I am going to start at the beginning. I will also be including Wile E. Coyote/Bugs Bunny & Ralph Wolf/Sam Sheepdog shorts, FYI
Chuck Jones intended this short to be a parody of cat & mouse "chase" cartoons. Instead, he accidentally created the definitive chase cartoon series of all time.
Coyoye (Carnivorous Vulgaris)
This is basically the proto-Simpsons Couch Gag, and they had it right out of the gate. This series took no time to find its footing, it emerged fully-formed.
ALSO: the RR is fast, but he can also go even faster if he needs/wants to.
He literally holds out the lid of a metal pot in the hopes that the RR will run straight into it. He is FURIOUS when this doesn't work.
He is thwarted by a 2nd genuine boomerang, used by the Road Runner.
After two very crude efforts, the Coyote's 3rd scheme involves a fake school crossing & dressing up like a little girl. The Road Runner's response is insane and also involves a wig.
This is also the first time when it truly felt like the laws of the universe were working against him. This SHOULD have worked.
Also, this confirms that REALITY is on the side of the Road Runner & actively against the Coyote.
SMALL MERCY: no truck drives out of the painting, this time
(The coyote has ordered several non-ACME products in this short, I wonder when he becomes "brand loyal"?)
It is clear, watching these now, that the coyote's curse is that he cannot win but he also cannot die. He is in HELL.
The 1st Road Runner short was in 1949. The 2nd one wasn't until 1952! And guess what they did BEFORE that...?
This is astonishing to me.
Although a 2nd Road Runner cartoon wasn't far behind, Chuck Jones decided to give the Coyote a name + a voice + a fully articulated worldview. This could have been a disaster but instead it is a triumph.
Insults his intelligence & offers him a chance to surrender.
"WHY do they always want to do it the HARD way?" is a great line.
But it is also clear that it 100% works on its own, as a stand-alone cartoon
But it will be interesting to process the way these shorts progress, in order. I've never experienced them that way.
Almost 3 years after the first Road Runner cartoon comes this 2nd short, making the original more than just a one-shot.
ALSO: despite this title, everyone hears the noise the Road Runner makes as "Meep, Meep", right?
Coyote (Carnivorous Vulgaris)
Interesting. They used the same Latin names as the previous short. They haven't yet realized that part of the gag will be to change them every time.
I love the way this part looks and sounds.
Then "Dallas" brought back Bobby Ewing from the dead & the show's popularity fizzled:
ALSO: another blueprint! Once again, he includes a little joke for his own benefit. It is lonely in the desert.
But wait until 1965/66, when Chuck Jones is no longer making them! I will have *many* criticisms then.
This 3rd Road Runner cartoon arrived only a few months after the 2nd one, establishing that this is definitely a series now. For the remainder of the 1950s, there would be at least one new RR short per year (sometimes as many as 2 or 3!)
Coyote (Carnivorous Vulgaris)
This is the 3rd & final time they use these specific Latin names. On short #4, they start changing them each time.
This is a good example of a joke I didn't "get" at first as a kid but then it made me learn.
The stages the Coyote goes through while "realizing the Road Runner is too fast to catch/he will need to think of a new plan" are always a highlight
(He just fired the bow but the dynamite arrow remains; this is milliseconds before he realizes the error.)
2nd time the Road Runner has entered the painting as if it was reality.
1st time a real truck has driven OUT of the painting.
This is not the Coyote's fault. Reality is actively working against him.
A perfect opening trilogy.
ALSO: look at that wowsa shot of the Coyote flying straight into the camera lens. Great stuff.
I consider this series to be a spin-off of the Road Runner series, mainly because "Ralph Wolf" (yet to be named in this short) is identical to Wile E. Coyote, but with a red nose. I want to track its development along w/the RR shorts.
(Considering how few of these shorts were made, that's a significant continuity error. But the main concepts of this series are all there.)
(Also, this is weirder than any of the ACME products Wile E. has ordered up to this point, most of which have been pretty basic mail order things, not a live, ferocious "wild cat" in a box.)
Look at what happened to this paying customer upon receiving his package:
I am not sure why this gag is less satisfying in this short than in the RR ones
I think they have yet to figure out that Sam Sheepdog is better when he is damn good at his job.
It does scratch a slightly different itch than that series, which is what makes it impressive. Jones & Maltese had a specific new vision.
I would watch it fast, slow, backwards & frame-by-frame!
After two in 1952, it has been over a year since the last RR cartoon.
Coyote (Road-Runnerus Digestus)
This is the first time they decided to change the Latin names! It's a great running gag, both sophisticated and silly.
Also: one of the best-ever Coyote freeze-frames.
I didn't think it was gonna be in back-to-back shorts, though. And they did a good job of changing the coloring so it isn't exactly the same.
But so far, his mistakes involving grenades are his own fault. This is bad luck, sure, but also a very sloppy mistake.
I always think that, on some level, the Road Runner is fond of the Coyote, even though he is 100% aware of what his intentions are.
One (1) non-ACME Bomb
Maybe he needs to start ordering everything from one company
ACE Steel Shot
Makes sense! Chuck Jones would often use these RR cartoons to funnel money into the budgets of his more ambitious shorts like "What's Opera, Doc?"
I love how the panic leads him to trigger the explosives & then he still gets run over
Also, the Coyote deliriously imitating the RR is a nice button
Almost 5 years since their debut short, the fifth Road Runner cartoon arrives:
Coyote (Eatibus Anythingus)
(Not Bugs Bunny-- actual insects)
Really vivid animation of the Coyote hungrily licking his chops:
I like how they clearly felt this was a crucial beat, deserving of a small pause in the action. It buys them a lot, showing this; we assume that each of the schemes we see later was the result of a great deal of cateful consideration.
It fails when, instead of catching the Road Runner, it "catches" a large truck with a similar sounding beep.
(By now, this is a clear hazard that the Coyote should factor in: every large truck seems to also make a "meep meep" noise.)
Burmese Tiger (Surprisibus! Surprisibus!)
It's effective, and makes this film particularly memorable in a series where it is easy for them to all become a blur.
This one is great because it is deceptively simple: a single background painting, and the camera pans up and down, yet it feels much more complicated than that!
(ALSO: non-ACME TNT.)
I guess it works because it happens so fast in the middle of all the more complicated failures.
It does seem like, in 2017, the Coyote would be an Amazon Prime member.
Having it play out in an extreme wide shot feels funnier. It's more brazen: "Yeah, so what if it makes no sense? This is what happened! Deal with it!"
Okay, this is a crazy product, especially since it actually works & makes the coyote's leg muscles expand instantly.
The cut to the trap from earlier allows JUST enough time for your brain to catch up & enjoy a half-moment of anticipation of the final gag. PERFECT timing.
The 2nd Ralph Wolf/Sam Sheepdog cartoon is even better than the first. They figured out at least two big things since the first one...
ALSO: the names are still all screwy.
Sam Sheepdog is "Ralph"
Ralph Wolf is "George"
The other wolf is named "Sam"
And then there's Fred.
The 6th Road Runner cartoon shows the subtle ways that the series avoids merely repeating itself...
The gag is basically a repeat, but structurally they are mixing it up.
Previously, it was quick drying cement; this time, it's glue & there's a stick of dynamite in the mix...
This is SO well-animated:
It is my aspiration to be able to live like the Road Runner, I think. Stress-free despite ample reasons to be concerned at any given moment.
WE REGRET THE ERROR
The 3rd Wolf/Sheepdog short, and another one of the very few shorts in this series that for some reason isn't currently showing up on @BoomerangToons. (I'm sure this could be easily remedied!)
(The previous short established that they were both on the job, but this one establishes that they are colleagues & polite to one another outside of work.)
Although their "last names" are actually their job titles, and Sam's has a hyphen in it! "Sheep-dog"
ALSO: this short takes place on Hump Day.
Ralph does this well but Sam is ready for him. The sad truth is that both of them are really good at their jobs, but Sam is better, and indisputably so.
One key difference compared to their 1st short is that, while Ralph momentarily seems to have the upper hand, Sam Sheep-dog doesn't look even slightly panicked, even as a rocket carries him away...
They are BOTH getting better at their jobs, but Ralph will never, it seems, be better than Sam.
At least when he uses a rocket or a helicopter it feels like he has a fighting chance.
Also: this rain is nicely dramatic, and emphasizes Sam Sheep-dog's quiet commitment to his job.
Every gag in these shorts is somewhat predictable/inevitable, the pleasure is in the surprise of how they play out.
The patient confidence of a scene like this is impressive & fun.
The 7th Road Runner cartoon was the 2nd one released in 1955.
Compare this to the earlier "hungry coyote" opening, which showed him miserably choking down insects.
Could it be that the Coyote has found a non-Road Runner meal option that satisfies him?
Coyote (Eatibus almost anythingus)
(No indication as to whether the large bow or arrowhead nose attachment were ACME products.)
2) confident glance-to-audience
3) sudden failure
4) additional surprise bonus failure
Perhaps the Universe is simply trying to send the Coyote a message, emphatically.
NOT THIS TIME: this non-ACME TNT is dangerously defective!!
It is a shame we never got to see the Coyote take a manufacturer to court.
Also, 10th printing? This fuels my speculation that it is a different Coyote every time - they all ordered this book.
Presumably, the rest of this book is other ways? That don't involve this crazy machine? This book is a real puzzler.
Having the Coyote quit & literally drag the end titles card across the screen would've been a fine finale of this had been where the series ended.
Thankfully, there is much more still to come.
Road Runner cartoon #8 opens with the Coyote interacting with the title cards:
Coyote (Eatius Birdius)
In 2017, this would no doubt be a semi-automatic weapon but it still wouldn't work. Coyote would most likely just shoot himself with more bullets, faster.
This is one crazy bullet.
I guess there must've been special instructions indicating that the outfit was capable of actual flight?
In any case, this is a regrettably careless mistake he makes at the end. He doesn't even come close to using this to catch the Road Runner!
ACME Giant Rubber Band
It is worth noting that I think this is the first RR short where ALL the products have been ACME brand!
(I think Ralph Wolf has been ACME loyal from the start, although he orders fewer items, generally)
COYOTE: runs into the reality of his own painting. How does he get out? Do the rest of the scenes take place inside the world of the painting? We never see him escape from it.
This is basically an act of failed terrorism, dedicated to this week's Port Authority bomber who injured only himself and, unlike the Coyote, gets zero additional chances + has fucked his own life up forever.
ACME Handle Bars
ACME Jet Motor
This time, he is less defiant and more defeated, begging for the cartoon to end early as an act of mercy.
The 9th Road Runner cartoon, and by now I can only assume that keeping this series fresh was a challenge. Its look had subtly evolved, steadily becoming more abstract in its depiction of desert vistas, but the central joke was unchanged
(Not one word of this is intended as criticism; I love it & genuinely could have watched a whole short of only this)
Coyote (Famishius Fantasticus)
Road-Runner (Dig-Outius Tid-Bittius)
Did the RR *learn* this by observing how the Coyote set the road on fire after taking those leg muscle vitamins & nearly catching him several shorts ago?
I remember trying to do this (after seeing it in multiple cartoons) with of course zero luck.
Given the impressive complexity of previous endeavors, a mistake like this is unacceptable.
(Only the Coyote's fault in the sense that he should by now be braced for the worst.)
Are we to assume that he has already blown up all the existing bridges in the area?
Is he hoping that the Road Runner will just wait at the top to be caught by him?
Although maybe this is a non-ACME product, in which case: you get what you pay for.
And it *could* be user error. He is not at his best, admittedly.
Regardless, I am inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt on this one.
But I think he just packed those rocks too tight. Coyote's fault!
This is a real breakthrough moment, although he is also about to get crushed by falling rocks.
Empty symbolic gesture, or a healthy admission that he needs help?
It is actually easier when they are mixed in with some unavoidable bad luck and some Job-like cosmic persecution.
Almost 5 years since their previous encounter, Wile E. Coyote (here pronounced "kiy-oh-TAY") once again attempts to kill & eat Bugs Bunny.
This time, Wile E. installs his own collapsible elevator over Bugs' rabbit hole and emerges carrying a sack...
By this time, the Coyote's reputation with the audience precedes him. No harm will come to the Rabbit, and he is not the least bit worried.
Bugs insists there is something else in the bag, but the Coyote is convinced it is empty.
COLD AS ICE, THIS RABBIT.
And it seems unnecessary, for a guy who mostly gets by on his wits.
He seems to be doing better overall in these shorts.
At the very least, he doesn't start out depressed in them.
The previous RR short was the first to feature ZERO ACME products. Now this? What is going on here? Something is happening.
Maybe something like this was simply beyond ACME's capabilities.
Based on what's visible here, it has about 130 options for type of animal, 12 possible locations & I can't see how big the panel is for type of lock.
I would like to see Wile E. Coyote match wits with a Potato Bug or Hoop Snake.
As far as I can tell, the Coyote interpreted "Burglary Methods" to involve the highly theatrical use of a fake bedroom window (with curtains drawn) and a burglar-style cap.
Unable to simply follow instructions.
Also, the banana peel went through but where did the Coyote's green burglar cap go? (I don't think this is a continuity error, I think Bugs owns that cap now.)
ALSO: the fact that 3 of the buttons on the UNIVAC Electronic Brain are for "breakfast" "toaster" & "carrots" is especially impressive and makes me think this machine is highly customizable.
This is better than Siri.
ALSO: Bugs is dressed like this for himself. Usually he we see him dress like this to trick predators but here he is, clearly just more comfortable like this, in the privacy of his own home
ALSO: it must be a lot of work to maintain a carrot patch in the desert, and if the Coyote is truly hungry, he should maybe eat some of those carrots.
ALSO: the Coyote's faith in technology is unshakable. He does not hesitate to obey the UNIVAC Electronic Brain.
Most importantly, it explains why this machine wasn't an ACME product.
This is the first Road Runner cartoon to feature a title with an emphasis on pain rather than speed.
Coyote (Eternalii Famishiis)
I cannot think of a single reason why this would be more effective than a simple tripwire.
After shorts in a row filled with non-ACME products, they are back in a big way.
B) I'm certain their intended purpose isn't to kill Road Runners but don't know what it's legitimate use would be
C) guarantee the back of the box warns not to do this
I particularly like the confident patience of the section where he is happy & out of breath. They resisted the temptation to skip or shorten that part.
The title card confirms what his work punchcard told us previously: Sam Sheep-dog's last name has a hyphen in it!
And friendly ones! Here's Sam, throwing Ralph's morning paper onto his porch.
I understood the reasons why it was generally funnier to have him recover for each new scene but I still think it would be fun to try it that way once
None of the violence in the desert feels as terrifying. It's all accidental. There is INTENTION behind this.
Also, another reminder that Jones is never phoning it in.
There are so many odd little moments of quirky comic timing that are still surprising 60 years later, which is pretty amazing if you think about how quickly a lot of Comedy goes stale.
Every little beat of this is impressive to me.
I want to point out the inspired use of a train whistle halfway through this.
There is no train in this sequence, but that noise is as perfect as Scorsese's use of animal noises in Raging Bull:
This is without a doubt one of my favorite Chuck Jones shorts now, and one of the finest in this viewing marathon.
Seeing them in order makes it easier to spot when the series reaches its high points.
Not only is there no time for a Sad Coyote prologue, the chase has already begun during the opening titles!
Coyote (Famishus Vulgarus)
Part One is so iconic it feels like it happened in multiple RR shorts, and I'm now not sure that it actually did.
Part Two also involves Gravity but in a completely different way.
Part Three is even quicker and also mixes it up by having him injure himself on the way up rather than by another long fall downward.
Easily one of the most memorable openings to any of these cartoons.
It must be said, this book is crazy. If the title of the book is "The Art Of Road Runner Trapping" then is it that big at the top of EVERY page?
If it's a chapter title, it's weird to just list a 4-pt plan.
Also, the facing page is blank!
(That being said, based on what little we saw of it, it did not seem like a great book.)
Also, he jumps off a cliff! Seems avoidable but the previous 30 seconds were presumably a bit of a mindfuck & then he set himself on fire so I can't say I would've handled it any better.
ACME Bumble Bees (1/5th)
It has been established that ACME makes Bird Seed, so what gives? The brand loyalty established in the previous RR film seems to have been temporary.
Do not order live animals from ACME unless you want to be attacked by them the second they are released, even if you are very far away. They will find you!
Impossible to know whose fault this is without more information.
B) it looks a little shoddy
C) I'm going to say this was NOT his fault, even though mishaps involving explosives usually are
I may have to bring the books back with me to NYC after XMAS but am afraid to move the Chuck Jones signed limited edition.
I think this short marks roughly the halfway point of the classic Chuck Jones era of Road Runner shorts.
No more prologues needed-- the Coyote doesn't need to re-learn how fast the Road Runner is, he already bought a rocket.
Coyote (famishius vulgaris ingeniusi)
It is obviously this "middle" era of RR cartoons that really establishes the Coyote falling from a great height while we watch from the POV above him as a main recurring image. It's happening more often now
These 3 jokes in a row are all specifically different from the similar sequence in the previous short.
A HUGE development: this is the 1st time we have seen an ACME product that was specifically designed to be used in catching Road-Runners.
(This makes me wonder if RW was using a rubber band that was designed for tripping Road-Runners?)
ALSO: Milt Franklin has fully replaced Carl Stalling now & his music is super dramatic here
By far, the most bafflingly irresponsible ACME product yet. Worse than the live bees and the wild cat. This company has really taken an extreme turn.
Also, this is easily the dumbest way to catch a Road-Runner.
I assume this was part of the kit (what else was in that big box??) and admittedly the Coyote was foolish to hold it directly over the can of seeds but still: NOT A WELL-MADE WATER PISTOL
Or that the Road-Runner would eat the tornado seeds & be ripped apart from the inside by a hundred tornadoes?
Because that would be particularly brutal.
They should have put a fence around that mine field instead of simply abandoning it.
Shame on the Eisenhower administration!
This is a cartoon I mostly remember because of its distinctive & uncharacteristic musical score. It doesn't sound like other RR shorts.
I just learned that it was the result of a musicians' strike which forced them to use stock music!
This is the first time they have been introduced as "THE" Road-Runner and "THE" Coyote. Perhaps putting an end to my speculation that we are seeing different animals from one short to the next.
It is very upbeat and bouncy.
That main theme is so jarring.
All the precise timing of the actions gets kind of overruled by the music, which is sort of generically "funny."
This is how music would be used in the low budget 1960s RR cartoons, where it would wash over everything and set the comedic tone rather than specifically serving the actions.
Nothing has ever gone wrong with the ACME Bird Seed, any mishaps have been unrelated to its quality. I hope he will remain brand loyal from now on.
This is the 1st time the Coyote has communicated w/the audience like this, though he has done it with signs & glances before.
It's because it makes everything seem silly or whimsical, which undercuts how deadly serious this is for the Coyote.
He fails here, but he has successfully destroyed many American roads and bridges.
I wish this short could be re-scored using old Stalling cues, just to see if it could be salvaged
It makes no sense that he would be standing there thinking the cannon ball is going to fall directly on the RR. What happened?
Without them, this short really struggles in a way no previous RR short has.
I wonder if I'm alone in this & others find the change in style charming?
Although it is perfectly designed for a negative review headline.
ALSO: interesting to note that Looney Tunes can be referred to as "a Looney Tune"
I have to assume he intended it for something more interesting & then couldn't make it work.
Maybe he found a piano in the desert? Or got a free one, somehow?
I also judge Jones/Maltese for Boring Use Of A Piano!
Less than 2 months since the last one, this is the 3rd Road Runner cartoon of 1958, and the 2nd one to be scored with stock music. Let's hope it's better than the previous one!
Sometimes absurd things happen in RR cartoons and it's great, but this one has a broken weird illogic to it that I do not like. It feels like this joke means that nothing matters.
(After what just happened, I think he should spend the rest of the cartoon thinking and never figure out another idea.)
The previous one was blue, with a different font on the side.
Are we to assume that the red truck that was always running him over in the early shorts was also an ACME truck? (We often only saw a front view.)
As usual, the fault in most explosive mishaps is 100% Coyote.
ALSO: relieved that so far the RR series has been devoid of any ethnic/racial gags. If this series had begun 10 years earlier, there surely would have been some
And it worked! A rare example of an ACME product shown to be 100% effective at catching an animal!
This seems dangerous.
(Different mouse AND different cage/snare. Also, previous mouse was used as one part of an elaborate Rube Goldberg trap, whereas this mouse was used for tonic testing)
BUT MORE IMPORTANT: this one ends with a significant break from Chuck Jones' "rules" for this series-- the Road Runner does something to actively hurt the Coyote!
I'm not saying the RR was out of line, just that this is an escalation
Milt Franklyn is BACK! The musician's strike is over, and after one wobbly short and one pretty solid one, they are firmly back on track, music-wise.
The Road-Runner (super-sonicus-tastius)
They are back to using "the" again, but also this time there is a peculiar development involving the Coyote getting Name Above The Title credit!
There is no question it's well-deserved. The Coyote has way more screen time & carries all of the emotional heft of these films. The Road Runner is a supporting role, deserving of the "with" credit.
This is a familiar gag, yet the specific use of these "camera angles" is really good here & make it feel fresh.
Featuring: a startled fish!
This is a nice example of how they are really making an effort to keep things fresh after over a dozen films.
"The Road Runner cannot harm the Coyote except by going "Meep, Meep."
This is a CLEAR violation of that rule. In fact, while we're at it, let's talk about those rules...
It is worth noting that RR writer Michael Maltese claimed to have never heard of any of these rules.
Rule #2, however, is broken in almost EVERY short. I think outside forces are constantly intervening to harm the Coyote. Anytime that his failure defies the basic laws of physics, for example.
Rule #4: has yet to be broken in a Road Runner short, but it WILL be, big time.
(Weird that Jones would include the word "ever" here, in these rules written after the fact. He knows what he did!)
Rule #6: Yes, always the desert, w/one major exception I can think of, much later & for a special occasion.
Although the use of that double waterfall in the last short is a stretch
Rule #8: this holds up, but is more of a preference than a rule
Rule #9: I dunno, sometimes the injuries are BAD
I just find it weird that he seems to have made them up after the fact and presented them as if they were sacred & unbreakable when he broke some of them constantly!
This is THE most baffling product yet:
a "Do-It-Yourself Explosive Camera Kit" which is basically a shotgun barely disguised as a camera on a tripod.
"Fool Your Friends - Be Popular!"
This is designed to shoot people IN THE FACE
NRA approved, obvsly
If yes, this is the 2nd ACME product specifically designed for killing Road-Runners.
I'm not sure it is, though, since the product is designed to "fool friends" & become popular.
Sign might've been made by Coyote, independently.
Here, Jones shows us the set-up from an extreme wide angle to make sure we can see there is NO POSSIBLE WAY a real train could appear on these tracks.
This is not his fault, except in the sense that he should know by now that the Universe is against him.
This time, he has MANY bombs. Heightening!
The 2nd jet-propelled item in a row, so this is clearly the latest trend.
"Satisfaction Guaranteed" is a new development! Does this mean the Coyote can anticipate a refund? Such a policy would theoretically save him a lot of money.
This ending is rinky-dink, not much better than the stock music.
The only reason I understand the pun in the title is because they use that song in "One Froggy Evening"!
(Which, by the way, is for some reason NOT on @BoomerangToons. That needs to be remedied ASAP, Boomerang!)
Coyote (Hardheadipus Oedipus)
These are my two favorite Latin species names yet!
And I believe the Road Runner one may be new to me, since it was apparently often edited out of TV broadcasts for "bad language"!
The last rubber band he bought from ACME was specifically designed for tripping Road-Runners. This one is just "fantastically elastic."
It's hard to know what to make of ACME. A lot of their products are good, but they have been delving into increasingly insane/irresponsible areas lately
Also, he is actually watching the Road Runner zip around in the distance, making this a slightly more melancholy CTS than usual, I think.
He always seems at his most villainous when he glances to-camera at the end of these.
The smart money in a situation like this is to Walk Away. You cannot beat this, man. This is bad news.
(Is it possible they re-used some of the animation? I can't get that precise a screengrab.)
Where is it? Did the Coyote GO there?
It must be HUGE. You can buy 5 MILES worth of Railroad Track there. You can buy a Rocket Sled.
I wish I could ask Chuck Jones why he created an ACME Shopping Center!
I want to know more!
(We will come back to this in a minute.)
ACME Iron Pellets
I think we may have reached the point where the Coyote has 100% brand loyalty to ACME.
I hope so, anyway. There is really no mileage at this point in showing us any non-ACME products.
There were practical reasons for it -- the Road Runner was mere feet away, and might spot him-- but I'm guessing he observed all this anyway.
The name clearly IMPLIES that it is indestructable without actually saying so. (Also, the ACME "satisfaction guaranteed" promise seems to have vanished after its brief appearance in the previous short.)
1) the location of the Underwater Coyote Thinking Sequence
2) one side of the mysterious Double Waterfall
3) the 5 miles of train tracks from earlier in the short
4) the U.S. military's Abandoned Mine Field!
No story credit on this one, but there is speculation that Michael Maltese wrote it & was uncredited. If so, this may be his final RR short?
He spent the 60s working for Hanna-Barbera, tho he also did Tom & Jerry shorts for CJones
Road-Runner (Velocitus Incalcublii)
We are back to "the" but the billing situation is a little murkier. Coyote has returned to being 1st, but RR has physically higher credit. (Last short was back to classic RR/Coyote order)
"With" & "and." Hmm.
Full scorch head-to-toe burn disappears, off-camera, with a cut to a new shot.
It's not just that the Road-Runner is fast, it's about control. Speed is just one factor. The RR is able to run so fast he literally causes paved roads to fly into the air, but he never injures himself.
Also love how he turns his head to face the RR as he falls.
The Coyote no longer ends with a joke to amuse himself. That's kind of sad. There is no sign of whimsy anymore, just practical information.
So this kit is designed BY ACME for dropping bombs from a balloon.
In the past, the Coyote has seemingly cobbled together dangerous schemes by ordering items a la carte, but ACME is becoming increasingly problematic as a company.
Also: a great, tense bomb defusing, concluded with a joke I always felt I didn't quite "get" when I was a kid.
(I didn't realize there was nothing to "get" it just is what it is)
This is the 1st time anything like this has happened between this predator & his prey. It changes nothing, but it's significant.
(Who knows, maybe it occurred dozens of times, I don't have that kind of memory. Perhaps it was community property, this joke?)
(I still have it, but the viewer no longer works. Can't bring myself to part with it. I watched it SO many times as a kid.)
I had one of these before our family owned a VCR, and I watched cartridges on it constantly. It was MAGICAL.
Another uncredited Michael Maltese!
Although done with the RR, we apparently have this Coyote/Bugs & one more Wolf/Sheep-dog short by The Master.
Will these shorts be as funny, post-Maltese?
I never clocked the Coyote's consistent pronunciation of his name, it is much funnier to me now than it was when I was a kid.
ALSO: throwing shade in Latin
PLUS: Bugs Bunny has a framed picture of CARROTS and a framed picture of HIMSELF, plus he sleeps in what appears to be a baby crib. Not a great look for our hero, whom I would argue is in a VERY self-indulgent phase.
There is never any singing in the Road-Runner cartoons (unless you count "Meep, Meep" as some kind of primitive desert music)
(Both Mel Blanc, obvsly, but VERY different personality types, otherwise)
Here it is, listen for yourself:
Wile E. Coyote is a snob, for sure, but I'm not sure I *like* Bugs Bunny very much in this film.
ALSO: one of these ideas (Burmese Tiger Trap) is a callback to an early RR short, remember?
Showboating by Bugs at the end does not impress-a me much.*
(The Coyote has far less experience in this specific scenario than Bugs does. Look how completely unconcerned he is. Wile E. Coyote is way out of his league here.)
I'd argue this is too many closing lines for the Coyote. Pick the best one & cut the other two!
Wile E. Coyote is an asshole, but Bugs Bunny is also kind of an asshole in this cartoon. There are no heroes here.
One more by Maltese! (And this one is actually credited!)
Sheep-dog's plan is elegant: a single rake, dropped calmly and precisely.
Pretty damn big box for 2 springs! Also, are bed-springs things you can tyically order a la carte?
This is not the intended use of 2 bed-springs.
Also, pretty great moves and counter-moves by both Wolf & Sheep-dog.
The meadow is THAT deep down in the valley? Sam guards from up THAT high?
It begins with what should be a pretty simple "trapeze grab." As you can see from the 4th image, it goes wrong immediately, and for reasons unknown.
I guess I just want to know where this meadow is! We are about to see a beach. I guess it doesn't matter, forget it!
Was this true in every previous cartoon? What does this mean?
I feel like this is on the level of Keyser Söze/Fight Club/Crying Game/Sixth Sense/Rosebud in terms of mind-blowing twist endings.
(Also, are they ALL punching a clock? That is one hell of a payroll.)
If that shot of him going crazy isn't a GIF, it should be.
Did Ralph have a mental break BECAUSE he saw 100 Sam Sheep-dogs? Or did he have a mental break and THEN he saw 100 Sam Sheep-dogs?
WHAT IS REAL? What can we trust?
Is that a silhouette of a big-nosed human? Or is that the brim of a cap? Or is that some kind of other humanoid animal? Who is that driving the ambulance???
(These questions will likely never be answered.)
The 1st short of the post-Maltese era opens with credits rather than starting with action or a title card.
Not a great start, but I suppose they're just getting some business out of the way.
Sole story credit: Chuck Jones
Coyote (Hard-headipus ravenus)
The RR gets top billing! And Jones pulls out all the stops with dynamic straight-towards-the-camera freeze-frame intros
I feel like there should be a game where people challenge each other to turn any name or phrase into a Road Runner cartoon title.
Try to watch this 5 minute compilation of Saturday morning Looney Tunes title cards without going insane
If both hands tightly gripped around his neck doesn't count, I don't know what does.
(@johnlevenstein, this is further progress! I will concede that the RR does not look the least bit worried.)
Sometimes these cartoons are thought of as interchangeable & all the same, and it would only take a few shorts like this to cement that reputation.
(makes neat small packages)
I am not sure how this works, and watching it in action only raises more questions
This is not exactly mold-breaking-- machine malfunctions, and the XMAS aspect doesn't really add that much to it-- but after 3 straight-up rerun gags, I'll take it.
They have done many dynamite jokes like this one, but the cactus element is new & it's even animated with a little bit of personality. Details make a big difference.
The thinking behind these pills is that people don't want to wait for Earthquakes.
ALSO: they are keenly aware of their customer base being heavily invested in using their products to capture and/or kill Road-Runners.
Milt Franklyn's ominous, rumbling percussion is low in the mix, but you can feel it, punctuated by the Coyote's skeptical exclamations.
The patience here exudes confidence, in a good way. They know the payoff will be worth it.
The use of unexpected sound effects is typically great (the alarm sound from the climax of the previous Wolf/Sheep-dog short is in the mix at one point).
Such fun chaos!
I may be reading too much into the loss of Maltese but I do feel like he would've written a joke for the ending
But the 1st half of "Hopalong Casualty" was the first time I really felt like they were running out of ideas.
I have no idea what the title for this is a play on. Should I know? Is it obvious?
Coyote (evereadii eatibus)
I feel like this is the fanciest font they have used for these so far, no?
And yet the WAY they happen -- the pacing, the "camera angles" and staging, the performance details -- are all specific to this short, and fresh.
AJAX Bird Seed
Seriously? I don't understand why the Coyote isn't ACME-loyal with bird seed by now. It has never failed him, not once.
"Guaranteed Slippery"? Is that a common guarantee for axle grease? Or are they winkingly targeting this product for non-axle usage?
We are not meant to even attempt to understand this, we are only meant to FEEL things about it.
The 20th Road-Runner short! There are only a small handful left in the classic Chuck Jones era. But this is the 2nd of 3 RR cartoons to be released in 1961, a big increase from the days when they would only do one a year.
BUT ALSO: this is the first time we see one of these shorts credited as "written & directed by Chuck Jones"
Road-Runner (Fastius Tasty-us)
I believe this is a one-time thing, the Coyote presenting these to us on little handheld signs. (We don't even get a freeze-frame on the Road-Runner, he just zips past.)
Not just a noise, on-screen text to indicate how fast the Road-Runner zips into high gear!
*No Snow Necessary/Good On Plowed Ground
I hate how much pleasure the Coyote seems to take at the feeling of his entire torso being stretched to what I assume is its absolute limit.
Even the nature of his predicament, the way he is stuck-- momentarily safe but with no good options-- is something they haven't done in any previous RR film.
I love it.
The Coyote buys all different brands of bird seed.
It is shocking to see how much the look of these films transformed over the course of 12 years.
Also, neither of these boomerangs is an ACME. And the "guaranteed to return" has morphed into a less binding "returns to owner."
Someone should edit a supercut of Coyote realization moments to Radiohead's "Just."
WORTH NOTING: the Wile E. Coyote of the Bugs/Coyote shorts doesn't laugh like that! He laughs like Barney Rubble! (See way above)
The penultimate Bugs/Coyote short!
The pun of the title is just on "compressed air," right? What is the deal with the lettering choices here? Am I missing something?
2) I know he is a Coyote who lives in a cave, but do we really believe that a guy this pretentious owns a murphy bed? Or is that ME being a snob? (FWIW, he seems to have plenty of room.)
I have to say that I like a lot of Bugs Bunny cartoons but sometimes he is like "what if Mickey Mouse was kind of a dick?"
All the other big stuff is seemingly non-ACME! What is "ZAJAXI"?
Even Bugs cools it with the wisecracks to quietly watch the spectacle.
Is it crass to suggest there is something crudely sexual in the imagery of the giant rocket entering the cave?
We never see the Coyote, but we know he is FUCKED.
(Remember that balloon one for later!)
This is the only Road-Runner cartoon ever to be nominated for an Academy Award!
This isn't even in the top 5 best Road Runner cartoons. It is good, but not one of the greats. And it's a crime that it was a non-Maltese that got the nom.
Road Runner (Tid-Bittius Velocitus)
(This is from a prologue before the title appears. Am I imagining it, or is this a better-looking short than a few of the previous RR cartoons?)
I would've liked to have found out more of what the deal was with this one!
I guess they realized that someone was buying bird seed and hiding iron pellets in it and that there would be a market for a hybrid product like this
The desert is beautiful at night.
Plus: 30 miles of railroad track
PAID! Where does the Coyote get his money? It has never even been hinted at in this series. Money never seems to be a concern, at all.
This is the final Ralph Wolf/Sam Sheep-dog short directed by Chuck Jones, although there is one more left in the series.
Its lyrics were by Arthur J. Lamb with music by Henry W. Petrie.
They are still neighbors! In different houses. And no longer driving to work.
This is easily one of the most impressive ACME products, based on what we are shown in this cartoon. Top Of The Line!
I have memories of this kind of thing in other cartoons but I must confess I had forgotten that Ralph Wolf had this kind of hi-tech early morning set-up.
Ralph is always portrayed as kind of a dick. Even the charm of his hi-tech house is undermined by him using it to cut the line here.
Sam's response is elegant & simple. Eat banana, drop peel.
This is a bad plan:
They borrowed the image from THIS cartoon!
As if the line distinguishing Ralph Wolf from Wile E. Coyote wasn't thin enough already!
I love how this series keeps revealing a little more about its core reality.
ALSO: I don't think I ever saw this UNCENSORED version before, where they are SMOKING!
(Edited for TV.)
The fact that a stick of dynamite dressed up as a sheep dressed as a wolf dressed as a dog dressed as a sheep AND that Ralph Wolf dressed up as a dog/sheep/wolf is trippy
This was a rejected TV pilot, ultimately released as a 26-minute theatrical featurette and then chopped up to make 3 separate shorts.
I am FASCINATED by it.
This is the first time we are learning that the Road Runner & Bugs Bunny even KNOW each other, let alone identify as "old pals"!
It's not a shock, exactly, but it is news.
Wile E. Coyote isn't even the wildest character in the Road Runner cartoons!
He spends all his time carefully, methodically planning things.
It may be that this was mostly the work of Chuck Jones & new collaborator John Dunn.
I really like the use of the rough pencil sketches for the title cards.
26 minutes is a lot of time to fill, so it's not surprising that they would want to pull old clips-- after all, those shorts hadn't been playing on TV, so a lot of these might be new to people
The 1st big swing this pilot takes is to introduce the "talking" version of the Coyote to the Road Runner universe. (He has previously only appeared with Bugs Bunny)
For the first time ever, we see the Coyote in a state of recovery, bandaged from his injuries.
Clearly, this TV series was looking to do more than be a long version of the theatrical shorts. They wanted to go deeper.
This widening out beyond the desert to the larger world gives the show a lot more flexibility, format-wise. Going forward, they really could have done anything.
[It feels like a prototype of the "on the next episode" trick @MitchHurwitz used at the end of the pilot for AD.]
It is easy to imagine them figuring out ways of shoehorning in just about any old Looney Tunes film here
Which is great, actually, for the flexibility of the series. Any Looney Tunes character can show up, for any reason.
I bet for sure we were going to eventually be treated to an in-depth look at the ACME company.
(Every business card and mailbox since then has identified him at the more basic "genius" level)
"Super-Sonnicus Idioticus" is insulting in a way no other RR Latin name has been, but it matches the name he once gave to Bugs Bunny ("Rabbitus Idioticus Delicious")
ALSO: Mel Blanc doing some great work with the Coyote's pretentious pronunciation (in a sequence that also saves money on animation)
In some ways, this expanded look at the RR universe brings it closer to the more codified absurdity of the Wolf/Sheep-dog shorts, as previously unspoken elements are now more or less fully explained.
It's a trade-off, but I think it's worth it.
After proving that the series could be more than just an extended RR short, they close with this & the suits PASS ON IT? UNBELIEVABLE.
The 1st is by Milt Franklyn, for the rejected pilot.
The 2nd is by Bill Lava (who re-scored it for 1963's re-edited short, "To Beep Or Not To Beep.")
(I think it is mostly down to having watched it with the Lava score more frequently on TV.)
Plus, there is a LOT to unpack in these final moments:
Einstein is ranked 5th.
Kind of a dick move on every count.
It is a damn shame this series wasn't picked up.
I think this is technically the penultimate Chuck Jones RR short of the classic era, although there will be a few edited from the salvaged remains of the TV series pilot, and a couple more Sheep-dog/Bunny efforts. But we are very close.
Coyote (overconfidentii vulgaris)
I have been hard on these shorts on the few occasions they have repeated themselves, but so far most of the time they seem keenly aware of the need to never do the same gag the same way.
[ALSO: adds weight to the theory that The Road Runner is like Neo in The Matrix, able to ignore the "rules" of this reality in ways the Coyote simply cannot.]
[This could also reflect a growing & quite reasonable concern that it is getting harder to think of new ideas, especially after making a 26-minute Road Runner TV pilot!]
The way the Road-Runner confidently jumps up and down 4 times on the trap's trigger mechanism after all that build-up is really funny:
Because of the repetitive & limited nature of this series, these little variations and shifts make all the difference
ACME changes the packaging design for their bird seed frequently.
Up to now, any verbal expression has been either a physical sign being held up or that one time when the word "TOING!" appeared in mid-air, indicating speed...
His voice here sounds slightly different than in the Bugs shorts or TV pilot, although unmistakably Mel Blanc, of course:
"Freeze Your Friends - Loads Of Laughs"
The more hyped the ACME product, the more skeptical I am at this point. It's usually a bad sign.
Although, in a second, we will revisit whether or not his tests were thorough enough...
A) machine activates on its own
B) it doesn't just freeze a layer of ice around him, it apparently causes him to VANISH or melt into a puddle!
ACME! This product is a horror! As bad as the pills which cause earthquakes and tornadoes
(Which is fine if it is for killing Road-Runners, but it was marketed as a fun gag to "freeze your friends.")
The previous 2 boomerangs were non-ACME!
No idea what brand the Iron Glue is. (Could be ACME, but I don't see any brand indicated here.)
A) we hear a rare "voiced" laugh
B) an effect use of silence instead of musical scoring
C) one final fun musical flourish at the end from Milt Franklyn, R.I.P.
Ok, I would've sworn this was a Chuck Jones-directed short, but he only has a story credit, because he was FIRED by Warner Bros. & it was handed off to two of his animators to direct.
It still very much FEELS like a CJ short...
It is also the last short to feature Ralph Wolf & Sam Sheep-dog. And, in keeping with the progression of the series, there are big new developments...
After multiple films in different nearby houses as neighbors, they have moved in together!
It is my belief that they are a couple now. LOOK at the way they look at each other over breakfast!
If not, I am 100% "shipping" for them.
(And let's be honest, even if they are just platonic friends who share a house, it's a significant development in this, their final film together.)
THEY ARE A COUPLE. And Sam is making Ralph a better person!
Which makes their professional dynamic even more fucked-up and fascinating.
Does this mean that Ralph Wolf has achieved RR-level speed, or are there different levels of TOING!??
Or maybe they aren't sounds at all, but FEELINGS?
I have to say, a little bit of awkwardness in Sam is charming, but I'm less into him being just a lucky oaf. What's fascinating about him is how terrifyingly effective an enforcer he is.
2) The sheep are so dumb in these
3) On-screen question marks!
4) Sam back to being stealthy & brutal
(Also, the tongue-pull is more Cronenbergian body horror.)
(Also maybe a nice moment to remind ourselves that by this point there is a strong likelihood that Sam & Ralph are lovers IRL)
Kudos to directors Monroe & Thompson for sticking the landing.
AND to new composer Bill Lava, whose work here is excellent and about whom I will have MUCH more to say soon...
The final Coyote/Bugs Bunny short!
This one is different from the previous 4 in that it is Bugs Bunny inserted into a Road-Runner cartoon rather than facing the refined, speaking "Wile E. Coyote" he has gone up against before.
Bill Lava is the music guy now & his work here seems similar to Milt Franklyn, to my ears
ACME's pharma division is a true nightmare.
Also: a rare glimpse at the nuts & bolts of the Coyote's process.
Here they all are:
Sure, the former was a near-miss but the latter is a sign that it is maybe a tough little umbrella
(1st ACME product ordered by a non-Coyote/Wolf?)
And Bugs laughing at his own joke at the end is not my favorite thing, ever.
This short is one of 3 salvage jobs using the 26-minute rejected TV pilot.
Newly re-scored by Bill Lava, it basically uses all the parts of the pilot that didn't feature the Coyote talking, or the two kids.
Here, he seems to be enjoying the greater resources of the tail end of the classic era:
We then cut to the Coyote reading it, in what looks like a slightly re-drawn shot taken from the TV pilot.
Both books features the recipe for "Road-Runner Surprise!"
In hindsight, it might have been possible to add them into this scene (and not much more effort than it took to re-design that book from the pilot footage.)
Here-- first Franklyn's, then Lava's:
It's a scene common to almost every RR short, but it's unusual to have it occur 2 minutes deep.
I wonder what the logic was?
I cannot decide if I prefer Bill Lava's score. I am so familiar with this version from TV airings of it.
Great final music as the camera slowly pushes in for the big "Rosebud"-style reveal.
(The TV version cut to an injured Coyote in his workshop & the reveal was about the Road Runner Blue-print Co)
Also, "Patent Pending" is a funnier detail than "and elsewhere."
The reveal that the Road-Runner has gotten into the manufacturing business seems like a pretty major countermove. What motive could he have other than fucking with the Coyote?
But it seems reasonable to assume that his company deliberately made faulty catapults so that the Coyote would fail repeatedly.
The implications of this are STAGGERING
This is it. The final "new" Chuck Jones Road-Runner film of the classic era.
From here on out, it's all downhill: low-budget imposters & then some later attempts to recapture the old magic, w/mixed results.
(This twitter thread is far from over.)
Coyote (Caninus Nervous Rex)
I LOVE IT.
Coyote gets his freeze-frame the moment before his grenade goes off, leading to a nicely charred Coyote Thinking Sequence.
2) he sets it up correctly
3) it probably wasn't gonna work, even though the Road-Runner is kinda dazzled by it
4) the ONLY reason he gets injured is because he loses his patience
100% Coyote's fault
One of the most game-changing products they have made & based on all evidence presented here, 100% effective & washes off quickly & easily with water. They could literally JUST make this one thing & be a billion dollar company. ALSO: it should be outlawed.
Why is it that drawings of Looney Tunes characters on "merch" (posters, clothes, dvd box covers, etc) are never as good as the drawings in the classic cartoons? They always look so boring in comparison
Also: unlike any shot in any previous Road-Runner cartoon
[Fish is shocked that it isn't 69 Love Songs]
"SECRETS OF A HAREM" rings the Road-Runner's bell in a BIG way. Look at him INSTANTLY backing up after zipping past.
His shotgun won't go off.
HIS SHOTGUN WON'T GO OFF.
A lot of layers to this scene beyond predator/prey.
This is a previously unexplored dynamic between these two.
1) placement of the Coyote's left hand
2) expression on Road-Runner's face
Note how he holds his right arm with his left arm. I am not sure what it means, but it means SOMETHING.
Ok, I know this should be a celebratory tweet to mark the end of the Golden Age of Chuck Jones RR shorts, but after tweeting 37 cartoons from 1949 to 1964 with no "problematic" jokes, the Coyote blasts a rocket through the earth to China & meets the Chinese Road-Runner:
In many cases, not good at all.
Bill Lava's new arrangement of "The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down" is unpleasant (w/visuals to match)
After that, things will get significantly worse, and FAST...
Salvage job #2 is less artful than "To Beep Or Not To Beep" and more obviously made up of what's left from the rejected TV pilot.
(Even so, it still manages to repeat one full scene, and less effectively. We'll get to that in a second.)
ALSO: Chuck Jones goes uncredited here, which seems like a spite move, right? Pretty lousy of whoever made that call. (Maurice Noble & Tom Ray were co-directors, too)
No Latin names, which will also be true going forward. (Those kind of extra layers will not be a priority for the new cost-cutting regime.)
This is all good but it does make for a talkier, less action-packed RR film than usual, especially for one w/the word "Zip" in its title TWICE
Here they just went back to the old pilot footage. So this is the 3rd time this scene has been released in theaters!
Followed by the new closing music, which is ugly to my ears as the new introductory fanfare.
Salvage job #3 is perhaps the least artful of all. (Also, this cartoon is one of the few not available on the @BoomerangToons app even though the version I found online has the Boomerang logo in the corner.)
This always reminds me of The Big Lebowski. (I wonder if the Coens had this in their mind at all; if not, they are both certainly pulling from the same inspirations.)
I think it is 100% fine that @BoomerangToons left it off the app.
Ok, here we go. The first truly TERRIBLE Road-Runner cartoon, part of the new regime of low budget, low quality Looney Tunes & Merrie Melodies.
This one stars the Coyote & Road-Runner but ALSO Speedy Gonzales & Sylvester the cat!
1965 was the SAME year that Freleng & Hawley Pratt ALSO won the Oscar for "The Pink Phink" which shows you just how truly phoned-in this was (or perhaps how low their WB budgets were)
Also, this race is stupid and "The Big Race" is a stupid name for it, especially in quotes.
The Coyote is particularly badly drawn here.
I wonder what they were thinking when they were making this, and how people reacted when they saw it in theaters? Did anyone recoil? Or did people generally not notice?
The whole vibe of this endeavor is "nothing matters."
I mean, Warner Bros owns 'em, but this is still pretty shocking to see. It doesn't even MATCH the drawing/animation style of the non-stolen shots.
ACME iron pellets
(And there they are in an earlier Chuck Jones cartoon. He sometimes re-used shots but it never felt like this. And they were HIS shots in the first place.)
I am a lazy person but this cartoon makes me feel like I have never known true laziness
Sylvester is hiding off-camera in two of these shots but not in the other two.
Bear in mind, this cartoon is lowering my standards with every passing second.
Notable for showcasing "The Fastest Characters In The Cartoon World!" both driving anthropomorphic cars, for some reason.
I kind of hope he didn't, and they didn't, unless it was to commiserate about how poor the budgets were during this era and what a nightmare it was to make cartoons like this.
5 months after Freleng/Pratt's disastrous "Wild Chase" mash-up comes this effort, which is -- compared ONLY to that short -- a triumph.
The punny title alone is enough to move it up a full notch:
(The other one would be over a year later.)
GRIM FACT: McKimson would die of a heart attack 12 years later while at lunch with DePatie & Freleng
I believe that while this short was specifically scored by BL, from now on they will just use his cues like stock music
Did they think those jokes were too highbrow or something?
I don't recall this happening in any previous RR short, so already McKimson has more skin in the game than Freleng did in "The Wild Chase."
I also like how the Coyote put so much effort into the front view and ZERO into making it look good from the side.
Also, it's great that he got shot both by the cannon and by the canon.
("Puts A Spring In Your Step")
This is an improvement on when Ralph Wolf had to order 2 bed-springs for the same purpose
I'm not buying it, but mostly because they don't SELL IT hard enough here.
It appears to me that the chunk of road JUMPS up on its own, FLIPS itself and then SLAMS the Coyote back down
SECOND: was THIS the Road Runner's plan? Push him to the edge of the cliff & then startle him? It seems like it. This is the most aggressive thing RR has done, maybe?
(bonus points for the detail of the mirror cracking before his eyes go bloodshot)
McKimson is operating at a low budget but is still basically a pro who knows what he's doing here.
Let's just assume it took a lot of effort and that the story of how is not worth our time.
It still makes me sad that he no longer includes little jokes to himself. He has been broken a bit by all of this.
The ending beats are a little awkward, though. I think when they try to do little details to make it better, it has the odd effect of making it weird when they aren't executed quite correctly.
I'm not expecting Simpsons-level background jokes at this budget, but they couldn't have written ACME on the side of this thing? I wish I could believe that writing "VAN" on the side of a van was an intentional joke but I think it's highly unlikely
Coyote does not seem concerned about being trapped, presumably he knows other ways out.
Feels kind of wrong to end with just a mild inconvenience after what should have been a severe flattening.
Cool tiny helicopter SHATTERS in all directions
Coyote flesh sticks to concrete
Everything is different!
Why not the word "BUS" like it's the "BUS" bus?
Enter Rudolph "Rudy" Larriva (seen here, center, dancing with June Foray):
Then, in 1965, he inherited The Road Runner.
1) Chuck Jones was annoyed that Larriva quit WB & went to work for Disney, and never spoke to him again
2) Larriva was embarrassed by the low quality of his Road Runner cartoons
And with much smaller budgets. So, yes, there is an undeniable drop in quality.
The 1st Larriva short isn't on the @BoomerangToons app. I think it doesn't really need to be, for reasons I'll go into in a little while.
Also: Rudy Larriva also WROTE this cartoon. Writer/director!
Let's see where they are going with this. It is always possible that it *could* be something great.
The drawing style in these shorts is not great and all over the place, I assume that is just a budget issue. (I actually don't even mind how crude they look, to me it's a question of what they do with it.)
Sort of doing his best to sell a kind of obviously not-great scheme.
This is like when Scully was skeptical of Mulder's ideas after she had witnessed stuff like shape shifters.
Chuck Jones could have done this in a minute and change and it would've felt twice as suspenseful...
(Yet another ACME product that, like the vast majority of them, actually does function exactly as it is supposed to, even if it fails to help catch any Road Runners.)
(used to apply beak + feathers)
Lure with horn
Wait with axe ready
A lot going on in these frames, and there are no heroes here
There were moments here & there that showed some potential. Rocky & Bullwinkle had already proven that you didn't need big budgets or good animation to be funny.
Maybe the next one will be better?
Arriving in theaters less than a month after Rudy Larriva's debut RR short, his sophomore effort is a HUGE improvement by comparison.
I understand why some might find it kind of cheap-sounding & rinky-dink, and maybe I only like it because of familiarity, hearing it over and over when these shorts were airing on TV, but I like it:
I wish that these cartoons were not official WB-sanctioned shorts but were instead underground films w/no content restrictions. This crude lo-fi style would be fun if you felt like ANYTHING could happen here
He catches the Road-Runner.
There have been close calls before, and yes, he gets away, but this is unlike anything that has happened before in a RR cartoon, and points to writer/director Rudy Larriva for taking a big swing.
LOOK at his face. Does this bird seem worried to you?
This is a Road-Runner we have never seen before. Scared. He can be caught. He can be killed. And he KNOWS it.
Rudy Larriva has single-handedly changed the base reality of The Coyoteverse.
No longer are the Jonesian Gods protecting this bird.
He has watched him fail 100,000 times, crushed by the Fates again & again
But this was close. Next time could be closer
For the 1st time, this seemingly invincible bird looks upon the Coyote & sees his killer
This is an instance where saving money is just the death of Comedy. If you're gonna go this far, why not 20 seconds? Or 50?
Jones would sometimes do these, usually w/the Coyote's head at one side or the other. This is dead center, like if Wes Anderson directed a Road Runner cartoon.
Which, y'know what, he SHOULD. Why not?
Doesn't have to be a chase picture. It can be sad. I just want to see what his vision of the ACME warehouse is.
Things have changed. It is kill or be killed now.
The Coyote begs for mercy, but there will be none.
I wonder what Rudy Larriva doing these with a decent budget would've looked like? Because this isn't bad.
(author, publisher unknown)
50mph seems like a low estimate based on what we have seen. The Road-Runner has gone so fast at times that it has destroyed bridges, left behind a trail of blazing fire and sent concrete roads flying into the air like ribbons.
Larriva's Coyote seems like more of a jerk when he gets his ideas.
If they wanted to save money on animation, they should have done more gags where the audience has to read a sign, a poster, instructions
This is cool. I'm not even sure if any of the Jones shorts devote that much time to one scheme. (I don't recall any.)
It begins with a dreaming Coyote being awakened by a ringing phone:
(Or is it just "ACME EX"? It doesn't look like the word continues beyond the letter "X", or if it does it means the lettering on the box is crooked because otherwise we would see the tops of the letters)
Either way, I like the amount of detail this sequence is building in. This step will be important in the payoff.
Meanwhile, the Coyote is with Chekhov's detonator and bird seed.
The beats here are not a million miles from Chuck Jones, who loved slow, thoughtful reaction shots
(Jones' later stuff like the Grinch or his Tom & Jerry shorts were full of this kind of stuff, he loved milking a character's thought slow process)
Why does the Coyote answer the phone? Because he has to know, and he refuses to surrender.
The reveal of the Road Runner eating Chekhov's bird seed is a powerful moment.
Is the title a play on words that I'm not picking up on?
Forgive me, but looking up who Len Janson is led me to discover a REMARKABLE imdb page. This guy worked on a million shows! And-- as far as I can tell -- he is still alive!
His credits only get more insane. I am gonna be at this for a little while. Len Janson NEEDS to be celebrated.
A return to live action TV with "Korg: 70,000 B.C."!
Unknown episodes of Hong Kong Phooey, Wacky & Packy and Uncle Croc's Block!
I thought when I googled this guy's name it would be a dead end, and we haven't even gotten to the REALLY good stuff yet. Len Janson's career is a treasure trove of fun & crazy shows.
THE NEW SHMOO?!!! Are you kidding me? Len Janson was part of bringing back Al Capp's SHMOO as an animated cartoon character for television??
26 episodes of The Smurfs!
More late era Flintstones, including the TV movie "Yabba Dabba Doo II"
This guy was writing shows I watched as a kid!
Plus, the story for "Wind-Up Wilma" which was part of a limited prime time revival of The Flintstones.
13 episodes of The Biskitts!
CREATED the tv series Benji, Zax & The Alien Prince!
Unknown # of episodes of Going Bananas!
And the TV movie CONDOR
Slimer! And The Real Ghostbusters! He is UNSTOPPABLE
Anyway, this guy wrote the next Road Runner short.
This was a long tangent but it was IMPORTANT
The RR runs across a section where the road is out & there is no bridge. The Coyote spends the rest of the film trying to get across.
Why not have him stand somewhere else? Or move that boulder?
But then the end of it is weird! The music and the Road-Runner's triumphant jumping up and down feels like it should be the end of the whole cartoon!
So, to answer my question from earlier: yes, he IS being kind of a dick.
Pole Vaulting Made Easy (author, publisher unknown)
A modern Road-Runner cartoon would have him watching a lot of instructional YouTube videos on his ACME smartphone
As good a time as any to reiterate that most ACME products have worked properly. They are associated with failure mostly bc the Coyote often uses them to do dangerous things they weren't intended for
Here, he looks like he is not buying it, at least to begin with.
B) Is the Road Runner faking it? If so, he is being super sarcastic about it.
(I realize I'm actually criticizing Len Janson here in terms of the clarity of the beats/quality of zinger)
I don't like that it's 2 things instead of 1 + the rest of the short is all about him getting ACROSS. This breaks that.
[title: "Secrets Of A Harem"]
The Road Runner looks neither disappointed nor surprised.
I can think of a dozen more satisfying ways to pay off what they set up, but I still give them points for the basic idea of this short, which broke new ground and was fun.
After the distinctive "bottle episode" nature of the previous short comes another "themed" effort, arriving a mere 7 days later!
(This is the one with the airplane & the other is the one with the Giant Robot Coyote, which we will get to within the week.)
Laff-A Lympics! Yogi's Space Race! Superfriends! The Fonz! Richie Rich! Captain Caveman! Scooby-Doo! Scrappy-Doo!
(One thing seems clear -- once these guys got in good with Hanna-Barbera in the 1970s, there was no shortage of shows to work on)
His two RR credits were fairly early in his career, when most of his experience was as a layout artist, although most of his credits are as a producer
(Maybe I am just misunderstanding the entire gag here.)
Still, that doesn't stop RR from showing up for his now seemingly obligatory victory dance, meep-meeping & jumping up & down like a real jerk
Don Jurwich will return -- 4 months and 6 RR shorts later -- with "The Solid Tin Coyote"!
All when there are still classic-era Jones RR shorts MIA on DVD!
After two "themed" RR shorts in a row, a return to a more typical collection of gags; this one was written by Nick Bennion, whose imdb page raises more questions than it answers...
It featured the one & only appearance of a womanizing beatnik bantam rooster who pretends to be a baby.
I wonder what his main thing was? It's a mystery!