Thursday, January 25, 2007

Favorite Road Runner Gag?

Thad has a clip of one of the most famous gags in any Road Runner cartoon, a Ken Harris-animated scene from Whoa, Be-Gone!, where the Coyote tries to... well, just click the link and see for yourself.

Many people consider this the best gag in any Road Runner cartoon. It follows the pattern of a lot of the best gags Mike Maltese wrote for the series, which is to have the Coyote try something really absurd, do a long build-up while he tries to get it to work, and then have it fail for the most obvious reason imaginable. It goes all the way back to a gag in the first cartoon in the series, Fast and Furry-ous. The Coyote gets an ACME Super Suit, apparently expecting that it will let him fly like Superman. He strikes a Super pose, gets a long running start, jumps off the cliff... and instantly falls (he didn't even have to look down first). It's funny because the result was so obvious. It's like Maltese's cartoon-comedy version of Occam's Razor: the simplest result of the Coyote's stupid plan is usually the funniest one.

I think my favorite Road Runner gag is another one in this category, from Zoom and Bored. You get a long, drawn-out shot of a very complicated and elaborate system the Coyote has come up with for rolling a bomb down a mountain. And then he lights the fuse and the bomb immediately blows up on him.

Other favorite Road Runner/Coyote gags?

18 comments:

Melissa said...

I love the kids watching the show, where the Coyote turns and talks to them about _why_ he hunts the roadrunner.

And, the movable hole.

Stephen Rowley said...

One of my favorites is one that doesn't particularly fit the pattern you describe. However, like Thad's clip, and the Fast and Furryous example you cite, it's one that uses simple real physics. Wile E. cuts down a telephone poll, but the wires at the top tie it to the next one, so that he gets pummeled by the top of the next pole along.

I'm also very fond of a bit of animation where Wile E. gets all four limbs glued to a bomb (from memory) and walks along on in his bony pelvis.

Also the "meta-chase" in the mine from Beep Beep, where the characters are just represented as dots.

I could go all day.

Edward Hegstrom said...

I, too, could go on all day--but I would have to make particular mention of the Earthquake Pills, which is funny not only for the beautifully animated chaos when Wile E. downs the whole bottle, but for the note on the label, "Caution--Not effective on road runners."

Anonymous said...

I recall one gag which is just funny in the sake of the unexpected. We see a complicated pattern of steel tubes leading down to the road. Wile E. lights a stick of dynamite, places it inside a metal ball...and it explodes immediately!

the spectre said...

I just love Zoom and Bored in general - I really like the surreal scene with the brick wall.

Stephen - are you thinking of the "iron glue"/boomerang sequence from Zoom At The Top?

Stephen Rowley said...

Spectre,

No, I checked and it's from Ready Set Zoom. There's a still here:

http://www.flickr.com/photo_zoom.gne?id=369506253&size=m

Funniest walk cycle ever.

Stephen Rowley said...

My link didn't work. Try this:

http://www.cinephobia.com/ready%20set%20zoom.jpgadtqkih

Stephen Rowley said...

Ah, cr*p. Take those last couple of letters off the URL above.

(An attempt to post an image Wile E. would have been proud of).

John said...

While the above link is my favorite RR gag, the Burmese tiger trap gag from "Stop! Look! and Hasten!" is also obvious, but great, due to its execution and the bogus Latin monicker at the end as the kicker. The catapult gag from "To Beep or Not to Beep" (via "Adventures of the Road Runner") and the exploding darts gag from "Lickety Splat" are also great, but in a different way in that there's not one single outstanding gag in there, but all the variations on the same gag back-to-back-to-back enhance each disaster to the Coyote as they happem.

Thad K said...

The rocket-powered rollerskates in "Beep, Beep!" is my fave.

Mysterio said...

Don't remember the name of the 'toon, but I love the gag where Wile E. has rigged up a trap door to drop a ton of rocks on the RR. When Wile E. triggers the trap, nothing happens-the rocks remain firmly wedged in place. Frustrated, he goes under the trap door with a stick and begins poking at the jammed rocks. Small pebbles begin to fall on him, and at the last second the Coyote produces a sign reading "In Heaven's name-what am I [i]doing[/i]?!" before he gets crushed.

Speaking of Wile E., does anyone know if the clip from "Rabbit's Feat" where Bugs spins around Wile E's rifle barrel so the Coyote shoots himself is anywhere online?

Tor Y. Harbin said...

mysterio - I believe that was "There They Go-Go-Go!".

Also, I can't believe I forgot that exploding darts gag from "Lickety Splat". Then again, it's been a while.

DrBear said...

I still enjoy the catapult sequence, in which Wile E. is a victim of the catapult in just about every way possible.

Mr. Semaj said...

One funny gag was from one where the Coyote falls off the cliff, and actually climbs back up. But as soon as he reaches the top, the Roadrunner sends him back to his doom! Shows off the Roadrunner's sadistic side, and a funny facial before the Coyote falls again.

JD Rhoades said...

Love the catapult. Wile E. stands behind the catapult-the rock slides off the back and crushes him. He stands in front-the rock slams down on him and crushes him. Eh stands to the side, the catapult flips over on him and crushes him. He hides under the catapult, the wheels fall off and the catapult crushes him.

Mef said...

put me down for catapult sequence too.

on a somewhat related note, does anyone know the name of the coyote short where he launhes a bunch of dynamite darts that keep coming back throughout the short?

great blog btw

Mark Farrell

moopot said...

My favourite gag is where Wile E. builds a motorcycle for like thirty seconds on screen, then immediately rams it into a pole.

Duck Dodgers said...

The gag you mentioned is my favorite! The best ever used in the series and one of the best in any animated cartoon.