|Directed by||Charles M. Jones|
|Story by||Tedd Pierce|
|Produced by||Edward Selzer|
|Music by||Carl W. Stalling|
|Animation by||Ben Washam|
|Layouts by||Earl Klein|
|Backgrounds by||Robert Gribbroek|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Pictures|
The Vitaphone Corporation
Hair-Raising Hare is a Warner Bros. Merrie Melodies cartoon, released on May 25, 1946. It was directed by Chuck Jones and written by Tedd Pierce. It stars Bugs Bunny and features the first appearance of Chuck Jones' imposing orange monster character "Gossamer".
One dark night, Bugs Bunny pokes up out of his rabbit hole, dressed in a nightshirt and holding a candle, and tells the audience, "Did you ever have the feeling you were being watched?" In fact, he is being watched by an evil scientist (a caricature of Peter Lorre) who is planning to catch a rabbit to provide dinner for his large, hairy, orange sneaker-wearing monster (Gossamer).
The scientist lures Bugs to his castle via a shapely robotic female rabbit, with a large wind-up key in the back, and accompanied by "Oh, You Beautiful Doll". Once Bugs gets to the castle and begins kissing the mechanical rabbit on the hand, the robot malfunctions and breaks into pieces. Bugs faces the audience and says, "That's the trouble with some dames... kiss 'em and they fly apart!"
Bugs heads for the door, but the scientist persuades him to stay and meet another "little friend". When it becomes clear that this "friend" is a ferocious beast, Bugs vigorously shakes the scientist's hand "Goodbye!" and launches into a schtick where he packs luggage for a vacation trip, accompanied by a very brassy rendition of "California, Here I Come". Just before bolting for the door, he tells the scientist, "And don't think this hasn't been a little slice of heaven...'cause it hasn't!" He then bolts for the door. The scientist releases Gossamer who chases Bugs.
Bugs hides behind a door that Gossamer is trying to break through, and he cries out, "Is there a doctor in the house?" A silhouette, seemingly from the theater audience, stands up and offers, "I'm a doctor." Bugs suddenly relaxes, starts munching a carrot, and asks, "What's up, Doc?", just before Gossamer breaks through and the chase resumes.
Bugs Bunny and Gossamer pass by a mirror; Gossamer looks at the mirror, then his reflection runs away screaming; Gossamer looks at the audience and shrugs. Bugs acts as a lamp; he dances and taunts Gossamer by calling "Hey, Frankenstein!". Bugs and Gossamer keep running until a door on the floor opens and a rock falls into the empty space. While Bugs is tip-toe-ing backwards and praying, he bumps into Gossamer. He comes up with an idea and gives him a manicure. He puts the monster's fingers into the water to have his fingernails cut, but it contains two mousetraps. The monster yelps in pain, and then sobs.
Bugs twice thinks he has escaped. The first time, the monster is hiding behind a picture frame and Bugs apparently was not aware until he poked Gossamer in the eye. The second time, Gossamer is following Bugs behind a wall until Bugs marks where he previously was and smashes the mark with a giant mallet when Gossamer appears behind it. The wall crumbles and a barely-conscious Gossamer quickly follows. The third time, Gossamer is in a knight's armor, holding an axe above his head. He gets hit by Bugs Bunny in his locomotive-style knight-riding horse, causing him to hit the wall to turn into a can called "Canned Monster". However, as Bugs saunters off toward the exit, singing to himself, Gossamer gets the bunny in his clutches. Bugs repeats his opening line, "Did you ever have the feeling you were being watched?", and Gossamer's expression changes from anger to anxiety. Bugs points to the audience. Gossamer shrieks, "People!" and runs away screaming, breaking through a series of walls, leaving his cartoon outline in all of them.
Having "re-re-disposed of the monster", Bugs is about to "exit stage right", when the female robo-rabbit re-appears, intact, and again accompanied by "Oh, You Beautiful Doll". Bugs snickers, "Mechanical!" Then the robot smooches him on the cheek, leaving a lipstick mark on the smitten bunny, who says, "Well, so it's mechanical!" He assumes a robot-like gait (with his tail magically rotating like the robot's wind-up key) and follows her off the screen.
Animation director J. J. Sedelmaier writes, "It's interesting to see how different Bugs' character is in this film, from, say, the cool and calm Bugs in Rabbit Seasoning (1952). He's much more the Groucho Marx type in this short; in fact, I doubt you'll find another cartoon in which he does the Groucho walk more than here. The other unique aspect that has always grabbed me about this particular cartoon is the design of the monster. Where do his hands and arms go when we don't see them? Why the sneakers? It's this sort of stuff that reminds me why I love good cartoons: You don't care about this stuff. You just enjoy it."
This is the first short to use the 1946-47 rings, evident from blue rings, one red ring, and red background.
After, many Bugs cartoon titles that substituted "hare" for "hair" in a punny way, this title includes both words, as homophones.
The "Is there a doctor in the house?" gag is an old one, for example in Horse Feathers where a player is injured; Groucho asks if there is a doctor in the stands; and when a doctor responds, Groucho asks, "How are you enjoying the game, Doc?"
Gossamer's next appearance was in ("Water, Water Every Hare"). But, rather than merely feeding him to the monster, the "Mad Scientist" needs Bugs Bunny's brain for a giant robot.