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Western Animation / Speedy Gonzales (1955)

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"Speedy Gonzales" is a 1955 Merrie Melodies cartoon starring the eponymous mouse. It was the second appearance of Speedy after 1953's short Cat-Tails for Two (with a new design). Speedy would become a regular member of the Looney Tunes cast.

A group of Mexican mice stand at a fence on the border, gazing through the fence at the Ajax Cheese Factory on the American side. The hungry mice long for the cheese, but Sylvester the cat stands guard on the American side, eating every mouse that tries to sneak through. Finally the desperate mice appeal to Speedy, the fastest mouse in all of Mexico, asking him to get past Sylvester and get the cheese for them.

Speedy Gonzales was directed by Friz Freleng. Even though Mexicans Love Speedy Gonzales, the perceived negative stereotyping of Mexicans have led to this and the other Speedy cartoons being shown less often than other Looney Tunes output. This cartoon is also notable for winning at the 1955 Oscars for Best Animated Short Film.

"Speedy Gonzales" provides examples of:

  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: In one scene, Speedy and a mouse talk in what is supposed to be Spanish, but is really Spanish-sounding gibberish.
  • Ash Face: Sylvester after he steps on a land mine.
  • Barefoot Cartoon Animal: All the mice, and Sylvester.
  • The Casanova: Speedy, apparently. When one of the mice says that Speedy is a friend of his sister, another mouse says "Speedy Gonzales friend of everybody's sister."
  • Dead Hat Shot: One of the mice holds Manuel's hat while he tries to get past Sylvester. When Manuel fails, the hat is tossed into a pile of discarded sombreros belonging to Sylvester's previous victims.
  • Drawing Straws: The mice do this, poor Manuel gets the short straw, and poor Manuel gets eaten by Sylvester.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: In this short, Speedy’s "Arribas" and "Ándales" are accompanied by a taunting laugh. In the other shorts he appeared in, Speedy, while still being a nuisance for his foes, is not nearly as insulting.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: We don't see Manuel get eaten; instead the mice throw his hat onto a large pile of hats, indicating that many of them have been eaten by Sylvester.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Sylvester sets up mouse traps only to get caught by them himself after Speedy comes racing through. Later he buries a bunch of land mines, and of course he steps on a mine.
  • No MacGuffin, No Winner: Attempted by Sylvester. After having enough of Speedy getting past him, and hearing him declare he'll get all the rest of the cheese on his next run, Sylvester gathers up all the remaining cheese and attempts to blow it up. He ends up causing it to rain unharmed over the mice's side of the fence.
  • Suddenly Voiced: Despite normally being a somewhat talkative character, Sylvester doesn't really have many lines in this short, except for the ending when he rigs all the cheese with explosives. ("Now just try and get all the cheese!")
  • Super-Speed: Hence the name!
  • Thousand-Yard Stare: Manuel after getting the short straw. "He very lucky fellow."
  • Too Gruesome for Cartoon Physics: The mice send a mouse named Manuel to try and outrun Sylvester to bring back cheese from a factory across the Mexico/U.S. border. The mice are shown cheering Manuel... and suddenly stop as Manuel is presumably caught and eaten. Then the mouse holding Manuel's sombrero tosses it in a pile of other hats.
  • Trojan Horse: At one point Sylvester braces himself to catch Speedy, only to have a baseball thrown at him instead. An irritated Sylvester then flings the baseball into the cheese factory. Speedy is inside the hollowed-out baseball.