Considering he’ll be 80 years old next May, Wile E. Coyote is in very good shape. He was dressed in Levis and an Armani t shirt, and I had the pleasure of speaking with him in the grounds of his beautiful but modest Belair home, last week. For the sake of continuity, I’ve edited out my questions; also because once Wile E. gets into his flow the stuff he talks about is so interesting!
As Wile E. says, “I’ve always been a classic actor. Shakespearean, in fact. That’s why you can hear me primarily in the later Bugs Bunny shorts making comments such as: Wile E. Coyote – genius! The accent is a little put on, because I wanted to contrast with Road Runner, who was always more method based. In fact, he was one of Stanislavski’s first students, well before Monroe, Brando, Dean and Montgomery Clift. I was never actually after the poor guy; look, I’ve been a vegetarian for most of my life. We’re actually still very good friends and not only reminisce about the old times, but still play a few rounds of golf when we can. That charity match last year was awesome! Bugs was there too. He’s another nice guy. He really gets around. Remember that safari piece he did last year for TIME ? A true professional”
“As you know, I was a bit down in the early 60s; being rather typecast and still trying to find Miss Right”…At that moment, as if on cue, Rosita B. Coyote, Wile E’s charming Mexican wife of 35 years brought us out a pitcher of Margaritas and snacks, before lunch.
“She’s my salvation, really. We love each other more each day and boy, do we laugh! Y’know, before we met, I thought Tex Mex was real Mexican cooking. No way! Once you’ve had the real stuff, you’re spoiled. Careful with these drinks, they’re potent! Gotta take your time and savour ‘em.”
“Anyway, another interesting thing is the pattern of most of those cartoons. Y’know how they’d start with me chasing RR and after seeing him dart away I’d have to resort to trying to get him with some device from ACME ? That was always good fun. I wasn’t always happy with those Latin names they gave us in most of the episodes; y’know showing his speed and my desperate hunger. Wasn’t always funny and sometimes damn demeaning. My favourite was probably Hot-Roddicus Supersonicus for him and Eatibus Anythingus for me from Stop! Look! And Hasten!! Let’s see, that was made in ’54…”
“One of my favourites was Blink And You’ll Miss Him from ’66, but that one was never shown. The plot was great. My Aunt Maisie Jane Coyote gives me an ACME gift voucher for my birthday and I get a combination of all the classic things; ball bearing bird seed, a big tub of glue, a huge magnet, roller skates, a 20 foot high rocket and the ‘pipe full of fun kit’ used by Fog Horn Leghorn and Houn’ Dawg to catch the fox.” Wile E. looked misty eyed for a minute. “They were great guys too..”
“The studio deemed it too complicated to have all the devices fail at once but we had tremendous fun all the same. “
Rosita came out then; “Gentlemen, lunch is served.”
David C. Flynn 21st May 2008