Updated on November 26, 2022
Next on the string of minor Christmas specials is “Bugs Bunny’s Looney Christmas Tales,” a 1979 Christmas special. This one consisted of three shorts: two featuring Bugs, the third featuring the Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote.
There’s also interstitial segments of Bugs trying to lead a group of carolers—Foghorn Leghorn, Pepe Le Pew, Yosemite Sam, Elmer Fudd, and Porky Pig—with negative results.
Bugs Bunny’s Christmas Carol
One of the 8 billion versions of the classic Dickens story, and the first of two for the Looney Tunes cast; 2006’s “Bah, Humduck!” direct-to-DVD-movie is the second.
In this one, Yosemite Sam is Scrooge, Porky is Bob Cratchit, and Tweety is Tiny Tim. (When Bugs notes how “puny” Tiny Tim is, Tim retorts “if you had to live on birdseed, you’d be puny too!”) Bugs saves Cratchit’s job after Scrooge fires him on Christmas Eve (and forecloses on his house). To do so, Bugs resorts to his trademark tactics, including at one point dressing up as a ghost to scare Scrooge. At the end, Scrooge reforms…or so it seems.
The funniest part is after the end of the short. Bugs congratulates Sam on his acting as Scrooge, but Sam demands everyone give him back all the money he gave away during the story. He also insults the others while they do so: “just put the money in the hat, hamhocks, don’t be shy! You next, featherhead!”
This was the first Road Runner short in years by Chuck Jones himself. (The other two shorts in this special were produced by Friz Freleng’s DePatie-Freleng studio.)
The Coyote figures he can nab the Road Runner in the mountains near their desert (since a book he reads states “road runners hate cold and snow”), and thus lures him there. Unfortunately, his various cold-weather-themed attacks don’t work any better than his usual desert-themed tactics.
The Fright Before Christmas
One of the 8 billion puns on “The Night Before Christmas” I’ve seen show up in animation over the years (including Tim Burton’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas” and “The Powerpuff Girls” special “The Fight Before Christmas“).
In this case, the “fright” is the Tasmanian Devil, who somehow has gotten a hold of Santa’s costume and sleigh. Taz shows up at Bugs’ house (Bugs is in a house and not a rabbit hole in this special), after Bugs has sent his nephew Clyde to bed. As expected, Bugs easily thwarts the slobbering St. Nick-wannabe.
This one’s the funnier of the two Bugs shorts. My favorite part: Bugs reading to Taz his nephew’s “brief Christmas list,” a long list full of ludicrous-but-hilarious requests, including such items as “a solid-gold football… controlling interest in IBM… Frank Sinatra’s old address book… a second-hand diamond…”
On TV/home video
“Bugs Bunny’s Looney Christmas Tales” is available as an extra on the “Looney Tunes Golden Collection, Volume 5” DVD set. The special also got its own stand-alone DVD release overseas (i.e. not for region 1 players).
The stand-alone shorts “Freeze Frame” and “Fright Before Christmas” are available on HBO Max. “Fright” in particular has seen numerous DVD releases, probably thanks to Taz’s popularity.
Anthony Dean is the owner of Diverse Tech Geek and Diverse Media Notes.