On this day 80 years ago, Bugs Bunny made his official screen debut in the Tex Avery short A Wild Hare. To mark this occasion, ABC Audio caught up with Eric Bauza, who not only voices Bugs, but also Daffy Duck, Marvin the Martian, and Tweety in HBO Max’s new Looney Tunes toons.
“You know, in Hollywood, to be that long in the industry is quite an accomplishment,” Bauza laughs, “And to be voicing him in my inaugural year, I mean, I’ve been voicing Bugs Bunny since I was nine. You know, in front of the TV…”
Bauza deconstructed the unmistakable voice for us, explaining he’s standing on the shoulders of its originator, Mel Blanc. “It’s such a weird voice because, yeah, you have that bassyness to this to it there, that great — and then there’s the nasaly quality together. And then you slap on the New York accent. And it’s like, oh, my gosh. Off to the races.”
Bauza explains he tries to bring out his favorite aspect of Blanc’s portrayal. “What I miss most about the performance that Mel Blanc left behind was the amount of energy that he had. There’s moments in cartoons [where] ‘He talks like this,’” the actor says, imitating the rabbit. “But then he’s like [shouting] ‘OOH I’M DYIN!!’ You know, like that weird stuff that doesn’t even sound like Bugs. That’s the stuff that as a kid, I’d be like, woah, where did that come from?!”
Bauza explains, “Being a fan as a child and now being a father of a four year old…my son and I watch it together….So getting to not just be Bugs, but to be part of the exposure to a new generation…is something that I’ll never forget.”