He first appeared with Bugs Bunny in the 1948 short Gorilla My Dreams. In the cartoon, Bugs almost became his son. He appeared again in Apes of Wrath (albeit redesigned), with almost the same plot as Gorilla My Dreams (in both cartoons, Gruesome, who hated the idea of becoming a father, behaves in an abusive manner toward Bugs). Gruesome's third and last appearance was in Hurdy-Gurdy Hare.
Gruesome later appeared as a boss in the video game, Bugs Bunny and Taz: Time Busters.