I ran across a tidy little clip reel of Bugs Bunny's "Albuquerque" quotes. I have no idea if it's comprehensive, nor when the individual scenes date from, but I began to wonder if this could have been the first popular culture reference point for the Duke City. I mean, since the cartoon began in the 40's and seemingly these likely date from the 60's or 70's at the latest, what could have come before this?

I really just love hearing him say that over and over in what Mel Blanc described in the day as a "Flatbush" accent.

America surely knew, in 1947, that Albuquerque was the final home of Ernie Pyle, but does that count? I'm thinking of more trite and show-bizzy instances- like the I Love Lucy episode where Ethel Mertz goes back to her "home town", Albuquerque. That was in January of 1955, and Vivian Vance actually was from Albuquerque.

Johnny Cash mentions Albuquerque in a song he co-wrote with Bob Dylan in 1969, Wanted Man. Then the "Albuquerque" songs, first by Neil Young, then Weird Al. But those are 1975 and 1999, respectively.

The only other "early" pop culture reference I can think of off the top of my head is a great moment and song in a Partridge Family Episode, from the 70's... anybody remember the song that went, "Point me, in the direction of Albuquerque, I need to get hooo-oo--oo--me, I need to get ho-o-ome."? Praise Jah for Lala.com... listen to that gem right here.

I decided to do a little surface-level research, get some exact dates or better info on where the Bugs Bunny line originated, and I only came up with this unsatisfying tidbit from the Wikipedia page, "Sometimes in the beginning of a short, Bugs will pop up in the middle of a random place and say 'I knew I shoulda taken that left turn at Albuquerque.'" What's worse, the line came at the end of a paragraph relating the association that the Bugs character has with Groucho Marx, but it is unclear whether the Albuquerque line is a derivative of one of Marx's schticks. English syntax aficionados can judge for themselves in the second paragraph, here.

There really is no telling what popular references formed America's early impressions of the Duke City, unless, of course, you ask somebody old. But even then, their answer is likely skewed by the ravages of time and sociocultural change.

I guess I'll just have to leave my pursuit of semi-scholarly research regarding the early pop culture instances of our fair burg there for now. Surely you have more. But nothing since the 80's, please.

Views: 93

Comment by cc on April 28, 2010 at 11:39am
Johnny Lee Wills's song Albuquerque, spelling it. (The link is to a post I did here about it.)
Comment by cc on April 28, 2010 at 11:41am
oops try that link again - Johnny Lee Wills's Albuquerque
Comment by Ron Da Bomb on April 28, 2010 at 1:09pm
What about this Randolph Scott gem?
Comment by Masshole in Fringecrest on April 28, 2010 at 1:13pm
That's what I'm talking about! I love the tagline- "BLAZING GUNS MADE HISTORY EACH DAY...AND WARM LIPS MADE MEMORIES AT NIGHT". So Albuquerque is violent and sexy. Sweet.
Comment by Ron Da Bomb on April 28, 2010 at 1:27pm
I seem to remember Sophie or Kitson posting this one a couple of years ago...

Comment by Masshole in Fringecrest on April 28, 2010 at 3:09pm
According to my genius friend Garth, and Yahoo Answers, here's a little story behind Bugs and Burque:

I remember seeing a documentary about the Warner Brothers many years ago. It was explained that Bugs Bunny's wrong turn in Albuquerque was a reference to an actual confusing junction in Albuquerque (probably where I-25 and I-40 meet).


Some of Chuck Jones' colleagues got lost commuting from the Southeast US to Hollywood and ended up lost out in the New Mexico boonies. The experience was memorable enough to create an inside joke that ultimately became the means by which Bugs Bunny ended up in the middle of nowhere. The joke was that Bugs was actually trying to get to Hollywood but got diverted in Albuquerque.
Comment by Stephanie James on April 28, 2010 at 3:14pm
Larry Barker did an interesting piece about the silent film industry that did a lot of filming here starting around 1912 with popular stars such as Tom Mix and Mary Pickford.

Comment by Michael J aka Kirk C on April 28, 2010 at 5:22pm
Back in the late 1960s, country singer Jim Glaser had a semi-hit with a wonderful torch song entitled, "The Lights of Albuquerque." ...will the lights of Albuquerque....shine for me again....
Comment by Michael J aka Kirk C on April 28, 2010 at 5:24pm
...and Masshole, it probably would have been where Rte 66 crossed with the old Santa Fe / Isleta Pueblo roads at Central and 2nd or 4th Streets downtown. No I-40 or I-25 in those days...!
Comment by cathyray on April 28, 2010 at 5:29pm
Mass!! I love this post!!


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