None Dare Call It Coincidence

1901 Thomas Edison invents the Easter Bunny. Originally developed as a more practical conduit for his electric light bulb, Edison, a raging atheist, finds the bunny successfully diverts attention away from the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Emboldened, a year later, he invents Santa Claus.

1917 Ermes “Ernest” Effron Borgnine is born in Hamden, Connecticut. 1940 Bugs Bunny appears in his first feature cartoon, Fred “Tex” Avery's “A Wild Hare.” Bugs will continue to delight generations of kids to come, except for the dim ones who come to believe that an umbrella is your best defense against falling objects and, perhaps most tragically, that your best defense against a shotgun-toting assailant is to kiss him hard on the lips. 1945 After a 10-year stint in the Navy, Ernest Borgnine enrolls at Randall School of Dramatic Arts in Hartford. 1946 Song of the South, the adventures of Brer Rabbit as told by benign Uncle Remus, is released into theaters by Disney and sets race relations back 50 years. 1949 Ernest Borgnine gets his first big acting break, playing the role of a male nurse in the hit Broadway play Harvey, which is about a 6-foot-3-inch rabbit. 1950 Harvey is released as a film, though without Ernest Borgnine. While most are charmed by Jimmy Stewart's turn as kindly Elwood P. Dowd, others see disturbing metaphors dealing with government intrusion, shadow organizations, conspiracy and violence. Josephine Hull takes home an Oscar for playing the wacky sister. 1954 Walter “Rabbit” Maranville, Hall of Fame baseball player, dies. Fittingly, he is placed in a hole in the ground. 1959 The Rabbit Trap starring Ernest Borgnine is released into theaters. 1960 John Updike's novel Rabbit, Runis published. It will be the first of four Rabbit books—also including Rabbit Redux, Rabbit Is Rich, Rabbit at Rest—which we've always meant to read but haven't had the time. Of course, we're familiar with his work. He's the Garp guy, right? Oh, wait, that's John Irving. Who the hell is John Updike? 1962 The Manchurian Candidate, a political thriller about a Korean War hero programmed to assassinate a presidential candidate, is released. The duped killer is played by Laurence Harvey. 1963 President John F. Kennedy is shot and killed in Dallas. Police grab Lee Harvey Oswald and accuse him as the sole perpetrator of the crime. Yet others claim that Oswald is merely a dupe and claim there appears to be a second gunman on a grassy knoll. They point out what appear to be two white puffs—perhaps smoke, perhaps fluffy ears. 1965 His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada—”Hal” to his friends—acknowledged head of the Hare Krishna movement, comes to the United States. 1965 Flight of the Phoenix opens at theaters. It stars Harvey star James Stewart . . . and Ernest Borgnine. 1971 Bunny O'Hare opens in theaters. It's star? You guessed it: Ernest Borgnine. 1972 The film Night of the Lepus is released. The movie, about 150-pound rabbits in search of a new home who terrorize a peaceful countryside, is watched near-continuously by a young developer named Donald Bren. 1972 Richard Adams' novel Watership Down is published. Normal-sized rabbits terrorize high school students forced to read 400-plus pages that offer this insight: rabbits got to live somewhere. 1977 President Jimmy Carter claims that while fishing, he was attacked by a rabbit. The nation is stunned by the chief executive's admission of being a wuss. 1988 Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, a spectacular live/ animation feature, wows audiences, most of whom miss the fact that the film is in fact an apologist's explanation for Lee Harvey Oswald. 2000 Ernest Borgnine is still married to wife and cosmetics diva Tova. Tova's real name is Traesnaes, which, we assume, has something to do with rabbits, you know, in one of those languages they speak, you know, over there.

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