He was known as Egghead back then– a nickname, most certainly not self-ascribed. The inherited name was, in fact, Elmer’s primary motivation for the trip to Dusseldorf. There, he planned to reclaim his anonymity, to become a stranger to all but himself.

Fudd arrived on the November  11, 1947, the beginning of what Dusseldorfians refer to as the Karnival, or, the Fifth Season: dark taverns overflowed with drunks and transvestites. Elmer had trouble finding a place to set his bags down.  Many Rhinelanders made drunken pilgrimages to Dusseldorf for the festivities. Fudd settled for a small hotel near the edge of the town.

After a long nap, Elmer walked into the gossip. He sat at the end an old brew-pub’s battered bar and ordered a pint of Fuchschen; the beer was a bit hoppy for his taste, but he figured, “when in Rome…” By his third pint, he was feeling alright. His smile broadened as he recited the Lord’s Prayer aloud three times before ordering another pint.

Over the past several years, Fudd had cultivated an almost inhuman tolerance for alcohol. His friends marvelled at how impervious he was to the endless amounts of assorted varieties of liquor he regularly consumed. Fudd switched drinks with incredible ease, running the gamut from beer to bourbon to Baileys without suffering any gastrointestinal consequence. But, to mix cartoon metaphor, the fecund air of the Rhine seemed to be Mr. Fudds kryptonite. His fifth pint of Fuchschen left Elmer completely plastered.

Fudd’s anonymity was smashed when he started kissing the stuffed boar mounted above the Pub’s roaring fireplace. One reveler reported that, in a private conversation, the boar complained that Elmer had slipped him the tongue. After this lengthy display of exhibitionism, Fudd made his way back to the bar where he ordered everyone a round.

Two hours later, Fudd’s drunken impropriety reached a disturbing climax.  He smashed his empty glass on the Oaken bar, gathered its shattered remains, and chewed on them loudly. The sound of Fudd’s party trick caused several patrons to vomit. Blood seeped from the corner of Fudd’s wide grin. It was then that Chuck Jones finally pulled the plug.

Jones erased his beloved creation, drawing Fudd into the comfortable bed of his small hotel room.  For years, Chuck Jones struggled with his ability to play God in the life of his most beloved creation. He usually let Elmer do whatever he wanted to do, looking on in dismay as Fudd reached ever-increasing heights of debauchery. This was only the second time in twenty years that Jones chose to intercede: Elmer forced his delicate hand.

The following morning, Fudd awoke with a horrible hangover. His bed was floating in a lake of his own vomit. He rubbed his temples with the tips of his thumbs, attempting to alleviate his pounding head. Elmer decided that the only cure for his malady was another beer. He went back to the pub.

The staff and customers who had witnessed Fudd’s performance the night before were amazed by how quickly he had recovered. The barmaid made him open his mouth, and miraculously, Fudd’s pink gums were unscathed. By noon, he was drunk again. He recited Novalis in a Berlin dialect to all who would listen:

Into the bosom of the earth,
Out of the Light’s dominion,
Death’s pains are but a bursting forth,
Sign of glad departure.
Swift in the narrow little boat ,
Swift to the heavenly shore we float.

Blessed be the everlasting Night,
And blessed the endless slumber.
We are heated by the day too bright,
And withered up with care.
We’re weary of a life abroad,
And we now want our Father’s home…

 

The pub was completely captivated by the pot-bellied wanderer who spoke with the authority of a demented king. They anointed him with precious oils, hoisted him upon their collective shoulder and headed out on to the street to lead the parade.

All hail, the new king of Germany!

Fudd drank deeply from the cup of his newly acquired fame. He slept with a different woman every night, ate the finest food, and drank the best beer Germany had to offer. His previous American life now seemed a horrible dream from which he had finally managed to escape; Bugs Bunny’s spell had finally been broken.

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