In celebration of our upcoming traveling exhibition What's Up, Doc? The Animation Art of Chuck Jones, we're exploring what makes Jones' cartoons so engaging and so darn funny. Aside from the amazing animation, precision timing, and incredible musical scores, the unresolved conflicts between eternally dueling antagonists are at the core of the comic experience, right? In other words, Bugs Bunny is always outwitting his opponents, which include Elmer Fudd, Daffy Duck, and Yosemite Sam. And the hungry cat Sylvester is never able to catch the elusive Tweety Bird. Then, there's Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote (poor fellow).
In 1949, Chuck Jones created the characters Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner for the cartoon Fast and Furry-ous. Jones was inspired by author Mark Twain’s description of the coyote as "a long, slim, sick and sorry-looking skeleton" that is "a living, breathing allegory of Want. He is always hungry." Jones directed or co-directed more than 25 Coyote and Road Runner cartoons, which represent the purest expression of his approach to screen comedy.
What are the rules in a Coyote-Road Runner short?
RULE 1. The Road Runner cannot harm the coyote except by saying "Beep! Beep!"
RULE 2. No outside force can harm the coyote--only his own ineptitude or failure of various ACME products.
RULE 3. The coyote could stop anytime--IF he weren't such a fanatic. (Definition: A fanatic is one who redoubles his efforts when he has forgotten his aim," so said by George Santayana.)
RULE 4. No dialogue ever except the ubiquitous "Beep! Beep!"
RULE 5. The Road Runner must always stay on the road, otherwisee, logically, he would not be called a "road runner."
RULE 6. All action must be confined to the natural environment of the two characters--the American southwest.
RULE 7. All materials, tools, weapons, or mechanical devices must be obtained from the ACME CORPORATION.
RULE 8. Whenever possible, make gravity Wile E. Coyote's greatest enemy.
RULE 9. The Coyote is always more humiliated than harmed by his failures.