Bugs Bunny's Looney Christmas Tales is a half-hour Christmas television special, based on and starring the Looney Tunes characters, in which Bugs Bunny presents three separate holiday stories. Originally aired on CBS on November 27, 1979, it was the first of three Looney Tunes specials which, instead of compiling and re-editing older shorts, consisted entirely of three new shorts, all introduced by Bugs in linking footage. The three segments were later featured as individual shorts in the Looney Tunes Saturday morning and syndicated packages, with individual title cards and limited credits. Follow-up specials, using the same format, were Daffy Duck's Easter Egg-citement and Bugs Bunny's Busting Out All Over.
The special opens with Bugs Bunny leading some of his fellow Looney Tunes stars - Porky Pig, Elmer Fudd, Yosemite Sam, Foghorn Leghorn, and Pepé Le Pew - in singing "Deck the Halls". However, Porky and Foghorn have trouble singing solo lines due to their speech patterns, Yosemite Sam refuses to sing solo, and Pepé sings "Alouette" when asked to sing solo. Bugs instead says he'll sing the regular lines of the song while the others pick up on the "Fa-la-las".
"Bugs Bunny's Christmas Carol"
The first segment is a parody of A Christmas Carol, featuring Yosemite Sam in the role of Ebenezer Scrooge and Porky as Bob Cratchit. Scrooge is counting money in the counting house of his firm when Cratchit comes in, wanting to borrow a lump of coal as he is freezing, but Scrooge refuses. Bugs then comes in with Christmas decorations and mistletoe, but he is tossed out and decides that "somebody oughta teach that little humbug some Christmas spirit." Bugs borrows a piece of hot coal from Scrooge's stove and places it in Cratchit's office, and then invites Elmer, Pepé, and Foghorn in to sing "Deck the Halls" with him. Scrooge, furious at this, throws them all out and also fires Cratchit.
Cratchit invites Bugs to dinner, introducing him to his youngest son, Tiny Tim (Tweety Bird). Just then, Scrooge sends the light company to take away the Cratchits' last candle (as Cratchit is past due), and then sends them a notice that the house is being foreclosed, forcing the Cratchit family to move out by midnight. Bugs decides this is the last straw.
First, when Scrooge tries to go to bed, Bugs and his group of carolers annoy Scrooge so much that he rushes outside to deal with them and slips on the ice. Next, when Scrooge tries to take a hot bath, Bugs tosses snow into the bathtub ("This'll probably cool off everything but his temper"). He then puts on a sheet, drags around chains, and beats a drum, which causes Scrooge to investigate. He does so, and accidentally slips down the stairs and into the cold, along with his cat Sylvester. They go back to bed, but then Bugs appears, still acting like a ghost, which scares off Sylvester. Calling himself "The Ghost of Christmas", Bugs threatens to take Scrooge to see "the man in the red suit" (the Devil, though Scrooge first guesses Santa Claus). Scrooge quickly promises to change and runs through town, giving money to the poor and later making Bob Cratchit a partner in his firm. At Christmas dinner, Tweety raises a toast to him, and Bugs kisses him under his mistletoe again, to which Scrooge remarks that he still hates kissing, though.
As the second segment begins, Bugs congratulates Sam on his great portrayal as Scrooge in the last segment. Sam, however, states that he was only acting and starts taking his money back. Outside, the Road Runner (Semper Food-Ellus) and Wile E. Coyote (Grotesques Appetitus) have briefly stopped their chase to look at the dinner that the others are currently enjoying. Wile E. then immediately resumes chasing his prey.
Wile E. looks in a book about Road Runners to find out the bird's weakness and is flabbergasted to learn that Road Runners hate cold and snow and can be easily caught in snow drifts. With that, he orders an Acme Little Giant Snow-Cloud Seeder, which is supposed to make instant snow. However, every time he uses the machine, it causes a large pile of snow to drop on him, and he eventually discards the useless device.
Wile E. paces around, trying to figure out another way to use Road Runners' hatred of snow to his advantage. He then gets the idea to switch around two signs reading "Snow Summit" and "Desert Crossing" so that the Road Runner will instead take the path to the snowy mountains. The Road Runner, sure enough, takes the wrong path and ends up getting himself stuck on a frozen lake. Wile E. puts on some ice skates and skates a circle around the bird, but it causes the entire lake around the circle to break apart, dropping Wile E. into the water below. As Road Runner revs up his ice floe like a boat, the now-frozen Wile E. walks out of the water.
The Coyote purchases a pair of Acme Jet-Propelled Skis and uses them to chase the Road Runner, but he ends up hitting a tree. He then buys a dog sled and a dozen sled dogs to pull it, but when he tries to open the crate containing the dogs, they mercilessly attack him. After managing to shut them back in the crate, Wile E. looks at the invoice and reads an important note at the bottom: "Sled dogs love coyotes - especially for supper!" He next buys an Acme Rocking Horse to sled downhill while twirling an Acme Road Runner Lasso, but he ends up getting himself tied up in the lasso and stuck on some railroad tracks (the rocking horse runs away before the train can hit him). Finally, Wile E. tries rolling a giant snowball in hopes of dropping it on the Road Runner from a cliff, but as expected, he ends up falling off the cliff himself, with the giant snowball coming down after him. Wile E. climbs out from under the snowball, now wearing a Santa-like snow beard, and rings a bell while holding up a sign that reads "Merry Xmas" and "Happy New Year".
"Fright Before Christmas"
Bugs is leading Porky, Elmer, Sam, Foghorn, and Pepé in Christmas caroling again, this time singing "Jingle Bells". However, while Bugs holds them on one of the notes, his nephew Clyde shows up, telling his uncle he promised to read a Christmas story. Noticing that his fellow carolers are getting breathless from holding on a single note for so long, Bugs stops his conducting, deciding that now is a good time to read A Visit from St. Nicholas to his nephew.
At the North Pole, as Santa Claus is preparing for his Christmas Eve flight, a cargo plane is flying the Tasmanian Devil overhead. Taz escapes from his confinement and ends up parachuting out and landing near Santa's workshop, where he accidentally gets himself into Santa's suit (which was hanging out to dry) and inadvertently takes control of Santa's flying sleigh when he spooks the reindeer.
At Bugs' house, Bugs is reading A Visit from St. Nicholas to Clyde (during which Speedy Gonzales begs to differ when Bugs reads that there wasn't a mouse stirring). They suddenly hear a noise on the roof, and Clyde thinks that it is Santa, so Bugs sends him to bed. Taz, who landed the sleigh on the roof, then drops down Bugs' chimney, and Bugs, despite noticing that this Santa is in fact "an unreasonable facsimile", gives him a warm welcome. He goes to the kitchen to make a snack for Taz and brings him a plate of milk and cookies; Taz responds by eating the whole table.
Bugs reads his nephew's "brief" Christmas list to Taz, during which Taz starts eating some of the ornaments and lights on Bugs' tree ("Watch out for that green one... it's not quite ripe"). Bugs then says he'll make some popcorn and hands a can of it to Taz, who promptly swallows it before Bugs can get the popper, and since he is standing next to the fireplace, the popcorn starts popping inside his body. Taz then takes a look at one of the presents under the tree, at which point Bugs sets up a fake gift exchange desk and asks Taz if he'd like to exchange it for a bigger one. Taz takes the bigger present and opens it up outside; it is a self-inflating rubber raft. He eats the whole raft, which then expands inside his body and sends him floating into the sky.
Clyde returns and tells his uncle Bugs that Santa didn't put anything in his stocking and also left his sleigh and reindeer behind. Bugs, however, tells him that they just need to return the sleigh to the real Santa. With that, they take control of Santa's sleigh and take off for the North Pole.
In the special's closing scene, Bugs, Porky, Elmer, Sam, Foghorn, and Pepé are riding in a open sleigh pulled by Taz, who then eats the sleigh. With that, Bugs says "Merry Christmas" to the viewers, and Porky, despite his speech impediment, also wishes them happy holidays.
Note: Petunia Pig appears as Mrs. Cratchit in the Bugs Bunny's Christmas Carol segment, but does not have a speaking part.
The special was made available on VHS on October 3, 1990. It was later included as a bonus feature on the Looney Tunes Golden Collection: Volume 5 DVD set (along with Bugs and Daffy's Carnival of the Animals and Bugs Bunny's Bustin' Out All Over) in 2007, and received its own DVD in the United Kingdom in 2010.
In addition, the individual "Fright Before Christmas" segment was featured on the VHS releases Stars of Space Jam: Tasmanian Devil in 1996 and Looney Tunes Presents Taz's Jungle Jams in 2000, the Looney Tunes Platinum Collection: Volume 1 Blu-ray set in 2011, and the 2018 DVD version of Stars of Space Jam: Tasmanian Devil.
|Mel Blanc|| Bugs Bunny|
Pepé Le Pew
Wile E. Coyote
|June Foray|| Mrs. Claus|
|Paul Julian (archive recording)||Road Runner|