It was on this date in 1949 that “Fast And Furry-ous,” the very first cartoon to feature the Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote, premiered in theaters.
Directed by Warner Brothers’ stalwart Chuck Jones, the short was an instant success and set the template for the nearly 40 Road Runner and Wile E Coyote theatrical cartoons that followed, most of which were directed by Jones and written by his chief gag man Michael Maltese. The coyote’s perpetual failure to catch the Road Runner, the proliference of items ordered from the Acme Company, Wile’s inability to use said products and his continual bad luck with using dynamite. (The dynamite sequence in this cartoon was cut when it aired on the various versions of The Bugs Bunny – Road Runner Show on Saturday mornings on ABC.)
There is one notable difference, though. The more realistic backgrounds of artist Robert Gribbroek seen here would soon give way to the more familiar abstract ones by Maurice Nobel.
And although the inimitable Mel Blanc would voice Wile when he would appear in his solo cartoons, it was actually artist Paul Julian who recorded the Road Runner’s famous “Meep! Meep!” Julian had first made the sound while imitating a car horn he heard on the Warner Brothers parking lot and editor Treg Brown captured it on tape and then made several versions for use in the Road Runner cartoons by speeding up or looping the various recordings.