Bugs Bunny hasn't agreed to a proper interview in decades. Not that Jaime Weinman asked for one.
The author of this unauthorized biography of Looney Tunes is more focused on analysis than journalism; it's a thesis from a psychology major who skipped classes to watch cartoons.
"Anvils, Mallets & Dynamite" could be a deadly dull read, but the former Maclean's magazine staffer is animated enough about his subject matter to keep you entertained.
He's at his best when he breaks down the changing moods of Daffy Duck and argues that Foghorn Leghorn was one of Warner Bros.' most charismatic leading men. There's also a terrific chapter on censored cartoons that reflect the casual racism of old Hollywood.
The book is less interesting when it focuses on the characters' performances over the past 30 years, but maybe that says more about my disdain for "Space Jam" than Weinman's writing skills.
Those looking for a deeper history of animation should look elsewhere (start with Leonard Maltin's "Of Mice and Magic"). But if all you want is an excuse to enjoy "What's Opera, Doc?" with fresh eyes, "Anvils" does the trick.
Anvils, Mallets & Dynamite
By: Jaime Weinman.
Publisher: Sutherland House, 280 pages, $24.95.