Wile E. Coyote (also known simply as "The Coyote") and The Road Runner are a duo of characters from the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series of cartoons. In the cartoons, Coyote repeatedly attempts to catch and subsequently eat the Road Runner, a fast-running ground bird, but is never successful. Coyote, instead of a coyote's animal instincts, uses absurdly complex contraptions (sometimes in the manner of Rube Goldberg) and elaborate plans to pursue his prey, which always comically backfire.
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. The characters star in a long-running series of theatrical cartoon shorts (the first 16 of which were written by Maltese) and occasional made-for-television cartoons. It was originally meant to parody chase cartoons like Tom and Jerry, but became popular in its own right. The Coyote appears separately as an occasional antagonist of Bugs Bunny in five shorts from 1952 to 1963: Operation: Rabbit, To Hare Is Human, Rabbit's Feat, Compressed Hare, and Hare-Breadth Hurry. While he is generally silent in the Coyote-Road Runner shorts, he speaks with a refined accent in these solo outings (except for Hare-Breadth Hurry), introducing himself as "Wile E. Coyote — super genius", voiced with an upper-class accent by Mel Blanc. The Road Runner vocalizes only with a signature sound, "Beep, Beep", recorded by Paul Julian, and an occasional "popping-cork" tongue noise. To date, 48 cartoons have been made featuring these characters (including the three CGI shorts), the majority by Chuck Jones. TV Guide included Wile E. Coyote in their 2013 list of The 60 Nastiest Villains of All Time.