319. Stop, Look and Hasten – Chuck Jones

song-of-the-prairie

SUMMARY: The Coyote continues his endless pursuit of the Road Runner.

WHY IT’S HERE:Chuck Jones’s ‘Stop, Look and Hasten’ is one of the greatest installments in the whole Road Runner series. The fifth cartoon in the series, ‘Stop, Look and Hasten’ brings together all the lessons learned in the first four Road Runner shorts and uses them to create a perfect marriage between the ingredients that make these characters and their antics so popular. It combines the breathless pace of ‘Going! Going! Gosh!’, the wonderful reaction shots of ‘Zipping Along’ and the experimental extended chase scenes of ‘Beep Beep’ to hilarious effect. Even the oft-used gags are executed with such perfection that they breathe new life into the joke. Look to the falling bridge gag for proof. But ‘Stop, Look and Hasten’ isn’t just a classic combination of elements from earlier cartoons. It brings to the Road Runner series a very valuable element; the extended set-up. Previous cartoons had just opened with the Coyote in pursuit of or awaiting the Road Runner. ‘Stop, Look and Hasten’ adds a slower paced opening in which we see the Coyote wandering slowly through the desert, attempting to eat anything from insects to tin cans. It’s a great sequence which gives us a glimpse at the sad existence of the character outside of his pursuit of the Road Runner. These steady opening set-ups would go on to become an important part of later cartoons in the series. ‘Stop, Look and Hasten’ is simply a cut above most Road Runner cartoons. It has everything down perfectly. There’s not a wasted second, a rarity in spot-gag cartoons such as this.

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