Released February 25th, 1956
Directed by: Chuck Jones
Broom-Stick Bunny has long been one of my favorite Looney Tunes cartoons, as it features the debut of June Foray in the role of Witch Hazel (Bea Benaderet performed the voice in Hazel’s first appearance in Bewitched Bunny). This is actually Foray’s second time playing a character by this name (with this voice no less) as she originated the character in the 1952 Donald Duck cartoon Trick or Treat (and in truth she was initially reluctant when Chuck Jones invited her to play his version of Witch Hazel, but she eventually came around to the idea).
In this cartoon, it’s Halloween night and Bugs Bunny is out trick-or-treating disguised as a witch (complete with a green mask). Meanwhile, Witch Hazel is brewing up a potion while frequently consulting her magic mirror to make sure she’s still the “ugliest of them all” as she’s terribly afraid of getting pretty as she gets older. One of my favorite running gags in this cartoon is Witch Hazel’s obsession with ugliness and talking about beauty in opposite terms (examples include: “Who undoes your hair?” “I’m going to worm all your ugly secrets out of you” and my personal favorite “LIKE it? Why it’s practically HIDEOUS!!”)
The story starts as a comedy of errors when Bugs Bunny appears at Witch Hazel’s door and the befuddled witch thinks the rabbit is a REAL witch (leading to my other favorite line: “Witch? I don’t remember seeing HER at any of the union meetings.”) but it quickly turns serious when Hazel realizes that not only is Bugs a rabbit, but he’s also the last ingredient needed to complete her potion, leading to a wild chase throughout the house.
In the end, of course, Bugs gets the upper hand and we’re treated to seeing what a pretty Witch Hazel looks like (fun fact: according June Foray’s commentary, the animators modeled the pretty Hazel on her actual appearance, particularly in the hairstyle as it was one she liked to wear at the time). It’s so funny to hear the now-pretty witch say in the sweetest sounding voice “Magic mirror on the wall, who’s the ugliest one of all?” The gag is heightened when the genie in the magic mirror gives chase on a flying carpet and the pair go flying off into the night.
Of all the Witch Hazel cartoons, Broom-Stick Bunny remains my favorite, and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about it. Let me know your thoughts about this cartoon in the comments below and have a great day!
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