Bugs Bunny at the Circus in BIG TOP BUNNY (1951)

This is what happens when a bear and a rabbit compete for the spotlight at Colonel Korny’s…




Bruno the magnificent Slobokian Acrobatic Bear is the star of Colonel Korny’s World Famous Circus. The Colonel is satisfied with his current slate of performing animals, but when he receives a phone call about the world’s only acrobatic rabbit Korny can’t resist and adds him to the act – to share the spotlight with Bruno. The problem is that NO ONE SHARES THE SPOTLIGHT WITH BRUNO!


Bruno has his mind set on getting rid of the rabbit from the moment the two are introduced under the big top.  Oh, did I mention the rabbit is Bugs Bunny?


Bruno has it all planned. He puts an anvil high above so that when Bugs is propelled off the see saw he hits his head. Moments later Bruno fails to catch Bugs during the trapeze act. It only took the first stunt for Bugs Bunny to get the upper hand though. He is ready with springs to catch his fall and soon gets a bit of his own back.  Poor, conceited Bruno doesn’t know what hits him – over and over again.


Before you know it Bugs accuses Bruno of spoiling the act because he’s too clumsy. The rabbit has his sights on a solo act. When Bruno’s ego is dented Bugs turns on his mental prowess and before you know it Bruno is shot out of a canon and out of the tent. The rabbit is solo! The End.

Big Top Bunny was directed by Robert McKimson who’d had the distinction of directing What’s Up Doc? the year before to celebrate Bugs Bunny’s 10th birthday. That cartoon is a hoot, by the way, as you see Bugs recount his life story to a reporter from “Disassociated Press.” McKimson also happened to direct Bugs Bunny in another big top adventure in 1946. That outing, Acrobatty Bunny pits Bugs against Nero the Lion after the circus is set up just above Bugs’ rabbit hole. The action in that cartoon ends up under the big top where Bugs exhibits some nifty acrobatics. I’m guessing that experience is what led Bugs to choose the circus as a career, which then took him to Colonel Korny’s Circus and Bruno the Bear.


Special shout outs must go to the great Melvin Jerome “Mel” Blanc who voiced all three characters in Big Top Bunny – Bugs Bunny, Bruno the Bear and Colonel Korny. The animators for the cartoon were Charles McKimson, Rod Scribner, Phil DeLara and Bob Wickersham with a story by Tedd (Ted) Pierce.

I chose Big Top Bunny as my entry for the At the Circus Blogathon hosted by Critica Retro and Serendipitous Anachronisms not because it’s a standout, but because it’s comfort food. We get nothing new on the Bugs Bunny front in Big Top Bunny. Bugs is his usual, smart-alecky self. He still impresses though with his under-the-tent talents and comedic timing. For standard cartoon slapstick fun, which the folks at Warner Bros. for Merrie Melodies/Looney Tunes did better than anybody, Big Top Bunny is a brisk 7+ minutes worth watching.

Be sure to visit the At the Circus blogathon. There are lots of great big top adventures featured.


8 thoughts

  1. I remember watching this cartoon when I was younger, at the Acme Hour. It is, indeed, comfort food: nothing new, but funny and entertaining nevertheless.
    Thanks for joining us, Aurora, it was a pleasure to have you among our guests!

  2. The best Bugs Bunny was the Episode Little Red Riding Rabbit. Riding Hoods loud voice inspired by Radio personality Casa Daley voiced by Bea Benadera was a scream . Her 5 o’clock whistle song was an awesome opening. My 6 and 2 years old granddaughters love to watch on You Tube. They love Elmer Fudd!!

  3. I always feel a little sorry for the Bugs Bunny nemeses. They never realize until it’s too late with whom they’re dealing, poor slobs.

    I am ashamed to say I’ve not seen this one. (Not sure how this happened – thought I’d seen ’em all!) There is a clip of the last minute on YouTube, which is worth it in itself, but I’m going to track down a full version.

    Sometimes, living vicariously through Bugs Bunny is good therapy, no?

  4. Lovely post! I adore Bugs Bunny, “NO ONE SHARES THE SPOTLIGHT WITH BRUNO!” I am pretty sure that will be tomorrow’s random catchphrase, thank you for your fun post and interesting insight to a classic!

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