Chuck Jones spent years working in the entertainment industry as writer, a director, an animator, a cartoonist and a producer. He’s probably most notable for his work with MGM on Looney Tunes, creating such iconic cartoon characters as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Wile E. Coyote and his nemesis, Road Runner. Many of us may know Jones’ characters, but we may not know the work that went into bringing some of them to life. A recent exhibit at the Museum of the Moving Image in New York, however, revealed a set of rules defining the creation of Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote sketches. Check out the flippin' cool list of rules, below.
Rule 1: The Road Runner cannot harm the coyote except by going “Beep-Beep.”

Rule 2: No outside force can harm the coyote – only his own ineptitude or the failure of the ACME products.

Rule 3: The coyote could stop anytime – If he were not a fanatic (Repeat: “A fanatic is one who redoubles his effort when he has forgotten his aim)

Rule 4: No dialogue ever, except “Beep-Beep!”

Rule 5: The Road Runner must stay on the road – Otherwise, logically, he would not be called a road runner.

Rule 6: All action must be confined to the natural environment of the two characters – the Southwest American Desert.

Rule 7: All materials, tools, weapons or mechanical conveniences must be obtained from the ACME corporation.

Rule 8: Whenever possible, make gravity the coyote’s greatest enemy

Rule 9: The coyote is always more humiliated than harmed by his failures.

Anyone who is a huge Chuck Jones fan might already be aware of the rules governing the Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote Looney Tunes segments. The information has popped up before, and in fact, the listed rules come from Jones autobiography, Chuck Amuck: The Life and Times of an Animated Cartoonist, which was published in 1999. Recently, the rules went viral thanks to a clear tweet from Amos Posner, which not only lists the rules but also draws us in with a clever Road Runner drawing at the bottom of the page, to boot.

It’s easy to mistake the Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote relationships as one of the more simplistic on Looney Tunes. There’s no dialogue, and nothing but site gags to keep the viewer invested in the cartoon sketches. Regardless, I’m pretty sure the two characters have become so iconic precisely because they were so rigid. Fans knew exactly what to expect from every Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner sketch, and were thusly never disappointed. Sometimes having rules is a great benefit for a cartoon character, indeed.

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