Operation: Rabbit is a 1951 Looney Tunes animated cartoon first released theatrically in 1952. Directed by Chuck Jones, the cartoon features Bugs Bunny and Wile E. Coyote in the latter character's first attempt to capture and eat the former.
This was the second cartoon to feature Wile E. Coyote (following 1949's Fast and Furry-ous), and the first in which he is identified by his full name. It is also the first in which the Coyote speaks; his voice, like Bugs, was provided by Mel Blanc. The two characters would reappear together in the cartoons To Hare Is Human (1956), Rabbit's Feat (1960),Compressed Hare (1961), and Hare-Breadth Hurry (1963).
Set in the desert, Operation: Rabbit opens with Wile E. Coyote running up to Bugs Bunny's rabbit hole and constructing a door. He knocks on the door and Bugs, slightly bemused by the addition to his property, opens it. The Coyote proclaims, in his very first spoken line of dialogue ever, that he is a genius, as well as being faster, taller, and stronger than Bugs, and that he intends to eat the rabbit. He goes on to advise Bugs that it is futile to try and escape, since Bugs "could hardly pass the entrance examinations to kindergarten", an insult Bugs does not seem to react to (Wile E. displays an enlarged self-confidence throughout not only this film but in his other appearances with Bugs aside from Hare-Breadth Hurry.) An unimpressed Bugs replies, "I'm sorry, Mac, the lady of the house ain't home. And besides, we mailed you people a check last week," then slams the door in Wile E.'s face. The Coyote goes back to his cave hideout (taking the door with him), asking himself: "Why do they always want to do it the hard way?"
The Coyote's first plan to trap Bugs is to build a pressure cooker on top of the rabbit hole and cook Bugs alive. He chops up vegetables, throws them down the hole, adds an egg, a drop of cooking oil, some seasoning, tosses it into a salad, then places the pressure cooker on top. Bugs watches Wile E.'s work from another hole (suggesting his burrow has a back door), then walks up to him and asks "What's cookin', Doc?" When informed that Wile E. is cooking "rabbit stew" ("Gad, I'm SUCH a genius!"), Bugs casually observes, "there's only one little thing wrong with it", that there is no rabbit (Because Bugs came up the alternate hole). As Wile E. frantically looks under the cooker, Bugs gives him a big kick down the hole and sticks the cooker on top of Wile E. He then picks up a bat, goes back down the second hole, and clobbers the Coyote (off-screen) at the other hole, prompting the Coyote to remark: "Well, back to the old drawing board."
In the next scene, the Coyote prepares his second plan: the use of a chute for firing a cannon ball into Bugs' hole. After the ball arrives in the hole via the chute from a cannon, Bugs uses a second chute to return the ball to the Coyote, where it explodes on target, causing the Coyote's plan to quite literally backfire on him.
Bugs then goes to the Coyote's cave to claim that he is surrendering "on account of I cannot fight no more against such genius," but he wants Wile E. to sign as a witness to his last will and testament. He gives the Coyote the document and a "pen", which is really a burning stick of dynamite. Wile E. knows that it's dynamite and puts out the fuse ("Very amateurish attempt on my person".). While he gloats ("Being a genius certainly has its advantages"), it is revealed that there is another fuse at the other end of the TNT stick, which explodes on cue.
The Coyote then returns to his cave and builds a mechanical (and explosive) lady rabbit that will be used as a decoy to trap Bugs. ("Brilliance. That's all I can say. Sheer, unadulterated brilliance!") Bugs, however, has anticipated this plan, and built an explosive lady coyote in response ("Fight fire with fire, I always say"). Bugs detonates the coyote robot just as Wile is romantically embracing it. Then, because Wile E. was so distracted that he forgot about the rabbit robot ("Oh, NO..."), it explodes in his cave as well.
The Coyote then creates an exploding flying saucer with a radarscope mechanism able to detect birds, mice, and rabbits. The disc flies to Bugs' hole, but Bugs thwarts it by putting on a chicken mask. The disguised Bugs then writes in "Coyote" on the radarscope's target options and moves the dial there. The saucer speeds back to the Coyote's home, blew up the whole mountain to smithereens.
The Coyote makes one last plan: While admiring his self-status as a "Super Genius," he fills a series of carrots with explosive liquidnitroglycerin inside his alternate home—a ramshackle shack. Bugs, using a tractor, drags the shack to the desert's railroad track, where a train is approaching. When the train hits the shack, all of the explosives in Wile E's stockpile explodes and launches him high into the air. "'Wile E. Coyote - Super Genius'", he groans in self-sarcasm while he was holding a tree branch on the edge of the cliff all burned up, finally admitting to himself that the rabbit has outwitted him.
The Coyote, still dazed and covered in ash, returns to Bugs' hole, rebuilds his door, knocks on it and admits defeat. "Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Mud," he says to Bugs before passing out. In response, Bugs says, "Remember folks, MUD spelled backwards is DUM." (A parody of the slogan for Serutan laxatives ("Serutan spelled backwards is 'natures'."))