Don't Look Now, Doc, but America's Original Influencer Bugs Bunny Just Turned 80

Merch and new opportunities keep popping up for the trickster rabbit

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It was the second week of February 1961, and Mel Blanc was in deep trouble.

Two weeks earlier, the “man of a thousand voices” who’d given breath to a slew of cartoon characters ranging from Porky Pig to Speedy Gonzalez, had been driving his Aston Martin down Hollywood Boulevard when a college kid in an Oldsmobile struck him head-on. Now, the 53-year-old actor was at the UCLA Medical Center in a coma.

Out of options, the attending physician decided to speak to his patient, addressing him not as Blanc but as his most famous character.

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This story first appeared in the Aug. 10, 2020, issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe.