Sahara Hare (1955) was produced during the peak years of the storied output of the cartoon unit at Warner Bros. It is also one of the funniest and most fondly-remembered variations in the ongoing war between Bugs Bunny and his blustering antagonist, Yosemite Sam. Having exhausted all manner of Western settings for Sam, for this short his creator Friz Freleng turns the hot-tempered varmint into Riff Raff Sam, and Arab desert bandit.
Bugs arrives in the Sahara, thinking he has burrowed to Miami Beach. Passing signs reading "Sahara Desert" and "Keep Off the Grass," Bugs is slow to get a clue, saying, "Man, dig this crazy beach - must be low tide!" Bugs mistakes an oasis pond for the Atlantic Ocean, as his footprints raise the ire of Sam, wearing traditional desert attire and riding (as described by Jerry Back in Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies: A Complete Illustrated Guide to the Warner Bros. Cartoons), "an un-whoa-able bump-backed camel, the first in a series of such beasts of burden as in Knighty Night Bugs (1958) and Prince Violent (1961)." Bugs is not impressed with Sam's entrance, as he uses Sam's traditional Arab headdress as a towel dispenser to wipe his face. Bugs continues his mockery of Arab dress by telling a suddenly shy Sam, "Your slip is showing!"
Bugs takes refuge from Sam's wrath in a nearby empty Foreign Legion outpost ("For Rent or Lease / Call Morocco 4131"), and the balance of the cartoon turns into a wild series of blackout gags as Sam tries to gain entrance. Naturally, all attempts -- including pole-vaulting, stilts, hammer and chisel, elephant, and giant rubber band -- end in disaster for Riff Raff Sam. All the while Bugs taunts, at one point calling, "Yoo-Hoo... Mister A-Rab!!" In addition to this incarnation as an Arab bandit, Friz Freleng cast Yosemite Sam in several other variations during the run of classic Warner Bros. theatrical cartoons. Sam appeared famously as a pirate (Captain Hareblower, 1955), but also as a knight (Knighty Night Bugs, 1958), a prison guard (Big House Bunny, 1948), a mountain climber (Piker's Peak, 1957), a Confederate soldier (Southern Fried Rabbit, 1953), and a Roman Legionnaire (Roman Legion-Hare, 1955).
Producer: Edward Selzer (uncredited)
Director: I. Freleng
Screenplay: Warren Foster
Music: Milt Franklyn (uncredited)
Film Editing: Treg Brown (uncredited)
Cast: Mel Blanc (Bugs Bunny/Yosemite Sam/Daffy Duck (voice).
by John M. Miller
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