Wile E. Coyote & Road Runner are considered to be the fourth most popular characters of the Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies series. The two were created by both the magnificent Chuck Jones and Michael Maltese, who actually created the first cartoon, “Fast and Furry-ous“, as a parody of the “cat and prey” trope that was made famous, of course, by Tom & Jerry, as Jones stated he did not like T&J, despite the fact that he directed some T&J later on starting in 1963. While no one really understood it was a parody, the short became popular on it’s own, leading Chuck and Maltese to make some more Road Runner entries up
The Coyote and Road Runner have become one the most beloved and most iconic cartoon characters of all-time (along with the rest of the LT cast of course), not only for it’s the slapstick, lack of dialogue and timing, but it’s hilarious satire on false advertising of the Acme Corporation, used frequently by Wile E. himself. We all love Wile E. because he never gives up on catching the Road Runner and we can identify with his faults and frustration.
In the late 60s, 2 years before Chuck Jones was fired from WB, more Road Runner cartoons were being made, this time under Rudy Larriva and Robert McKimson’s direction. These shorts were, of course, infamous for there low-budgets, television quality animation and redundant musical scores (even Lenoard Maltin himself stated the Larriva RR shorts are “witless in every sense of the word”), though, McKimson’s Road Runners are arguably by far my fav.
Anyway, enjoy watching the cartoon started it all:
And let us not forget the historical moment in 1980′s Soup or Sonic where Wile E., actually finally (sort of) caught the Road Runner.
Often called “one of the great masters of comic timing”, and indeed he is. Friz Freleng is most famous for the creation of Porky Pig, Yosemite Sam, Sylvester and the Pink Panther and one of the few who developed the personalities of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and the design for Tweety and Speedy Gonzales. He started animating with Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks teaching him. He went with Harman and Ising to make their own animated pilot short to sale to Warner Bros. and their became the birth of the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies (both which were a variation name of Disney’s Silly Symphony).
Freleng had directed more cartoons at WB more than any other director (266) and became one of the most prolific animators of the Golden Age of Animation and the most honored and recognized, second to Chuck Jones. Freleng and Jones are the only WB directors to win Acadmey Awards (Freleng 5 awards and Jones) as well as the only ones to have their names on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
In 1963, when Warners cartoon division shut down, Freleng and David H. DePatie formed there own studio, only to create the famous Pink Panther, The Ant & The Aardvark, and more Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies. Freleng and Chuck Jones have remained the best of friends throughout the years until Freleng’s death in May 26, 1995, due to natural causes 🙁
Mel Blanc is without a doubt, the most influential and most recognizable voice actor of all-time (next to June Foray, of course). He has done voices for Warner Bros., Hanna-Barbera, MGM, Walter Lantz, Chuck Jones Enterprise and Disney. Voiced over 300 characters, and is arguably one of the key success to the Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies cartoons.
The Bob Clampett unit (and a couple of interlopers) at the Schlesinger cartoon studio, in a photo probably taken in 1942. Phil Monroe is at top left; the others standing are, from left, Melvin “Tubby” Millar, Frank Powers, Virgil Ross, Tom McKimson, Warren Foster, Bill Melendez, Bob Clampett, unidentified, Lou Lilly, Warren Batchelder, Michael Sasanoff (leaning forward), Bob North, and I. Ellis. Kneeling, from left: Harry Barton, Don Christensen, Cornett Wood, Rod Scribner, Earl Klein, and Bob McKimson. As to why Millar and Christensen were in the photo, since they were not in Clampett’s unit at the time, Clampett said the photo was not strictly a unit photo; to quote my paraphrase of what he told me in a 1979 phone conversation, “It was a case of guys coming back from lunch and someone saying, ‘C’mon, get in the photo.’ ” Photo courtesy of Bob Clampett.
The producer of Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoon series from the start of 1929 up until 1944 when he sold his studio and the cartoons.
The directors and animators have been known to poke fun at him consistent, with his slight lisp being the inspiration for Daffy Duck (and possibly Sylvester?) and (according to Bill Melendez) Porky Pig being caricatured after Leon. He was also known for wanting to spend little money (though Bob Clampett notably went over budget), had almost no knowledge of how animation works and was more interested in horse races (which gave the staff as much freedom as they pleased), and for being “terribly lazy” as Chuck says.
In 1944, he sold the Leon Schlesinger studio to Warner Bros. for $336,000 (with “Buckaroo Bugs” being the last cartoon he producer) and was replaced by Eddie Selzer (with “Goldilocks and the Jivin’ Bears” being the first cartoon he produced), who is notorious for having no sense of humor whatsoever (similar to Fred Quimby of MGM) and lacked as much knowledge and appreciation for animation as Leon did, (and also did not want any onscreen credit in the cartoons).
In 1949, on Christmas Day, Leon died of a viral infection 🙁