Picks and Pans Review: What's Up, Doc?

updated 11/12/1990 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/12/1990 AT 01:00 AM EST

TNT (Mon., Nov. 12, 8 P.M. ET)

A

This tribute to Bugs Bunny treats the cartoon cutup with the scholarly devotion he so richly deserves, tracing his genesis back to a young crew of animators who were given a free hand at Warner Bros, in the late '30s. Trying to match Disney's Mickey Mouse, they came up with the more raucous Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies and their own white-gloved superstar.

The documentary celebrates the pencil pushers and other behind-the-scenes folks who put these dizzy classics together, including directors Chuck Jones, Bob Clampett, Friz Freleng and Tex Avery, voiceman Mel Blanc and composer Carl Stalling (whose cartoon scores are compiled on an intriguing new album, The Carl Stalling Project). The fruits of their labors, as well as the occasional carrot, are on ample display in 10 complete cartoons.

The only depressing part is seeing how much more creative and energetic these decades-old cartoons are than their contemporary counterparts. Don't it make my blue Smurfs green.

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