Tortoise Beats Hare

Tortoise Beats Hare

Infobox Hollywood cartoon
cartoon_name =Tortoise Beats Hare
series = Merrie Melodies/Bugs Bunny
director = Tex Avery
story_artist =Dave Monahan
animator = Charles McKimson
Robert McKimson
Rod Scribner
Virgil Ross
Sid Sutherland
voice_actor = Mel Blanc
musician = Carl Stalling
producer = Leon Schlesinger Productions
distributor = Warner Bros. Pictures
release_date = March 15, 1941
color_process = Technicolor
runtime = 7 min
movie_language = English

"Tortoise Beats Hare" is a 1941 "Merrie Melodies" animated short directed by Tex Avery. The short stars Bugs Bunny and, in his first appearance, Cecil Turtle.


Animator Tex Avery introduced Cecil in the short "Tortoise Beats Hare", released on March 15, 1941. Even from the cartoon's opening titles, Avery lets on that Bugs Bunny is about to meet his match. Bugs wanders onto the title card munching his obligatory carrot and absent-mindedly begins reading the title card, grossly mispronouncing all of the credits (but gets Carl Stalling's name right), such as [Avary] for "Avery" rather than the correct [Avery] , and crediting Dave "Menahenn" with the story rather than "Monahan", and animator Charles "Mac-Emson" (McKimson). When he finally gets to the title itself, he becomes outraged, tears apart the title card, and rushes to Cecil Turtle's house. He then bets the little, sleepy-eyed turtle ten dollars that he can beat him in a race.

Cecil accepts Bugs' bet and quickly (for him, anyway) calls up Chester Turtle and eight other cousins, all of whom look and sound like Cecil (some have deeper voices, some have higher voices). After talking to Chester about the bet, he tells him to call the other cousins and tell them to be ready when he comes to their position, and to "give him the works". Fade to black (he possibly says goodbye and hangs up). The race begins several days later, and as Bugs runs relentlessly toward the finish line, Cecil and his relatives take turns showing up at just the right moment to baffle the bunny. In the end, Bugs is convinced he has won, only to see Cecil (or one of his kin) across the finish demanding the money. Bugs is certain that he has been tricked, and all ten turtles approach and reply, "It's a possibility!" Voice actor Mel Blanc supplies Cecil's drowsy drawl, which is like a slowed-down version of Blanc's later characterization of Barney Rubble.

"Tortoise Beats Hare" is, of course, a take off of the Aesop fable "The Tortoise and the Hare". But even more directly, it is Avery's parody of the 1934 Disney "Silly Symphony", "The Tortoise and the Hare". Interestingly, Max Hare from the earlier Disney film is often cited as one of the inspirations behind Bugs Bunny.

Avery left Warner Bros. before he could produce any new cartoons featuring Cecil. However, he introduced a similar character in 1943 named Droopy Dog. Droopy would even take some of his tricks from his slow-and-steady predecessor, such as using his relatives to help him outsmart a wolf.


* When Bugs sees Cecil sitting at the finishing line, he calls him a "blankedy, blank, blank turtle." He obviously meant to call Cecil curse words, which were also very common among United States culture — though considered taboo for films — in the 1940s.
* This was Tex Avery's 54th cartoon and Bugs's 3rd appearance.


It is included on the "" DVD set.

External links

* [ Tortoise Beats Hare at Stage6]

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