Foundational Quotes from the Looney Tunes Canon

Foundational Quotes from the Looney Tunes Canon June 2, 2014

It would be hard to overstate how much Looney Tunes means to me. When that WB logo blossoms out of the void, it’s like a flower of joy blooming in my heart. That’s what it’s like, okay?

We all have our favorite scenes from Looney Tunes, and the kids can recite long swaths of dialogue by heart. But some phrases have actually worked their way into our everyday speech, to the point where we don’t even realize we’re quoting, say, a puma. Here are a few Looney Tunes phrases that have become Fisherized:


Oh, t’ree or fou-er.

Source: Rabbit’s Kin
Typical use: “What time do you think you’ll get out of that meeting?” – “Ohhh, t’ree or fou-er.”

It’s a sticky one, but I’m not happy about it. When Bugs Bunny is being sadistic to Daffy Duck (who would kill him if he could) or Elmer Fudd (ditto), it’s not so bad, because they were definitely asking for it. Even that poor fat opera singer somehow doesn’t gain our sympathy.  But Pete Puma — okay, he is an unpleasant character, and he did want to eat Bugs Bunny, but this is a creature who should be gently led by the hand to learn basket weaving. He shouldn’t have his head lumps hammered back into his skull with a special little sadism hammer Gosh. Bugs Bunny goes too far in this one. Anyway, “Oh, t’ree or fou-er” does pass my lips pretty often. I just can’t help it.


An innnnn-teresting monster 

Source: Water, Water Everyhare

Typical use: “Is Irene dressed yet?”
“I guess so. She is wearing pajamas, a vampire cape, and a bucket on her head.”
“Well, she is an interesting monster.” 


Ah’m a-splurgin!   

This is the only YouTube clip I could find, and they’ve messed with the sound; not sure why. But the pertinent phrase in intact.  (You can see the same clip here, but I can’t embed it.) 

Source: High Diving Hare
Typical use:  I’m in the supermarket with my daughter, looking at hot sauce. I decide to go for the big bottle, and turn around to shout at my daughter, “Ahhhh’m a-splurgin!” Of course it turns out to be not my daughter, but some nervous-looking stranger who scoots out of there pretty quick.


“Shoot him now! Shoot him now!” ” Pronoun trouble”  “Yays?” and ” . . . not again! . . . ” “You’re despicable.” and “Still lurking about.”
Also “Out of sheer honesty!” 

Source: All from that masterpiece, Rabbit Seasoning
Typical Use:  My kids can recite this entire cartoon. I think it’s pretty easy to imagine how the phrases “Yays?” “Not again!” “You’re despicable” and “Still lurking about!” and even “Shoot him now! Shoot him now!” would get used. “Pronoun trouble” is a little more arcane, but when your household is full of people who are just learning how to talk. So when someone is trying to tell you, “MAMA, he said hit me back because I told him she took my spoon but she hit him first and you said he was supposed to give it to meeeeeeeeee,” you can imagine how there is often, in fact, pronoun trouble.

“Out of sheer honesty!” is for when you are a terrible human being and you’re not going to deny it, and yet even you are unable to believe what the other guy is trying to get away with. Useful for conversations about Joe Biden, or Robert Sungenis, or when you are checking over the kitchen after the kids cleaned it, and you discover that, rather than wash a pot, they have hidden it inside the toaster oven.


No one will ever know!

Source: “The Dover Boys at Pimento University”
Typical use: “I’ll just slip this tooth fairy money under the pillow of the twelve-year-old, who is wide awake. NO ONE WILL EVER KNOW”

Kind of a weird and forgettable cartoon. I have no idea why this phrase stuck. Probably because, around the time we first saw it, my son was about three and could be found running circles around his three older sisters, shrieking, “SNEAKIN’ AROUND!” My kids are subtle that way.


What for you bury me in the cold, cold ground?

I can’t find a clip and I’ve been working on this post, off an on, for six days. If you haven’t seen it and/or can’t call it to mind, I’m just sorry for you.

Source: “Devil May Hare”
Typical Use:  You have just given the toddler everything she asked for: an apple, a banana, a banana that is peeled right, instead of one that is peeled wrong; a cracker, a cup of water, a cup of water in the right kind of cup, instead of the wrong kind of cup; the right kind of cup with MILK in it, not WATER. You offer to read her a favorite book, and she freaks out, flails around, gives you a bloodly lip with her flailing head, and then settles down on your lap, and pees on you.

“What for you bury me in the cold, cold ground?” is one of the few things the Tasmanian Devil ever actually says. To me, this speaks of the desperate genius of classic Looney Tunes. You just know that the writers were half in the bag at all times, and probably battling against the manic despair that most creative people feel when they do the thing that ends up making them money. Did they have dreams of rubbing elbows with Checkov? Did they imagine themselves writing dialogue for rabbits and ducks?  Anyway, rarely has heart spoken to heart more poignantly than when this cri de coeur slips past the Tasmanian Devil’s spittle flecked lips. I weep for the Taz and the Daffy Duck, and of course the Wile E. Coyote, in all of us. I am despicable, and I know it.

PIC How about ending this cartoon before I hit?


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  • Barbara Moeller

    [singing, Elmer’s voice] “O Bwunhiwda, you’re so wuvwy!”
    [Bugs singing] “Yes, I know it, I can’t help it!”

    And, “We’re not huntin’ inhumans, we’re huntin’ BIRDS!”
    [Sylvester, answering his son’s question, “O Father! When will you stop this inhuman hunt!”]

    And of course, Foghorn Leghorn, “I say, that’s a joke, son” in a suitably thick southern accent.

    In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Chuck Jones said that the character of Daffy Duck was patterned after his boss, who was so un-self aware that he never recognized himself. He once came into the office where all the writers were and announced that he had just bought himself a yacht, going on at length about entertainment plans inspired by the purchase. When one of them said he looked forward to coming to a party on the boat, the boss said, completely seriously, “I don’t want /poor/ people on my yacht!”

  • Eileen

    Big Bugs Bunny fans here too and we’ve also adopted quite a few. We’ve been known to shout out, “Shoot him now! Shoot him now!” at times when it’s appropriate. We also do the interesting monster must have an interesting hairdo when I’m giving the boys their buzz cuts and of course the whole time I’m singing, “Welcome to my shop – Let me cut your mop -Daintily!” A few of our other ones: “What a maroon!” “So long Sammy – see ya in Miami!” “One lump or two?” “Wha-Hoh! So he’s hidin’ in the stove, eh?” And then there’s “alright rabbit I believe you!” And of course, “Ehh, what’s up Doc?” There are probably more but they’ve become so ingrained in our family that I’ve forgotten where the expressions have come from.

  • Philip Wade

    I think the last quote is “Why for…” Nope, I was wrong. Funny, I’ve remembered it wrong for years.

  • One I need to use more often:
    “This is going to cause more confusion than a mouse at a burlesque show.” – Foghorn Leghorn

  • AnnF

    I never even knew why I say Ah’m a-splurgin! that way, but I always do.

    Whenever there is any sort of gun play in our house (nerf), someone is bound to say “Duck Season!” Of course you know the reply.

  • Phoebe Gleeson

    I knew I shoulda made that left turn at Albuquerque.

    • rminnema

      Stop steamin’ up my tail.

    • Phoebe Gleeson

      My husband reminds me that “There was supposed to be an earth-shattering kaboom!” is in high rotation around here.

  • rminnema

    The classic, and the one that gets used most often around our house: “Of course you realize, this means war.”

  • Fr. Denis Lemieux

    I used ‘what a maroon!’ in one of my books – my editor tried to change it to ‘what a moron’, and I had to fight for it… but I won.

    • simchafisher

      Oh, editors. You should have gone with “nin-cow-poop.”

      • Fr. Denis Lemieux

        Yeah, I was all hyper-ventilating and going “It’s a Bugs Bunny quote! You can’t edit a Bugs Bunny quote!!! No! No!” and he was sort of slowly backing away from the crazy, eyes shifting back and forth… good times! I suppose I could have deployed “You realize, this means war”, too.
        And now, back to working on my current book. Sigh. Not such good times…

  • Sarah Pierzchala

    That Taz line is one of my favorites, too! And our youngest daughter is sometimes called “Fearless Freep”, in honor of the high-dive artist Yosimite was so hot to see…!

  • richard

    I always got a big kick out of seeing those seemingly indestructible characters.

  • Lydia

    My favorite is Daffy’s breakdown at the end of “Duck! Rabbit, Duck!”
    “Shoot me again! I enjoy it! I love the smell of burnt feathers, and gunpowder, and cordite!”

    • woden325

      Classic! “I’m a fiddler crab! It’s fiddler crab season!”

      I use “of course you realize, this means war!” a lot. That’s why I don’t have any sympathy for the big fat opera singer (Giovanni Jones) — he went out of his way to pick a fight with Bugs, and Bugs turned the cheek twice before retaliating.
      And I love the Dover Boys cartoon, especially the villain’s line “OH, HOW I LOVE HER father’s money!”

  • Angelie Roth

    Interesting monsters, pronoun trouble, and left turns at Albuquerque abound in my family. That being said, there are a couple others that we can never seem to get through a week without using:
    “Eeeeeh, Grandmaw…” (said in the most obnoxious voice possible). From Little Red Riding Rabbit, and used whenever grandmothers, hypothetical or otherwise, are being discussed.
    “Tell me more about my eyes!” From The Three Bears, after Bugs attempts to escape by flirting heavily with the Mama Bear. My fiance has heard this one lots.
    “Stop steaming up my tail!” Used whenever someone is following too close behind you- from Bully for Bugs.
    “A cup of tea, a cookie, and you-hoo.” From one of the Witch Hazel shorts, and used whenever someone’s making a huge production out of putting on tea.

  • Kelly Reineke

    Foghorn Leghorn: I keep throwin em, you keep missin em!

  • Katie in FL

    “Consequences, schmonsequences. As long as I’m rich.” – Daffy Duck in “Ali Baba Bunny”

  • Nan

    Oh, pronoun trouble; no, I don’t quote that but my mom had pronoun trouble badly after her stroke 2 1/2 years ago. She’s much better now but for awhile it was difficult to understand just what exactly she was saying with those random pronouns.

    Speaking of Brunhilde, one of my friends doesn’t think I should tell people that everything I know about classical music I learned from Bugs Bunny.

    • Lydia

      Hey, you’ve gotta learn somewhere! : )
      Another favorite from Daffy, applicable to various situations: “I can’t stand pain. It hurts me.”

  • The one I use from “Water Water Everyhare” is: “Think fast, rabbit!” I’ve also been known to say, “Fohtunately, Ah always keep some ______________ fo’ jus’ such an emuhgency.” Another favorite: “OOOOOH, I’M DYYYYYIN’!” Or: “Kill de WAB-bit, kill de WAB-bit, kill de WAB-bit!” (to the tune of Die Walküre). Another Foghorn Leghorn classic: “That boy’s as shahp as a bowlin’ ball.”

    In my defense, it makes a change from Monty Python and the Holy Grail references.

  • Gail Finke

    “Ha, ha, it is to laugh.”

  • Kelly Seppy

    Don’t forget “Hasenpfeffer!” and the “Space Mahd-you-late-ohr!”

    oh my gosh. part of the fabric of my being.

  • “I will love him and squeeze him and call him George” gets a lot of use by me. So does “Close it! Close it! Close it up again!” whenever a child opens something.

    In law school I tried very hard to convince my now-husband to audition for Iolanthe with Elmer Fudd’s role from What’s Opera, Doc?.

    You know the whole “Duck season!” “Rabbit season!” “Duck season!” “Rabbit season!” “Rabbit season!” “Duck season, now fire!” bit? My 10-year-old, with D.S., tries to trick me like that. “I want cookie.” “No.” “Yes!” “No.” “Yes!” “No.” “Yes!” “No.” “No!” I don’t fall for it.

  • Deimos

    “For why you ?” Used to start a lot of my sentences when our older daughters were little. I’d forgotten that I got it from the Tasmanian devil.

  • Leah Joy

    I am immensely reassured to know I am not the only person who hears Looney Tunes voices in my head on a regular basis.

    One of the only ways I’ve ever TRULY impressed my children is with my Foghorn Leghorn impression. . . “Ah keep pitchin em and you keep missin em.”

    Don’t forget Yosemite Sam as a Arab: “Whoa, camel! . . . when I say whoa, I mean WHOA!”

  • TheConductor

    Whenever I go to a zoo, and I see penguins, I am compelled to say, “Pen-goo-ins is practically chickens….”

  • CSmith

    My brother found a nickname for me in a Looney Tune. We’re both in our 50’s now and he still calls me Ijitt.

  • CSmith

    “It’s actually a buck and a quarter quarter staff, but I’m not telling HIM that!”

  • Lynette

    “You have just given the toddler everything she asked for: an apple, a banana, a banana that is peeled right, instead of one that is peeled wrong; a cracker, a cup of water, a cup of water in the right kind of cup, instead of the wrong kind of cup; the right kind of cup with MILK in it, not WATER. You offer to read her a favorite book, and she freaks out, flails around, gives you a bloodly lip with her flailing head, and then settles down on your lap, and pees on you.”

    This. Tears of joy and laughter to know I’m not the only one on earth with a toddler who does the exact. same. thing. every. day.

  • mamagiglio

    My personal favorite is, “What’s the hubbub, Bub?”