In today’s column, we listen to a classic recording of Bugs Bunny’s race against Cecil Turtle, with Mel Blanc; on another LP, Bugs takes a cruise to Fort Lauderdale, without Mel.
BUGS BUNNY AND THE TORTOISE
A Capitol Record Reader DBX-93 (Two 10” 78 RPM Discs / Mono / 1947); (Two 7” 45 RPM Discs / Mono / 1947);
12” 33 1/3 RPM LP Reissues: L-6818RR (with Bozo Under the Sea / 1962); L-6962 (with Bozo and His Rocket Ship / 1975).
Producer: Alan Livingston. Writers: Warren Foster, Tedd Pierce. Music: Billy May. Recorded in Hollywood on November 28 and December 3, 1947. Running Time: 12 minutes.
Voices: Mel Blanc (Bugs Bunny, Tortoise, Daffy Duck, Henery Hawk, Taxi Driver); Arthur Q. Bryan (Elmer Fudd); Stan Freberg (Little Duck).
Song: “Sing a Song of Rabbits.”
Similar to the 1941 Warner Bros. cartoon, Tortoise Beats Hare, this audio version of the Aesop’s Fable takes several departures from Dave Monahan’s film story, but adds on several Capitol Records-style touches.
Like the film, Bugs is spurred on by reading that the tortoise beats the hare. In the cartoon, he read it on the title card (a very funny bit in which Bugs mispronounces the credited names), but here, he learns it from a book. Determined to set things right, Bugs challenges a tortoise (not referred to by name). Each of them comes up with ways to get the best of his opponent as Elmer Fudd narrates the story and Daffy Duck plays sports announcer.
Unlike several Capitol children’s records of the day, Bugs Bunny and the Tortoise has a more focused script. Encounters with call-and-response critters along the way—a standard formula of all the Bozo titles and most others in the series—is not as forced in this case. This album came very early in the series, so it may have benefitted from the more rigid “meet-greet-gag-next” format of later albums, entertaining and beautifully produced as they were.
GIVE A LITTLE LISTEN
“Bugs Bunny and the Tortoise”
Someone on YouTube did a wonderful job of combining the complete recording with the art from the book. Capitol Record Readers didn’t always have text, just illustrations by Warner artists Bob McKimson and Richard Thomas. When this was reissued as one side of an LP without a book, the editor left the page turning signal in, but there was no book.
BUGS BUNNY EXERCISE AND ADVENTURE ALBUM
Kid Stuff Records KSB-1107 (Stereo)
(12” 33 1/3 RPM LP / 1983)
Writer/Producers: Pat McBride and Dana Walden. Running Time: 22 minutes.
Songs: “What’s Up Doc? Bunny Hop,” “Crow’s Nest Song,” “Tweety’s Tune,” “Heave Ho,” “I’d Rather Be a Frog,” “Roll in the Mud with Fudd,” “Did the Devil Get Your Nose,” “Coconuts and Cats,” “What’s Up Doc? Bunny Hop (Reprise).”
Kid Stuff released a substantial number of children’s records in the ‘80s, most of them recorded in the Miami/Fort Lauderdale area with local talent. The voices were usually limited to two actors playing all the characters. Other than producers and writers, few others were mentioned in the album credits.
This particular album might be called “Bugs Bunny Goes to Gymboree.” There is a bit of continuity about the Warner Bros. characters taking a cruise (that would be the “adventure”) while the narrator and vocalists handled the songs (that’s the “exercise” part). The actor doing all the Warner Bros. voices, some better than others, may be Richard Andrews, a very versatile performers who did all the puppets on Miami’s long-running children’s program, The Skipper Chuck Show. Or it could be the writer/producers.
GIVE A LITTLE LISTEN
“Roll in the Mud with Fudd”
Couldn’t resist including this song, since it’s so bizarre. This was the era of the Jane Fonda Workout records and videos and several children’s records did the same thing, including Disney with Mousercise. The perky narrator encourages youngsters in their activities during all the songs on the album, a format common to such records.