|To Beep or Not to Beep|
To Beep or Not to Beep is a Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote cartoon from 1963. It's one of the few Chuck Jones-directed Road Runner cartoons to have a running theme/plot, namely a series of catapult gags. This was the only Chuck Jones' Road Runner cartoon not to feature character taxonomy or any ACME products.
Wile E. Coyote hopes to stop and catch the Road Runner using a huge, boulder-throwing catapult. But no matter where Wile E. positions himself, the catapult drops the boulder on him.
When he finds a picture of a baked Road Runner while skimming a book of "Western Cookery," Wile E. Coyote licks his chops. He is unaware that the Road Runner has just sneaked up behind him, also licking his chops. Turning around to determine the source of the noise, he finds himself snout-to-beak with the bird. One beep sends the coyote jumping into the air, book and all, and into an overhead ledge. With his neck caught inside.
Determined to catch and eat the bird, the coyote tries to snare him in a noose. Instead, he falls backward off a cliff. A rock fragment also falls off the clip and right on top of him. He marches off, in accordion form, with his arms dragging on the ground behind him.
During a more-traditional chasing of the Road Runner, a few cactus plants are uprooted and dragged along, toward a bridge. The bridge contracts, with only the last plant failing to clear. A few seconds later, the Coyote runs off the edge of the cliff. The cactus follows and catches him on his rear end, upon which he unleashes an agonized scream right back up to the top (his mouth completely filling the shot).
He tries to leap forward, using a large, coiled spring attached to a boulder. The boulder becomes propelled, dragging Wile E. off a cliff. He manages to hold onto the ledge for his dear life, which causes the boulder to rebound and take the ledge with him. The ledge falls onto another rock, with the Coyote landing on one side and the boulder landing on the other in a teeter-totter fashion. He bounces upward, taking the boulder with him. When the boulder is caught in a narrow gap, the coil spring causes him to snap all the way back up and become suspended in the process. He unstraps himself to take another fall. And lands face first on the ground, with his legs drooping.
The coyote tries a wrecking ball, but it rolls backward toward the control cab. Then, he tries a catapult, whose purpose is to hurl a boulder at the Road Runner. It manages to crush Wile E., no matter where he stands. On his last try, the catapult stalls, and the coyote cautiously creeps out from his manhole to unjam it. He gets tossed through the air, riding the boulder as it goes through a mountaintop before being bounced back, flattening the coyote like a pancake. It seems that the catapult was built by the "Road Runner Manufacturing Co."
- This short is entirely comprised of scenes featured in Adventures of the Roadrunner TV pilot with new music by William Lava.
- Parts of the rope sequence and the catapult sequence were reused in the later Road Runner a Go-Go.
- This is the first Road Runner short that does not feature the standard taxonomy for its characters (and the only Chuck Jones short to do this).
- The boulder that falls on Wile E. appears in the Boulder Museum.
Ian Neumann aka LooneyTunerIan used audio bits from the half-hour special, The Adventures of Road Runner, in which Milt Franklyn conducted the music for. He also gave the latin names "Speedomitrus-Maximus" for the Road Runner and "Apetitius-Uncontrolibus" for Wile E. Coyote.
With better credits and proper Music Credit going to Milt Franklyn, Ian Neumann made himself the Production Editor for the remake of "To Beep Or Not To Beep".
Click here for the Milt Franklyn orchestrated version and audio remake of "To Beep or Not To Beep".
- Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote: The Classic Chase
- Looney Tunes Golden Collection: Volume 3