquemarker and the Panama Canalmarker.

In a recurring bit throughout the cartoon, Humphrey Bogart (straight out of The Treasure of the Sierra Madre) appears and says "Pardon me, but could you help out a fellow American who's down on his luck?" When he appears in Martinique, an annoyed Bugs throws a coin at him and says "Hit the road!" Later, when Bogart's arrival saves Bugs and Playboy from natives, Bugs more graciously gives him another coin.

At the end of the cartoon, Bugs and Playboy finally reach the South Pole, where there literally is a pole. Unfortunately, the forlorn penguin then reveals, via a playbill from his top hat, that he is actually from Hobokenmarker, New Jerseymarker, which is doubly ironic since Bugs is (implicitly, from his accent, and more explicitly, because the cartoon begins at the Brooklyn Ice Palace) from New York to begin with, meaning that only a short journey was ever necessary, and they could have easily made it to Hoboken via the Admiral Byrd. Driven to dementia by the idea of having to repeat the previous harrowing journey, Bugs is once again approached by Bogart, but as soon as Bogart says, "Pardon me", Bugs interrupts and finishes his line for him: "but can you help a fellow American down on his luck?" and thrusts the penguin into the arms of Bogart for him to take Bugs' place of returning the penguin to his true rightful home before running off, laughing maniacally, apparently had lost his sanity after learning the truth of the penguin's real home.

Production

8 Ball Bunny is the second appearance of Playboy; his first appearance was in 1949's Frigid Hare. The Bogart voice was performed by impressionist Dave Barry (no relation, of course, to the humor columnist).

While the film is introduced by the Looney Tunes music The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down, the opening card indicates a Merrie Melodies Blue Ribbon release with the 1959–1964 red rings, as does the end card, replacing the original green opening and ending sequences.

The short is included in the home video release Looney Tunes Video Show Volume 3, can be seen as a bonus feature on the DVD releases of the movie The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (which this cartoon make a reference to via Bogart) and the documentary film March of the Penguins, and is featured in Looney Tunes Golden Collection: Volume 4.

Censorship

On ABC's The Bugs Bunny and Tweety Show, the part where Bugs and Playboy are captured by South American natives is edited to remove the part where one of the natives runs to warn the group of "bwana" Humphrey Bogart coming and the group scattering. The scene was replaced with a frozen shot of Bogart's feet while the sound of the group muttering and fleeing was heard.


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