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'TV Guide' Tipping Hat to Cartoon Characters

Aired July 31, 2002 - 13:54   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: They may not be the most beautiful people in America, and they won't make a list of the sexiest celebrities, but "TV Guide" is tipping its hat to cartoon characters. You might be surprised which one ranks tops. Bugs Bunny rating number one, followed by Homer Simpson, Rocky and Bullwinkle, Beavis and Butthead and the Grinch. Rounding out the top 10, Fred and Barney, Angelica Pickles, Charlie Brown and Snoopy, Spongebob Squarepants, and "South Park's" Cartman.

"TV Guide's" senior editor Michael Davis joins us home from New York now to talk about it.

"Hi, Michael.

MICHAEL DAVIS, "TV GUIDE": Hi, Kyra.

PHILLIPS: All right, so how did you pick this list?

DAVIS: Three-hundred people across our company got together and submitted nominations, and we a very long list of possibilities that we narrowed down first to 100, and down 50, and then ranked the 50, a very tough job.

PHILLIPS: OK, I can't believe this, Mickey Mouse, 19? What's up with that?

DAVIS: We kind of think that Mickey has atrophied in the past few years, and the character really hasn't grown pretty much. As a spokes-mouse, Mickey is doing fine for the Disney corporation, but our feeling was he has kind of sunk on that list of the all-time greats.

PHILLIPS: Let's round out top five. Bugs Bunny -- are you surprised?

DAVIS: He's one of our colleagues at AOL Time Warner. And his stock, by the way, has never gone down.

PHILLIPS: Yes, I was just going to say, we need to invest in him.

DAVIS: Yes, you do. Bugs is making a big comeback. They are going to make a new movie next year, and there are going to be new theatrical shorts. Listen, Bugs is the best example I could give you of the smart-alec American comic. He not only is a great cartoon character, he's a great comedian. He was written well. He was drawn beautifully. He has thrilled and made many generations laugh. He is tops.

PHILLIPS: Homer Simpson number two. Why not Bart Simpson?

DAVIS: We think that Homer really took over that show. Bart at first was supposed to be the star of "The Simpsons." But over the years, I think Homer has become the fulcrum of that show, the one that people quote most and look forward to seeing most. He's become television's Mr. Sunday night, so we bow to homer.

PHILLIPS: And here is an interesting number three, Rocky and Bullwinkle. Now this is one that I have to admit I used to love. I bet you did, too, very smart cartoon.

DAVIS: Yes, and there wouldn't a "Simpsons" had there not been a Rocky and Bullwinkle. You know, "Rocky and Bullwinkle" is a great example of an animated show that worked on two levels. It clearly had enough in it to make kids happy, but it had that whole other wonderful layer, that subversive layer, that satirical layer that adults love. "Simpsons" works the same way.

PHILLIPS: That's probably what made Beavis and Butthead number four, right? I have to admit, I haven't been able to get into "Beavis and Butthead," but you know, try and convince me here.

DAVIS: For a time in American pop culture history, they were the bomb, and I don't know that any animated show ever did a better job of sort of encapsulating American pop culture and tweaking it better than "Beavis and Butthead."

PHILLIPS: All right. And number five, the Grinch. Did this surprise you?

DAVIS: Not really. The Grinch is a really wonderful character. And even though you only see him once a year at Christmas time, I think that the collaboration between Chuck Jones and Dr. Seuss made for one of the most powerful and memorable animated characters ever.

PHILLIPS: All right. Now, I can't believe this, but speed racer, 49, almost dead last in the top 50?

DAVIS: What, too low?

PHILLIPS: Yes. Speed Racer should be up in top five at least, come on; this one of the best of all time, for you, for me.

DAVIS: It's a generational thing, and I think that people younger than me would absolutely say Speed Racer needed to be higher.

PHILLIPS: Michael Davis at "TV Guide." Can we get this on stands now.

DAVIS: You can get it on newsstands now, and you go to TVguide.com and register your vote you who think should be number one all time. PHILLIPS: Michael, thank you.

DAVIS: Thanks, Kyra.

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