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Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner
Tobeepornottobeep.jpg
Wile E. Coyote (left) and Road Runner (right) in To Beep or Not to Beep.
First appearance Fast and Furry-ous (September 16, 1949)
Created by Chuck Jones
Voiced by Wile E. Coyote: Silent until 1952, then:
Mel Blanc (1952–1989)
Joe Alaskey (1990–1995)
Dee Bradley Baker (Duck Dodgers)
Maurice LaMarche (1990–current)
The Road Runner:
Paul Julian (1949–1995)
Mel Blanc (1969–1989)
Dee Bradley Baker (1995–current)

Wile E. Coyote (also known simply as "The Coyote") and The Road Runner are cartoon characters from a series of Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons. The characters were created by animation director Chuck Jones in 1948 for Warner Brothers, while the template for their adventures was the work of writer Michael Maltese. The characters star in a long-running series of theatrical cartoon shorts (the first 16 of which were written by Maltese) and occasional made-for-television cartoons.

The series lampoons nature documentaries, where instead of animal senses and cunning, the Coyote uses absurd contraptions and elaborate plans to pursue his quarry.

The "E" in his name was said to stand for Ethelbert in one issue of a Looney Tunes comic book, but is actually a play on the word "wily". This was its only appearance, so if it was true is unknown. The coyote's last name is routinely pronounced with a long "e" ( "ky-O'-tee"), but in To Hare is Human, Wile is heard pronouncing it with a long "a" (e.g. "ky-O'-tay") to sound refined.

The Coyote has separately appeared as an occasional antagonist against Bugs Bunny in five shorts: Operation: Rabbit, To Hare is Human, Rabbit's Feat, Compressed Hare, and Hare-Breadth Hurry. While he is generally silent in the Coyote-Road Runner shorts, he speaks with a refined accent in these solo outings (except for Hare-Breadth Hurry), introducing himself as "Wile E. Coyote - super genius", voiced by Mel Blanc.[1] The Road Runner vocalizes only with a signature sound, "Beep, Beep" (Sometimes Meep Meep), and an occasional tongue noise. The "Beep, Beep" was recorded by Paul Julian.[2]

To date, 45 cartoons have been made featuring these characters, the majority by Chuck Jones.

Contents

Creation

Jones based the Coyote on Mark Twain's, Roughing It[3] in which Twain describes the coyote as "a long, slim, sick and sorry-looking skeleton" that is "a living, breathing allegory of Want. He is always hungry". Jones said he created the Coyote-Road Runner cartoons as a parody of traditional "cat and mouse" cartoons (such as Tom and Jerry).[4]

List of episodes

The series consists of 45 shorts (mostly about 6-7 min.), 1 short movie (26 min.), and 3 Webtoons (2-3 min.).

# Release date Title Duration Credits Pseudo-Latin names given
Story/writing Direction for the Road Runner for the Coyote
01 September 17, 1949 Fast and Furry-ous 6:55 Michael Maltese Charles M. Jones Acceleratii incredibus Carnivorous vulgaris
02 May 24, 1952 Beep, Beep 6:45 Michael Maltese Charles M. Jones Accelerati incredibilus Carnivorous vulgaris
03 August 23, 1952 Going! Going! Gosh! 6:25 Michael Maltese Charles M. Jones Acceleratti incredibilis Carnivorous vulgaris
04 September 19, 1953 Zipping Along 6:55 Michael Maltese Charles M. Jones Velocitus tremenjus Road-Runnerus digestus
05 August 14, 1954 Stop! Look! And Hasten!! 7:00 Michael Maltese Charles M. Jones Hot-roddicus supersonicus Eatibus anythingus
06 April 30, 1955 Ready, Set, Zoom! 6:55 Michael Maltese Charles M. Jones Speedipus rex Famishus-famishus
07 December 10, 1955 Guided Muscle 6:40 Michael Maltese Charles M. Jones Velocitus delectiblus Eatibus almost anythingus
08 May 5, 1956 Gee Whiz-z-z-z-z-z-z 6:35 Michael Maltese Charles M. Jones Delicius-delicius Eatius birdius
09 November 10, 1956 There They Go-Go-Go! 6:35 Michael Maltese Chuck Jones Dig-outius tid-bittius Famishius fantasticus
10 January 26, 1957 Scrambled Aches 6:50 Michael Maltese Chuck Jones Tastyus supersonicus Eternalii famishiis
11 September 14, 1957 Zoom and Bored 6:15 Michael Maltese Chuck Jones Birdibus zippibus Famishus vulgarus
12 April 12, 1958 Whoa, Be-Gone! 6:10 Michael Maltese Chuck Jones Birdius high-ballius Famishius vulgaris ingeniusi
13 October 11, 1958 Hook, Line and Stinker 5:55 Michael Maltese Chuck Jones Burnius-roadibus Famishius-famishius
14 December 6, 1958 Hip Hip-Hurry! 6:00 Michael Maltese Chuck Jones Digoutius-unbelieveablii Eatius-slobbius
15 May 9, 1959 Hot-Rod and Reel! 6:25 Michael Maltese Chuck Jones Super-sonicus-tastius Famishius-famishius
16 October 10, 1959 Wild About Hurry 6:45 Michael Maltese Chuck Jones Batoutahelius Hardheadipus oedipus
17 January 9, 1960 Fastest with the Mostest 7:20 None Chuck Jones Velocitus incalculii Carnivorous slobbius
18 October 8, 1960 Hopalong Casualty 6:05 Chuck Jones Chuck Jones Speedipus-rex Hard-headipus ravenus
19 January 21, 1961 Zip 'N Snort 5:50 Chuck Jones Chuck Jones Digoutius-hot-rodis Evereadii eatibus
20 June 3, 1961 Lickety-Splat 6:20 Chuck Jones Chuck Jones
Abe Levitow
Fastius tasty-us Apetitius giganticus
21 November 11, 1961 Beep Prepared 6:00 John Dunn
Chuck Jones
Chuck Jones
Maurice Noble
Tid-bittius velocitus Hungrii flea-bagius
22 June 30, 1962 Zoom at the Top 6:30 Chuck Jones Chuck Jones
Maurice Noble
Disappearialis quickius Overconfidentii vulgaris
Film June 2, 1962 Adventures of the Road-Runner 26:00 John Dunn
Chuck Jones
Michael Maltese
Chuck Jones Super-Sonnicus Idioticus Desertous-operativus Idioticus
23 December 28, 1963 To Beep or Not to Beep* 6:35 John Dunn
Chuck Jones
Chuck Jones
Maurice Noble
None None
24 June 6, 1964 War and Pieces 6:40 John Dunn Chuck Jones
Maurice Noble
Burn-em upus asphaltus Caninus nervous rex
25 January 1, 1965 Zip Zip Hooray!* 6:15 John Dunn None Super-sonnicus idioticus None
26 February 1, 1965 Roadrunner a Go-Go* 6:05 John Dunn None None None
27 February 27, 1965 The Wild Chase 6:30 None Friz Freleng
Hawley Pratt
None None
28 July 31, 1965 Rushing Roulette 6:20 David Detiege Robert McKimson None None
29 August 21, 1965 Run, Run, Sweet Road Runner 6:00 Rudy Larriva Rudy Larriva None None
30 September 18, 1965 Tired and Feathered 6:20 Rudy Larriva Rudy Larriva None None
31 October 9, 1965 Boulder Wham! 6:30 Len Janson Rudy Larriva None None
32 October 30, 1965 Just Plane Beep 6:45 Don Jurwich Rudy Larriva None None
33 November 13, 1965 Hairied and Hurried 6:45 Nick Bennion Rudy Larriva None None
34 December 11, 1965 Highway Runnery 6:45 Al Bertino Rudy Larriva None None
35 December 25, 1965 Chaser on the Rocks 6:45 Tom Dagenais Rudy Larriva None None
36 January 8, 1966 Shot and Bothered 6:30 Nick Bennion Rudy Larriva None None
37 January 29, 1966 Out and Out Rout 6:00 Dale Hale Rudy Larriva None None
38 February 19, 1966 The Solid Tin Coyote 6:15 Don Jurwich Rudy Larriva None None
39 March 12, 1966 Clippety Clobbered 6:15 Tom Dagenais Rudy Larriva None None
40 November 5, 1966 Sugar and Spies 6:20 Tom Dagenais Robert McKimson None None
41 November 27, 1979 Freeze Frame 6:05 Chuck Jones
(no on-screen credits)
Chuck Jones
(no on-screen credits)
Semper food-ellus Grotesques appetitus
42 May 21, 1980 Soup or Sonic 9:10 Chuck Jones Chuck Jones
Phil Monroe
Ultra-sonicus ad infinitum Nemesis ridiculii
43 December 21, 1994 Chariots of Fur 7:00 Chuck Jones Chuck Jones Boulevardius-burnupius Dogius ignoramii
44 December 30, 2000 Little Go Beep 7:55 Kathleen Helppie-Shipley
Earl Kress
Spike Brandt Morselus babyfatius tastius Poor schnookius
45 November 1, 2003 The Whizzard Of Ow 7:00 Chris Kelly Bret Haaland Geococcyx californianus*** Canis latrans****
Web Unknown Judge Granny Case 2** [1], Wile E. voiced by Maurice LaMarche TBD Birdius tastius Poultrius devourius
Web Unknown Wild King Dumb** [2] TBD Birdius tastius Poultrius devourius
Web Unknown Wile E. Coyote Ugly** [3] TBD None None

* Part of the animated film Adventures of the Road-Runner

** Webtoon (looneytunes.warnerbros.com) - US Only

*** Actual Latin name of the Greater Roadrunner

**** Actual Latin name of the Coyote

In Stop! Look! and Hasten!, Wile E. follows the instructions in a manual titled How to Build a Burmese Tiger Trap. Hearing the trap activated, he leaps in and immediately withdraws, panicked, because instead of the Road Runner he has caught an actual Burmese tiger, who is identified as such and given the pseudo-Latin name surprisibus! surprisibus!.

In Soup or Sonic, the "beep, beep" of the Road Runner is also given the pseudo-Latin name beepus-beepus. It might also be noted that in this episode, Wile E. finally 'catches' the Road Runner; however, he has been shrunk down to minute size and is dwarfed by the Road Runner. Recovering from the shock, he then turns to the viewer and holds up a sign reading "Okay wise guys, you always wanted me to catch him. Now what do I do?"

Scenery

The desert scenery in the first two Road Runner cartoons, Fast and Furry-ous (1949) and Beep, Beep (mid 1952), was designed by Robert Gribbroek and was quite realistic. In most later cartoons the scenery was designed by Maurice Noble and was far more abstract. Several different styles were used. In The Wild Chase (1965), featuring a race between the Road Runner and Speedy Gonzales, it is stated that the Road Runner is from Texas, insofar as the race announcer calls him the "Texas Road Burner." This suggests that most of the Wile E. and Road Runner cartoons could take place in Texas. However, in episode 23, "To Beep or Not to Beep", the catapult is constructed by the Road-Runner Manufacturing Company, which has locations in Taos, Phoenix, Santa Fe and Flagstaff, suggesting that it takes place in Arizona and New Mexico.

In Going! Going! Gosh! (late 1952) through Guided Muscle (late 1955) the scenery was 'semi-realistic' with an offwhite sky (possibly suggesting overcast/cloudy weather condition). Gravity-defying rock formations appeared in Ready, Set, Zoom! (early 1955). A bright yellow sky made its debut in Gee Whiz-z-z-z! (early 1956) but was not used consistently until There They Go-Go-Go!, later in the same year.

Zoom and Bored (late 1957) introduced a major change in background style. Sharp, top-heavy rock formations became more prominent, and warm colors (yellow, orange and red) were favored. Bushes were crescent-shaped. Except for Whoa Be-Gone (early 1958), whose scenery design harked back to Guided Muscle in certain aspects (such as off-white sky), this style of scenery was retained as far as Fastest with the Mostest (early 1960). Hopalong Casualty (mid 1960) changed the colour scheme, with the sky reverting to blue, and some rocks becoming off-white, while the bright yellow desert sand colour is retained, along with the 'sharp' style of rock formations pioneered by Zoom and Bored. The crescent shapes used for bushes starting with Zoom and Bored were retained, and also applied to clouds. In the last scene of War and Pieces (1964), Wile E. Coyote's rocket blasts him through the center of the Earth to China, which is portrayed with abstract Oriental backgrounds. This scene features a Chinese Road Runner.

The Format Films cartoons used a style of scenery similar to Hopalong Casualty and its successors, albeit less detailed and with small puffy clouds rather than crescent-shaped ones.

Freeze Frame, a made-for-television short originally shown as part of the 1979 CBS special Bugs Bunny's Looney Christmas Tales, depicts the Road Runner taking a turn that leads the chase into mountains and across a wintry landscape of ice and snow.

The Acme Corporation

Wile E. Coyote often obtains complex and ludicrous devices from a mail-order company, the fictitious Acme Corporation, which he hopes will help him catch the Road Runner. The devices invariably fail in improbable and spectacular ways. Whether this is result of operator error or faulty merchandise is debatable. The coyote usually ends up burnt to a crisp, squashed flat, or at the bottom of a canyon (some shorts show him suffering a combination of these fates). Occasionally Acme products do work quite well (e.g. the Dehydrated Boulders, Bat-Man Outfit, Rocket Sled, Jet Powered Roller Skates or Earthquake Pills). In this case their success often works against the coyote - for example, the Dehydrated Boulder, upon hydration, becomes so large that it crushes him, or the Coyote finding out that the Earthquake Pills bottle label's fine print states that the pills aren’t effective on road runners, right after he swallows the whole bottle, thinking them duds. Other times he uses items that are implausible, such as a superhero outfit, thinking he could fly wearing it (he cannot).

How the coyote acquires these products without money is not explained until the 2003 movie Looney Tunes: Back in Action, in which he is shown to be an employee of Acme. In a Tiny Toon Adventures episode, Wile E. makes mention of his protege Calamity Coyote possessing an unlimited Acme credit card account, which might serve as another possible explanation. Wile E. being a "beta tester" for Acme has been another suggested explanation. Wile E. also uses war equipment such as cannon, rocket launchers, grenades, and bayonets which are "generic", not Acme products. In a Cartoon Network commercial promoting Looney Tunes, they ask the Coyote why does he insist on purchasing products from the Acme Corporation when all previous contraptions have backfired on him, to which the Coyote responds with a wooden sign (right after another item blows up in his face): "Good line of Credit."

The company name was likely chosen for its irony (acme means the highest point, as of achievement or development). Also, a company named ACME would have shown up in the first part of a telephone directory. Some people have said ACME comes from the common expansion A (or American) Company that Makes (or Making) Everything, a backronym of the word. The origin of the name might also be related to the Acme company that built a fine line of animation stands and optical printers; however, the most likely explanation is the Sears house brand called Acme that appeared in their ubiquitous early 1900s mail-order catalogues.

In at least one Road Runner short, 'Ajax' was used instead of Acme.

In another short, the names 'A-1' and 'Ace' are used.

Laws and rules

As in other cartoons, the Road Runner and the coyote follow the laws of cartoon physics. For example, the Road Runner has the ability to enter the painted image of a cave, while the coyote cannot (unless there is an opening through which he can fall). Sometimes, however, this is reversed, and the Road Runner can bust through a painting while the coyote will not. Sometimes the coyote is allowed to hang in midair until he realizes that he is about to plummet into a chasm (a process occasionally referred to elsewhere as Road-Runnering). The coyote can overtake rocks (or cannons) which fall before he does, and end up being squashed by them.

In "Chuck Amuck: The Life and Times Of An Animated Cartoonist",[5] it is claimed that Chuck Jones and the artists behind the Road Runner and Wile E. cartoons adhered to some simple but strict rules:

  1. Road Runner cannot harm the Coyote except by going "beep, beep".
  2. No outside force can harm the Coyote—only his own ineptitude or the failure of Acme products. Trains and trucks were the exception from time to time.
  3. The Coyote could stop anytime—IF he was not a fanatic. (Repeat: "A fanatic is one who redoubles his effort when he has forgotten his aim." —George Santayana).
  4. No dialogue ever, except "beep, beep" and yowling in pain.
  5. Road Runner must stay on the road—for no other reason than that he's a roadrunner.
  6. All action must be confined to the natural environment of the two characters—the southwest American desert.
  7. All tools, weapons, or mechanical conveniences must be obtained from the Acme Corporation.
  8. Whenever possible, make gravity the Coyote's greatest enemy.
  9. The Coyote is always more humiliated than harmed by his failures.
  10. The audience's sympathy must remain with the Coyote.

These rules were not always followed, and in an interview[2] years after the series was made, writer Michael Maltese said he had never heard of the "Rules". The rules were most likely a gag invented for Jones' book.

Later cartoons

The original Chuck Jones productions ended in 1963 after Jack Warner closed the Warner Bros. animation studio. War and Pieces, the last Road Runner short directed by Jones, was released in mid-1964. By that time, David DePatie and veteran director Friz Freleng had formed DePatie-Freleng Enterprises, moved into the facility just emptied by Warner, and signed a license with Warners to produce cartoons for the big studio to distribute.

Their first to feature the Road Runner was The Wild Chase. This was directed by Friz Freleng himself in 1965. The premise was a race between the bird and "the fastest mouse in all of Mexico," Speedy Gonzales, with the coyote and Sylvester the "putty tat" each trying to make a meal out of his usual target. Much of the material was animation rotoscoped from earlier Runner and Gonzales shorts, with the other characters added in.

In total, DePatie-Freleng produced 14 Road Runner cartoons, two of which were directed by Robert McKimson (Rushing Roulette, 1965, and Sugar and Spies, 1966). Due to cuts in the number of frames used per second in animated features, many of these final Road Runner features were cheap looking and jerky. Also, the music was very different and of poorer quality than the older features. This was disappointing to fans for the original shorts, and many felt it was the final death knell for animation.

The remaining 11 were subcontracted to Format Films and directed under ex-Warner Bros. animator Rudy Larriva. The "Larriva Eleven", as the series was later called, lacked the fast-paced action of the Chuck Jones originals and was poorly received by critics. In Of Mice and Magic, Leonard Maltin calls the series "witless in every sense of the word." In addition, except for the planet Earth scene at the tail end of "Highway Runnery", there was only one clip of the Coyote's fall to the ground, used over and over again. These cartoons can easily be distinguished from Chuck Jones's cartoons because they feature the modern "Abstract WB" Looney Tunes opening and closing sequences, and they use the same music cues over and over again in the cartoons, composed by William Lava. Only one of those 11 cartoons - "Run, Run, Sweet Road Runner" - had music that was actually scored instead of the same music cues. Another clear clue is that Jones' previously described "Laws" for the characters were not followed with any significant fidelity.

Wile E. Coyote has also unsuccessfully attempted to catch and eat Bugs Bunny in another series of cartoons. In these cartoons, the coyote takes on the guise of a self-described "super genius" and speaks with a smooth, generic upper-class accent provided by Mel Blanc. While he is incredibly intelligent, he is limited to technology and is often easily outsmarted, a somewhat physical symbolism of "street smarts" besting "book smarts."

In one short (Hare-Breadth Hurry, 1963), Bugs Bunny—with the help of "speed pills"—even stands in for Road Runner, who has "sprained a giblet", and carries out the duties of outsmarting the hungry scavenger. This is the only Bugs Bunny/Wile E. Coyote short in which the coyote does not speak. As usual Wile E. Coyote ends up falling down a canyon. (In a later, made-for-TV short, which had a young Elmer Fudd chasing a young Bugs Bunny, Elmer also falls down a canyon. On the way down he is overtaken by Wile E. Coyote who shows a sign telling Elmer to get out of the way for someone who is more experienced in falling.)

In the 1962 pilot for a proposed television series (but instead released as a theatrical short titled The Adventures of the Road-Runner—later edited and split into three short subjects called To Beep or Not to Beep, Zip Zip Hooray! and Road Runner A-Go-Go), Wile E. lectures two young TV-watching children about the edible parts of a Road Runner, attempting to explain his somewhat irrational obsession with catching it.

Chuck Jones's 1979 movie The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Movie features Jones's characters, including Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner. However, whereas most of the featured cartoons are single cartoons or sometimes isolated clips, the footage of Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner is taken from several different cartoons and compiled to run as one extended sequence.

Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner have cameo roles in Robert Zemeckis's Who Framed Roger Rabbit during the final scene in Marvin Acme's factory with several other Looney Tunes characters. This is one of several anachronisms in the movie, which is set two years before Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner debuted.

Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner appear as members of the TuneSquad team in Space Jam. There, Wile E. rigs one of the basketball hoops with dynamite to prevent one of the Monstars from scoring a slam dunk.

Wile E. Coyote appears as an employee of the Acme Corporation in Looney Tunes: Back in Action. There, his role is similar to that of Mustafa from the Austin Powers movies.

Spin-offs

In another series of Warner Bros. Looney Tunes cartoons, Chuck Jones used the character design (model sheets and personality) of Wile E. Coyote as "Ralph Wolf". In this series, Ralph continually attempts to steal sheep from a flock being guarded by the eternally vigilant Sam Sheepdog. As with the Road Runner series, Ralph Wolf uses all sorts of wild inventions and schemes to steal the sheep, but he is continually foiled by the sheepdog. In a move seen by many as a self-referential gag, Ralph Wolf continually tries to steal the sheep not because he is a fanatic (as Wile E. Coyote was), but because it is his job. In every cartoon, he and the sheepdog punch a timeclock, exchange pleasantries, go to work, take lunch break, and clock out to go home for the day, all according to a factory-like blowing whistle. The most prominent difference between the coyote and the wolf, aside from their locales, is that Wile E. has a black nose and Ralph has a red nose.

Comic books

Wile E. was called Kelsey Coyote in his comic book debut, a Henery Hawk story in Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies #91 (May 1949). He only made a couple of other appearances at this time. The first appearance of the Road Runner in a comic book was in Bugs Bunny Vacation Funnies #8 (August 1958) published by Dell Comics. The feature is titled "Beep Beep the Road Runner" and the story "Desert Dessert". It presents itself as the first meeting between Beep Beep and Wile E. (whose mailbox reads "Wile E. Coyote, Inventor and Genius"), and introduces the Road Runner's wife, Matilda, and their three newly hatched sons. This story established the convention that the Road Runner family talked in rhyme in the comics.

Dell initially published a dedicated "Beep Beep the Road Runner" comic as part of Four Color Comics #918, 1008, and 1046 before launching a separate series for the character numbered #4–14 (1960–62), with the three try-out issues counted as the first three numbers. After a hiatus, Gold Key Comics took over the character with issues #1–88 (1966–84). During the 1960s, the artwork was done by Pete Alvarado and Phil De Lara; from 1966-1969, the Gold Key issues consisted of Dell reprints. Afterward, new stories began to appear, initially drawn by Alavardo and De Lara before Jack Manning became the main artist for the title. New and reprinted Beep Beep stories also appeared in Golden Comics Digest and Gold Key's revival of Looney Tunes in the 1970s. During this period, one comic story revealed his middle name to be "Ethelbert"[6] in the story "The Greatest of E's" in issue #53 (cover-date September 1975) of Gold Key Comics' licensed comic book, Beep Beep the Road Runner.[7]

The Road Runner and Wile E. also make appearances in the DC Comics Looney Tunes title.

Television

The Road Runner and the Coyote appeared on Saturday mornings as the stars of their own TV series, The Road Runner Show, from September 1966 to September 1968, on CBS. At this time it was merged with The Bugs Bunny Show to become the The Bugs Bunny and Road Runner Show, running from 1968 to 1985. The show was later seen on ABC until 2000, and on Global until 1998.

In the 1970s, Chuck Jones directed some Road Runner short films for the educational children's TV series The Electric Company. These short cartoons used the Coyote and the Road Runner to display words for children to read, but the cartoons themselves were a refreshing return to Jones' glory days.

In 1979, Freeze Frame, in which Jones moved the chase from the desert to snow covered mountains, was seen as part of Bugs Bunny's Looney Christmas Tales.

At the end of Bugs Bunny's Portrait of the Artist as a Young Bunny (the initial sequence of Chuck Jones' TV special, Bugs Bunny's Bustin' Out All Over), Bugs mentions to the audience that he and Elmer may have been the first pair of characters to have chase scenes in these cartoons, but then a pint-sized baby Wile E. Coyote (wearing a diaper and holding a small knife and fork) runs right in front of Bugs, chasing a gold-colored, mostly unhatched (except for the tail, which is sticking out) Road Runner egg, which is running rapidly while some high-pitched "beep, beep" noises can be heard. This was followed by the full-fledged Runner/Coyote short, Soup or Sonic.

In the 1980s, ABC began showing many Warner Bros. shorts, but in highly edited form, because the unedited versions were supposedly too violent. Many scenes integral to the stories were taken out, including scenes in which Wile E. Coyote landed at the bottom of the canyon after having fallen from a cliff, or had a boulder or anvil actually make contact with him. In almost all WB animated features, scenes where a character's face was burnt and black, resembling blackface, were removed, as were animated characters smoking cigarettes, or even simulated cigarettes. Some cigar smoking scenes were left in. The unedited versions of these shorts (with the exception of ones with blackface) were not seen again until Cartoon Network, and later Boomerang (TV channel), began showing them again in the 1990s and early 2000s. Since the release of the WB library of cartoons on DVD, Boomerang has stopped showing the cartoons, presumably to increase sales of the DVDs.

Though Wile E. Coyote isn't seen in Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue he is mentioned by Bugs Bunny saying that he borrowed his time machine.

Wile E. and the Road Runner later appeared in several episodes of Tiny Toon Adventures. In this series, Wile E. (voiced in the Jim Reardon episode "Piece of Mind" by Joe Alaskey) was the dean of Acme Looniversity and the mentor of Calamity Coyote. The Road Runner's protege in this series was Little Beeper. In the episode "Piece of Mind", Wile E. narrates the life story of Calamity while Calamity is falling from the top of a tall skyscraper. In the direct-to-video movie Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Vacation, the Road Runner finally gets a taste of humiliation by getting run over by a mail truck that "brakes for coyotes."

The two were also seen in cameos in Animaniacs. They were together in two "Slappy Squirrel" cartoons: "Bumbie's Mom" and "Little Old Slappy from Pasadena". In the latter the Road Runner gets another taste of humiliation when he is outrun by Slappy's car, and holds up a sign saying "I quit"—immediately afterwards, Buttons, who was launched into the air during a previous gag, lands squarely on top of him. Wile E. appears without the bird in a The Wizard of Oz parody, dressed in his batsuit from one short, in a twister (tornado) funnel in "Buttons in Ows".

In a Cartoon Network TV ad about The Acme Hour, Wile E. Coyote utilized a pair of jet roller skates to catch the Road Runner and (quite surprisingly) didn't fail. While he was cooking his prey, it was revealed that the roller skates came from a generic brand. The ad said that other brand isn't the same thing.[citation needed]

In the 2000s, toddler versions of Wile E. and the Road Runner have been featured in episodes of the series Baby Looney Tunes.

Wile E. Coyote had a cameo as the true identity of an alien hunter (a parody of Predator) in the Duck Dodgers episode "K-9 Quarry," voiced by Dee Bradley Baker. In that episode, he was hunting Martian Commander X-2 and K-9.

In Loonatics Unleashed, Wile E. Coyote and Roadrunner's 28th century descendants are Tech E. Coyote and Rev Runner. Tech E. Coyote was the tech expert of the Loonatics (influenced by the past cartoons with many of the machines ordered by Wile E. from Acme), and has magnetic hands and the ability to molecularly regenerate himself (influenced by the many times in which Wile E. painfully failed to capture Roadrunner). Tech E. Coyote speaks, but does not have a British accent as Wile E. Coyote did. Rev Runner is also able to talk, though extremely rapidly, and can fly without the use of jet packs, which are used by other members of the Loonatics. He also has super speed, also a take off of Roadrunner. Ironically, the pair get on rather well, despite the number of gadgets Tech designs in order to stop Rev talking. Also they have their moments where they don't get along. When friendship is shown it is often only from Rev to Tech, not the other way around. They are both portrayed as smart, but Tech is the better inventor and was shown at times shows Rev doing stupid things.

In the Cartoon Network TV series Class of 3000, Wile E. Coyote is seen constantly in one episode, using rocket shoes and howling like a real life coyote. His Latin name is "Jokis Callbackus".

In 2009, a group of EMRTC engineers attempt to re-create Wile E. Coyote's failed contraptions on a TruTV series Man vs. Cartoon.

In the Total Drama Island episode "Wawkanakwa Gone Wild" the duck Gwen meets parodies Roadrunner, such as the running and the tongue sticking.

Commercial appearances

Road Runner holding his crash helmet, as seen on the Plymouth Superbird automobile.
  • The Plymouth Road Runner was a muscle car produced by the Plymouth division of Chrysler between 1968 and 1980. An official licensee of Warner Bros. (paying $50,000 for the privilege)[8], Plymouth used the image of the cartoon bird on the sides and the car had a special horn (with "Voice of Road Runner" labels) that sounds like the bird's signature 'beep, beep'. Some engine options (notably the 426 Hemi) included Road Runner "Coyote Duster" graphics on the air cleaner.[citation needed] The rear spoiler and one of the headlight covers of the 1970 Plymouth Superbird version of the Road Runner included a graphic of the Road Runner holding a crash helmet.
  • General Motors used the Road Runner on its marketing campaign in 1985 for its Holden Barina in Australia.[citation needed]
  • In 1991, Shell Oil New Zealand ran a series of advertisements called "Change for Good" promoting a switch to Unleaded 91 Octane fuel. One of these advertisements had Wile E. Coyote driving into a Shell Service Station and the attendant suggests a "Change for Good." After filling up Wile E. Coyote's vehicle is now transformed and he is able to drive off to catch Road Runner.[9]
  • In 1996, Road Runner became the mascot for Time Warner's cable internet service, also named Road Runner.[10] One commercial involved Wile E. as the "mascot" of DSL. Road Runner is also the mascot of Time Warner's car sales website, BeepBeep.com, and appears in commercials on Time Warner cable systems in several television markets.
  • In 1996, Wile E. Coyote appeared alongside football star Deion Sanders in a Pepsi commercial.[citation needed]
  • From 1997 to 1998, Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote appeared in a Pontiac Grand Prix car commercial.[citation needed] Wile E. chases the Road Runner while driving the car. Pontiac used a tagline "Wider is Better".[citation needed]
  • In 2004, Wile E. appeared (along with Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck) in an Aflac commercial,[11] in which he is shown as being a prime candidate for the company's services. Before he plummets, taking an animated version of the Aflac duck with him, he holds up a sign with the company's tagline, "Ask About It at Work".
  • In the 1990s, Wile E. appeared in Energizer commercials trying to capture the Energizer Bunny.[12]
  • In the 1980s, both Wile E. and Road Runner appeared in a Honey Nut Cheerios commercial.[citation needed]Before Wile E. was about to fall off a cliff, the Honey Nut Cheerios bee saved him by convincing him to take and eat a bowl of the cereal.
  • A McDonald's TV commercial in the 1980s showed the Road Runner running in and ordering using his "beep, beep" while the order taker translated everything he said. Then he picked up the bag and ran over the Coyote on his way out the door.[citation needed]
  • Delivery company Purolator Courier used the Road Runner's "beep, beep" in a TV commercial and actually had the phone number 1-800-BEEP-BEEP.[13]
  • In New Mexico, where the state bird is the Greater Roadrunner, a commuter train called the Rail Runner uses the Road Runner's signature "beep, beep" as a signal that the train doors are about to close.[citation needed]
  • In 2006, Road Runner appeared in a Florida TV commercial for Bright House Networks.[citation needed]
  • Oceanic Cable company in Hawaii (a regional branding of Time Warner Cable) uses the Roadrunner as mascot for its high-speed cable modem service. They have also used other Looney Tunes characters, most notably Yosemite Sam, as pitchmen.[citation needed]
  • Brazilian postal company, Correios, licensed the Road Runner from Warner to use in an advertising campaign for their express delivery service, Sedex.[4][5]
  • In the Philippines, the Partas bus company features Road Runner in its buses' livery, even on the employees' uniforms.
  • In the Philippines, both Wile E. and Road Runner were featured in a Boysen Paints commercial, featuring the "tunnel" gag. In this case, Wile E. uses Boysen paint to draw a tunnel, as Road Runner paints a wall on the other side of the tunnel.
  • In 2009, in Mexico, Wile E. Coyote appears in a CONMEXICO TV commercial in which several clips of Acme products backfiring on him are shown. The ad then states that in real life it is not funny when a product does not work properly and advises the consumers to keep buying certified tried and tested brands.
  • An Australian Jeep ad in early 2010 has a Jeep running at fast speed and replacing 'Beep Beep' with 'Jeep Jeep'. Gags include the sudden stop and species name, the background, which is drawn Australian style, a boulder falling down and barely missing the Jeep, and heaps of dynamite, which the Jeep runs across them, which land and arrange into the price $40990 (and two sticks of dynamite fall and create the price $37990). The sale was called the 'Off-Road Runner Sale'.

Video games

Several Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner-themed video games have been produced:

The arcade game was originally to have been a laserdisc-based title incorporating footage from the actual Road Runner cartoons. Atari eventually decided that the format was too unreliable (laserdisc-based games required a great deal of maintenance) and switched it to more conventional raster-based hardware.

References in other games

In Gex: Enter The Gecko in the level Out of Toon there is a coyote-shaped hole on the side of a cliff.

References in pop culture

  • In the long-running TV show Cheers an episode begins with some bar patrons calmly discussing the Road Runner cartoons and why the Coyote doesn't simply use the money to buy food instead of buying contraptions to catch the roadrunner. The discussion continues and builds in intensity as a minor subplot throughout the entire episode until at the end of the show some of the bar patrons are boisterously declaring that the Coyote character is meant to be symbolic of the Antichrist.
  • Wile E. Coyote has made two appearances in Family Guy and the Roadrunner appeared in an episode of the live-action show Night Court. One or both have appeared in episodes of The Simpsons, Bounty Hamster, What's New, Scooby Doo?, South Park and the 1994 Hanna-Barbera TV movie Scooby-Doo in Arabian Nights.
  • Mark Knopfler, the lead guitarist and singer of Dire Straits, created a song called "Coyote" in homage to the cartoon shows of Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner, on the 2002 album The Ragpicker's Dream.
  • Also the italian singer Eugenio Finardi dedicated to Wile E. Coyote a song called Vil Coyote on the 1989 album Il vento di Elora.
  • The Bell X1 song "One Stringed Harp" includes a line,
Like Wile E. Coyote, as if the fall wasn't enough
Those bastards from Acme have more nasty stuff.
  • In a sketch on In Living Color (Season 5, Episode 10), Wile E. Coyote (played by Jamie Foxx) is put on trial by Congress for displaying excessive violence in his cartoons; Elmer Fudd (played by Jay Leggett) is his lawyer.
  • Humorist Ian Frazier created the mock-legal prose piece "Coyote v. Acme"[14], which is included in a book of the same name.
  • In the movie UHF, "Weird Al" Yankovic's character introduces a Road Runner cartoon as a sad, depressing story of a "pathetic coyote" futilely chasing a "sadistic roadrunner".
  • Wile E. Coyote is the object of a religious-themed and self-reflexive parody in DC Comics' Animal Man #5 from 1989. Scottish writer Grant Morrison tells the story of a coyote named "Crafty" who seeks an end to his life of continual violence by appealing to a cartoon world god. The issue was nominated for an Eisner Award.
  • The opening to The Road Runner Show is playing on the television during a conversation Danny is having with his mother in the Stanley Kubrick film The Shining.
  • In an episode of Boy Meets World, Cory is watching a cartoon about the two, and refuses to stop watching it because he "Wants to make sure that the coyote's OK".
  • Karen Salmansohn wrote an article on The Huffington Post centering on the characters.[15]
  • Seth MacFarlane's Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy includes a short entitled "Die, Sweet Roadrunner, Die," in which Wile E. finally kills and eats the Road Runner, but then realizes that he doesn't know what to do with his life now.[16]
  • In an episode of the MTV series Viva La Bam, Bam Margera paints the inside of his garage on the outside of an closed garage which Ryan Dunn crashes into and claims that Bam just watched Wile E. Coyote and got the idea.
  • In a season 6 episode of Friends (The One Where Ross Dates A Student), Joey and Rachel can be seen watching Going! Going! Gosh!.
  • Coyote and Road Runner's ongoing cat-and-mouse chase, some ACME-product disasters, and the classic painted road are parodied in the Johnny Test episode Johnny vs. Bling-Bling 3.
  • Several of Wile E. Coyote's machines, contraptions and ideas are created and tested for plausability on the TruTV reality show Man vs. Cartoon.
  • In series 1 episode 7 of Ashes to Ashes, the concept of criminals running rings around the police is referred to by Ray as "Roadrunner Syndrome", followed by a "meep meep!" from Chris.
  • In series 3 episode 5 of Supernatural (Bed time stories) Dean and Sam interview a victim while in hospital who mentions his attacker had a tattoo which he then describes as that cartoon that chased the roadrunner to which Dean replies - "Wile E. Coyote?"
  • Wile E. Coyote is the inspiration for the name Wiley (rapper), UK urban grime MC. He has referenced this to be one of his nicknames but uses the monicker Wiley for short. It is along witha variety of nicknames including Eski-Boy.

See also

Footnotes

  1. ^ Flint, Peter (July 11, 1989). "Mel Blanc, Who Provided Voices For 3,000 Cartoons, Is Dead at 81". The New York Times. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=950DE1D7143EF932A25754C0A96F948260. Retrieved December 1, 2007. 
  2. ^ a b The interviews included in the DVD commentary were recorded by animation historian Michael Barrier for his book Hollywood Cartoons: American Animation in Its Golden Age.
  3. ^ Collins, Glen (November 7, 1989), "Chuck Jones on Life and Daffy Duck", New York Times, http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=950DE0DB1E3CF934A35752C1A96F948260 
  4. ^ Barrier, Mich ael (November 6, 2003). Hollywood Cartoons: American Animation in Its Golden Age. United States: Oxford University Press. pp. 672. ISBN 978-0195167290. http://www.amazon.com/Hollywood-Cartoons-American-Animation-Golden/dp/0195167295. Retrieved March 9, 2008. 
  5. ^ Jones, Chuck (1999). Chuck Amuck: The Life and Times Of An Animated Cartoonist. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. ISBN 978-0374526207. 
  6. ^ News from Me (column): "The Name Game" (Feb. 20, 2006), by Mark Evanier
  7. ^ Evanier, News from Me: "Mike Maltese had been occasionally writing the comics in semi-retirement before me, but when he dropped the 'semi' part, I got the job and that was one of the plots I came up with. For the record, the story was drawn by a terrific artist named Jack Manning, and Mr. Maltese complimented me on it. Still, I wouldn't take that as any official endorsement of the Coyote's middle name. If you want to say the Coyote's middle name is Ethelbert, fine. I mean, it's not like someone's going to suddenly whip out Wile E.'s actual birth certificate and yell, 'Aha! Here's incontrovertible proof!' But like I said, I never imagined anyone would take it as part of the official 'canon' of the character. If I had, I'd have said the 'E' stood for Evanier".
  8. ^ , http://www.conceptcarz.com/vehicle/z9333/Plymouth-Road-Runner.aspx Plymouth Road Runner, 1968 Road Runner - Conceptcarz.com 
  9. ^ Ad Wile E. Coyote And Road Runner (1991)
  10. ^ ROAD RUNNER is new name for Time Warner's On-Line Service
  11. ^ AFLAC Duck Gets Animated with the Looney Tunes(TM) Gang
  12. ^ Wile E. Energizer Commercial
  13. ^ Purolator Courier ad
  14. ^ Coyote v. Acme
  15. ^ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/karen-salmansohn/if-at-first-you-dont-succ_b_156000.html
  16. ^ Die, Sweet Roadrunner, Die on YouTube

Sources

External links








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