Thursday, September 16, 2010

61 Years Ago Today, Wile E. Coyote First Chased a Road Runner

On September 16th, 1949, the world was introduced to two of Warner Brothers' most endearing cartoon characters: Wile E. Coyote, and the Road Runner he has yet to catch. Over the years, the two have run their way through 48 cartoon shorts, most of which were done by the legendary Chuck Jones.

The characters first appeared in 1949's "Fast and Furry-ous," though neither was named at the time. Though the wolf in the feature is obviously Wile E. Coyote, he is billed only as Carnivorous Vulgaris; likewise, the Road Runner is billed as Accelleratii Incredibus. The "E." in Coyote's name was later developed into "Ethelbert" in an issue of the Looney Tunes comic book, Beep Beep the Roadrunner, in which the Road Runner was known as Beep Beep. However, the writer, none other than Mark Evanier, said he never meant for the "Ethelbert" to be accepted as canon, he simply used it for a joke.

It wasn't until 1952 that Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner became vocal. Wile E. Coyote speaks only in the handful of cartoons in which he appears alongside Bugs Bunny. Road Runner only ever said one word ("Beep," of course), and was not voiced by Mel Blanc but Paul Julian.

No post about the pair would be complete without mentioning the third character, Wile E. Coyote's gadget manufacturer, ACME. The word is actually from the Greek ακμή, which is best defined as zenith -- the best of the best, in short. It has since been established as an acronym, meaning A Company that Makes Everything. ACME has actually featured in numerous TV and radio shows, cartoons, and movies.
* Obviously, this entry was posted late. I backdated it (well, only by time) to maintain the integrity.

© C Harris Lynn, 2010

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