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Speedy Gonzales
Speedy Gonzales

Released by: Warner Bros.
First Appeared: 1953-1955
Creator: Robert McKimson - Friz Freleng
Faster than ever!.
Welcome on the Speedy Gonzales's Spot...

Let introduce this friendly, quick and pretty smart Mexican mouse.

Speedy Gonzales (González), "the fastest mouse in all Mexico". Speedy's major traits are his ability to run extremely fast stereotypical Mexican accent. He usually wears an oversized yellow sombrero and a white shirt and pants.

Speedy debuted in 1953's Cat-Tails for Two, directed by Robert McKimson. This early Speedy was a meaner, skinnier, rattier-looking creation with a sizable gold front tooth. 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 menacing a group of mice. The mice call in the plucky, excessively energetic Speedy to save them, and amid cries of "Arriba! Arriba! Ándale! Ándale!" (courtesy of Mel Blanc), Sylvester soon gets his painful comeuppance. The cartoon won the 1955 Academy Award for Best Short Subject (Cartoons).

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 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 hot sauce. Other cartoons pair the mouse with his cousin, Slowpoke Rodriguez, the "slowest mouse in all Mexico." Slowpoke predictably gets into all sorts of trouble which only Speedy can get him out of. In the 1960s, Speedy's main nemesis became Daffy Duck -- a move which some fans consider an unusual combination (Sylvester's appropriateness, being a cat, was never questioned) and as depicting the already morally ambiguous duck as excessively malicious.

Speedy's cartoons have come under fire in recent years for their alleged stereotypical depictions of Mexicans and Mexican life. Mice in the shorts are usually shown as lazy, womanizing and hard-drinking while Speedy wears a huge sombrero and sometimes plays in a mariachi band (although Speedy's only real vice is implied to be a weakness for pretty girls; in one cartoon, other mice instigate a war between Speedy and Sylvester to keep Speedy from stealing all the girls in town). It was this criticism that 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, as well as lobbying by The League of United Latin American Citizens, who argued that Speedy's cleverness and personality was a positive depiction of Mexicans, turned the tide in his favor, and in 2002, "the fastest mouse in all Mexico" was put back into rotation.

It should also be noted that while Speedy spoke with a Mexican accent Sylvester spoke English with an American accent.

In 2003, he made a cameo appearance in the film Looney Tunes: Back in Action, making fun of his politically incorrect status. At around the same time, he also made a non-speaking cameo appearance in an episode of Mucha Lucha!

Speedy Gonzales has appeared in a couple of video games, similar in design to the Sonic the Hedgehog games (some were even transformed into pirate Sonic games), for Super NES and Game Boy.

Learn more about Speedy Gonzales !

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