That’s what’s up, Doc.
Happy birthday, Bugs Bunny!
Today marks that wascally wabbit’s 75th anniversary after making his debut opposite Elmer Fudd in the cartoon “Wild Hare,” which was directed by Tex Avery and released on July 27, 1940.
There has been some debate about the first appearance of the wise-cracking, carrot-chomping rabbit voiced by Mel Blanc, but, according to Variety, it was in 1940 that the rabbit we know and love as Bugs Bunny was introduced, along with his memorable catchphrase, “What’s up, Doc?” That’s a good enough reason to slice into some carrot cake and head to the ultimate rabbit party spot—The Bunny Museum.
Housed in a private residence in Pasadena, California, the Bunny Museum is owned and operated by Candace Frazee and Steve Lubanski. The couple started swapping bunny-related memorabilia in 1994 as a token of their affection for each other; they eventually married and turned their home into a museum to house their growing rabbit reservoir. Their collection expanded, and in 1999 the Guinness Book of World Records certified the Bunny Museum as having "the world's largest collection of bunnies," with approximately 8,500 items. The collection has since multiplied—as bunnies tend to do—and now, 16 years later, the museum boasts over 30,000 pieces of rabbit-related items.
The Bunny Museum, which is either the Best Museum In the Whole USA or The Weirdest Museum On Earth, depending on who you ask, features bunnies, bunnies, everywhere, and in all forms, too: from stuffed to ceramic, papier mache to pastel, fine art to freeze-dried (that’s right), larger than life to miniature. There are rabbit cookie jars, rabbit-themed Rose Parade floats, bunny figurines (including a hare with Elvis Presley’s famous ‘do), and even living rabbits that are litter box–trained and call the museum home.
In addition to rabbit-themed collectibles, the so-called living museum also features famous cartoon rabbits like Bugs Bunny, Peter Rabbit, Bambi’s friend Thumper, and the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland, along with their more commercial cousins: the Trix rabbit, the Energizer Bunny, and the Nestle Quik rabbit.
The niche museum has welcomed visitors from 46 countries and 46 states and earned some famous fans, including Elijah Wood, who made a strange series of quasi-serious advertisements for the museum for the website Funny or Die. The museum also welcomes visiting rabbits, as long as they are carried by their owners.
Since the museum is also a home, make reservations before heading to Pasadena. The Bunny Museum, 1933 Jefferson Drive, Pasadena, 91104. (626) 798-8848. Open every afternoon by appointment. Suggested donation, $5. thebunnymuseum.com
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