Speedy Gonzales, nemesis to Sylvester Pussycat and Daffy Duck, is probably one of the most colorful heroes to come from Warner Bros. Studios.

Best known for his famous catchphrase 'Andale, adale! Arriba, arriba! eh-hah! (Translated as 'Walk here, walk here! Above, above!' Makes no sense, really, but I'm sure it sounded ever so Mexican during the time period....), Speedy Gonzales was first introduced to the public on August 29, 1953 in the cartoon Cat-Tails for Two.

Though best known for his huge sombrero, bright eyes, and sleek figure, Speedy's first incarnation bore little resemblance to that. Looking more like a gap-toothed yokel, he had large front teeth (one of them gold), tattered overalls, and more rat-like features. Speedy Gonzales received his makeover between his first and second features.

No one is quite sure who the originator of the idea and design of the original Speedy is, but we do know who revamped him: writer Hawley Pratt gave him his new personality, and Friz Freleng gave him his new design. He was now 'The fastest mouse in all of Mehico'. Later, they added on two recurring sidekicks: Slowpoke Rodriguez, 'the slowest mouse in all the world', and a buzzard called Bandito Bird.

The character of Speedy Gonzales won an Oscar award for the 1955 cartoon Speedy Gonzales. Also, he helped to receive three more nominations: 1957's Tabasco Road, 1959's Mexicali Schmoes, and 1961's The Pied Piper of Guadalupe.

Unlike most Looney Tunes characters, Speedy Gonzales wasn't considered a great success in comic books; in fact, he appeared in only one: Dell's Four Color Comics in 1960.

Unfortunately for Speedy Gonzales, he has not been part of the Looney Tunes revival. In the Space Jam movie, he didn't even have a speaking role. And on Cartoon Network, the only television station still playing Looney Tunes, Speedy Gonzales is played only late at night, and that very rarely.

It is generally believed that this is because people are afraid of offending the Hispanic community; however, this is not the case. There is a growing movement, strongly supported by the Hispanic community, called 'Free the Mouse'. While Speedy Gonzales might be a Mexican sterotype, he is regarded as a positive one in that he is intelligent, has a great sense of humor, and always comes out on top.

Filmography

Movie
"Space Jam" 1996

Looney Tunes Episodes
"Cat-Tails For Two" August 29, 1953
"Speedy Gonzales" September 17, 1955
"Tobasco Road" July 20, 1957
"Gonzalees' Tamales" November 30, 1957
"Tortilla Flaps" January 18, 1958
"Mexicali Shmoes" July 4, 1959
"Here Today, Gone Tamale" August 29, 1959
"West of the Pesos" January 23, 1960
"Cannery Woe" January 7, 1961
"The Pied Piper of Guadalupe" August 19, 1961
"Mexican Cat Dance" April 20, 1963
"Chili Weather" August 17, 1963
"A Message to Gracias" February 8, 1964
"Nuts and Volts" April 15, 1964
"Senorella and the Glass Huarache" August 1, 1964
"Pancho's Hideaway" October 24, 1964
"Road to Andalay" December 26, 1964
"It's Nice to Have A Mouse Around the House" January 16, 1965
"Cats and Bruises" January 30, 1965
"The Wild Chase" February 27, 1965
"Moby Duck" March 27, 1965
"Assault and Peppered" April 24, 1965
"Well Worn Daffy" May 22, 1965
"Chili Con Corny" October 23, 1965
"Go Go Amigo" November 20, 1965
"Astroduck" January 1, 1966
"Mucho Locos" January 29, 1966
"Mexican Mouse-piece" February 12, 1966
"Daffy Rents" March 19, 1966
"A Haunting We Will Go" April 16, 1966
"Snow Excuse" May 21,
"A Squeak in the Deep" July 9, 1966
"Feather Finger" August 20, 1966
"Swing Ding Amigo" September 17, 1966
"A Taste of Catnip" December 3, 1966
"Daffy's Dinner" January 28, 1967
"The Quacker Tracker" April 29, 1967
"The Music Mice-Tro" May 28, 1967
"The Spy Swatter" June 24, 1967
"Speedy Ghost to Town" July 29, 1967
"Rodent to Stardom" September 23, 1967
"Go Away Stowaway" September 30, 1967
"Fiesta Fiasco" December 9, 1967
"Skyscrapper Caper" March 9, 1968
"See Ya Later Gladiator" June 29, 1968


Sources
http://http://www.toonopedia.com/speedyg.htm
http://tultw.com/bios/speedy.htm
Personally, I always thought Speedy Gonzales was one of the less-entertaining Warner Brothers cartoons. It was basically the same thing as the Roadrunner toons, except that it was set mainly in Mexico and featured Sylvester in the place of Wile E. Coyote and Speedy in the place of the Roadrunner.

Unfortunately, the plots of the Speedy Gonzales segments didn't have quite the same flair of originality that was present in the Roadrunner cartoons. Admittedly, both toons were somewhat flawed in that there was very rarely any dramatic tension, because you know Roadrunner/Speedy will always come out on top. This forced the writers of the toons to rely on the overly repetitive "Coyote/Sylvester concocts nifty plan/nifty ACME device and attempts to capture and eat Roadrunner/Speedy" plot line.

However, despite this shortcoming, the Roadrunner toons never fail to entertain me for one reason: the lack of any speech whatsoever. The silent comedy style of slapstick humor in the Roadrunner toons has me rolling on the floor every single time, no matter how repetitive it is. In the same right, the main failing of the Speedy Gonzales cartoons was the overabundance of silly dialogue that really detracted from the humor potential.

Combine this lack of humor with the fact that I really don't care for the well-being of Speedy because I know he'll always win, and the inevitable result is that Speedy Gonzales is just not entertaining.

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