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Bugs and Daffy can rest easy: No more hunting rifle for Elmer Fudd

Elmer Fudd (and hunting rifle) in 2012's "Daffy's

Elmer Fudd (and hunting rifle) in 2012's "Daffy's Rhapsody." Credit: Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection

Elmer Fudd is hanging up his hunting rifle.

"We're not doing guns," Peter Browngardt, executive producer of the new HBO Max series "Looney Tunes Cartoons," told The New York Times in a May 29 article, which did not gain widespread notice until a trade report about it was published on Saturday. Browngardt, 40, a Sag Harbor native who attended Pierson Middle School there, added, "But we can do cartoony violence. TNT, the Acme stuff. All that was kind of grandfathered in."

In this latest iteration of the Warner Bros. theatrical cartoons that reached their creative peak in the 1940 and '50s, neither put-upon hunter Elmer Fudd nor Old West cowpoke Yosemite Sam carry firearms. The same also was true of the 2011-14 Cartoon Network series "The Looney Tunes Show," in which the one evident appearance of a gun was simply a starter's pistol.

"We're going through this wave of anti-bullying, everybody needs to be friends, everybody needs to get along," Ryan Kramer, one of the new series' directors, told The Times. " 'Looney Tunes' is pretty much the antithesis of that," he said, adding, "It's two characters in conflict, sometimes getting pretty violent."

The new series features a high amount of dynamite-explosion gags, and Elmer Fudd in the short "Bunny Pool" points a pitchfork at Bugs Bunny and uses an ax to chop at a lifeguard stand. The short "Harm Wrestling," starring Bugs and Yosemite Sam, opens with a distant shot of an Old West town where we hear gunfire and see gun smoke but no guns.

Browngardt has not commented further publicly, and the official social-media accounts for the Looney Tunes franchise, HBO Max and the National Rifle Association did not reference his comments.

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