June 13, 2024 posted by Steve Stanchfield

Walter Lantz “The Rabbit Hunt” (1938)

It’s time for a Walter Lantz cartoon! I’ve been thinking about Lantz’s studio a lot lately, as we launch a pre-order for the Lantz set we did a DVD version of a while back now. But first….

Thunderbean news!

Rainbow Parades, Volume 2 is rounding great corners this week with a pretty full team jumping onto it. I’m happy to report making it through Trolley Ahoy in cleanup, a cartoon that has more moving shots and complicated cleanup than any other I can think of on this set (then again, I haven’t done the first Toonerville shortyet, so I might be in for something…). The team is chugging along on them, the biggest team we’ve had in years, and we’re trying collectively to get the next batch of special discs out the door along with other projects too. It’s a busy time, and there’s some pivotal things in the works, so do me a favor and keep your fingers crossed for me!

We’re also happy to announce a Blu-ray version of Lantz Treasures, featuring Oswald. This is an upgrade to the DVD set we did back in 2013, with a bunch of really great additions, including a lot more of the theatrical commercials Lantz did in the 50s. We’ve wanted to do this set for a while, but it wasn’t on the radar until this new material became available. It’s up for preorder at the Thunderbean Shop for a little while.

On ‘The Rabbit Hunt’ (1938)

I grew up watching the TV package of all color Lantz cartoons, so the only Black and White films from the studio I was slightly familiar with were ones that were on 8mm home movie versions. Castle films did those particular versions, and offered the same titles in 16mm as well. When I started collecting 16mm, this was one of the first of those I saw, but I had seen an 8mm Castle films box with this cartoon at a friends house, but never got to watch it!

The Rabbit Hunt (1938) is from a little period at the Lantz studio where the animation was, at times, really swimmy – and this is especially true of the cartoons that Les Kline directed.

This cartoon features Jock the Simple Simian, of Jock and Jill fame. Lantz sure tried a lot of new characters that didn’t take off too well. There’s only three ‘Jock and Jill’ cartoons, or, really just one with Jill (Ghost Town Folics, also 38) and two others somehow with Jock (this one and a follow up called Soup to Mutts (39). I don’t think any of these are fantastic cartoons, but they all are pretty enjoyable in the animation department. This short seems to share some kinship with Disney’s Little Hiawatha (38) since they both seem to have cast the same bunny, who is equally fearful in both cartoons, but maybe a little braver in the Lantz one.

The character animation is this short stretches from one pose into another, with looseness that is beautiful at times, but without enough structure or snap to make the characters very solid or distinctive in personality. It ends up being sort of generic personality-wise as things swim from pose to pose. There’s a few shots that experiment with blur frames, and that’s pretty fun to see. While the cartoon really doesn’t cover a whole lot of story ground, there individual shots are enjoyable enough to make it an ok piece of entertainment- I love the animation even through it’s a little strange at times.

I’ve had a few prints over the years of this one, but finally scanned one that wasn’t so beat up (many of them were rental prints, so they got their fair share of use).

I hope you enjoy this little Lantz short. Let us know what you think of it!

Have a good week all!


  • Well, I can think of at least one better cartoon about rabbit hunting from 1938.

    As a matter of fact, when it comes to Lantz cartoons about hunting directed by Les Kline in 1938 with a white rabbit in a featured role, I can think of another one that’s better than “The Rabbit Hunt”: “Man Hunt” is much funnier, more elaborate and better paced, ethnic stereotypes notwithstanding. Even better, the dialogue is all in rhyming verse, which suits the operetta style; whereas the faux Hungarian csardas music in “The Rabbit Hunt” gets a little tiresome.

    But thanks for sharing! It’s always a pleasure to see an obscurity from the Walter Lantz studio.

  • In the mid 1960s my local station used to play Oswald The Rabbit cartoons.
    The cartoons would start off with an introductory frame of Oswald on a stage – only it was the more recent Oswald in full clothes.

    When the cartoon started however he reminded me of Mickey Mouse, because they were all the early non Disney Oswalds.
    Also the Mickey Mouse Club was also airing around that time with the black and white Mickeys.
    Sometimes they would air back to back.

    I always though of those early Oswald the Rabbit cartoons at the time as resembling the Disney cartoons – but nowhere near as good.

  • My favorite scenes in The Rabbit Hunt are (1) the tickling of the dog’s paw by the little bunny. The dog’s screwy laughter and the way he cycles 360 degrees with his paw down the rabbit hole are very funny. (2) The scene where the little bunny is going so fast that he becomes invisible and only his shadow on the ground indicates his presence in the shot.

    Say Steve, when are you going to do a Lantz Treasures set with the 1940s Coca-Cola ads? They were so well animated with Ed Love, Riley Thompson and Fred Moore on staff, and Fred Brunish doing the backgrounds and directed by Dick Lundy. There must be some prints around, I saw (and heard) some blue tracks many years ago. I hope you have a few.

  • Ok, i give up…. Who’s the monkey?? Eeny!??

    • The Monkey is “Jock, the Simple Simian”

  • Guess Tex Avery watched this one?

    Excited about the Lantz set!

  • Very sweet little cartoon!

  • Loved this cartoon! Thanks!

    No, it’s not the greatest cartoon, but it was very enjoyable. The music was great! As was a lot of the animation!

  • Do these feature the original titles with the Universal intros, or are these mostly sourced from reissue prints?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *