Directed by Chuck Jones; Story by Chuck Jones; Animation by Richard Thompson, Bob Bransford, Tom Ray, and Ken Harris; Layouts by Maurice Noble; Backgrounds by Philip DeGuard; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Musical Direction by Milt Franklyn. A Merrie Melody released on January 21, 1961.
Title not obvious enough? There are some introductions labeling our two main characters. (Love Wile E’s smug expression. It’s how I would smile if I saw my name in a moving picture.) He begins the never ending chase, when his prey pulls a sneaky one. He stops short at a tunnel entrance, and has Wile E make a u-turn away from the large truck. So happy that he is actually outrunning it, he doesn’t notice that he has run off a cliff. When he tries climbing back up, the peak falls off.
What hasn’t he tried yet? Sending out a wind-up plane with a grenade attached? Only the propeller flies away. When he throws the rest, the grenade somehow stays behind. Here’s an idea! Putting some iron pellets in bird seed. Then, his magnet fishing rod will reel the bird in. (If it didn’t get caught up on a power line.) Despite the pain, Wile E takes some solace in the cool fact that his nose glows better than Rudolph’s ever did. (He’s got a lot of great reactions in this picture. The gags come at a fast pace too. You’ll barely have time to catch your breath before you laugh at another one.)
Getting the Roadrunner to stop for more birdseed, the coyote aims a cannon straight down. It comes undone with him on top, and despite his struggling, he ends up in front of it. (Great reaction #2: Wile E praying to Chuck upon seeing he is heading inside.) The bird finishes just as both crash down. The cannon fires and flings itself back up the cliff, and brings everything down on Wile E’s head.
I think we’ve had ten gags, time for our big finish. Wile E has a bucket of axle grease, and he smears it all over his feet. This lack of friction is just the thing a coyote needs to match the speed of a roadrunner. Too bad it doesn’t work if the bird stops short. Wile E, in turn, ends up on some railroad tracks. Even worse, he winds up struggling to keep himself from being run over. He’s not going to get any respite either. It’s a nonstop trip to New York.
Favorite Part: When Wile E first goes off the cliff, he unhappily notes the lack of ground beneath him. Since he (and by extension, we) are looking down, nobody sees him about to smash into the opposite cliff. (The funniest jokes are the ones you don’t see ahead of time.)
Personal Rating: 4.