2009 is the 60th anniversary of the first appearance of the iconic characters created by Chuck Jones, Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner, and to celebrate this significant milestone three new hand-painted cel art editions will be released throughout the year; one each on the birthdays of Linda Jones (July 25,) Chuck Jones (September 21) and Craig Kausen, Chuck's grandson (November 22.) Each image has been carefully selected to represent an important moment in the film life of these legendary characters.
The first cel art edition to be released is the 12 field vertical pan, Zip N' Snort, created from the final scene of the short animated cartoon of the same title. Bowing in theaters nationwide on January 21, 1961, Zip N' Snort was directed and written by Chuck Jones, with layouts by Maurice Noble and animation by Richard Thompson, Bob Bransford, Tom Ray and Ken Harris. Backgrounds were painted by Philip DeGuard, the film editor was Treg Brown and musical direction was provided by Milt Franklyn.
"In the Road Runner cartoons, we hoped to evoke sympathy for the Coyote. It is the basis for the series: the Coyote tries by any means to capture the Road Runner, ostensibly and at first to eat him, but this motive has become beclouded, and it has become, in my mind at least, a question of loss of dignity that forces him to continue. And who is the Coyote's enemy? Why, the Coyote. The Road Runner has never touched him, never even startled him intentionally beyond coming up behind the Coyote occasionally and going "Beep Beep!"
"No, the only enemy the Coyote has is his overwhelming stubbornness. Like all of us, at least some of the time, he persists in a course of action long after he has forgotten his original reasons for embarking on it. [Chuck does quote American philosopher, George Santayana, "A fanatic is someone who doubles his effort when he has forgotten his aim."–RP]
"The Coyote is a history of my own frustration and war with all tools, multiplied only slightly. I can remember that my wife and daughter would start to weep bitterly and seek hiding places whenever they saw me head toward the tool drawer, if only to hang a picture. I have never reached into that devilish drawer without starting a chain of errors and disasters of various but inevitable proportions. Like any other man, I would rather succeed in what I can't do than do what I have successfully done before. I have never reached into that drawer without encountering one of those spiny things you stick flowers in. We don't keep that thing in that drawer, but it is always there. I count it a good day when I get only one spine under a fingernail. I tried to get the spiny thing out of the drawer once, but found out that the last time, when it had stuck to four fingers at once and been in fact lifted a few inches out of its nest in the resulting shriek, it had fallen on a tube of glue, puncturing the tube and affixing itself to the drawer for all time. I have tried lackadaisically from time to time to remove it, and have succeeded in breaking a rattail file, a kitchen knife, three fingernails, a nail file, a pair of manicure scissors, an eggbeater (in one of my more fanciful efforts), and a window, when the tail of the rattail file separated from the rattail file." –Chuck Jones, writing in Chuck Amuck
For more information about Zip N' Snort, please visit www.ChuckJones.com. For information about the suite of three cel art editions celebrating the 60th anniversary (see image below) may be found by clicking here.