Monday, April 21, 2008

Bunker Hill Bunny (1950)

For those of you in the State of Maine and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, today is Patriot’s Day. Actually, the 19th was Patriot’s Day, the anniversary of the Battle of Lexington and Concord, but with our penchant for Monday holidays, today is the official day off.

When it comes to dramatizations of American history, we clearly have an authority in Bugs Bunny, whose “Bunker Hill Bunny” (1950) shows us the American Revolution in all its inspiration and political fervor. As Bugs himself says so poignantly, “This happens to be me native soil, and I like it.”

Yosemite Sam plays a Hessian mercenary who fires cannon upon Bug’s log stockade from his own stone fort in what is depicted as the Battle of Bagel Heights. There are gags about very large cannon, playing baseball with a cannonball, and running around with one’s pants full of gunpowder. As a child, I learned a lot about history from Warner Bros. cartoons. Unfortunately, as an adult I had to un-learn everything. Apparently, Hessians did not go around saying things like: “Say your prayers you flea-bitten varmint! I’m a-gonna blow you to smithereenies.” We’re still waiting for a ruling by David McCullough.

The Battle of Bunker Hill actually took place on Breed’s Hill, and the Americans actually lost. I was also informed that Bugs Bunny did not in fact win the Revolutionary War for the American side. Many others were involved. This, however, must be an urban myth, because of course Bugs won the war. He’s the star. Smug revisionists.

Have a look for yourself at “Bunker Hill Bunny” on YouTube. For those of you in Maine and Massachusetts, Happy Patriot’s Day. Everybody else, get back to work.

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