First released November 30, 1963
"Transylvania 6-5000" is a wonderful 1963 Merrie Melodies short directed by Chuck Jones. (In fact, according to Wikipedia, this was the last Jones-directed Warner Brothers short to feature the "wascally wabbit.")
Bugs Buanny is en route to Pittsburgh, PA, but somehow winds up in Pittsburge, Transylvania instead. (Presumably, Bugs should have taken that left turn at Albequerque!) He stops to ask directions from a two-headed vulture lurking nearby - the two heads answer to "Agatha" and "Emily". They seem more interested in making a meal of Bugs. Bugs spots a spooky castle in the distance and, thinking it is a hotel, makes his exit to go see if said "hotel" has a phone.
When Bugs rings the castle doorbell, he is greeted and invited in by a vampire calling himself Count Blood Count. Bugs just wants to use the hotel phone but the Count hungrily insists that he stay the night. ("Rest first, telephone tomorrow. Rest is gooood for the blooood.")
Bugs is shown to his room where he finds some light reading to help himself get to sleep. He selects a book of "Magic Woids and Phrases" and reads aloud to pass the time. Which proves fortunate for our hero.
A series of comedic transformations takes place as Bugs at first unwittingly and then knowingly changes the phrase "Abracadabra" (or "abacadabra" as Bugs puts it) around causing Count Blood Count to morph humorously back and forth between various permutations and combinations of his vampire and bat form.
|Bugs dealing with the castle's bat problem|
|Bloodcount: I am a vampire!|
Bugs: Oh, yeah? Well, abacadabra! I'm an umpire!
Like many people around my age, I was introduced to Bugs Bunny cartoons like this one through Saturday morning cartoons. Although this is not an explicitly Halloween-themed 'toon in that Halloween is never mentioned, the gothic trappings and the presence of an honest-to-goodness (albeit somewhat inept) vampire make it a Halloween seasonal favorite of mine.
As a child, I liked that Bugs wasn't the least bit frightened by a situation that would have scared tiny me and in fact holds his own very nicely against the supernatural forces arrayed against him. As an adult, I still appreciate Bugs' unflappability as well as the cleverness of this cartoon from the great sight gags to the fact that the title of the short is a parodic reference to a great Glen Miller tune. I also love the great voice talent (Mel Blanc as Bugs Bunny, Ben Frommer as the Count and Julie Bennett as Agatha/Emily) and Chuck Jones' directing style.
This is one short that I always feel like watching sometime around Halloween. I consider it a seasonal classic!
4 jack o'lanterns