Beep Beep (only in comics)
Blue and purple feathers
Road Runner is the carefree bird running in the Southwestern desert in USA.
Cartoons: Fast And Furry-Ous (September 16, 1949)
Comics: Four Color #918 (1958)
Games: Road Runner Game (1969)
Country of origin:
The Road Runner cartoons were simplicity itself. Their setting was a semi-abstract version of the American Southwestern desert, and apart from the occasional train or truck to run over Wile E. Coyote, there was only the coyote trying to catch the roadrunner. Only exception was The Wild Chase
from 1965, which featured Sylvester Pussycat and Speedy Gonzales. The two characters were only identified as their species, the name Wile E. Coyote did not occur until later and except for the comics later, Road Runner never got a name.
The Road Runner's first appearance was in the Road Runner cartoon Fast And Furry-Ous
from 1949. Like the Wile E. Coyote he had no name and did not speak, it was a simple chase involving as many gags as possible. A cartoon would start with an attempt to catch the Road Runner going wrong, the end would be an attempt to catch the Road Runner going wrong and in between there would be more attempts to catch the Road Runner going wrong. In all this, the Road Runner only did very little except running. The real entertainment was Wile E.'s preparations, execution and miserable failure of plans to catch the Road Runner with strange inventions he got from the mail-order company ACME.
The Road Runner cartoons were a success (Beep Prepared
from 1961 was even nominated for an Academy Award) and Chuck Jones who was the director on the cartoons continued to make cartoons with Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner until he left Warner Bros. in 1963. The cartoons with Road Runner continued until 1966, produced by David DePatie and Friz Freleng, after which the cartoons were shown again and again in various anthologies like The Bugs Bunny Road Runner Hour
and The Bugs Bunny & Tweety Show
. After 50+ years the cartoons are still going strong.
Despite his popularity, only very little has been made with Road Runner since 1966. A few recent cartoons has been made by Chuck Jones starting with Chariots of Fur
in 1994 and Road Runner made a cameo in Who Framed Roger Rabbit
from 1988. He also appeared with the rest of the Looney Tunes crew in Space Jam
from 1996 and Looney Tunes Back in Action
from 2003, and in January 2004, he appeared along with Wile E. Coyote, Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and an animated version of the AFLAC duck in a in an commercial for the insurance company AFLAC.
Road Runner had his own series with the Wile E. Coyote. Contrary to the cartoons, Road Runner was not alone but had a family. He also had a name and he spoke, unlike the cartoons where he only said "Beep Beep"
and was known solely by his species. The first started out as three issues of Four Color
after which the series continued with #4 as Beep Beep, The Road Runner
from Dell. The series ran 14 issues, including the Four Color
issues, from 1958 to 1962. The second and third series were also called Beep Beep, The Road Runner
. Gold Key published issues 1 thru 88 from 1966 to 1980 and Whitman published issues 89 thru 105 from 1980 to 1983. He returned to comics along with Bugs, Wile E. Coyote and the rest of the Looney Tunes cast when DC Comics started their Looney Tunes imprint in 1994.
With the set-up for Wile E. and the Road Runner, the transformation to computer games was obvious. The games goes back as far as the eighties with Beep Beep
from 1987 for Atari computers, and the games appear for a vide variety of platforms like Road Runner's Death Valley Rally
for the SNES platform (SunSoft 1992), Desert Demolition
was for the Genesis platform (Sega 1995) and Looney Tunes: Space Race
(Infogrames 2000) for PS2 and Sega Dreamcast. Computer games weren't the only games in which Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner appeared though. A board game called Road Runner Game
was made by Whitman in 1969.
Road Runner made a couple of unusual transferences to other medias. One was The Plymouth Road Runner
, a performance model of car produced by the Plymouth division of Chrysler between 1968 and 1980. Chrysler paid Warner Bros. $50,000 for the privilege, of using the image of the Road Runner on the sides of the car. In 1995 the Road Runner was used for Time Warner Cable's high speed cable internet service called Road Runner High Speed OnlineTM
(www.rr.com). The service is still online at this time.
Like a lot of other popular Looney Toons characters a ton of merchandise has been made. The roadrunner has appeared on almost anything, t-shirts, PEZ dispensers, coffee mugs, ties. Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner are some of the few characters to appear on stamps.