Joseph Benson "Ben/Bugs" Hardaway (1897 - 1957) was a storyboard artist, animator, voice actor, gagman, writer, and director for several Americananimation studios during the The Golden Age of Hollywood animation. He was sometimes credited as J.B. Hardaway, Ben Hardaway, Buggsy Hardaway, and B. Hardaway. While at the Schlesinger/Warner Bros. studio studio during the late 1930s, Hardaway served as a storyman, and co-directed several Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies shorts with Cal Dalton during Friz Freleng's three-year exodus to MGM. In 1938, Hardaway co-directed the first film to feature a rabbit in. This, as yet unnamed, embryonic rabbit had been created by Bob Clampett after a weekend of drawing which is described in great detail in the interview published by Michael Barrier in the now defunct magazine Funnyworld issue #12 (1970). A new drawing of a redesigned rabbit had been requested by the story department as described by Virgil Ross, the animator of A Wild Hare in an interview published in Animato magazine issue #19.
Animator Ben "Bugs" Hardaway inadvertently christened him when "his casual sketch of a proposed rabbit character" was labeled "Bugs's Bunny" by a fellow employee, as described in the Encyclopædia Britannica. When Freleng returned to Warner Bros. in 1939, Hardaway was demoted back to storyman, while Tex Avery eventually created his own rabbit which would later replace Hardaway's Rabbit. In 1940, Hardaway joined the staff of Walter Lantz Productions, where he helped Walter Lantz in creating the studio's most famous character, Woody Woodpecker. Hardaway wrote or co-wrote most of the stories for the 1940-1949 Woody Woodpecker shorts, as well as supplying Woody's voice during this period as well  (Mel Blanc voiced Woody for the woodpecker's first four cartoon appearances: Knock Knock, Woody Woodpecker, The Screwdriver, and Pantry Panic).