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Wile E. Coyote

Wile E. Coyote Alias: Ralph Wolf

Eyes: Black
Hair: Brown and grayish fur
Race: Coyote

Occupation: Predator
Known relatives: Cage E. Coyote (son)
Tech E. Coyote (descendant in 2772, only in Loonatics Unleashed)

Story: Wile E. Coyote is the ever-present predator and evil genius that tries to catch his prey with assorted ACME inventions. Due to reality and especially gravity working against him, he has yet to succeed in catching anything.

Continuity: Looney Tunes
Publisher(s): Warner Bros.
Looney Toones
Dell Comics
Gold Key
Whitman Publishing
DC Comics
First app.: Cartoons: Fast And Furry-Ous (September 16, 1949)
Comics: Four Color #918 (1958)
Games: Road Runner Game (1969)
Creator(s): Chuck Jones
Michael Maltese
Country of origin: USA USA

Background notes: Despite being a villain with no actual redeeming qualities, Wile E. Coyote is one of the most famous and loved characters of the Looney Tunes. Something in his confidence going into an enterprise, his amazing plans and ACME equipment, and the way all his plans backfire on him appeals to us. No cartoon character can be blown up, run over, burned to a crisp, or fall of a cliff with as much charm and hilarity as Wile E. Coyote. Especially the expression on his face just before disaster hits and he realizes he's in trouble, is priceless. The cartoons are usually referred to as Road Runner cartoons, but the actual star is Wile E. Coyote as the focus in the story is his preparations, execution and miserable failure of plans to catch the Road Runner, Bugs Bunny or the sheep Sam Sheepdog is guarding.

Wile E. Coyote's first appearance was as the predator in the Road Runner cartoon Fast And Furry-Ous from 1949. Like the Road Runner he had no name and did not speak, it was a simple chase involving as many gags as possible. A running gag in the cartoons was the strange things he got from the mail-order company ACME (ACME is an acronym for A Company Making Everything and at the same time a pun on acme i.e. the highest point of achievement or development). With the help of things like portable holes and jet-propelled skates he would try to catch the Road Runner (or Bugs Bunny) only to be defeated by reality doing strange things or gravity kicking in when he was high up in the air. The cartoons did not really have a beginning, middle and end. The 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.

Catching Road Runner was only one of the three types of cartoons he was in. The second type, which was also his second appearance, was opposite Bugs Bunny in Operation Rabbit from 1952. Like the Road Runner cartoons the story was a chase involving gags, but Bugs being a vastly different character combined with Wile E. Coyote having a name and voice (by Mel Blanc) gave a different type of gags. He was still being blown up, run over by trucks, dropped from high places etc. the stories just had a Bugs Bunny feel to them like having a beginning, middle and end.

The third type was the role as Ralph Wolf, opposite the laconic but unbeatable Sam Sheepdog starting with Don't Give Up the Sheep in 1953. The cartoons were very different from the two other types. Not because of the change in name and scenery or because he was given a red nose instead of his normal black nose (The color was changed back to black on the merchandise). Here his chase was a regular job, contrary to his chase of the Road Runner, which was more like an obsession. The cartoon would end with him and Sam stopping what they were doing, punch a time clock, and go home for the day.

The coyote made four appearances opposite Bugs, and a seven as Ralph Wolf until 1963 when Chuck Jones left Warner Bros. 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 Wile E. Coyote since 1966. Chuck Jones made Chariots of Fur in 1994, he made a cameo in Who Framed Roger Rabbit from 1988, and appeared with the rest of the Looney Tunes crew in Space Jam from 1996 and Looney Tunes Back in Action from 2003. He also appeared in an episode of Tiny Toon Adventure, and in January 2004, he appeared along with Road Runner, Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and an animated version of the AFLAC duck in a in an commercial for the insurance company AFLAC.

Wile E. Coyote had his own series with the Road Runner. The first series 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. The coyote returned to comics along with Bugs, Road Runner 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.

One of the more peculiar transferences to other medias is the Wile E. Coyote cocktail. The recipe is as follows:

3/4 oz Dark Rum
3/4 oz Banana Liqueur
3/4 oz Blackberry Brandy
2 oz Pineapple Juice
2 oz Cranberry Juice

Pour all ingredients over ice in a tall glass.

Like a lot of other popular Looney Toons characters a ton of merchandise has been made. The coyote 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.

Related links/characters:
- Looney Tunes Characters
- Bugs Bunny
- Road Runner
- Sam Sheepdog
- Tech E. Coyote

Cross cultural references:
If you enjoyed this character/series, you might enjoy
Brunus: The bear from Torben Osted's Fodring Forbudt.
Sherman: Jim Toomey's great white shark.
Zeke Wolf: The Big Bad Wolf from Disney.