Picks and Pans Review: Bugs Bunny Classics

updated 04/03/1989 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 04/03/1989 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Strictly speaking, this isn't an Easter-oriented tape, but if Bugs isn't a rabbit for all seasons, who is? And he can provide a nice break from egg-dyeing or outfit-trying-on. A compilation of seven cartoons produced from 1941 to 1947 by four of Bugs's most talented collaborators—directors Tex Avery, Friz Freleng, Chuck Jones and Robert McKimson—this hour-long tape suffers from only one omission worth mentioning: None of the stories includes even a cameo from animated films' best second banana—or maybe that should be second carrot—Elmer Fudd. Otherwise, Bugs has a grand time, engaged as usual in outrunning, outtalking and outsmarting a motley array of adversaries. The slamming, crashing and whacking never seem offensively violent, and while the get-Bugs-into-trouble, get-him-out formula rarely varies, it's given sufficiently different spins to keep things interesting. In "Racketeer Rabbit," for example, Bugs's foe is Rocky, a gangster who looks and sounds suspiciously like Edward G. Robinson. The general tone of things is suggested by the scene where Bugs snarls, "It's curtains for you!" at Rocky, then hands him a frilly set of window decorations. A more familiar opponent is Yosemite Sam, whom Bugs at one point tricks into stepping off a cliff. Bugs then races down to the ground and places a mattress under the still-falling Sam, saying, "Ya know, sometimes me conscience kind of bothers me." At the last minute, of course, he pulls the mattress away and adds, "But not this time." (MGM/UA, $14.95; 800-443-5500, ext. 792)

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