Did you guys know that carrots are actually bad for rabbits? They’re too high in sugar and can lead to tooth decay and other serious health defects in our furry little friends. So why did Bugs Bunny eat them all the time? Because of Clark Gable, that’s why.

The reference might not seem so obvious to us know, but when Bugs first appeared in theaters over seventy years ago the audience immediately understood that when Bugs ate a carrot and talked with his mouth full; he was parodying Clark Cable in Frank Capra’s It Happened One Night (1934).

It turns out that, according to Friz Freleng’s unpublished memoirs, that It Happened One Night was one the animators favorite films and that at least three characteristics of Bugs Bunny are based on the film. Besides Clark Gable inspiring Bugs’ carrot addiction; his personality was based on Oscar Shapely, a minor character in the film who consistently referred to Gable as Doc. Not only that, the famous Rabbit was named after Bugs Dooley; an imaginary character mentioned in the film.

Sure, It Happened One Night is considered to be one the best romantic comedies of all time, and it might have been directed by Frank Capra, who’s arguably the greatest American film director ever; but this might be one of those rare cases where the parody has outlived the original reference.

Some what related: When Bugs Bunny referred to Elmer Fudd as “Nimrod” he was ironically referencing Nimrod from the book of Genesis who was a mighty hunter. Children growing up with Bugs Bunny (self included) not familiar with the story, grew up thinking that “Nimrod” was an insult of stupidity or incompetence.

Another instance where the parody has outlived the original reference.

I remember as a kid watching Felix the cat they were calling the little sciencey dude Poindexter and I just thought they were insulting him, then when I realized it was his actual name I wondered if maybe the character was old enough to be the reason people associate the word “Poindexter” with derisive slang for geekiness.

(and he totally is)