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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

How Much Is Too Much Road Runner?


Going, Going, Gosh (1952) As Recommended Dose Of RR and Coyote

How Valuable Is Jones Inscribed Art Like This ...
Did He Do and Sell Them By the Hundreds?
It's best never to exceed prescribed limit of Road Runners. I've witnessed overkill of them and that can get ugly. Two was my limit last night, and though I could have watched more, one must push away from the table short of gorging. There is hot fudge cake at Glenn's Tastee-Freez that I had every day for weeks at a 1978 juncture, reached saturation, and haven't touched since. The cake's still good, Glenn still serves it, but I'll not indulge again, point being to avoid same with cartoons fudge-rich as Road Runners. Chuck Jones' output of these are each and all terrific, largely for his abiding to set rules and never letting his Roadrunner/Coyote engage beyond the (anything but) simple chase. I'm told of ones that call these art, for stark setting and humor conveyed minus dialogue. Roadrunner may be the WB character that appeals most to both class and mass. It must have appealed to Chuck Jones, an aspiring intellectual, to think so. They say Jones had a mighty ego, but for these, he was entitled. Look what the networks did with Roadrunner on Saturday mornings ... hour-long programs devoted to him (but was it actually a him?) and Pals. Backgrounds of Going! Going! Gosh! look like Monument Valley. If the real-life place is "John Ford Country," shouldn't its animated counterpart be "Chuck Jones Country"?  Road Runners are probably the funniest of cartoons Warner did after the war, though I realize that's a matter of opinion. Just hold yourself to two, or certainly no more than three, at a sit.

7 Comments:

Blogger Mike Cline said...

As a kid attending countless Saturday afternoon matinees at my local downtown moviehouse, any time the WB shield hit the scream, the place would erupt. And when we all realized it was Roadrunner, the second eruption was louder than the first. Not the case for any other Warner character.

9:44 AM  
Blogger Scott MacGillivray said...

I'm glad you specified the Chuck Jones Road Runners, as the series jumped the shark later. The 1960s efforts, out of Jones's hands, break the rules he had imposed and look like they cost $100 to make.

10:36 AM  
Blogger Reg Hartt said...

What is neat is that producer Ed Selzer told Jones after the first one, "That is not funny. Don't make any more."

A letter from a branch of the armed services asking for more Coyote and Roadrunner cartoons changed that.

11:15 AM  
Blogger John McElwee said...

Donald Benson considers Chuck Jones' success with the Roadrunner:


Another thing about the original Roadrunner cartoons: They were so minimalist and stylized that Jones and his unit could produce one in a week's less time than budgeted. Through a bit of time card fudging, that saved week would be spent working on a more ambitious Jones epic -- say, one with Ralphie Phillips' elaborate daydreams -- that otherwise would have gone over schedule and budget. In one of his books, Jones claims management never caught on.


The Pepe LePew shorts have the same problem. Individually they're great stuff (perhaps excepting a few odd experiments near the end); together the plots and gags are just too similar. But the playful design work, generally credited to Maurice Noble, is usually worth the price of admission.

5:57 PM  
Blogger Dave K said...

Road Runner cartoons, Stooge comedies with Shemp and the Hammer Draculas. Love 'em all, but have the damnest time remembering which one is which.

I mean, I don't get Wile E. Coyote mixed up with Christopher Lee... well you know what I mean.

1:38 PM  
Blogger la peregrina said...

Road Runner is a he? I always thought she was a female and the Coyote a male. I don't know WHAT that says about my view of the world when I was a child.

7:47 PM  
Blogger MDG14450 said...

I saw Jones at George Eastman House a couple years before he passed away--Interview/Q&A, followed by a program of his cartoons. Enjoyable, but the after-talk cartoons when on far too long. After the sixth or so, more audience members would leave when they realized that the next one wasn't "What's Opera Doc?" (the obvious closer). (Jones laft as soon as the lights went down.)

9:46 AM  

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