Dell Four Color #1064: Bugs Bunny's Merry Christmas

Dell Four Color #1064
Bugs Bunny's Merry Christmas
Published 1959

Inside cover has a couple of party games hosted by Tweety. Oh come on, kids have to be told how to make snow angels? (Even though Tweety calls them "Snowbird impressions.")

First story, "The Traveling Tree" with Bugs Bunny. Bugs is just outside his hole, using hedge clippers on a Christmas tree about three times his height. "Bugs is expecting some of his little cousins for Christmas, and he's spent a lot of time preparing for their visit! Since last summer, in fact..."

And the cloud-edged flashback panel shows us Bugs talking to his friend, zany inventor Hedgerow Huppy.

"Now are you sure this is a super-vitaminated seed, Hedgerow? Positive that it'll grow into the most sensational one ever?"

"I gave that seed every superizing treatment possible, Bugs!"

(Hedgerow only showed up in the comics, as Bugs' answer to Gyro Gearloose. He was never drawn the same way twice.)

(And this shows several areas where the comics differ from their source cartoons. I can see Bugs writing and mailing a letter, waiting two seconds, and then a motorcycle courier brings him a "super-vitaminated" seed from Acme. Then Bugs plants the seed and it grows to full size instantly. But in comics such instaneity is not possible and Bugs needs Hedgerow to provide verisimilitude.)

"And now the big day at last!" Bugs welcomes his cousins, who look like him except for being half his size and brown-and-white furred. They're glad to be there, but wonder why Bugs has a winch connected to his tree.

"Won't your Christmas tree stand up?"

"Nope! Just hoisting it a bit so's you'll see WHY this is the greatest Christmas tree you bunnies will ever see!" And with that, Bugs raises the tree about four feet to reveal...

"It's a giant CARROT!"

Naturally, the little rabbits are overjoyed. (We're never told their names – in fact, we only assume they're boys because none of them are wearing hair ribbons or lipstick. Dell was fond of saddling its characters with kids; makes for motivation in stories like this.)

Bugs convinces the kids to go to sleep early so Santa will get there. He'll trim the "tree" himself. Or he would, if he wasn't shy of ornaments. (Six months to plan the tree, but no ornaments.)

Naturally, if Bugs has to dupe someone out of their decorations, who better than Elmer Fudd? "For shame, Fudd! You so happy with your ornaments when three little innocent children won't even have a single doo-dad on their Christmas tree!"

"Oh, dear! Take me to the poor little tykes, wabbit! I'll make sure they don't have a bare Christmas twee! Not while I can help it!"

But Elmer changes his tune when he finds out they're rabbit children. "I'm not stwipping my Christmas twee for wabbits... I don't care how young they are!" He and Bugs get into a tug-of-war with the box of baubles and it ends badly. "Oh, well... I suppose they might as well have what's left!"

That's just a few balls and a garland or two, so the tree still looks bare. Then Bugs remembers Hedgerow had been working on some quick-set bubbles. Unfortunately the quick-set bubbles have one slight problem – they don't quick-set; rather, they stay sticky. "Perfect!" says Bugs. "They'll stick to my carrot Christmas tree all the better!"

But Bugs doesn't feel he has the lung capacity of inflate a whole treeful of bubbles, so Hedgerow lets him take a tank of compressed air. (Very accommodating fellow, this Hedgerow Huppy. Well, he uses Bugs as a guinea pig in other stories, so I guess it evens out.)

After Bugs leaves with the tank and the bubble-goop, Hedgerow looks over his tanks and says, "Strange! I thought sure I ha a tank of high lift helium gas here, too!"  (Uh, oh...)

So Bugs is attaching the multicolored orbs to the tree. So many, in fact that it achieves liftoff. "Omigosh! Get an anchor... a rope... a lasso! Call the airport... DO something!"

Elmer runs off saying, "Gwacious! We can't lose it NOW!" while Bugs inflates a bigger bubble so he can follow.

The carrot-tree attracts comment from a passing plane. "Oh, what a lovely idea! A Christmas tree on a cloud!" "On a cloud!?"

Soon Elmer shows up in a U-Drive helicopter. (And when he sees the rental bill, he'll wish he'd just bought the &$@& ornaments in the first place!) "I think I should warn you, wabbit! I'm not very good at dwiving one of these!" No kidding... the copter blades start slicing the carrot like the world's biggest Osterizer!

Okay, the carrot's been halved, but the boys have got it tethered now and it should be smooth sailing. (Snort.) Bugs attempts to pop some bubbles to lessen the buoyancy; instead, the bubbles fly off with him and get stuck in a TV antenna. (Of course, these days you could do the same gag, just with a satellite dish.)

Indoor shot. Two kids are trimmin the tree, while on TV the pretty girl singer says, "And on this happy Christmas Eve, I just want to sing... HELP! BUGS BUNNY CALLING EARTH! GET ME DOWN FROM HERE!"

So the building maintenance frees Bugs, while Elmer's rear rotor cuts the tree-rope.  But it's lost enough bubbles that Bugs can grab it from the ground. Unfortunately, right near two hobos. They're overjoyed to get a Christmas tree. "(Ulp!) Er... well... I can't exactly leave it with you, chums! It's more of a... er... TRAVELING Christmas tree... heh... so everybody can enjoy it!"

But Bugs does give them a couple of carrot slices from the bottom for their stew. (And almost loses the tree again.) "Whoops! Sort of like dropping ballast! But it was worth it... heh... for that happy look on their faces!"

Bugs is inspired to show of his traveling tree to a cop and a bystander. Unbeknownst to him, he's hovering outside a second story window, where a married couple decides they can spare a few of their trimmings. "Gosh!" thinks Bugs, "The way those fellows started smiling... It shows how easy it is to merry things up on Christmas Eve!"

Finally Bugs makes it home. "Wabbit! Good Gwacious! How? Where? Where did all those beautiful decowations come fwom?"

"Migosh! Where DID they come form?"

"Is it a Chwistmas miracle?"

"I don't know, but let's enjoy it!"

Bugs goes to plug the lights into the socket in his hole... Yeah, he's got juice, live with it... but manages to wake up his cousins. He tells them Santa hasn't been there yet, but they don't listen, and rush out of the hole... see all the gifts piled under the tree.

"I did hear some bells behind me," says Elmer, "but I thought it was my head still winging!"

Bugs hold up a note that says, "Ho, Ho! I even took a slice, Bugs! I knew you wouldn't mind!"

"Good old Santa Claus!" says Bugs. "As smart as a bunny every time!"

:"What a Chwistmas! I never would have believed it!"

"Yep! Who'd ever think the two of us would celebrate it like this, together (chomp!) happily chewing on my Christmas tree!"

Next, a craft idea, a tie and ribbon rack made from spools and cardboard. Presenting this are Mary Jane and Sniffles. Mary Jane never appeared in the cartoons, but was introduced as a foil for Sniffles. But soon enough she took the lead, one of the few females in Warners' history.

Next, Porky Pig in "The Joyful Toy." Porky has invented a jet-propelled pogo stick. Every fifth bounce sends him fifteen feet in the air. Unfortunately Porky doesn't have the funds to produce them in quantity, not if he wants to make the Christmas shopping season, so he hopes to sell the idea to the Tunkett Toy Company.

But before Porky can explain to Mr. Tunkett how his pogo stick works, Tunkett tries it for himself – and hits the ceiling.

"BAH! Nothing with so much power can be safe! Get it out of here!"

"But lots of things aren't safe INDOORS!" remonstrates Porky. "Playing baseball... riding a bike..." Remember those arguments in a few years, Porky, when lawn darts make it big. (And notice, Porky doesn't stutter in these stories. He did in the first Dells, and he would again when DC got the license and brought the characters more in line with their source cartoons.)

Tunkett doesn't seem to be doing to well at the toy biz. Plenty of Christmas inventory, but not so many orders. Suddenly a dogsled pulls up (on wheels – Christmas may be close, but there's no snow). It's a Tunkett sales rep with a big order from Santa Claus. (I didn't know the big guy outsourced – and in 1959, yet.)

Unfortunately the sole copy of the big order gets caught in an updraft. (Happens a lot in this book.) What a stroke of luck that Porky has a jet-propelled pogo stick and can grab it. Which he does, and the grateful Tunkett agrees to test-market it. He even sends Santa a prototype, and on (a snowy) Christmas eve, Santa can be seen bouncing from house to house.

Prezzy puzzle time! "Porky plays Santa," with rebuses that name appropriate gifts. Petunia gets a picture of the SUN in a BONNET, get it?

Daffy Duck in "Prize Pet." This story has almost nothing to do with Christmas, just a few shots of Santas and Christmas trees in odd corners. Daffy wants some easy money; to that end, he tries to enter a pet show, but is told he needs an owner. He tries to inveigle Yosemite Sam into that job (without telling him of the prize money, which might have made a difference). Trying to put as much distance as possible between himself and the "pesky varmint," Sam gets doused with rapid-hair-grower and turns into a mini orange bigfoot. (Yosemite Yeti?) Daffy enters Sam as his pet, and wins.

"Suzanne goes Christmas Shopping." Simple substitution cipher. Suzanne was another character who only showed up in the comic books. Just pure kid stuff with no fantasy elements, drawn in a style more than a little reminiscent of Peanuts. It's rather odd to see the stylized Suzanne with the more rounded clerk.

Tweety and Sylvester in "Good Intentions." Sylvester's Christmas gift to Tweety is to not chase him until New Year's. This good intention lasts all of twenty minutes.

"Pancho Vanilla's Caroling Candles" – Make a paper "flame" that fits on a flashlight. Pancho, for a change, actually appeared in a cartoon originally, but just one and he looked a lot younger. They'll make new Speedy Gonzales cartoons before they'll ever bring back Pancho.

Inside back cover the "Beep Beep Road Race" game. You have to provide the arrow for the spinner and the tokens. (I get the shoe!)

Back page, "Bugs Bunny's Hand 'Tooled' Greetings to You!" Bugs has hung seven pieces of hardware on his tree and you have to decide which tool fits in which message. (To make things harder, I'm not even going to tell you what the tools are!)

1. Happy Holidays to ______, may yours be a ball!

2. Take my ad _____ to make the season real nice, give a smile for Christmas!

3. Here's hoping you have your _______ of presents!

4. _______ or fancy, may your tree shine the brightest!

5. _______ away all your troubles and have a Jolly Yuletide!

6. I hope you have __________ turkey for your very fine Christmas feast!

7. Here's hoping you see more friends than you ever _____!