Today’s interview is with a bona fide American icon, a star of screens large and small and one of the most recognizable names in show business. Don’t ask me how I landed this extraordinary coup, just let me say that at the end of a lot of very delicate negotiations with his representatives I am privileged to give my readers a real treat, an interview with the great Elmer Fudd himself! You all know Mr. Fudd as the star of countless cartoons as the comic foil for Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Tweety Bird and too many other mega-stars of cartoonery to count. His portrayal of “The Intwepid Hunter” is a classic of Bunyanesque proportions, rivaled only by Chaplin’s loveable Everyman “The Tramp” in motion picture annals. Elmer Fudd could do it all, comedy-wise. He could be as good a straight man as Bud Abbot when playing off Bugs Bunny or as zany as Jerry Lewis if the situation required zaniness. He also was a deft hand at pathos, able to produce the tears at the dwop of a hat.
Now retired from performing, Elmer Fudd has moved behind the camera to the director’s chair, helming such latter-day classics as “Saving Pwivate Wyan,” “Piwates of The Cawibbean” and “When Hawwy Met Sawwy.” Not limiting himself to directing, Mr. Fudd has also been busy writing squwipts, I means scripts for top television shows like “Waw and Owder“, “Thirty Wock” and “Without A Twace,” and also directing many episodes of “Ugwy Betty.”
Mr. Fudd arived at the offices of bobcrespo.com alone, with no entourage or limousine, explaining that he “Wuv’s to supwise peopew by woawing up my Hawwey Davidson.” Indeed it was a shock to see him pulling up to bobcrespo.com on his bike, and more surprising still to see he has grown a beard and let his hair grow in, wearing it long like a true biker. Elmer also sports many tattoos, not surprisingly likenesses of many of his former costars, most prominently a large Tweety Bird with Sylvester the Cat on one forearm and Bugs Bunny munching a carrot on the other. He’s also in surprisingly good shape, exhibiting none of the round tubbiness you associated with his film roles. “I’m a widdiw bit of a gym wat,” he explained. Indeed, his firm handshake is a dead giveaway that he’s been pumping a lot of iron.
Mr. Fudd made himself right at home in my office, accepting a glass of iced tea and lighting up a cigar, which I half expected to explode in his face. A relaxed man at home in his own skin, he was the one who broke the ice:
EF: “Nice pwace you’ve got here.”
BC: “Thank you Mr. Fudd. Welcome to bobcrespo.com.
EF: “My pweasure. And cawl me Ewma”
BC: “So, Ewma, let’s get right into to it. I suppose your classic line from that Bugs Bunny cartoon ‘My name is Ewma Fudd. I am a miwwionaire, I own a mansion and a yacht’ has more than come true for these days.”
EF: “You can say that again, my fwend! See, Bugs and I got together years ago and bought all the wights fwum Wawner Bwothers to ouw cawtoons and now we’re wowwing in dough as they say.”
BC: “Smart business move, sir. Very forward thinking.”
EF: “Weww, the studio boys figuwed cawtoons wewe onwy siwwy stuff, not weawy cwassic archive matewial wike other movies, but me and Bugs knew better and we made them an offer and they gwabbed it. Now what they got is dated bwack and white mewodwamas whiwe me and Bugs got timewess cwassics that never get old. There’s always a new cwop of kids who wuv our work.”
BC: “It sounds like you and Bugs are great friends. Watching your cartoons you’d think you two would always be mortal enemies.”
EF: “Sounds like somebody took the cawtoons a widdew too sewiouswy, Bob. We wewe acting! I guess we were pwetty good at it, huh?”
BC: “Had me fooled.”
EF: “Oh-kaaay. Anyway, me and Bugs are gweat buddies. We go golfing, work on squwipts together, devewop new shows, do a wot of pwoduction. One of our gweatest cowabowations was “Evwybody Wuv’s Waymond.”
BC: “That was you guys?”
EF: “Wike I said, me and Bugs. ‘Wiww and Gwace‘ was ours too, both in syndication now, money in the bank for our gwandkids.”
BC: “You have a big family?
EF: “Me, I have a weguwar sized famiwy, I guess. Two kids with my first wife and thwee gwandkids and coupew of wittew ones now with my second wife, too young to be mawwied yet.”
BC: “Your second wife or your kids? Just kidding. And what about Bugs Bunny?
EF: “Him? I’ve wost twack by now. He is a wabbit, you know. Must have a couple of hundred gwandkids by now, especiawwy if his kids took after him, if you know what I mean.”
BC: “A real ladies man, eh?
EF: “No. Wike I said, he’s a wabbit. Wabbits repwoduce a wot, you know.”
BC: “A kwazy wabbit?”
EF: “Didn’t I just teww you he’s a good fwiend and my copwoducer? Nothing Kwazy about him. Shwewd as they come.”
BC: “But in your cartoons…”
EF: “There weawy is something wong with you, isn’t there? ”
BC: Well, to tell you the truth I’m a little disappointed that you’re such a …how can say this… a regular guy.”
EF: “When you meet Wobert DeNiwo, would you expect him to be some inarticulate thug with a gun in his pocket?
BC: “Of course…”
EF: “What don’t you get about show business, Bob, the show or the business? It’s all make-beweave! Can’t you sepawate Ewmer Fudd, the actor and cartoon chawactew fwom Ewmer Fudd the man?”
BC: “I never realized there’d be a difference.”
EF: “I think this is a kwy for hewp on your part, Bob.”
BC: “But you’re Elmer friggin’ Fudd, dammit! I should be able to hit you on the head with a hammer and make a bunch of little bumps on your head, blow off a shotgun in your face and get it all black, stuff you into a mailbox and all that stuff….”
EF: “I’m getting vewy uncomfortable here, Bob. I think I’ll be on my way….”
BC: Can’t I just fling you out the door with a giant sling shot? I thought we’d get to have some madcap, zany action here today…”
EF: “This is not a Woad Wunner episode, Bob, this is weaw wife. Didn’t you ever hear of speciaw effects?”
BC: “Real life? You’re Elmer Fudd, you can fall off the roof onto your head if you wanted to! Get hit a bunch of times with a giant mallet and shake it off! C’mon, Elmer, I’ve got a bunch of stuff prepared. Check out this stick of TNT!”
EF: “Bob, wet me warn you, I’m a bwack bewt in Kawate! Don’t come any cwoser!”
BC: “Now you’re talking, Fudd, let’s do some cartoon stuff!.”
EF: “Don’t say I didn’t wawn you!” (END OF INTERVIEW.)
Boy, that Elmer Fudd sure packs a mean karate chop for a cartoon character. He flipped me like a burger and stormed out my house, or rather, my office, hopped on his Harley and roared away, saying some very un-Elmer Fuddian things to me as he left. Looks like I’ll have to tweak my interview techniques a bit more. You know you’re an amateur when you alienate a retired cartoon character. Now what am I going to do with that giant mallet, the shotgun, the bear trap and that stick of dynamite, to say nothing of that giant sling shot I built with pieces of the china closet and our drapes?