Slick Hare is a 1947 Merrie Melodies Bugs Bunny cartoon, directed by Friz Freleng. It parodies the Mocambo nightclub in Los Angeles—in the cartoon referred to as "The Mocrumbo". Mel Blanc voices Bugs, Arthur Q. Bryan voices Elmer Fudd and impressionist Dave Barry portrays Humphrey Bogart. When Bogart comes to the Mocrumbo for dinner, waiter Elmer Fudd needs to serve him fried rabbit in 20 minutes— or else. When looking in the kitchen, Elmer finds Bugs Bunny, but Bugs is more interested in having fun with the celebrities than being served for dinner. The title is another pun on "hair", from an era when hair slicked down by oil was a popular fashion style for men.
Besides playing up many celebrities of the time (including a voiced cameo by Portuguese-Brazilian singer/actress Carmen Miranda), this cartoon is also noted for giving viewers an "inside look" at the kitchen of the Mocambo. The problem is, the view was not that flattering. According to a DVD commentary for this cartoon, one of the writers, Michael Maltese, managed to get a look at the kitchen of the Mocambo, and drew what he saw—including grease dripping from the refrigerators and crates of vegetables lying around on the ground. As Maltese put it in the DVD commentary, "I almost got my ass in a sling!" for this.
While the cartoon plays on Bogart's famous "tough guy" image, it also recognizes that Bogart was a softer man in real life, as he was more interested in Lauren Bacall's needs than resorting to violence.
The cartoon opens with various shots of 1940s celebrities dining and drinking at the Mocrumbo club—including such personalities as Ray Milland (in a spoof of The Lost Weekend, he pays for his drink with a typewriter and receives miniature typewriters as change), Gregory Peck using a straight razor to cut his steak in reference to his character in Hitchcock's Spellbound and Frank Sinatra (depicted exaggeratedly thin, so much so that he slips into his straw when trying to take a sip from his drink). Fudd is a waiter at the Mocrumbo and comes out to find that his next customer is Humphrey Bogart.
Bogart tells Elmer that he wants fried rabbit, within 20 minutes—or else! (pulls out a tommy gun). This puts Elmer in a bind, as the restaurant is "fwesh out of wabbit." However, during his frantic search for one, Elmer hears the familiar sound of Bugs munching on some carrots in a corner of the kitchen. Elmer lets Bugs know that Bogart wants to "have" him for dinner. Bugs immediately dresses in a tailcoat and wants to have a peek at what is cooking. Elmer quickly puts a mirror into a pot. Bugs, taking a look inside, soon realizes that he himself is the main course.
Bugs eventually manages to escape the kitchen, dressing like Groucho Marx in an attempt to fool Elmer. Elmer then appears next to Bugs, dressed as Harpo Marx. Bugs tries to make a getaway, but is stopped by the large abdomen of Sydney Greenstreet. He runs into Carmen Miranda's dressing room and hides in her iconic fruit headdress. Carmen then performs a song and as she exits the stage, Elmer starts chasing Bugs. Elmer runs away from the audience leaving Bugs to dance to the orchestra's samba rhythms.
Bugs then makes his way back to the kitchen, where he reveals in the audience's appreciation of his performance ("Ah, my public! How they love me! A-huh-huh!" (the little laugh being a Jack Benny shtick). Fudd then runs towards Bugs, and Bugs immediately pretends to be a waiter ordering pies and twice splatters Elmer in the face. The third time (a comic triple), Elmer throws the pie at Bugs, but he ducks and it sails out into the seating area, hitting Bogart in the face. Bogart walks into the kitchen, grabs Elmer and asks him, "Why did you hit me in the face wid a coconut custard pie wid whipped cream?" Bogart then warns Elmer that he has just 5 minutes to come up with his fried rabbit. Elmer searches frantically, but cannot find one in time. Bogart returns, and sticks his hand in his jacket menacingly. Elmer thinks he's about to die, but Bogart only pulls out a handkerchief to dab his forehead as he says resignedly, "Baby will just have to have a ham sandwich instead." Upon hearing "Baby", Bugs jumps out of his hiding place and takes his place as the main course (Lauren Bacall being "Baby"), noting, "Remember, garçon, the customer is always right! If it's rabbit Baby wants, rabbit Baby gets!" before howling and wolf whistling at Bacall.
Mel Blanc as Bugs Bunny, Waiter, Bartender and Ray Milland
Arthur Q. Bryan as Elmer Fudd (uncredited)
Dave Barry as Humphrey Bogart (uncredited)This cartoon can be found on Volume 2 of the Looney Tunes Golden Collection.
The short is also an extra on the DVD release of the 1947 Humphrey Bogart film Dark Passage, available individually and as part of the Bogie and Bacall: The Signature Collection DVD boxed set.