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Western Animation / Hook, Line and Stinker

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Whatcha got underneath that washtub?
Hook, Line and Stinker is a 1958 cartoon in the Looney Tunes series, directed by Chuck Jones and starring his iconic duo, Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner.

Wile E. Coyote's schemes of the day include dropping a washtub on the Road Runner and putting a lit stick of dynamite inside, a sledgehammer, bird seed on railroad tracks, tying himself to a balloon while lunging towards the bird with a harpoon, a bundle of dynamite with a detonator, a grand piano and last but not least, an elaborate Rube Goldberg-esque device.

This short is also noted for having stock music by John Seely, as opposed to Milt Franklyn's usual orchestrated score.


  • Ash Face: When the tip of the Coyote's harpoon strikes the storm cloud (and disintegrates).
  • Binomium ridiculus: They appear after the title and before the opening credits.
    • Road Runner (Burnius-Roadibus)
    • Coyote (Famishius-Famishius)
  • Cartoony Tail: The mouse that plays a part in Wile E.'s Rube Goldberg Machine has a humorously long tail the length of a blind snake.
  • Drop the Washtub: A rare American example of this trope. Wile E. seemingly traps the Road Runner by dropping a washtub on him and sticking in a lit stick of dynamite, but it's revealed that the Road Runner hasn't been trapped and he escapes again, and when Wile E. crawls under the tub to see what's inside, he sees the dynamite stick and unsuccessfully tries to defuse it by slamming the tub on it. The explosion that ensues then distorts the washtub into a tube, trapping Wile E. in the process (save for his head and feet).
  • Gravity Is a Harsh Mistress: Twice.
    • After Wile E. gets struck by lightning in the fourth gag, the rope that's attaching him to the balloon disintegrates. We are only shown the beginning of the fall.
    • By the time he finally manages to get the grand piano to fall, Wile E. realizes that he's also falling and clings onto the instrument for dear life.
  • Hammered into the Ground: This is Wile E.'s fate at the end of the cartoon, thanks to the cannonball at the end of his Rube Goldberg Machine falling on him instead of the Road Runner.
  • Harmless Electrocution: Wile E. suffers this when his attempt to impale the Road Runner with a harpoon fails, courtesy of a nearby storm cloud.
  • Jaw Drop: Wile E. has this reaction when the Road Runner escapes once again at the end of the beginning Chase Scene.
  • Perpetual Smiler: The normally carefree Road Runner subverts it for a brief moment when he takes a look at the cannonball that's about to fall on him, but hits Wile E. instead.
  • Piano Drop: The sixth gag has Wile E. raise a grand piano over a ravine with a pulley, intending to drop it on his target. However, it gets stuck when he lets go of the rope, and Wile E. makes a mistake when he goes onto the piano to unjam it, causing both him and the piano to fall into the ravine. Wile E. then rises from the wreckage with a mouthful of keys as teeth and plays Taps on them before passing out over the chords.
  • Plunger Detonator: Wile E. unrolls a bundle of dynamite under a bridge and returns to the detonator to get ready, unaware that the bundle is rolling back towards him. When he presses down on the detonator, KA-BOOM!
  • Railroad Tracks of Doom: Wile E. lays out some bird seed on some railroad tracks, but he's too busy gesturing to us what will happen when the Road Runner falls for the trap to notice an approaching train that runs him over.
  • Rube Goldberg Hates Your Guts: Wile E.'s final trap to catch the Road Runner is this. Too bad it ends up targeting him instead of the bird.
  • The End: What we see on the cannonball after it has bashed Wile E. into the ground.
  • Weapon Grip Failure: Wile E. tries to hit the Road Runner with a sledgehammer in the second gag, but the head of the sledgehammer slides off before he can swing it, and the force of the impact the handle makes against the ground is so strong that it vibrates violently and bashes the Coyote, even moving on its own when he lets go of it and chasing him off into the distance.


Video Example(s):


Hook, Line and Stinker

Wile E. Coyote sets up a complex Rube Goldberg device in his final attempt to catch the Road Runner. Guess who becomes a victim to the trap instead...

How well does it match the trope?

5 (13 votes)

Example of:

Main / RubeGoldbergHatesYourGuts

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