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1965 Bugs Bunny commercial by Tex Avery & Rod Scribner

Ever wonder what a 1965 Bugs Bunny cartoon directed by Tex Avery and animated by Rod Scribner might be like?

By 1965, Warner’s had let the original animation studio go and was sub contracting low budget Looney Tunes work to DePatie-Freleng. Bugs Bunny’s papa, Avery, and his looniest animator, Scribner, had moved on to the greener pastures of TV commercials. As fate would have it, Avery’s studio wound up with the job of creating a series of Bugs Bunny Kool-Aid spots and Scribner animated many of them. I found this black & white one on one of my old reels (a washed-out color version is also on You Tube) and think its worth a look. Yes, that’s Paul Frees as the Judge and Hal Smith as Elmer.

  • Mike Russo

    It’s funny how after 20 years you could still see Scribner’s animation style around :38. Cool commercial.

  • I like it myself. Even in limited animation, Rod Scribner still makes his characters very expressive. Not as much as his work for Clampett, but still alive and vivid. I don’t really care for Hal Smith’s Elmer Fudd, but there is only one Arthur Q. Bryan.

  • Why is the prize for a winter sport a summer drink? :-/

    • Chris Sobieniak

      Reminded of another commercial promoting Kool-Aid as a wintertime drink anyway.

  • I remember Avery saying in an interview, that some commercial executive who was familiar with his work at MGM said something to the affect of, “Do you think you know how to direct Bugs Bunny?” Apparently unaware that Avery was one of Bugs’ creators.

  • BabyGrace

    Great! I want more 60’s Tex Avery!!!

  • Steve M.

    I love these commercials.

  • I wish Tex Avery had lived just a few more years to enjoy the accolades and celebrity status that Chuck Jones basked in during the mid to late 1980s. (Chuck deserved every bit of it, of course – but so did Tex.)

    Is that Hal Smith as in Otis from The Andy Griffith Show? Didn’t he also stand in for Winnie the Pooh in the 1980s?

    • Tim Hodge

      Hal did indeed voice Winnie the Pooh, as well as Owl in “Welcome to Pooh Corner” (1983).
      He was also the voice of Goofy in “Mickey’s Christmas Carol”.

      • Mike Russo

        Hal Smith also voiced Gyro Gearloose and Flintheart Glomgold in Ducktales.

  • The commercial has a Gene Deitch TOM AND JERRY vibe. It’s fun to watch, but there’s something subtly wrong with it.

    • John A

      Yeah I know, it’s like Looney Tunes crossed with Jay Ward Studios.

    • I think it’s probably that there’s no music, the timing for the gags has to be so compressed in order to cram them in, and Elmer’s different voice.

  • Gary Flinn

    I have Joe Adamson’s book “Tex Avery: King of Cartoons” in its original 1970s printing so I was a fan of Avery’s work while he was still alive.

  • Michael Rianda

    Hey this is awesome! Thanks for posting it!

  • Jorge Garrido

    I like how the graven image of Bugs on the kool-aid box at the end murders the real Bugs at the end of the commercial and steals his life force.

  • FriendtoAll

    “Apparently unaware that Avery was one of Bugs’ creators.”

    Creator. Don’t let the Clampett family’s historical revisionism cause any further damage to WB cartoon discussions.

    • childisfatheroftheman

      Creator? Yeah, guess Ben BUGS Hardaway had nothing to do with that character . . .

      • Jorge Garrido

        Not to mention Cal Dalton, Robert McKimson, Chuck Jones, Charlie Thorson, Mel Blanc, Bob Givens… it’s generally just EASIER and less problematic to say “creatorS” instead of referring to any one person as the creator.

        Or we could just open up this argument every time we’re talking about Tex Avery, I dunno, what do you think? WAS the pre-Wild Hare rabbit the same character as the Wild Hare Rabbit?

      • Autumn

        @chilisfatherortheman Bugs got his name from a Ben Haradaway model sheet. Nothing else. That rabbit from his cartoons was NOT the Bugs we know.

      • Jorge Garrido

        It’s never been proven or unanimously decided one way or another whether or not the “Wild hare” rabbit was considered the exact same character that was in “Elmer’s pet rabbit” and the other pre-Wild Hare rabbit pictures. And none of those pre-Wild Hare pictures were directed by Tex Avery.

        Therefore, because nobody can really say with 100% certainty that Bugs Bunny’s first cartoon was ONLY A Wild Hare, using the word “creators” instead of “creator” is perfectly valid.

      • Autumn

        Well, so says his biography written by Joe Adamson, with quotes from Chuck, Friz and others that the rabbits before a Wild Hare were not Bugs.

        Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe they’re wrong. They only worked on his cartoons.

      • Jorge Garrido


        This press book from 1939 shows Charlie Thorson’s rabbit and refers to him as “Bugs’ Bunny.” And in “Elmer’s Candid Camera,” pre-Wild Hare this exact same rabbit is teamed up with Elmer. Chuck Jones’ next cartoon, Elmer’s Pet Rabbit, is post-Wild Hare and has VERY similar interaction with Elmer as in the candid camera picture, much closer to Candid Camera than to Wild Hare.

        So clearly the rabbits before A Wild Hare were an ancestor to Bugs Bunny, not an unrelated character. And many of the elements of Bugs Bunny in A Wild Hare can be found in these pre-Wild Hare films, like the faking of death, the gloves, and the relationship to Elmer.

        Anyone who thinks A Wild Hare came into being spontaneously and that “Bugs’ Bunny” had absolutely nothing to do with “Bugs Bunny,” that the pre-Wild Hare rabbits were completely unrelated to the Wild-Hare character, is crazy. The truth is “A Wild Hare” was just one more leap in evolution for the same character that had been used since “Porky’s Hare Hunt,” which was basically Daffy Duck in a rabbit suit. “A Wild Hare” was a new voice, a slick Robert Givens

        My point is that the creation of Bugs Bunny was NOT an instantaneous creation by one individual, and that, since animation is a collaborative medium, every character has many “creators” and “developers” and that in the case of Bugs Bunny, it was a slow evolution over a period of time, not just in one cartoon. Therefore saying “one of his creators” is not causing damage to all discussion of WB cartoons. It’s just the truth.

  • T. C. K.

    Not to be a jerk or anything, but aside from being worthwhile historical curiosities, I think these commercials are really horrible. They’re a little sad too, since Tex was working in advertising because the Looney Tunes studios were all but gone. This looks like the tombstone for the animated shorts business.

    I love Avery and Scribner, but this is probably equally the result of the “efforts” of a lot of executives and middle management types giving them reams of notes and revisions.

    Again: not to denigrate these two brilliant men, but the commercial animation of this era in particular is not at all appealing to me. I wish they were given their own heads in the execution of these things.

    • Chris Sobieniak

      Again, you can’t please anyone with these. I still enjoy watching these myself and seeing what they did long after the Golden Age was over.

    • I agree. It has a feeling that the clean-up was done on cel; the inking was the clean-up. I wonder how the comments would play if we didn’t know this was Avery & Scribner?

  • SJ

    Rough compared to the classics but plenty of frantic, extreme expressions to enjoy. I’m sure it sold lots of Kool Aid too.

  • I love seeing things like this, because I’ve always wondered what the series would have looked like in the late 50’s and early 60’s if Avery, Clampett and Tashlin would have stayed to the end rather than Jones, Freleng and McKimson. With Scribner animating for Tex, this sort of answers at least part of my “what if..” question.

  • Justin

    Does anybody know was studio did this commercial? After all, the original Warner Bros. animation studio closed in 1963. Could this be made at DePatie-Freleng maybe?

    • I believe this was done at Cascade Pictures.

  • Is it just me or is something a little off key about Bugs doing Wile E. Coyote type cheats to get the Kool Aid? Shouldn’t he be using his slick operator abilities to win while Elmer or Daffy is trying to trip him up?

    OTOH, there were those early cartoons with him versus the turtle….

    • I noticed that, too. Avery mentioned in a later interview that the Kool-Aid ads, as written, had Bugs out of character and that he’d objected. One got the impression that he’d gotten the ads revamped somewhat after that.

      Yet Bugs in this example is foxed by Elmer not once, but twice. Doesn’t seem much like Tex’s Bugs to me.

      • Jesse Pindus

        Well, this is Avery’s Bugs, which Clampett basically just followed. You probably know this, but it may have been Avery started production on “Wabbit Twouble,” which was finished by Clampett. Anyway the Avery/Clampett Bugs was never above cheating the innocent, nor were Clampett and Avery afraid to make the character lose. It’s a very early example before Bugs’ character was really established, but look no further than “Tortoise Beats Hare” – in fact the only two (out of four) Avery-directed Bugs cartoons that present him with a clear-cut victory are “A Wild Hare” and “All This and Rabbit Stew” in both of which he was up against hunters, so he sort of has to win, as opposed to Cecil Turtle who, though outfoxed by him throughout the film, just winds up paying ten dollars to, while all that is show to happen to Bugs (and Willoughby) is somehow managing to stop themselves from injury, which is not really a resolution to the hunt established at the beginning.

        Also bear in mind that since the Bugs Bunny theatrical shorts were no longer in production, the only version of Bugs that remained was in comic books, where remained in his Avery/Clampett persona for much longer.

  • Doesn’t seem to have been written by someone interested in the nuances of the characters or their relationship to one another.

    It’s just generic cartoon action while the characters deliver their lines.

  • It’s interesting because it was animated by someone who was probably certifiably crazy at the time, but it’s still badly animated. And you guys are analyzing a shill that’s technically promoting juvenile diabetes. Wise up, smoke a bowl, and just watch the good Loonies from the 40s and 50s. Or have you learned nothing from the past few posts on Bugs Bunny and weed?

    • Jorge Garrido

      Thad, every time I think you’ve become Anakin Skywalker, you revert back to Darth Vader and say something maddening. Not that I’m attacking a fellow commentator or anything. That would be violating the Cartoon Brew Discussion Guidelines!

      The commercial even advertises “unsweetened” Kool-Aid!

      And it’s not badly animated, just limited. Rod was working fast and had no budget to speak of. Badly animated would entail not getting any of the story points across. But everything in it reads clearly. It’s professionally conservative, with a few quick outbursts of creativity from Rod.

      • Tee

        Not to nit-pick, but “unsweetened” Kool Aid is just Kool Aid that you add sugar to yourself. There is no real “unsweetened” Kool Aid. It’s still a dangerous mix of dyes, perfumes, chemicals and good old fashioned sugar. Ugh.

      • Autumn

        Well then, you could very well add as little sugar as you wanted, or today, use diabetic friendly sweeteners.

        The point of this commercial being posted isn’t about how healthy Kool-Aid is as a drink. It’s about a Bugs Bunny commercial done by his creator Tex Avery after many years of separation.

        And for the record, Kool-Aid is lot more healthy than a lot of crap kids drink these days. Just saying.

    • This is where we separate cartoon history from cartoon opinion. Some of us are more interested in the historical aspect, as in, finally seeing how Tex handled Bugs after more than 20 years away, even if it was a low-budget television commercial.

      Whether or not you like the commercial, keeping it buried in history shouldn’t be an option, which you’re probably all too familiar with from the Famous Studios library.

      • Never said it should be buried forever. Where’d that come from? I just think it’s kind of sad to watch because the quality is so below the standards Scribner set in his historic animation years earlier. I’m not too crazy about the King of Cartoons reduced to this sort of garbage either. Saying something is bad is not tantamount to disrespect nor denying its existence.

        BTW, Jorge, I am your father.

      • Jorge Garrido

        I knew it!

  • Arthur F.

    It’s ok for anthropology but like the tv cartoon-adaptations of Warners, lazy. I don’t think it makes any sense that Bugs falls into a hole in the end as resolution, that has nothing to do with the character or history. Why would a viewer identify with a guy who falls into the hole and is OFF SCREEN — that would be Daffy or Elmer or Wiley Coyote. So it seems a bit lost in terms of capturing who Bugs is and what is advertisment promotion too. Also choosing a skateboard in snow is just lazy.

  • TsimoneTseTse

    Here we go again.

    It seems that every time any of Tex’s post WB/MGM work is posted there is a barrage of “that’s sad, poor Tex, how could he, what, was HE NUTS?!”

    No, he had employment, at a time when most animation work was for TV. Scripted & controlled by clueless Mad Men who were hired to sell a product quickly & cheaply (Even if it was promoting juvenile diabetes or in the case of no-sugar Kool-Aid, presweetened with cancer causing saccharine-public was SOO unaware at the time)

    Avery got a pay check from GenFoods for shilling Kool-Aid & 40 years later some of us we get it & enjoy it for what its worth.

    He just may have been relieved he didn’t have to resort to stocking Safeway’s shelves with the stuff for a living

    • Chris Sobieniak

      Looking back at these things in historic context, at least give him a break for even having a job at all. I’m glad he didn’t spend his last years in the gutter personally.

  • J Lee

    One of the two other Avery Bugs-Elmer commercial done by Avery and Scribner that’s been posted elsewhere on YouTube (“Kool-Aid Stand”) is more in the normal Bugs-Elmer relationship and is interesting for the way Tex casts the cartoon by scene, with Scribner getting the main action segment, where his style of animation can be best used, while at the end, when we want a standard publicity photo-style Bugs in there to really pitch the product for General Foods, we get what looks to be Ben Washam’s animation.

    The secondary characters in that ad have a bit too much mad-for-TV look to them not to be a bit jarring, but at least you can see some of the old-time thinking of trying to use the animators to match their strengths, and Bugs is closer to his normal personality.

  • I worked with Tex Avery at Hanna-Barbera in the months before he died; later, I was the Senior Art Director at a major ad agency. I’m not stating this to brag, but to qualify my comments:

    A.) To the end, Tex knew exactly what he was doing. I’ve never worked with anyone who was so on top of every phase of production. He would never have intentionally made a commercial this shoddy unless he had no control over the storyline, gags and very poor cleaned-up animation. (Note how the distance between Bugs’ eyes varies during action.)

    B.) Ad agencies (and their clients) always get exactly what they want, no matter how lousy their ideas or judgment are. In fact, most Creative Directors and agency producers don’t know much about realistic schedules, budgets or even the difference between good and bad animation. Between them and the clients, it’s a miracle when a commercial turns out good.