Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Wile E. Coyote & The Roadrunner


Wile E. Coyote (also known simply as "The Coyote") and The Road Runner are a duo of cartoon characters from a series of Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons. The characters (a coyote and Greater Roadrunner) were created by animation director Chuck Jones  in 1948 for Warner Brothers, while the template for their adventures was the work of writer Michael Maltese, the characters star in a long-running series of theatrical cartoon shorts (the first 16 of which were written by Maltese) and occasional made-for-television cartoons.
In each episode, instead of animal senses and cunning, Wile E. Coyote uses absurdly complex contraptions (sometimes in the manner of Rube Goldberg) and elaborate plans to pursue his quarry. It was originally meant to parody chase cartoons like Tom & Jerry, but became popular in its own right. The Coyote appears separately as an occasional antagonist of Bugs Bunny in five shorts from 1952 to 1963. While he is generally silent in the Coyote-Road Runner shorts, he speaks with a refined accent in these solo outings introducing himself as "Wile E. Coyote — super genius", voiced with an upper-class accent by Mel Blanc (extraordinary voice over talent). The Road Runner vocalizes only with a signature sound, "BEEP,BEEP", recorded by Paul Julian, and an occasional "popping-cork" tongue noise.  To date, 48 cartoons have been made featuring these characters (including the three CGI shorts), the majority by Chuck Jones.

TV GUIDE included Wile E. Coyote in their 2013 list of The 60 Nastiest Villains of All Time. Here we see Coyote trying to catch Roadrunner in a dragster. Ironically, in nature, Coyotes are capable of outrunning and catching Roadrunners but a Plymouth Roadrunner would outrun a coyote in a matter of seconds.  The standard engine was an exclusive-to-the-Road Runner 383 CID (6.3L) Roadrunner V8 rated at 335 bhp (250 kW) and 425 lb·ft (576 N·m) of torque. Its extra 5 hp (4 kW) rating was the result of using the radical cam from the 440 Super Commando and a .25 raise in compression to 10.5:1 (vs. 10.25:1 with the 330 hp (246 kW) 383). When air conditioning was ordered, the cars received the 330 hp (246 kW) version, as the radical cam specs of the 335 bhp (250 kW) version didn't create enough vacuum to accommodate a/c; and there were concerns of over-revving which would grenade the RV-2 York compressor. For an extra $714, Plymouth would install a 426 CID Hemi rated at 425 bhp (317 kW) and 490 lb·ft (664 N·m) of torque. Combined with low weight, the 6-passenger Road Runner could run the ¼-mile in 13.5 seconds at 105 mph (169 km/h). It would prove to be one of the best engines of the muscle car era, and the Road Runner one of the best platforms to utilize it.

The standard equipment transmission was a four-speed manual with floor shifter and Chrysler's three-speed TorqueFlite automatic was optional. Early four-speed '68 Road Runners featured Inland shifters, which were replaced by the more precise Hurst shifters during the course of the model year. Plymouth expected to sell about 20,000 units in 1968; actual sales numbered around 45,000. This placed the Road Runner third in sales among muscle cars with only the Pontiac GTO and Chevy's SS-396 Chevelle outselling it. Dodge debuted the Road Runner's cousin, the Super Bee, as a mid-1968 offering after seeing Plymouth's success with the Road Runner, along with demands from Dodge dealers for their own low-priced muscle car as the Dodge Boys started the model year with the higher-priced Charger R/T and Coronet R/T - both of which were priced similar or higher than the Plymouth GTX.

Warner Brothers paid Plymouth $50,000 in 1968 to use the “Road Runner” name for their cartoon character as well as $10,000 Plymouth paid to develop the “Beep-Beep.”  And there you have it. “Zoom-Zoom”













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