On this day in 1948, Marvin the Martian made his first appearance in Haredevil Hare, a cartoon with Bugs Bunny. Even though Marvin the Martian only appeared in five original cartoon shorts, he attracted a cult following and quickly became one of Loony Tune’s favorite characters. The likeness of Marvin the Martian even appears on two rovers sent to Mars – Spirit and Opportunity.
Chuck Jones created this character as an opposite personality to Yosemite Sam who Bugs Bunny was always able to outwit. Unlike Yosemite Sam, Marvin was soft-spoken and who had plans, that if carried out, would be very destructive. His look, which reminds us of a Roman soldier’s uniform, was fashioned after Mars, the Roman god of war. He was sometimes accompanied by his sidekick and pet dog, K-9 (a character designed after Disney’s Pluto). The name, Marvin the Martian, didn’t come about until many years later for the purposes of marketing Loony Tunes merchandise such as t-shirts, mugs, toys, etc.. In the original cartoons, he was never given a name though in the 1952 cartoon The Hasty Hare in which he was simply called Commander, Flying Saucer X-2.
Chosen to be the first rabbit shot into space, Bugs is literally dragged to the launching pad -- protesting in a panic "I got a wife and kids! Millions of kids!" -- but when the rocket is loaded with carrots, he becomes more cooperative. When he lands on the moon he finds an unnamed Martian (later known as Marvin) set to blow up planet Earth. Bugs luckily defeats the Martian but has a bit of a problem afterwards when he is unable to leave the moon, having blown it up and reduced it to a crescent (from which he, the Martian and the dog precariously hang) to thwart the Martian. When the technicians contact him, asking for a statement to the press, he says the last line ever spoken in a "pre-August 1948" cartoon: GET ME OUT OF HERE!
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