Monday, January 21, 2008
Road Runner's "Ten Commandments"I had in mind the classic cartoon characters Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote.
You will recall that Coyote "comes up with increasingly elaborate and seemingly foolproof schemes to snag Road Runner who, oblivious to the danger, always eludes the pathetic coyote's painstaking plans."
It's a formula so robust that Chuck Jones, the cartoon's creator, made his staff adhere to ten simple but strict rules, set out on Warner Brothers' Looney Tunes site, which I shall reproduce below, but not before treating you to a few Road Runner classics .....
Rule 2: No outside force can harm the Coyote -- only his own ineptitude or the failure of Acme products. Wile E.'s ineptitude, possibly a by-product of his distracted obsession with catching Road Runner, is compounded only by the Acme company's products - which may work for other customers, but seem never to work for Wile E., who repeatedly risks life and limb counting on their effectiveness.
Rule 3: The Coyote could stop anytime -- IF he was not a fanatic. (Repeat: "A fanatic is one who redoubles his effort when he has forgotten his aim." - George Santayana) Of course he can't quit; he's certain that the next attempt is sure to succeed. He's the personality type that twelve-step programs are made for.
Rule 4: No dialogue ever, except "Beep! Beep!" Oh, and the occasional dialog sign that comes in handy just as Wile E. realizes that his efforts are going to bring him nothing but big pain.
Rule 5: Road Runner must stay on the road - for no other reason than that he's a roadrunner.
Rule 6: All action must be confined to the natural environment of the two characters -- the southwest American desert. That's because there's everything you need for a funny cartoon in one place: winding roads, peaks, canyons, cacti, and boulders, all of which defy conventional physics.
Rule 7: All tools, weapons, or mechanical conveniences must be obtained from the Acme Corporation. Talk about the first real example of "branding" in American commerce!
Rule 8: Whenever possible, make gravity the Coyote's greatest enemy.
Rule 9: The Coyote is always more humiliated than harmed by his failures.
Rule 10: The audience's sympathy must remain with the Coyote.
And, for good measure, a REAL road runner, a large, long-legged bird, native to the southwestern US and northern Mexico, belonging to the cuckoo family:
Paul Lynde Snappy Answer of the Day:
Q: You're the world's most popular fruit. What are you?
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