It’s Cartoon Friday, again.

Photo of a vintage Coyote animation cell

An animation cell from Chuck Jones’ Guided Muscle (1955). Do you root for Wile E Coyote or “that wretched bird?”

Oh that poor Wile E Coyote. He’s kind of a pathetic creature isn’t he? Always doomed to repeat the same mistakes over and over, always sure the next gadget will be the one that will get him his meal.

Chariots of Fur is more recent than many of the classic Wile E Coyote and Road Runner cartoons. It was directed by Chuck Jones, their original creator, in 1994. It features many of the gags that people associate with the pair from the goofy fake-Latin names during the introduction to the profusion of faulty or unreliable ACME gadgets.

According to Wikipedia, Roadrunner and Coyote appeared in 48 short cartoons — Chuck Jones directed most of them. Wile E Coyote also appeared in five cartoons where he antagonized Bugs Bunny, including Operation: Rabbit where he famously introduces himself as “Wile E Coyote, Super Genius.” In the “classic” pairings, he does not speak and the Road Runner only makes its signature “Beep Beep” sound, which is actually its name in some foreign markets.

Even though this is a later period Looney Tunes cartoon, I selected it because Jones directed it. Growing up, I had mixed feelings about Wile E and the Road Runner — perhaps because the quality is so mixed on the non-Jones installments. Chuck Jones always seems to create cartoons that are just a bit more clever and cutting than the rest.

This cartoon was suggested last week by MyFDL’s xanthe, who comments:

I’m partial to Road Runner cartoons but not that wretched bird – my loyalty lies with Wiley. Poor Wiley – he should buy stock in Acme. (What does that say about my life.)

Still, Wile must have some food source – it takes a lot of energy to chase the bird. What does the E stand for?

When it comes to this pair, who do you root for to win? Do you want Road Runner to get away or for the Coyote to finally get his square meal?

What are some of your favorite cartoons? I’ll try to use them in future installments.

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Animation cell photo by coyote521 released under a Creative Commons No Derivatives license.