Noël chez Bugs Bunny & Opération Bugs Bunny (found French live-action/animated Christmas TV special; 1997)
Screencap of the special's second half.
Date found: 23 Feb 2020
Found by: Innerstrength
Noël chez Bugs Bunny & Opération Bugs Bunny were part of a Christmas TV special directed by Michel Hassan. It originally aired on French channel France 2, on December 24th, 1997. The first part aired at 7:00 PM with a runtime 50 minutes, with the second part airing at 8:50 PM with a runtime of 1 hour 43 minutes.
Santa Claus is depressed and refuses to give away gifts as he usually does. Bugs Bunny is charged with finding him and cheering him up back into his job, including showing him some of his own old cartoons.
The late Michel Galabru plays Santa Claus.
Portuguese-Belgian singer Lio is credited as "Bugs Bunny's girlfriend", although it seems unlikely she is meant to portray Lola Bunny.
Other celebrities appear, such as Canadian stand-up comedian Gad Elmaleh and French singer/comedian Richard Gotainer.
Bugs Bunny himself has been described as being CGI-animated. It is possible this aesthetic choice - and the basic idea of the special itself - was influenced by the movie Space Jam that came out in France in 1997 (in which Bugs Bunny as a cartoon appears alongside live-action humans).
Gérard Surugue, who usually does the French dub of Bugs Bunny, reprises his audio role in this special.
Strangely, Dutch actress Tamar Baruch has also been credited as Bugs Bunny. It seems likely she was motion-capturing a CGI build of Bugs Bunny, in a way similar to what she did with Cléo from Cyber Flash, another 1990s virtual CGI TV character.
The two part special appears to have only aired once, and there was no easily accessible footage of it for a long time. It seemed that some footage used to be on the video-sharing website wat.tv, but that site had since been purchased by TF1 and its videos are no longer available.
A kid show block on French channel Canal +, Ça Cartoon (which ran from 1986 to 2009), aired segments involving a CGI Bugs Bunny interacting with a live-action person as early as 1996. It resembles the lone screencap that is available. Both this and La planète de Donkey Kong/DKTV were produced by Medialab, which was speculated to have worked on the Bugs Bunny Christmas special. With the release of the special online, it was confirmed that Medialab was, in fact, involved in the production of the special, with an updated version of the CGI model Bugs Bunny used in Ça Cartoon.
- Data on DVDtoile. Retrieved 25 Jul '17
- A newspaper article from 12/24/1997, mentioning the special. Retrieved 07 May '20
- Another newspaper article from 12/24/1997, mentioning the special. Retrieved 25 Jul '17