||This article needs additional citations for verification. (November 2012)|
|First appearance||Official: Speedy Gonzales (1955)|
|Created by||Robert McKimson (original)
Friz Freleng/Hawley Pratt (redesign)
|Voiced by||Mel Blanc (1953–1989)
Joe Alaskey (commercials, Tiny Toon Adventures, Looney Tunes: Cartoon Conductor)
Eric Goldberg (Looney Tunes: Back in Action (2003)-present)
Bob Bergen (Bah, Humduck! A Looney Tunes Christmas)
Fred Armisen (The Looney Tunes Show)
George Lopez (2014 film)
|Relatives||Slowpoke Rodriguez (cousin)|
Speedy Gonzales (commonly shortened to just Speedy) is an animated caricature of a mouse in the Warner Brothers Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series of cartoons. He is portrayed as "The Fastest Mouse in all Mexico" 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, white shirt and trousers (Which is a common traditional outfit worn by men and boys of rural Mexican villages), 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.
Speedy debuted in 1953's Cat-Tails for Two, directed by Robert McKimson. This early Speedy was a leaner, rattier-looking creation with a sizable gold front tooth and wore a red Polo shirt. 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 Freleng.
According to William Anthony Nericcio, the name derives from a joke about a Mexican man nicknamed "Speedy" either because of his premature ejaculation or quick copulation, though the name of the character was not intended to be derogatory.
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 guarding a cheese factory at the United States-Mexican border from a group of starving Mexican mice. The mice call in the plucky, excessively energetic Speedy to save them, and amid cries of "¡Ándele! ¡Ándele! ¡Arriba! ¡Arriba! ¡Epa! ¡Epa! ¡Epa! Yeehaw!" (Spanish for "Go on! Go on! Up! Up!", although "Ándele arriba" may have been intended as meaning "hurry 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 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 Tabasco 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 Shmoes says that as if to compensate for his slowness, "he pack a gun!" In the mid 1960s, Speedy's main nemesis became Daffy Duck.
Back in the year 1999, Cartoon Network ceased to show any imagery containing Speedy, and 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."
In Gonzales' Tamales, 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 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 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, backed by the League of United Latin American Citizens 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's Canal 5 national channel ever since it was created, as well as the Mexican Cable children's network ZAZ where they show a still shot title card of Speedy Gonzalez playing a guitar with the words "Buenas Noches" (Spanish for "good night") when they end their broadcast for the night. In 2010, a Looney Tunes New Year's Day marathon the 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.
Other appearances 
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (February 2012)|
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. 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. In 2003, he made a cameo appearance alongside Porky Pig in the film Looney Tunes: Back in Action, making fun of his politically incorrect status. At around the same time, he made a non-speaking cameo in an episode of ¡Mucha Lucha! titled "Lucha, Rinse and Repeat". In 2009, he made a cameo appearance on Kid vs. Kat in "The Kat Whisperer".
Volume 4 of the Looney Tunes Golden Collection 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 episode, after Cadet sits on Dodgers, prompting him to say, "I knew I should've chosen Speedy Gonzales as a sidekick!"
Speedy Gonzales also appeas occasionally on The Looney Tunes Show, living with Bugs and Daffy as their "mouse in the wall" and running the pizza parlor Pizzariba.
In other media 
In 1962, pop singer Pat Boone scored a top 10 hit in the United States with the song "Speedy Gonzales" which featured Mel Blanc spouting faux-Mexican phrases as Speedy. It was also sung by Manolo Muñoz and A.B. Quintanilla's Kumbia All Starz, whose music video featured Speedy.
In October 2010, Speedy Gonzales appeared alongside other Looney Tunes characters in a Virgin Media 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.
In February 2010, New Line Cinema 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, who adapted the 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 will voice the character and produce the film.
See also 
- List of Speedy Gonzales cartoons
- List of films based on cartoons
- List of Looney Tunes feature-length films
- Nericcio, William Anthony (2007). Tex[t]-Mex: Seductive Hallucinations of the "Mexican" in America. University of Texas Press. p. 248. ISBN 0292714572.
- "Speedy Gonzales and Slowpoke Rodriguez in Mexicali Shmoes". Retrieved April 11, 2010.
- Park, Michael Y. (March 28, 2002). "Speedy Gonzales Caged by Cartoon Network". FoxNews.com. Retrieved July 7, 2009.
- Emling, Shelly (June 21, 2002). "Cartoon Network putting Mexican mouse back in the lineup". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved November 6, 2010.
- "Arriba! VW Turns to Speedy Gonzales To Push GTI". Indiacar.net. March 20, 2006. Retrieved July 7, 2009.
- Marc, Speck. "speedygonzalesmc.com".
- "Comic Book & Sci-Fi Movie News - Heat Vision - The Hollywood Reporter". Heatvisionblog.com. Retrieved October 29, 2012.
Further reading 
- Nericcio, William Anthony (1996). “Autopsy of a Rat: Odd, Sundry Parables of Freddy Lopez, Speedy Gonzales, and Other Chicano/Latino Marionettes Prancing about Our First World Visual Emporium.” Camera Obscura 37 (January 1996): 189-237.
- Nericcio, William Anthony (2007). Tex[t]-Mex: Seductive Hallucinations of the "Mexican" in America. University of Texas Press.
- Schneider, Steve (1990). That's All Folks!: The Art of Warner Bros. Animation. Henry Holt & Co.
- Solomon, Charles (1994). The History of Animation: Enchanted Drawings. Random House Value Publishing.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Speedy Gonzales|
- The Tex(t)-Mex Galleryblog an archive for the second edition of the University of Texas Press (2007) book on stereotypes.