"Lighter Than Hare" is a Warner Bros. Merrie Melodies animated short written and directed by Friz Freleng. It was originally released on December 17, 1960. The title is a play on the phrase lighter than air.
The cartoon opens with the credits in outer space and the camera pulls up to Earth, to a town somewhere in Oregon or Washington. Finally, right near Highway 17, a flying saucer from outer space lands and surveys the surrounding area with a periscope. At the city dump nearby, Bugs Bunny comes back home, thinking he should move somewhere else, on account of the neighborhood "gettin' terribly rundown."
Inside the spaceship, Yosemite Sam of outer space, dressed in a green gloveless spacesuit, sees Bugs on the television screen. Summoning Robot ZX29B to the bridge, he orders the robot to capture Bugs as part of their Earth mission. ZX29B trundles out of the spaceship, comes up to Bugs' hole and peeks down at Bugs cleaning up from breakfast, making Bugs get the feeling he's being watched. Just as Bugs goes up to the surface with his trash, ZX29B scurries away and hides among the garbage cans outside the dump. Since he hasn't built himself an electric garbage disposal yet, Bugs has to empty his trash in the garbage cans. Coming across ZX29B, Bugs thinks he's a new garbage can, opens ZX29B's mouth like a lid and empties his trash into ZX29b. When Bugs goes away, ZX29B comes out coughing up the garbage.
Angered at ZX29B for bungling his mission, Sam comments that he shouldn't have sent him since ZX29B is the stupidest of his robot army. Sam then summons the Demolition Squad, a trio of red robots, and orders them to destroy Bugs. The Demolition Squad take fuselit bombs and go out into the dump. Seeing them coming, Bugs panics at being invaded and dives down to the pipe to his bomb shelter. The robots dump their bombs down the pipe and head back to the ship. Escaping the shelter through a back way, an angered Bugs tosses a giant magnet down the pipe, stating that it should take care of "them mechanized mobsters!", which sucks the robots into the pipe. The bombs explode and blow the Demolition Squad to smithereens, prompting a Medic Robot to appear and sweep up the mess.
Angered at the Demolition Squad for bungling their mission, Sam decides to go after Bugs himself and hops aboard an indestructible tank that he drives into the dump. When Sam scans the dump, he sees Bugs come up in a machine, who drops a lit stick of dynamite into the tank. Sam tosses it out, but Bugs drops it back in and rivets the hatch shut. When Sam tries to hammer out the rivets, the dynamite explodes, sending Sam to drive his crippled tank back to the ship.
Bugs, at this time, decides to make his getaway by taking a handcar from the Flag Station. Just as he cranks away, Sam gives chase in the spaceship. The spaceship lowers a ladder and Sam goes down it, but he gets knocked off at a tunnel. The spaceship picks him up and pulls him back into itself.
Sam catches up to Bugs via rocket pack and stops him at ray gun point. When Sam brags how Earth creatures can't maneuver very well, Bugs proves him wrong by spinning his ears like the blades on a helicopter and flies away. Sam shouts a catchphrase ("Yosemite Sam of outer space!") and tries to catch up by rocket pack, but Bugs moves so he misses. When Bugs lands in a hole, Sam decides to wait so he can disintegrate Bugs the moment he comes out. While Sam talks, Bugs secretly replaces his rocket pack with a lit stick of dynamite. Bugs then flies out of an old tree stump, and Sam shouts his catchphrase, just before the dynamite explodes and destroys his spacesuit.
Back at the dump, Sam takes his Robot Ferret to use it to catch Bugs. At this time, Bugs builds a Robot Rabbit out of old war surplus stuff. Sam sends the Robot Ferret down Bugs' hole, where the Robot Ferret meets the Robot Rabbit. When the Robot Ferret threatens the Robot Rabbit with a ray gun to go with him, the Robot Rabbit agrees, provided that the Robot Ferret doesn't press the button on his stomach. The Robot Ferret ignores this command and presses the button, resulting in the release of a metal block that smashes the Robot Ferret to pieces.
Angered at the Robot Ferret for bungling his mission, Sam decides he's had it with fooling around. Bugs, meanwhile, builds another robot rabbit (made from parts from the robot ferret), sets a time bomb, puts it in the robot's stomach, and dresses it up like himself. Outside, Sam's spaceship draws out a huge ray gun and aims it down Bugs' hole, ready to blast Bugs, but Bugs sends out the Robot Decoy, which walks into the spaceship. Their mission "complete", Sam and the flying saucer take off and fly back to Sam's homeworld.
Later that night, Bugs turns on his war surplus radio and listens in as Sam presents the Robot Decoy to the planet's Potentate. The Potentate orders the Robot Decoy to come forward and when he orders the Robot to speak, the Robot Decoy's time bomb explodes, destroying the palace. The dazed Potentate comments that Earth creatures always shoot off their mouths. Laughing at this, Bugs changes the channels, wondering if Amos and Andy is on yet.
Canon and cultural referencesEdit
This is the first Friz Freleng cartoon with a science fiction theme, and the first time where Yosemite Sam is a spaceman. Usually Chuck Jones put Bugs into Space with his Character, Command X-2 (Marvin the Martian). The Robot Ferret however has Marvin's voice
This cartoon was released to theaters just one month after Amos and Andy was cancelled on the radio. Friz Freleng chose this gag instead of having Bugs watch a television and change to I Love Lucy after watching the Robot Decoy's demise.