THE GUILLOTINE: Twentieth-Century Classics That Won't Last No 15: BUGS BUNNY
Sunday 18 April 1999
So it's not only poor Bugs who is facing oblivion. However biologically disparate they might have been, the entire menagerie of squeaking, squawking, incontinent and licentious animated creatures whose function it was to divert us before the unfurling of the "big picture" - Daffy Duck, Tom and Jerry, Sylvester and Tweety Pie ("I tot I taw a puddy cat"), Tex Avery's sublime Droopy, slow on the uptake but quick on the downtake, the Roadrunner et al - all now belong to a single culturally endangered species. The concept of a "supporting programme" has long since been made obsolete in the cinema; and cartoons, even if more popular than ever, have an increasing tendency to be earnest, lengthy, politically correct affairs utterly devoid of the demented energy that once so enchanted us.
Are none at all destined to outlive the century which engendered them? Just one, alas, the inevitable Mickey Mouse. Such durability, though, has absolutely nothing to do with personal allure. Except in the early, anarchic, black-and-white shorts, before both he and Disney became an institution - an international treasure, as we refer to "national treasures" - Mickey was, of all the celebrated cartoon characters, by far the least amusing and charismatic. He had a creepy falsetto voice, wore horrid knickerbockers and clownishly bulging shoes and looked like no rodent one had ever seen. Nevertheless, in an industry in which franchising is often more profitable than film-making itself, he did have one supreme advantage over his rival toons. He became not just an icon but a logo.
The mouse - there, surely, is the great cryptic motif of the new millennium, be it Bill Gates's Microsoft mouse or Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse.
Review: A panoramic account of the hacking scandalbooks
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Sabina Altynbekova, the girl branded 'too good looking' for volleyball, says social media obsession with her is a 'bit much'
- 2 Disney heiress Abigail disowns her share of family profits in West Bank company
- 3 Israel's propaganda machine is finally starting to misfire
- 4 Zayn Malik on Israel-Gaza: One Direction singer bombarded with Twitter death threats after posting #FreePalestine
- 5 'Hello mum, this is going to be hard for you to read ...'
New Netflix releases: Films and TV shows coming August 2014
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy
Best movies on Netflix UK and US: 32 films that will end your endless scrolling
Star Wars Episode 7: Simon Pegg hints at role
Guardians of the Galaxy - review: A superficial and half-hearted Marvel film
The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
Land for gas: Merkel and Putin discussed secret deal could end Ukraine crisis
Woman and two children killed by mob in riots over 'blasphemous' Facebook post in Pakistan
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Putin is 'thuggish, dishonest and reckless', says British ambassador to US
Richard Dawkins tweets: 'Date rape is bad, stranger rape is worse'
- < Previous
- Next >