Animated Cartoons

Home History Tom&Jerry Flintstones Roadrunner&Coyote



                 Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner

Wile E. Coyote (also known simply as "The Coyote") and the Road Runner are cartoon characters from a series of Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons, created by Chuck Jones in 1949 for Warner Brothers. Chuck Jones based the films on a Mark Twain book called Roughing It, in which Twain noted that coyotes are starving and hungry and would chase a roadrunner.
Chuck Jones once said of his most famous protagonist and antagonist that "Wile E. is my reality, Bugs Bunny is my goal." He originally created the Road Runner cartoons as a parody of traditional "cat and mouse" cartoons (such as Tom and Jerry) which were increasingly popular at the time. The cartoons' South-Western setting also mirrors the setting of the Krazy Kat comics, by George Herriman.
The Road Runner was voiced by Paul Julian, who worked as a background painter for Friz Freleng's unit.

The Road Runner shorts are very simple in their premise: the Road Runner, a flightless cartoon bird (loosely based on a real bird, the Greater Roadrunner), is chased down the highways of the Southwestern United States by a hungry toon coyote, named Wile E. Coyote (a pun on "wily coyote"). Despite numerous clever attempts, the coyote never catches or kills the Road Runner, and all of his elaborate schemes end up injuring himself in humorous instances of highly exaggerated cartoon slapstick violence.
There is almost never any "spoken" communication, save the Road Runner's "beep-beep" (which actually sounds more like "mheep-mheep") and the Road Runner sticking out his tongue (which sounds like someone patting the opening of a glass bottle with the palm of their hand), but the two characters do sometimes communicate by holding up signs to each other, the audience, or the cartoonist (though both these rules were broken later). Another key element is that while Wile E. is the aggressor in the series, he and his hopelessly futile efforts are the focus of the audience's sympathy as well as virtually all of the humor. Wile E. seems doomed, like Sisyphus, forever to try but never to succeed. The Road Runner lacks a developed personality and is largely just an object, not a character.
Wile E. Coyote later appeared in some Bugs Bunny shorts, as well as the Little Beeper cartoons featured on Tiny Toon Adventures, when he talks. In the Bugs Bunny shorts in particular, he calls himself a "super genius" (Operation: Rabbit, 1952; his first speaking appearance, and his first appearance in which he is called "Wile E. Coyote"); in another cartoon he claims an IQ of 207 (Zip Zip Hooray!, 1965).


Latin names
Typically at the start of each short, during a chase sequence, the action pauses to show the audience the apparent Latin (or scientific) names of Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote, usually emphasising the former's speed and the latter's hunger. These names change from short to short, as detailed below.

Cartoon Title

Road Runner

Wile E. Coyote

Actual latin names

Geococcyx californianus

Canis latrans

Fast and Furry-ous

Accelleratti Incredibus

Carnivorous Vulgaris

Beep, Beep

Accelerati Incredibilus

Carnivorous Vulgaris

Going! Going! Gosh!

Acceleratti Incredibilus

Carnivorous Vulgaris

Zipping Along

Velocitus Tremenjus

Road-Runnerus Digestus

Stop! Look! And Hasten!

Hot-Roddicus Supersonicus

Eatibus Anythingus

Ready, Set, Zoom!

Speedipus Rex


Guided Muscle

Velocitus Delectiblus

Eatibus Almost Anythingus

Gee Whiz-z-z-z-z-z-z


Eatius Birdius

There They Go-Go-Go!

Dig-Outius Tid-Bittius

Famishius Fantasticus

Scrambled Aches

Tastyus Supersonicus

Eternalii Famishiis

Zoom and Bored

Birdibus Zippibus

Famishus Vulgarus

Whoa, Be Gone

Birdius High-Ballius

Famishius Vulgaris Ingeniusi

Hook, Line, and Stinker



Hip Hip-Hurry!



Hot Rod and Reel



Wild About Hurry


Hardheadipus Oedipus

Fastest with The Mostest

Velocitus Incalculus

Carnivorous Slobbius

Hopalong Casualty


Hard-Headipus Ravenus

Zip 'n' Snort


Evereadii Eatibus

Lickety Splat

Fastius Tasty-us

Apetitius Giganticus

Beep Prepared

Tid-Bittius Velocitus

Hungrii Flea-Bagius

Zoom at the Top

Disappearialis Quickius

Overconfidentii Vulgaris

War and Pieces

Burn-em Upus Asphaltus

Caninus Nervous Rex

Freeze Frame

Semper Food-Ellus

Grotesques Appetitus

Soup or Sonic

Ultra-Sonicus Ad Infinitum

Nemesis Riduclii

Looney Tunes: Back In Action


Desertus-Operativus Imbecilius

The Wizzard of Ow

Geococcyx californianus

Canis latrans

By Popular Demand Series - Judge Granny Case 2

Birdius Tastius

Poultrius Devourius

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 subsequent cartoons the scenery was designed by Maurice Noble and was far more abstract. Several different styles were used.
In Going! Going! Gosh! (late 1952) through Guided Muscle (late 1955) the scenery was 'semi-realistic' with an offwhite sky. Gravity-defying rock formations appeared in Ready, Set, Zoom! (1954). A bright yellow sky made its debut in Gee Whizzzzz! (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 colours (yellow, orange and red) were favoured. Bushes were crescent-shaped. Except for Whoa Be-Gone (early 1958), whose scenery design harked back to Guided Muscle in certain aspects, 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 'sharp' style of rock formation pioneered by Zoom and Bored. War and Pieces ended with abstract Oriental backgrounds. The Format Films cartoons used a style of scenery which was essentially a paler version of Hopalong Casualty's.

The Acme Corporation
Wile E. Coyote often obtains complex and ludicrous devices (Rube Goldberg machines) from a mail-order company, the fictitious Acme Corporation, which he hopes will help him catch the Road Runner. The devices invariably backfire in improbable and spectacular ways. The coyote usually ends up burnt to a crisp, squashed flat, or at the bottom of a ravine. How the coyote acquires these products without any 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 makes mention of his protege Calamity Coyote possessing an unlimited Acme credit card baccount, which might serve as another possible explanation. Wile E. being a "beta tester" for Acme has been another suggested explanation.
The company name was likely chosen for its irony (acme means the highest point, as of achievement or development). The common expansion A Company that Makes Everything is a backronym.
Among the products by the Acme Corporation are:
• Acme catapults
• Acme earthquake pills
• Acme rocket sled kits
• Acme portable holes
• Acme Burmese tiger trap kit
• Acme jet-propelled roller skates
• Acme super leg vitamins
• and - a wide selection of explosives: TNT, dynamite, nitroglycerin . . .
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. Sometimes the coyote is allowed to hang in midair until he realizes that he is about to plummet into a chasm (a process occasionally referred to elsewhere as Road-Runnering). The coyote can overtake rocks which fall before he does, and end up being squashed by them.

The Rules
In his book, Chuck Amuck, Chuck Jones explains some of the rules the writers and artists followed in making the Coyote-Road Runner series:
1. The Road Runner cannot harm the coyote except by going "Beep-beep!"
2. No outside force can harm the coyote—only his own ineptitude or the failure of the Acme products.
3. The coyote can stop any time—if he were not a fanatic. (Repeat: "A fanatic is one who redoubles his effort when he has forgotten his aim."–George Santayana; this quote appears on a promotional poster featuring the duo; with the quote appearing in Burma Shave-style clips on signs amid the roadrunner's air wake)
4. There may be no dialogue ever, except "beep-beep!" The coyote may, however, speak to the audience through wooden signs that he holds up.
5. The Road Runner must stay on the road —otherwise, logically, he would not be called "Road Runner".
6. All action must be confined to the natural environment of the two characters—the southwest American desert.
7. All materials, tools, weapons, or mechanical conveniences must be obtained from the Acme Corporation.
8. Whenever possible, gravity should be made the coyote's greatest enemy.
9. The coyote is always more humiliated than harmed by his failures.
There was also a tenth and more unofficial rule:
• The sympathy of the audience must lie with the coyote.
The rules were followed with rare exceptions. Sometimes the episode is concluded with Wile E. being flattened by a truck (with the Road Runner grinning from the rear window). In the 1961 two-reel theatrical short The Adventures of the Road Runner, Wile E. Coyote actually speaks dialogue as he lectures on how best to catch the Road Runner. In the 1979 made-for television short Freeze Frame, Wile E. Coyote chases the Road Runner up into a snowy mountainous region, where most of the short is spent. In the rare 2000 short Little Go Beep, they explain the fourth rule by showing a baby Wile E.'s father (voiced by Stan Freberg) telling him not to speak until he has caught the Road Runner. Chuck Jones directed Freeze Frame, and advised on Little Go Beep.

In another series of Warner Bros. Looney Tunes cartoons, the character design of Wile E. Coyote was copied and renamed "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 satirical 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. At the end of every cartoon, he and the sheepdog stop what they were doing, punch a timeclock, exchange pleasantries, and go home for the day, after which the nightshift team takes over. 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.
In the old Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies comics published by Dell Comics, the Road Runner was given the name Beep-Beep the Road Runner and had 4 sons and a wife. The Road Runner family talked in rhyme in the comics. Wile E. was called Kelsey Coyote in his comic book debut. The Road Runner and Wile E. also make appearances in the DC Comics Looney Tunes title.

Cultural References
There was a Soviet Union equivalent of the Road Runner series, titled "Ну погоди! Зайчик-побегайчик" (Pronounciation--Nu pogodi! Zaytchik pobegaychik!), which in English means "Stop! You running rabbit!". In the series, a big bad wolf tries unsuccessfully to capture a little hare. The hare is, however, incredibly annoying. The action is in more of a silent gag movie style and lacks the Road Runner series' various technological gadgets. Some of the episodes were animated in black and white.
Ice hockey player Yvan Cournoyer was nicknamed "the Road Runner" due to his blazing speed on the ice.
In 2001, the season four episode "Revenging Angel" of sci-fi television series Farscape featured extended cartoon sequences in which John Crichton and Ka D'Argo were rendered as Road Runner- and Wile E. Coyote-esque characters. In these sequences, which were hallucinations experienced by Crichton, D'Argo purses Crichton using a variety of familiar gags, such as OZME-brand rockets, explosive "froonium," and fake wormholes painted onto rock walls.
Writer Ian Frazier satirized the Coyote/Acme relationship in his humorous short story Coyote v. Acme, which appeared in the February 26, 1990 issue of The New Yorker. The story takes the form of a product liability lawsuit filed by Wile E.'s attorney against the Acme corporation, detailing the numerous injuries the company's shoddy goods had caused the hapless coyote. Frazier's piece has been reproduced on many web sites, often in modified form and often without attribution.
During the 1988 Yes and No election in Chile, TVN (the national television network) transmitted the RoadRunner cartoons instead of the election results, upheld until about 02:00 the next day.
In an episode of Family Guy there is a scene where Peter Griffin's driving skills comes into question. Brian says "Remember that trip you had to the south-west?" A Family Guy style flashback occurs with the Road Runner running up the road and Peter running him over. Peter is then seen in the car and says "Oh God, I think I just hit that ostrich" and Wile E. Coyote is seen in the passenger seat saying "He's fine, keep going!"
In a comic series from Neglected Mario Characters (The "NC/SSS Crossover Mach 2," Patrick Van Dusen, in an effort to prove his worthiness to the "Darker Evil" tries to kill his best friend, the VGWarrior. These attempts are made in a Road Runner/style hunt, with VGWarrior as the Road Runner and Pat as Wile E. Coyote. Pat's plans always result in him being humiliated in a similar matter to Wile E. Coyote. In one scene, he even falls off a cliff, holding up a sign saying "Somehow I had time to make this sign describing my plight, but not enough time to save myself from falling into pain."

Commercial Appearances
The Plymouth Road Runner was a performance car produced by the Plymouth division of Chrysler between 1968 and 1980. An official licensee of Warner Bros. (paying $50,000 for the privilege), the Road Runner used the image of the cartoon bird on the sides.
General Motors used the Road Runner on its marketing campaign in 1985 for its Holden Barina in Australia. Even in 2004, "Beep-beep Barina" is still known as a catch phrase by many Australians.
In the late-1990s, Road Runner became the mascot for Time Warner's cable internet service, also named Road Runner. Balloon sculptor John Cassidy and his Road Runner balloon animal creation were featured on a commercial for this service.
In the early-2000s, Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote appeared in a General Motors car commercial. Wile E. chases the Road Runner while driving the car but the commercial ends before he is caught.
In 2004, Wile E. appeared (along with Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck) in an Aflac commercial, in which he is shown as being a prime candidate for the company's services. Before he plummets, taking an animated version of the Aflac duck with him, he holds up a sign reading the company's tagline, "Ask About It At Work."