Speedy Gonzales

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Speedy Gonzales (also spelt Gonzalez), or simply Speedy, is an animated cartoon mouse from the Warner Brothers Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series of cartoons. He is "The Fastest Mouse in all Mexico" and his major traits are his ability to run extremely fast and his comedic Mexican accent. He usually wears an oversized yellow sombrero, white shirt and trousers, and a red kerchief, similar to that of a reveler in the San Fermin festival. To date, there have been 46 cartoons made either starring or featuring this character.

Contents

History

Speedy debuted in 1953's Cat-Tails for Two, directed by Robert McKimson. 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), 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 and animator Hawley Pratt redesigned the character into his modern incarnation for the 1955 Freleng short, Speedy Gonzales. The cartoon features Sylvester the Cat menacing a group of rats while guarding a cheese factory at the Mexican border. The rats call in the plucky, excessively energetic Speedy to save them, and amid cries of "¡Ándale! ¡Ándale! ¡Arriba! ¡Arriba!" (Spanish for "Go on! Go on! Up! Up!) courtesy of Mel Blanc, Sylvester soon gets his comeuppance. The cartoon won the 1955 Academy Award for Best Short Subject (Cartoons).

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 had paired Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner in his Road Runner cartoons. Sylvester (often called "El Gringo 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. 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!"[1] In the mid 1960s, Speedy's main nemesis became Daffy Duck.

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