Hair-Raising Hare is a 1946 Warner Bros. Merrie Melodies cartoon, released in 1946. It was directed by Chuck Jones and written by Michael Maltese. It stars Bugs Bunny and features the first appearance of Chuck Jones' imposing red monster character, unnamed here, but in later cartoons named "Rudolph" and then "Gossamer".
After many Bugs cartoon titles that substituted "hare" for "hair" in a punny way, this title includes both words, as homonyms.
One dark night, Bugs Bunny pokes up out of his rabbit hole, dressed in a nightshirt and holding up a candle, and tells the audience, "Did you ever have the feeling you were being watched?" He is, via remote TV, as an evil scientist (a caricature of Hollywood actor Peter Lorre; like Bugs, he is played by Mel Blanc) is planning to catch a rabbit to provide dinner for his large, hairy, orange sneaker-wearing monster (Gossamer).
The scientist lures Bugs to his castle via a shapely robotic female rabbit, complete with a large wind-up key in the back, and accompanied by "Oh, You Beautiful Doll" in the cartoon's underscore. Once Bugs gets to the castle (labeled "evil scientist" in neon lights) the evil scientist locks the door behind him. Bugs looks at him and says, "You don't gotta lock the door, mac. I don't wanna leave." Then he clickes his tongue and raises his eye-brows at the audience and begins kissing the mechanical rabbit on the hand, the robot malfunctions and breaks into pieces. Bugs faces the audience and says, "That's the trouble with some dames... kiss 'em and they fly apart!"
Nonchalantly shrugging off this odd encounter, Bugs heads for the door, but the scientist persuades him to stay and meet another "little friend". When it becomes clear that this "friend" is a ferocious beast, Bugs sizes up the situation, vigorously shakes the scientist's hand "Goodbye!" and launches into a schtick where he packs luggage for a vacation trip, accompanied by "California, Here I Come". Just before bolting for the door, he tells the scientist, in typical Groucho Marx-ist fashion, "And don't think this hasn't been a little slice of heaven...'cause it hasn't!" The scientist then releases Gossamer. This is the last scene with the scientist, as the rest of the cartoon is an extended chase between Bugs and Gossamer, with gags aplenty.
At one point, as Bugs is behind a door and Gossamer is trying to break through, a desperate-sounding Bugs cries out, "Is there a doctor in the house?" A silhouette, seemingly from the theater audience, stands up and offers, "I'm a doctor." Bugs suddenly relaxes, grins, starts munching a carrot, and asks, "What's up, Doc?", just before Gossamer breaks through and the chase resumes. (This is another Marxian joke, lifted from Horse Feathers and probably older than that.)
Bugs Bunny and Gossamer pass by a mirror; Gossamer looks at the mirror, then his reflection runs away screaming; Gossamer looks at the audience and shrugs. Bugs acts as a lamp; he dances and taunts Gossamer by calling "Hey, Frankenstein!". Bugs and Gossamer keep running until a door on the floor opens and a rock falls into the empty space. While Bugs is tip-toe-ing backwards and praying, he bumps into Gossamer. He comes up with an idea and gives him a manicure. He starts talking and acting like a girl and says, "Oh, for shame! Just look at those finger nails! (he pulls out a table and chair and starts working on his nails) My, I'll bet you monsters lead in-teresting lives. I said to my girl friend just the other day, 'Gee, I'll bet monsters are in-teresting.' I said. The places you must go and the things you must see -- my stars! I bet you meet lots of in-teresting people too. I'm always in-terested in meeting in-teresting people. No let's dip out patties in the watter!" He puts the monster's fingers into the water to have his fingernails cut, but it contains two mousetraps. The monster yelps in pain, and then sobs.
Bugs twice thinks he has escaped. The first time, the monster is hiding behind a picture frame and Bugs apparently is not aware until he pokes Gossamer in the eye. The second time, Gossamer is following Bugs behind a wall until Bugs marks where he previously was and smashes the mark with a giant mallet when Gossamer appears behind it. The wall crumbles and a barely-conscious Gossamer quickly follows. The third time, Gossamer is in a knight's armor, holding an axe above his head. He gets hit by Bugs Bunny in his locomotive-style knight-riding horse, causing him to hit the wall to turn into a can labeled "Canned Monster". However, as Bugs saunters off toward the exit, singing to himself, Gossamer gets the bunny in his clutches. Bugs repeats his opening line, "Did you ever have the feeling you were being watched?", and Gossamer's expression changes from anger to anxiety. Bugs points to the audience. Gossamer (despite having already acknowledged the audience earlier) shrieks, "PEOPLE!" and runs away screaming, breaking through a series of walls, leaving his cartoon outline in all of them.
Having "re-re-disposed of the monster", Bugs is about to "exit stage right", when the female robo-rabbit re-appears, intact, and again accompanied by "Oh, You Beautiful Doll". Bugs snickers, "Mechanical!" Then the robot smooches him on the cheek, leaving a lipstick mark on the smitten bunny, who says, "Well, so it's mechanical!" He assumes a robot-like gait (with his tail magically rotating like the robot's wind-up key) and follows her off the screen.