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Happy 60th Birthday: Road Runner, Wile E. Coyote, Acme

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According to A View From a Goon (obviously an unimpeachable source — oh, Wikipedia says so too), today is the 60th anniversary of the first Road Runner cartoon’s debut. Hard to believe “Fast and Furry-ous” is from 1949, though the noisy version above makes it seem like a relic from the early sound era (you can see a better reproduction here). Most of the hallmarks of this modern Sisyphusian saga are already in place: the fruitless quest for bird, the single “meep meep” line of dialogue, the absurd, self-defeating inventions, and the unhelpful consumer products (one from Acme!) that endlessly disappoint Wile E. Coyote. Auteur Chuck Jones hadn’t yet perfected all the elements of Warner Brothers Cartoon Physics, but he did have the trompe l’oeil tunnel that magically works for your nemesis but not for you, and in our protagonists’ desert gravity is already fickle. Appropriately, “Fast and Furry-ous” came out the same year as Waiting for Godot.

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