Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner

Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner
Wile E. Coyote
Wile E Coyote.gif
Wile E. Coyote
First appearance Fast and Furry-ous (September 17, 1949)
Last appearance The Looney Tunes Show (May 3, 2011-present)
Created by Chuck Jones
Voiced by Silent (1949-1952)
Mel Blanc (1952–1986, only in Wile E. and Bugs Bunny shorts, and Adventures of the Road Runner),
Joe Alaskey (Tiny Toon Adventures),
Dee Bradley Baker (Duck Dodgers),
Maurice LaMarche (webtoon, Looney Tunes: Cartoon Conductor)
Aliases The Coyote
Species Coyote
Gender Male
The Road Runner
The Road Runner
First appearance Fast and Furry-ous (September 17, 1949)
Last appearance The Looney Tunes Show (May 3, 2011-present)
Created by Chuck Jones
Voiced by Mel Blanc (1949–1986),
Paul Julian (1994),
Dee Bradley Baker (2000–current),
Frank Welker (Tiny Toon Adventures, Baby Looney Tunes,Looney Tunes: Acme Arsenal The Looney Tunes Show)
Species Roadrunner
Gender Male

Wile E. Coyote (also known simply as "The Coyote") and The Road Runner are a duo of cartoon characters from a series of Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons. The characters (a coyote and Greater Roadrunner) were created by animation director Chuck Jones in 1948 for Warner Bros., 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.

In each episode, instead of animal senses and cunning, Wile E. Coyote uses absurdly complex contraptions (sometimes in the manner of Rube Goldberg) and elaborate plans to pursue his quarry.

The Coyote appears separately as an occasional antagonist of Bugs Bunny in five shorts from 1952 to 1963: 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 with an upper-class, cultured English accent by Mel Blanc.[1] The Road Runner vocalizes only with a signature sound, "Beep, Beep", and an occasional tongue noise. The "Meep, Meep" was recorded by Paul Julian.[2]

To date, 48 cartoons have been made featuring these characters (including the three CGI shorts), the majority by Chuck Jones.



Jones based the Coyote on Mark Twain's book Roughing It,[3] in which Twain described 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, which series Jones would work on as a director later in his career.[4]

The Coyote's name of Wile E. is obviously a play on the word "wily." The "E" was said to stand for Ethelbert in one issue of a Looney Tunes comic book, but its writer hadn't intended it to be canon.[5] The Coyote's surname is routinely pronounced with a long "e" (/kaɪˈoʊtiː/ ky-oh-tee), but in one cartoon short, To Hare Is Human, Wile is heard pronouncing it with a diphthong (/kaɪˈoʊteɪ/ ky-oh-tay). Early model sheets for the character prior to his initial appearance (in Fast and Furry-ous) identified him as "Don Coyote", a play on Don Quixote.[6]

List of cartoons

The series consists of:

  • 48 shorts, mostly about 6–7 minutes but includes three webtoons which are "three-minute, three-dimensional cartoons in widescreen (scope)".[7]
  • One half-hour special (26 minutes).
  • One feature-length film that combines live action and animation (91 minutes).
# Release date Title Duration Credits Pseudo-Latin names given
Story/writing Direction For the Road Runner For the Coyote
1 1949·Sep·17 Fast and Furry-ous 6:55 Michael Maltese Chuck Jones Accelleratii incredibus Carnivorous vulgaris
2 1952·May·24 Beep, Beep 6:45 Michael Maltese Chuck Jones Accelerati incredibilus Carnivorous vulgaris
3 1952·Aug·23 Going! Going! Gosh! 6:25 Michael Maltese Chuck Jones Acceleratti incredibilis Carnivorous vulgaris
4 1953·Sep·19 Zipping Along 6:55 Michael Maltese Chuck Jones Velocitus tremenjus Road-Runnerus digestus
5 1954·Aug·14 Stop! Look! And Hasten! 7:00 Michael Maltese Chuck Jones Hot-roddicus supersonicus Eatibus anythingus
6 1955·Apr·30 Ready, Set, Zoom! 6:55 Michael Maltese Chuck Jones Speedipus Rex Famishus-Famishus
7 1955·Dec·10 Guided Muscle 6:40 Michael Maltese Chuck Jones Velocitus delectiblus Eatibus almost anythingus
8 1956·May·05 Gee Whiz-z-z-z-z-z-z 6:35 Michael Maltese Chuck Jones Delicius-delicius Eatius birdius
9 1956·Nov·10 There They Go-Go-Go! 6:35 Michael Maltese Chuck Jones Dig-outius tid-bittius Famishius fantasticus
10 1957·Jan·26 Scrambled Aches 6:50 Michael Maltese Chuck Jones Tastyus supersonicus Eternalii famishiis
11 1957·Sep·14 Zoom and Bored 6:15 Michael Maltese Chuck Jones Birdibus zippibus Famishus vulgarus
12 1958·Apr·12 Whoa, Be-Gone! 6:10 Michael Maltese Chuck Jones Birdius high-ballius Famishius vulgaris ingeniusi
13 1958·Oct·11 Hook, Line and Stinker 5:55 Michael Maltese Chuck Jones Burnius-roadibus Famishius-famishius
14 1958·Dec·06 Hip Hip-Hurry! 6:00 Michael Maltese Chuck Jones digoutius-unbelieveablii datius-slobbius
15 1959·May·09 Hot-Rod and Reel! 6:25 Michael Maltese Chuck Jones Super-sonicus-tastius Famishius-famishius
16 1959·Oct·10 Wild About Hurry 6:45 Michael Maltese Chuck Jones Batoutahelius Hardheadipus oedipus
17 1960·Jan·09 Fastest with the Mostest 7:20 None Chuck Jones Velocitus incalcublii Carnivorous slobbius
18 1960·Oct·08 Hopalong Casualty 6:05 Chuck Jones Chuck Jones speedipus-rex Hard-headipus ravenus
19 1961·Jan·21 Zip 'N Snort 5:50 Chuck Jones Chuck Jones digoutius-hot-rodis evereadii eatibus
20 1961·Jun·03 Lickety-Splat 6:20 Chuck Jones Chuck Jones,
Abe Levitow
Fastius tasty-us Apetitius giganticus
21 1961·Nov·11 Beep Prepared 6:00 John Dunn,
Chuck Jones
Chuck Jones,
Maurice Noble
Tid-bittius velocitus Hungrii flea-bagius
Film 1962·Jun·02 Adventures of the Road Runner 26:00 John Dunn,
Chuck Jones,
Michael Maltese
Chuck Jones Super-Sonnicus Idioticus Desertous-operativus Idioticus
22 1962·Jun·30 Zoom at the Top 6:30 Chuck Jones Chuck Jones,
Maurice Noble
disappearialis quickius overconfidentii vulgaris
23 1963·Dec·28 To Beep or Not to Beep1 6:35 John Dunn,
Chuck Jones
Chuck Jones,
Maurice Noble
None None
24 1964·Jun·06 War and Pieces 6:40 John Dunn Chuck Jones,
Maurice Noble
Burn-em upus asphaltus Caninus nervous rex
25 1965·Jan·01 Zip Zip Hooray!1 6:15 John Dunn Chuck Jones Super-Sonnicus Idioticus None
26 1965·Feb·01 Road Runner a Go-Go1 6:05 John Dunn Chuck Jones None None
27 1965·Feb·27 The Wild Chase 6:30 None Friz Freleng,
Hawley Pratt
None None
28 1965·Jul·31 Rushing Roulette 6:20 David Detiege Robert McKimson None None
29 1965·Aug·21 Run, Run, Sweet Road Runner 6:00 Rudy Larriva Rudy Larriva None None
30 1965·Sep·18 Tired and Feathered 6:20 Rudy Larriva Rudy Larriva None None
31 1965·Oct·09 Boulder Wham! 6:30 Len Janson Rudy Larriva None None
32 1965·Oct·30 Just Plane Beep 6:45 Don Jurwich Rudy Larriva None None
33 1965·Nov·13 Hairied and Hurried 6:45 Nick Bennion Rudy Larriva None None
34 1965·Dec·11 Highway Runnery 6:45 Al Bertino Rudy Larriva None None
35 1965·Dec·25 Chaser on the Rocks 6:45 Tom Dagenais Rudy Larriva None None
36 1966·Jan·08 Shot and Bothered 6:30 Nick Bennion Rudy Larriva None None
37 1966·Jan·29 Out and Out Rout 6:00 Dale Hale Rudy Larriva None None
38 1966·Feb·19 The Solid Tin Coyote 6:15 Don Jurwich Rudy Larriva None None
39 1966·Mar·12 Clippety Clobbered 6:15 Tom Dagenais Rudy Larriva None None
40 1966·Nov·05 Sugar and Spies 6:20 Tom Dagenais Robert McKimson None None
41 1979·Nov·27 Freeze Frame 6:05 Chuck Jones
(no on-screen credits)
Chuck Jones
(no on-screen credits)
Semper food-ellus Grotesques appetitus
42 1980·May·21 Soup or Sonic 9:10 Chuck Jones Chuck Jones,
Phil Monroe
Ultra-sonicus ad infinitum Nemesis ridiculii
43 1994·Dec·21 Chariots of Fur2 7:00 Chuck Jones Chuck Jones Boulevardius-burnupius Dogius ignoramii
44 2000·Dec·30 Little Go Beep 7:55 Kathleen Helppie-Shipley,
Earl Kress
Spike Brandt Morselus babyfatius tastius Poor schnookius
45 2003·Nov·01 The Whizzard of Ow 7:00 Chris Kelly Bret Haaland Geococcyx californianus3 Canis latrans3
Film 2003·Nov·14 Looney Tunes: Back in Action 91:00 Larry Doyle Joe Dante None Desertus operatus idioticus
46 2010·Jul·30 Coyote Falls2 2:59 Tom Sheppard[8] Matthew O'Callaghan None None
47 2010·Sep·24 Fur of Flying2 3:03[9] Tom Sheppard Matthew O'Callaghan[9] None None
48 2010·Dec·17 Rabid Rider2 3:07 Tom Sheppard Matthew O'Callaghan None None
49 Unknown Untitled Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner Short Film2 5:38 Tom Sheppard Matthew O'Callaghan None

1Part of the animated film Adventures of the Road-Runner

2These cartoons were shown with a feature-length film. Chariots of Fur was shown with Richie Rich, Coyote Falls was shown with Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore,[7] Fur of Flying was shown with Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole,[10] Rabid Rider was shown with Yogi Bear.

3Actual Latin name of the Greater Roadrunner and Coyote respectively

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?"


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-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.

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.

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 they're ineffective. 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 cannons, 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 one Road Runner & Wile e. Coyote 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 or Wile E. Coyote moment). 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,[11] 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. The Road Runner cannot harm the Coyote except by going "meep, meep."
  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 were 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 "meep, meep" and yowling in pain.
  5. The 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.
  11. The Coyote is not allowed to catch or eat the Road Runner (The robot that the Coyote created in The Solid Tin Coyote caught the Road Runner so this does not break this rule. The Coyote does catch the Road Runner in Soup or Sonic but is too small to eat him.)

Various minor exceptions proved these rules. 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.[citation needed]

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 Cat 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 of 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' 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, nor were there Latin phrases used when introducing the characters.

Wile E. Coyote and Bugs Bunny

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 by technology and his own short-sighted arrogance, and is thus 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.

Other appearances

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' 1979 movie The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Movie features Jones' 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' 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 Tune Squad 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. And during practice before Lola Bunny shows up, Wile E. Coyote gets his hands on a basketball, but the Road Runner steals the ball from him, and heads into a painted image. But Wile E. doesn't know it's a painted image, and he runs right into it.

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.

Wile E. Coyote also makes a brief cameo in Tweety's High-Flying Adventure, being held by the neck by the Tasmanian Devil holding up a sign that says "Mother".

Wil.E is an employee at Daffy Duck's store, in the film Bah, Humduck! A Looney Tunes Christmas.


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 a 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 DeLara; from 1966–1969, the Gold Key issues consisted of Dell reprints. Afterward, new stories began to appear, initially drawn by Alvarado 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, Wile E.'s middle name was revealed to be "Ethelbert"[5] 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.[12]

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


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 Bugs Bunny and Road Runner Show, running from 1968 to 1985. The show was later seen on ABC until 2000, and on Global until 2001.

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. Earlier in that story, while kid Elmer was falling from a cliff, Wile E. Coyote's adult self tells him to move over and let falling to people who know how to do it and then he falls, followed by Elmer.

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, 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 afterward, 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.[clarification needed][citation needed]

Wile E. and Road Runner appeared in their toddler versions in Baby Looney Tunes, only in songs. However, they both had made a cameo in the episode, "Are We There Yet?", where Road Runner was seen out the window of Floyd's car with Wile E. chasing him.

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; this could however be attributed to the fact that Tech has only the bare minimum of social skills. They are both portrayed as smart, but Tech is the better inventor and at times Rev was shown doing stupid things. References to ancestor's past are seen in the episode "Family Business" where the other Runners are wary of Tech and Tech relives the famous falling gags done in Coyote/Runner shorts.

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 recreate Wile E. Coyote's failed contraptions on a TruTV series Man vs. Cartoon.

In the What's New Scooby-Doo? episode "New Mexico, Old Monster" Scooby-Doo sees both Road Runner and Wile E. within their usual desert speed chase out the window of the Mystery Machine. After the usual failure by Wile E., it left Scooby to be saying "beep-beep".

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

Road Runner appears in an episode of the 1990 series Taz-Mania in which Taz grabs him by the leg & gets ready to eat him until the 2 gators are ready to capture Taz so he lets Road Runner go.

Road Runner and Wile E. feature in 3D computer animated cartoons or cartoon animation in Cartoon Network's new TV series The Looney Tunes Show.

3-D shorts

The characters are scheduled to appear in seven 3-D short attached to Warner Bros. features. Three have been screened with features, while the rest serve as segments of 2011's The Looney Tunes Show.

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.

In popular culture

Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner have been frequently referenced in popular culture. In The Villain (directed by Hal Needham) is a parody of these animated shorts as well as being a spoof of westerns. Kirk Douglas plays a Coyote-style villain pursuing Arnold Schwarzenegger and Ann-Margret. The includes several references to the characters, including cartoon gravity and painted tunnel entrances. In The Drawn Together Movie: The Movie!, Road Runner gets run down and dies. After Road Runner's death, Coyote says that his life has no meaning without Road Runner and then commits suicide by shooting himself in the head with a prop gun. 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. In the film 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". 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 Follow That Bird a Wile E. Coyote plushie can be seen as a carnival prize.

The characters were referenced in The Simpsons, The Cleveland Show, Bounty Hamster, Kick Buttowski, What's New, Scooby-Doo?, Robot Chicken, and South Park. In an episode of Cheers, some bar patrons calmly discuss the Road Runner cartoons and why the Coyote does not 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 appeared briefly in an episode of the live-action show Night Court, where he was admonished by Judge Harry Stone for chasing a bird. Wile E. Coyote has appeared two times in Family Guy: his first episode, I Never Met the Dead Man, depicts him riding in a car with Peter Griffin; when Peter runs over the Road Runner and asks if he hit "that ostritch", Wile E. tells him to keep going.[13] In PTV, Wile E. appears in a flashback when Peter offers a store credit when Wile E. claims a refund for a giant sling shot that "slammed me into a mountain". Ms. Coyote then comes in telling her husband to hurry.

In the 1992 Steven Seagal action movie Under Siege, Tommy Lee Jones' character of William Strannix uses the call sign "Coyote" for the submarine he wants to transfer stolen Tomahawk rockets onto. He uses the call sign Roadrunner for himself. When asked by the ship's Executive Officer, Commander Krill (Gary Busey), he explains: [I'm the roadrunner] "- never been caught, meep-meep". 101 Dalmatians: The Series included a parody of the cartoons in the episode The Making Of..., where Cruella De Vil takes the coyote's role, and Spot the Roadrunner's. The sequence included numerous gags from the cartoons, including the Pseudo-Latin names, before Lucky claimed that it "had some funny stuff in it, but it all seemed a little familiar somehow".[14] In The Bob Hope Christmas Special (1977), when Bob Hope asks Big Bird who his favorite movie stars are, one of the stars he mentions is the Road Runner. In the Phineas and Ferb episode "The Fast and the Phineas" when Candace runs over to see what her bros. are doing she makes a pull over just like Road Runner. The characters appeared in the MAD episode "Not-a-Fan-a-Montana", where Miley Cyrus was Wile E. and Justin Bieber was Road Runner. Then in the segment "Meep! My Dad Says" (a parody of $h*! My Dad Says), where the Road Runner appears as the main character to be a father. In the episode "Rio-A", Road Runner gets a ring in his lunch and acquires the ability to fly, while Wile E. gets hit by an anvil.

Guitarist Mark Knopfler 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. Humorist Ian Frazier created the mock-legal prose piece "Coyote v. Acme",[15] which is included in a book of the same name. Karen Salmansohn wrote an article on The Huffington Post centering on the characters.[16] Road Runner appeared in the CollegeHumor video "Angry Birds PSA" & was actually shown to speak in an American accent. In the Seth MacFarlane's Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy short "Die, Sweet Roadrunner, Die", Wile E. Coyote kills the Road Runner and later realizes that he does not know what to do with his life. He serves as a waiter but after contemplating suicide, he eventually becomes a Christian.[citation needed] Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner have also appeared in numerous segments of the comic strip Off the Mark.

See also


  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, Michael (November 6, 2003). Hollywood Cartoons: American Animation in Its Golden Age. United States: Oxford University Press. p. 672. ISBN 978-0195167290. http://www.amazon.com/dp/0195167295. Retrieved March 9, 2008. 
  5. ^ a b "News from Me (column): "The Name Game" (Feb. 20, 2006), by Mark Evanier". Newsfromme.com. http://www.newsfromme.com/archives/2007_02_20.html#012965. Retrieved 2010-04-10. 
  6. ^ Costello, E.O.. "The Warner Brothers Cartoon Companion: Wile E. Coyote". http://www.i-foo.com/~eocostello/wbcc/eowbcc-w.html#wile_e_coyote. "The original model sheet for the character bears a label referring to the character as “Don Coyote”, in reference to Miguel Ceverantes’ Don Quixote." 
  7. ^ a b Looney Tunes exclusive clip: Coyote Falls
  8. ^ Maltin, Leonard (September 27, 2010). "Welcome back, Wile E.". Leonard Maltin's Movie Crazy. http://blogs.indiewire.com/leonardmaltin/archives/welcome_back_wile_e/. 
  9. ^ a b UK certification document
  10. ^ News: Looney Tunes Shorts Attached to Upcoming Family Films
  11. ^ Jones, Chuck (1999). Chuck Amuck: The Life and Times Of An Animated Cartoonist. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. ISBN 978-0374526207. 
  12. ^ 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".
  13. ^ Pierson, Robin (2009-08-07). "Episode 2: I Never Met The Dead Man". The TV Critic. http://thetvcritic.org/i-never-met-the-dead-man/. Retrieved 2011-10-23. 
  14. ^ "The Making Of...". 101 Dalmatians: The Series. American Broadcasting Company. 1998-02-08. No. 56, season 2.
  15. ^ "Coyote v. Acme". Legalnews.net. http://www.legalnews.net/quotes/wilee.htm. Retrieved 2010-04-10. 
  16. ^ "Karen Salmansohn: If At First You Don't Succeed... Stop And Catch Your Breath". Huffingtonpost.com. 2009-02-20. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/karen-salmansohn/if-at-first-you-dont-succ_b_156000.html. Retrieved 2010-04-10. 


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