Additional Information about the Theatrical Cartoon Rhapsody Rabbit

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Rhapsody Rabbit

Rhapsody Rabbit

Rhapsody Rabbit (1946) - Merrie Melodies Theatrical Cartoon Series Rhapsody Rabbit

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  • Warner Bros. Cartoons, Inc.
  • Animated Characters: Bugs Bunny, Mouse.
  • Originally Released in 1946.
  • Production Number: 1040.
    MPAA: 11511
  • Running Time: 7:33 minutes.
  • Color
  • U.S.A.  U.S.A.

Cartoon Production Information:

There was- and is, to this day- a mysterious and unresolved controversy regarding this cartoon, and MGM's The Cat Concerto. Both shorts were released in 1946, both used the same music, many of the same gags, and both had nearly identical plots. Even the stage in both cartoons looks strikingly similar. And when two studios release nearly identical films within months of each other, both studios instantly and loudly began accusing the other of plagiarism.

One theory for how both studios fell upon the same story was the possibility that Technicolor accidentally (or mischievously!) sent a print of one film to the rival studio, where the plot was copied. It has also been theorized that one of the studios was involved in some serious espionage. Or the simplest of all theories: that both studios just came up with a good idea at the same time. It has happened since; Pixars' A Bugs Life and DreamWorks' Antz from 1998 are a good example of similar themes from competing studios.

Of all the theories, the one that seems to make the most sense is the one put forth by the son of the pianist of the Warner Bros. cartoon. According to Peter Gimpel, his father may have mentioned in passing to rival pianist Shura Cherkassky that he was working on a cartoon at Warner Bros. involving Franz Lizst's 2nd Hungarian Rhapsody. Cherkassky, a consummate practical joker, may have just mentioned using the same song as a possible Tom And Jerry plot to his friends at MGM, and angled himself in to the job as pianist for the cartoon. Certainly, both Cherkassky and Gimpel knew each other well during this period, and they are the only concrete link at the rival studios between people who would have known the details- and could have told each other.

We will never know the true story of how the same story, with the same gags, and the same score was produced in the same year by two rival studios. Oh, and for what its worth, MGM ended up winning that year... Bugs Bunny would wait another ten years for his gold statue.
This was the very first cartoon broadcast on the Cartoon Network when it first went on the air on October 1, 1992.

Traditional, Hand-drawn Animation.

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Cartoon Comments:

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Rhapsody Rabbit

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The basic premise of this cartoon is that Bugs is trying to play a Lizst concerto in concert but is hampered by a small mouse inside the piano. This cartoon's significance is two-fold:
a) Since the beginning of the WB animation department,...  (read more)

2 of 16 people found this comment useful
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Rhapsody Rabbit

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This cartoon was, by and large, the work of three men. There was director Freleng, who also wrote it (according ot Maltin's book, these musicals were written entirely by the director himself). Also, Ross & Chiniquy were the only two animators who...  (read more)

3 of 14 people found this comment useful
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Rhapsody Rabbit

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WOW!!! No other reviews of this one YET?!?
A small but vital piece of info: When I spoke with animator Virgil Ross in 1991, he told me that he and Gerry Chiniquy were really the only animators who worked on this one (i.e., that Champin and Perez merely...  (read more)

2 of 12 people found this comment useful
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