Monday, 26 March 2012

Beep, Beep Exit

Back when I was a cartoon-loving kid, the best time to get something to snack on during Saturday mornings was when the Roadrunner cartoons came on. I knew what was going to happen. The Coyote would strap some contraption to himself, it would fail, he’d stare at the audience, and disappear at the bottom of a cliff. If you’ve seen one...

It didn’t help that neither of the characters said anything funny. So I wasn’t a big Roadrunner fan.

(As a digression, the one I liked the most was the catapult one, “To Beep or Not to Beep,” because I didn’t know what was going to happen with the catapult).

However, that won’t stop me from posting things I’ve found interesting in some of Chuck Jones’ Roadrunner shorts. Like the Coyote’s body being controlled by jet skates in “Beep, Beep” (1951).

Here’s Wile E. being drawn out of camera range by the skates. The drawings are on ones. You’ve got to like the way Wile E. is stretched beyond recognition.

And here’s one from round two.

Mike Maltese uses a writing trick found in a couple of other Roadrunners. A booby-trap doesn’t work. The cartoon quickly moves on to the next gag and carries on. Wile E. then ends up in the forgotten booby-trap. Jones telegraphs the gag in this cartoon but perhaps he’s trying to build anticipation as we see the returned booby-trap for a little too long before it springs.

Ken Harris, Lloyd Vaughan, Phil Monroe and Ben Washam are the animators. I suspect Abe Levitow was assisting.


  1. In round two it looks like Abe's tendency to draw a shaggy Coyote is already present.

  2. Chuck himself used that writing trick later in "Lickety-Splat", where a swarm of dynamite darts released by Wile E. return to wreck havoc in each subsequent gag.