As we would have imagined it, dialogues are not necessary for what we called one of the greatest cartoons of all time.
Film director Amos Posner “broke the internet” by tweeting a photo he had taken at the “What’s Up, Doc? The Animation Art of Chuck Jones” exhibition at the Museum of the Moving Image in New York City. The photo immediately went viral because of the 9 crucial rules that cartoonist Chuck Jones set for “The Road Runner Show”:
Still obsessed with Chuck Jones' coyote/roadrunner rules. Awesome to so clearly, concisely define your characters. pic.twitter.com/MRd4zguD93ADVERTISEMENT
— Amos Posner (@AmosPosner) March 4, 2015
Produced by Warner Bros. Cartoons, “The Road Runner Show” is an animated anthology series that compiled theatrical “The Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote” cartoons from the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies. The cartoon began airing in 1948, but after Warner Bros. closed down their animation studio, it was later produced specifically for television by Format Films. The show ran for 2 seasons on CBS from 1966 to 1968 before it was moved to ABC for another 2 seasons from 1971 to 1973.
Each episode featured 2 Road Runner/Coyote cartoons. In 1968, CBS combined it with “The Bugs Bunny Show” to create “The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Hour”. Hence, The Road Runner and the Coyote often shared at least an hour with Bugs Bunny on CBS until the early 90s.
More often than not, the Road Runner and the Coyote follow the laws of cartoon physics, which is used in animation for humorous effect. Chuck Jones followed the law and claimed that he and the artists adhered to some simple but strict rules too. The rules that Posner posted on his Twitter, came from Jones’ 1999 autobiography.
Before listing out the rules, he wrote:
Just as I decided later that there would be no dialogue in the Coyote-Road Runner series because it seemed like a good rule, or indeed it would be a good rule if it was consistent; all comedians obey rules consistent with their own view of comedy. In my opinion, Jackie Gleason got more milage out of threatening to hit somebody than the Three Stooges ever did by doing so.
However, according to the book “Hollywood Cartoons: American Animation in Its Golden Age“, the series co-creator Michael Maltese said in an interview that he had never heard of the “Rules” listed by Jones. Hence, it is unclear whether or not the rules were in place at the first place.
What do you think of the rules? Do you think they are real? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.