For this post, I am not only going to showcase highlights of the yearbook. I’m also going to share it in its entirety. When doing my research for these posts, this was the first book I found and is the easiest to access (which is why I’m sharing the whole thing).
In 1944, Hobart High School in Indiana made Bugs Bunny the temp-honorary mascot of their 1944 yearbook. In this case, a lot of the information in this yearbook is accessible on the Internet Archive.
When researching these yearbooks, I’ve discovered that most feature Disney characters. Some of these books acknowledged and/or asked permission from the Disney studio to use Mickey or another character in their books. Others don’t and instead use them freely, ranging from one page to the entire book.
Regardless, permission wasn’t necessary at this time. The Disney Studio always granted permission free of charge. Much of the art I have seen don’t go farther than one page. I have also seen studio-made yearbook art with characters from Terrytoons, Lantz, and Hanna-Barbera. They don’t go farther than a congratulatory message. The only non-Disney examples where characters are entire book themes feature Bugs Bunny. And all of what I have found were produced before the studio was sold to Warner Bros.
Every Bugs Bunny-themed yearbook I have seen so far was made before 1945 when Leon Schlesinger ran the studio. Because of this, Bugs Bunny is credited with Schlesinger instead of Warner Bros. At the beginning of the book, the yearbook acknowledges that Schlesinger permitted Bugs as a temp-mascot. If the school did, in fact, ask Schlesinger, I assume it was immediately granted free of charge, just like at Disney.
Surprisingly, I have seen a couple of others with Bugs as a theme, and they were all designed by the schools before 1945. This, being the easiest to share, is the first one I’m sharing. Once again, Bugs is of model and drawn by the students (which makes the design even more fun to look at). Just like in the Copper Kettle, Bugs is used in each dividing section of the book. Drawings of him are used in sections on underclassmen, seniors, activities, etc. All of this art is featured in this article separately from the yearbook link. It’s not as devoted as the other book though, which had Mickey on ever single page and even had Minnie’s Yoo Hoo as an anthem. He is used only seldomly as well. On another Bugs themed yearbook, I will show in the future, he is used quite a bit more. I do wonder why there I haven’t seen any more, though. With the success of the characters on television and their continuing success into the 1950s, it’s surprising that Bugs was never used again as a theme by any school (from what I see so far, at least). However, there’s much more yearbook terrain for me to dig through. And while this was a slim usage of the character, there is many extraordinary finds that I have planned to share on Cartoon Research soon!
Selected images (click to enlarge)