Speedy Gonzales

Speedy Gonzales (also known as Speedy) is an animated
Animation is the rapid display of a sequence of images of 2-D or 3-D artwork or model positions in order to create an illusion of movement. The effect is an optical illusion of motion due to the phenomenon of persistence of vision, and can be created and demonstrated in several ways...

 caricature of a mouse
A mouse is a small mammal belonging to the order of rodents. The best known mouse species is the common house mouse . It is also a popular pet. In some places, certain kinds of field mice are also common. This rodent is eaten by large birds such as hawks and eagles...

 in the Warner Brothers Looney Tunes
Looney Tunes
Looney Tunes is a Warner Bros. animated cartoon series. It preceded the Merrie Melodies series and was Warner Bros.'s first animated theatrical series. Since its first official release, 1930's Sinkin' in the Bathtub, the series has become a worldwide media franchise, spawning several television...

and Merrie Melodies
Merrie Melodies
Merrie Melodies is the name of a series of animated cartoons distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures between 1931 and 1969.Originally produced by Harman-Ising Pictures, Merrie Melodies were produced by Leon Schlesinger Productions from 1933 to 1944. Schlesinger sold his studio to Warner Bros. in 1944,...

series of cartoons. He is portrayed as "The Fastest Mouse in all Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

" with his major traits being the ability to run extremely fast and speaking with an exaggerated Mexican accent. He usually wears an oversized yellow sombrero
Sombrero in English refers to a type of wide-brimmed hat originating in Mexico. In Spanish, however, it is the generic word for "hat", which originates from "sombra", meaning "shade"....

, white shirt and trousers, and a red kerchief
A kerchief is a triangular or square piece of cloth tied around the head or around the neck for protective or decorative purposes...

, similar to that of a reveler in the San Fermin
San Fermín
The festival of San Fermín in the city of Pamplona , is a deeply rooted celebration held annually from 12:00, 6 July, when the opening of the fiesta is marked by setting off the pyrotechnic chupinazo, to midnight 14 July, with the singing of the Pobre de Mí...

 festival. To date there have been 46 cartoons made either starring or featuring this character.


Speedy debuted in 1953's Cat-Tails for Two
Cat-Tails for Two
Cat-Tails for Two is a 1953 Warner Bros. Merrie Melodies cartoon, directed by Robert McKimson and written by Tedd Pierce starring Bennie the fat cat and George. It was animated in 1952. Voices by Mel Blanc and music by Carl Stalling. It was the first appearance of Speedy Gonzales, in a prototype...

directed by Robert McKimson
Robert McKimson
Robert "Bob" Porter McKimson, Sr. was an American animator, illustrator, and director best known for his work on the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series of cartoons from Warner Bros., and later DePatie-Freleng Enterprises...

. This early Speedy was a meaner, skinnier, rattier-looking creation with a sizable gold front tooth. The cartoon featured him outwitting a smart-and-stupid pair of cats, George and Benny (parodies of George and Lenny
Of Mice and Men
Of Mice and Men is a novella written by Nobel Prize-winning author John Steinbeck. Published in 1937, it tells the tragic story of George Milton and Lennie Small, two displaced migrant ranch workers during the Great Depression in California, USA....

), aboard a ship. Later on this original version of Speedy is used as an unnamed background character a couple of times. Though he was created by McKimson, the majority of the cartoons with him were directed by Friz Freling.

It would be two years before Friz Freleng
Friz Freleng
Isadore "Friz" Freleng was an animator, cartoonist, director, and producer best known for his work on the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series of cartoons from Warner Bros....

 and animator Hawley Pratt
Hawley Pratt
Hawley Pratt was an American film director, animator, and illustrator. He is best known for his work during the heyday of Warner Bros. Cartoons and as the right-hand man of director Friz Freleng as a layout artist and later as a director...

 redesigned the character into his modern incarnation for the 1955 Freleng short, Speedy Gonzales. The cartoon features Sylvester the Cat
Sylvester (Looney Tunes)
Sylvester J. Pussycat, Sr., Sylvester the Cat or simply Sylvester, is a fictional character, a three-time Academy Award-winning anthropomorphic Tuxedo cat in the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies repertory, often chasing Tweety Bird, Speedy Gonzales, or Hippety Hopper...

 menacing a group of rats while guarding a cheese factory at the Mexican border
Borders of Mexico
Mexico shares international borders with three nations:*To the north, the United States–Mexico border, which extends for a length of 3141 km through the states of Baja California, Sonora, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León and Tamaulipas....

. The rats call in the plucky, excessively energetic Speedy to save them, and amid cries of "¡Ándele! ¡Ándele! ¡Arriba! ¡Arriba! ¡Epa¡ ¡Epa! ¡Epa! Yeehaw!" (Spanish
Spanish language
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

 for "Go on! Go on! Up! Up!", although "Ándele arriba" may have been intended as meaning "hurry up") courtesy of Mel Blanc
Mel Blanc
Melvin Jerome "Mel" Blanc was an American voice actor and comedian. Although he began his nearly six-decade-long career performing in radio commercials, Blanc is best remembered for his work with Warner Bros...

, Sylvester soon gets his comeuppance. The cartoon won the 1955 Academy Award for Best Short Subject (Cartoons)
Academy Award for Animated Short Film
The Academy Award for Animated Short Film is an award which has been given by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as part of the Academy Awards every year since the 5th Academy Awards, covering the year 1931-32, to the present....


While Speedy's last name was given as Gonzalez in Cat-Tails (on a printed business card shown in the cartoon), it was of course spelled with an 's' from Speedy Gonzales onward. Today, the earlier spelling is occasionally used by accident.

Freleng and McKimson soon set Sylvester up as Speedy's regular nemesis in a series of cartoons, much in the same way Chuck Jones
Chuck Jones
Charles Martin "Chuck" Jones was an American animator, cartoon artist, screenwriter, producer, and director of animated films, most memorably of Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies shorts for the Warner Bros. Cartoons studio...

 had paired Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner
Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner
Wile E. Coyote and The Road Runner are a duo of cartoon characters from a series of Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons. The characters were created by animation director Chuck Jones in 1948 for Warner Bros., while the template for their adventures was the work of writer Michael Maltese...

 in his Road Runner cartoons. Sylvester (often called "El Gringo
Gringo is a slang Spanish and Portuguese word used in Spanish-speaking and Portuguese-speaking countries in Latin America, to denote foreigners, often from the United States. The term can be applied to someone who is actually a foreigner, or it can denote a strong association or assimilation into...

 Pussygato" by Speedy) is constantly outsmarted and outrun by the Mouse, causing the cat to suffer all manner of pain and humiliation from mousetraps to accidentally consuming large amounts of hot sauce
Hot sauce
Hot sauce, chili sauce or pepper sauce refers to any spicy sauce made from chili peppers and other ingredients.-Ingredients:There are many recipes for hot sauces - the common ingredient being any kind of peppers. A group of chemicals called capsaicinoids are responsible for the heat in chili peppers...

. Other cartoons pair the mouse with his cousin, Slowpoke Rodriguez, the "slowest Mouse in all Mexico." Slowpoke regularly gets into all sorts of trouble that often require Speedy to save him—but one cat in Mexicali Schmoes says that as if to compensate for his slowness, "he pack a gun!" In the mid 1960s, Speedy's main nemesis became Daffy Duck
Daffy Duck
Daffy Duck is an animated cartoon character in the Warner Bros. Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series of cartoons, often running the gamut between being the best friend and sometimes arch-rival of Bugs Bunny...


1999-2002 Cartoon Network ban & Warner Brothers warnings

In 1999, the Cartoon Network ceased to air Speedy Gonzales. In an interview with Fox News on March 28, 2002, Cartoon Network spokeswoman Laurie Goldberg commented, "It hasn't been on the air for years because of its ethnic stereotypes." This is widely believed to refer to Speedy's fellow mice, who are all shown as being very slow and lazy, and sometimes even appear intoxicated. This is particularly true of Speedy's cousin, Slowpoke Rodriguez, who is exceptionally slow and lazy. Slowpoke is also known to carry a gun.

In Gonzales' Tamales
Gonzales' Tamales
Gonzales' Tamales is a 1957 Looney Tunes cartoon.-Plot:The majority of the male mice in a Mexican village lament the fact that Speedy Gonzales has been getting in between them and the "pretty girls ." One of the mice suggests that they get the "gringo pussycat" Sylvester to chase Speedy out of town...

the town mice instigate a feud between Speedy and Sylvester the Cat because Speedy has been stealing the hearts of all the females. Much of the dialogue between Mexican characters is in English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 and the small amount of Spanish that peppers the dialogue consists of basic greetings, goodbyes, exclamations, and misplaced references to popular Mexican foods. This criticism prompted Cartoon Network
Cartoon Network (United States)
Cartoon Network is an American cable television network owned by Turner Broadcasting which primarily airs animated programming. The channel was launched on October 1, 1992 after Turner purchased the animation studio Hanna-Barbera Productions in 1991...

 to largely shelve Speedy's films when it gained exclusive rights to broadcast them in 1999. However, fan campaigns to put Speedy back on the air and lobbying by the League of United Latin American Citizens
League of United Latin American Citizens
The League of United Latin American Citizens was created to combat the discrimination that Hispanics face in the United States. Established February 17, 1929 in Corpus Christi, Texas, LULAC was a consolidation of smaller, like-minded civil rights groups already in existence...

 saw the shorts return to air from 2002. Despite the controversy in the USA, Speedy Gonzales remains a very popular character in Latin America. In Mexico, the Speedy Gonzales show has been on and off part of the regular programing of Televisa
Televisa is a Mexican multimedia conglomerate, the largest mass media company in Latin America and in the Spanish-speaking world. It is a major international entertainment business, with much of its programming airing in the United States on Univision, with which it has an exclusive contract...

's Canal 5
Canal 5 (Televisa Network)
Canal 5 is a television network owned by Televisa, broadcasting from Mexico City and originating from its flagship station, XHGC-TV. Most programming on this station is intended for children and young people, while at night usually features foreign drama and action series, as well a movies...

 national channel ever since it was created. In 2010, a Looney Tunes New Year's Day marathon on Cartoon Network showed the episode "Mexican Boarders" having both Speedy and Slowpoke.

On the Looney Tunes Golden Collection the Speedy cartoons are prefaced by a disclaimer that states:

The cartoons you are about to see are products of their time. They may depict some of the ethnic and racial prejudices that were commonplace in American society. These depictions were wrong then and are wrong today. While the following does not represent the WB view of society, these cartoons are being presented as they were originally created, because to do otherwise would be the same as to claim these prejudices never existed.

The Looney Tunes Show
The Looney Tunes Show
The Looney Tunes Show is a packaged show, created for Cartoon Network, and broadcast from 2002 to 2005. It was produced by Warner Bros. Animation. The show featured cartoon shorts from the original Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies theatrical cartoon series produced from 1930 to 1969.-External links:...

  features a deeper voiced Speedy Gonzales. He lives with Bugs and Daffy as their "mouse in the wall" and runs a pizza shop. He is shown to act as Daffy's "Jimmeny Cricket
Jiminy Cricket
Jiminy Cricket is the Walt Disney version of "The Talking Cricket" , a fictional character created by Carlo Collodi for his children's book Pinocchio, which was adapted into an animated film by Disney in 1940...

", which is a far cry from the antagonistic relationship they had from the old days. The episode "Sunday Night Slice" showed that Bugs bought his favorite restaurant to prevent it from being closed and hired Speedy to help him. When Bugs decides he doesn't want own a restaurant anymore, he hands ownership of it to Speedy.

Other appearances

In 1983, he co-starred in Daffy Duck's Movie: Fantastic Island. In 1988, he made a cameo appearance in the ending scene of Who Framed Roger Rabbit
Who Framed Roger Rabbit
Who Framed Roger Rabbit is a 1988 American fantasy-comedy-noir film directed by Robert Zemeckis and released by Touchstone Pictures. The film combines live action and animation, and is based on Gary K. Wolf's novel Who Censored Roger Rabbit?, which depicts a world in which cartoon characters...

. He had one appearance in the Tiny Toons episode segment "The Acme Acres Summer Olympics", as the coach, and serving to be as the mentor of Lightning Rodriguez. In 1996, he made a short appearance in film Space Jam
Space Jam
Aside from Jordan, a number of NBA players and coaches appeared in the film. Larry Bird portrays a friend of Jordan who joins him for a game of golf. When the Monstars steal the NBA players' talent, they invade a game between the Phoenix Suns and the New York Knicks, causing the Knicks' Patrick...

. In 2003, he made a cameo appearance alongside Porky Pig
Porky Pig
Porky Pig is an animated cartoon character in the Warner Bros. Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series of cartoons. He was the first character created by the studio to draw audiences based on his star power, and the animators created many critically acclaimed shorts using the fat little pig...

 in the film Looney Tunes: Back in Action
Looney Tunes: Back in Action
Looney Tunes: Back in Action is a 2003 American live action/animated adventure comedy film directed by Joe Dante and starring Brendan Fraser, Jenna Elfman, Timothy Dalton, and Steve Martin. The film is essentially a feature-length Looney Tunes cartoon, with all the wackiness and surrealism typical...

, making fun of his politically incorrect
Politically incorrect
The phrase "politically incorrect" may refer to:* Someone or something which does not meet a standard of political correctness* Politically Incorrect, a late-night U.S. political talk show* Politically Incorrect, a German political blog...

 status. At around the same time, he made a non-speaking cameo in an episode of ¡Mucha Lucha!
¡Mucha Lucha!
¡Mucha Lucha! was an animated television series. It premiered on Kids' WB on August 17, 2002. It was created by Eddie Mort and Lili Chin and produced by Warner Bros. Animation. It is the first animated television series created with Adobe Flash, a program often used for Internet cartoons...

"Lucha, Rinse and Repeat". In 2009, he made a cameo appearance on Kid vs. Kat
Kid vs. Kat
Kid vs. Kat is a Canadian animated television series developed and produced at Studio B Productions. The show is created and co-directed by Rob Boutilier. The feature revolves around a 10-year-old boy's constant battle with his sister's Sphinx cat which, in reality, is a cybernetic alien. The...

in "The Kat Whisperer".

Volume 4 of the Looney Tunes Golden Collection
Looney Tunes Golden Collection
The Looney Tunes Golden Collection was an annual series of six four-disc DVD box sets from Warner Bros.' home video unit Warner Home Video, each containing about 60 Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies animated shorts...

 DVD series, released on November 14, 2006, has an entire disc of Speedy shorts, although some of his other shorts had previously been released on Volumes 1 and 3. Speedy is mentioned in one Duck Dodgers
Duck Dodgers
Duck Edgar Dumas Aloysius Eoghain Dodgers is the metafictional star of a series of cartoons produced by Warner Bros. He is actually the famous cartoon star Daffy Duck, cast in the role of an intergalactic future hero....

episode, after Cadet
Porky Pig
Porky Pig is an animated cartoon character in the Warner Bros. Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series of cartoons. He was the first character created by the studio to draw audiences based on his star power, and the animators created many critically acclaimed shorts using the fat little pig...

 sits on Dodgers, prompting him to say, "I knew I should've chosen Speedy Gonzales as a sidekick!"

In May 2011 Speedy Gonzales appears in The Looney Tunes Show
The Looney Tunes Show
The Looney Tunes Show is a packaged show, created for Cartoon Network, and broadcast from 2002 to 2005. It was produced by Warner Bros. Animation. The show featured cartoon shorts from the original Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies theatrical cartoon series produced from 1930 to 1969.-External links:...

episodes "Best Friends", "Monster Talent", "Devil Dog", "That's My Baby", "Sunday Night Slice", "The DMV", "French Fries" and "Beauty School" voiced by Fred Armisen
Fred Armisen
Fred Armisen is an American actor, comedian and musician best known for his work as a cast member on Saturday Night Live, and portraying off-color foreigners in various comedy films such as EuroTrip, Anchorman and Cop Out...

. He is also in a Zorro
Zorro is a fictional character created in 1919 by New York-based pulp writer Johnston McCulley. The character has been featured in numerous books, films, television series, and other media....

 parody Merrie Melodies segment called "Queso Bandito", and appeared in his other Merrie Melodies segment called "Pizzarriba".

In other media

In 1962, pop singer Pat Boone
Pat Boone
Charles Eugene "Pat" Boone is an American singer, actor and writer who has been a successful pop singer in the United States during the 1950s and early 1960s. He covered black artists' songs and sold more copies than his black counterparts...

 scored a top 10 hit in the United States with the song "Speedy Gonzales
Speedy Gonzales (song)
"Speedy Gonzales" is a 1961 David Dante song about Speedy Gonzales, "the fastest mouse in all Mexico". It was written by Buddy Kaye, Ethel Lee and David Hess...

" which featured Mel Blanc spouting faux-Mexican phrases as Speedy. It was also sung by Manolo Muñoz
Manolo Muñoz
Manolo Muñoz was a Mexican singer and actor, who was famous for an interpretation of the song "Speedy Gonzales" in the 1960s...

 and A.B. Quintanilla
A.B. Quintanilla
Abraham Isaac Quintanilla III better known as A.B. Quintanilla III or simply A.B. Quintanilla, is an American songwriter, record producer and musician. He is the older brother of "The Queen of Tejano music" Selena...

's Kumbia All Starz
Kumbia All Starz
Kumbia All Starz are a Mexican cumbia music group from Corpus Christi, Texas, created by A.B. Quintanilla. Kumbia All Starz are not to be confused with Los Kumbia Kings although some members are originally from Los Kumbia Kings...

, whose music video featured Speedy.

Henry Mancini
Henry Mancini
Henry Mancini was an American composer, conductor and arranger, best remembered for his film and television scores. He won a record number of Grammy Awards , plus a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award posthumously in 1995...

 borrowed the character's name for the title of an instrumental composition, first featured on his 1961 album Mr. Lucky Goes Latin.

In a Family Guy
Family Guy
Family Guy is an American animated television series created by Seth MacFarlane for the Fox Broadcasting Company. The series centers on the Griffins, a dysfunctional family consisting of parents Peter and Lois; their children Meg, Chris, and Stewie; and their anthropomorphic pet dog Brian...

 episode, Peter made up his American version of Speedy called Rapid Dave after he decided that immigrants shouldn't be allowed into America.

In 2006, Volkswagen
Volkswagen is a German automobile manufacturer and is the original and biggest-selling marque of the Volkswagen Group, which now also owns the Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, SEAT, and Škoda marques and the truck manufacturer Scania.Volkswagen means "people's car" in German, where it is...

 licensed Speedy Gonzales for a series of Spanish-language commercials for the Volkswagen Golf
Volkswagen Golf
The Volkswagen Golf is a small family car manufactured by Volkswagen since 1974 and marketed worldwide across six generations, in various body configurations and under various nameplates – as the Volkswagen Rabbit in the United States and Canada , and as the Volkswagen Caribe in Mexico .The...

, using footage from the cartoon of the same name
Speedy Gonzales (film)
Speedy Gonzales is a 1955 Merrie Melodies animated short directed by Friz Freleng from a story by Warren Foster. It is the second cartoon to feature the title character, but the first one to feature Speedy in his current design...


In October 2010, Speedy Gonzales appeared alongside other Looney Tunes
Looney Tunes
Looney Tunes is a Warner Bros. animated cartoon series. It preceded the Merrie Melodies series and was Warner Bros.'s first animated theatrical series. Since its first official release, 1930's Sinkin' in the Bathtub, the series has become a worldwide media franchise, spawning several television...

 characters in a Virgin Media
Virgin Media
Virgin Media Inc. is a company which provides fixed and mobile telephone, television and broadband internet services to businesses and consumers in the United Kingdom...

 TV advert. Speedy also serves as current mascot for Virgin Media, a double reference to his own speed and to that of the company's fibre optic broadband.

Speedy briefly appears in a Robot Chicken
Robot Chicken
Robot Chicken is an American stop motion animated television series created and executive produced by Seth Green and Matthew Senreich along with co-head writers Douglas Goldstein and Tom Root. Green provides many voices for the show...

 episode: "Werewolf VS Unicorn" when he penetrates Sylvester's fence.


In February 2010, New Line Cinema
New Line Cinema
New Line Cinema, often simply referred to as New Line, is an American film studio. It was founded in 1967 by Robert Shaye and Michael Lynne as a film distributor, later becoming an independent film studio. It became a subsidiary of Time Warner in 1996 and was merged with larger sister studio Warner...

 and parent company Warner Bros. Pictures announced that they are planning a live-action/CG-animated combo feature film based on the Looney Tunes character. Alec Sokolow and Joel Cohen
Joel Cohen (writer)
Joel Cohen is an American film writer who has worked on such projects as the movies Cheaper by the Dozen , Toy Story , its sequel Toy Story 2 and Garfield: The Movie...

, who adapted comic "Garfield" into a similar style live-action/CG hybrid family film, will pen the script for the coming-of-age story which is set in the present day. The story has Speedy, a young and misunderstood Mexican mouse, finding himself leaving his family to go out in the world and figure out what he's good at. He soon makes friends with a nervous race-car driver. George Lopez
George Lopez
George Lopez is an American comedian, actor, and talk show host. He is mostly known for starring in his self-produced ABC sitcom George Lopez. His stand-up comedy examines race and ethnic relations, including the Mexican American culture...

 will voice the character and produce the film, which will also star Vanessa Hudgens as Speedy Gonzales' owner.

See also

Further reading

External links

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