|“||¡Andale! ¡Andale! ¡Arriba! ¡Arriba!||„|
|~ Speedy's catchphrase|
|“||Hola, pussycat! Are you looking for a nice mouse for dinner?||„|
|~ Speedy to Sylvester|
Speedy Gonzales (also known as Speedy) is a major character in the Warner Brothers Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series of cartoons. He is portrayed as "The Fastest Mouse in all Mexico" with his major traits being the ability to run extremely fast and speaking with an exaggerated mexican accent. He usually wears an oversized yellow sombrero, a white shirt and trousers, and a red kerchief, similar to that of a reveler in the san fermin festival. To date there have been 46 cartoons made either starring or featuring this character.
Speedy's first appearance was in 1953's Cat Tails for Two though he appeared largely in name (and super speed) only. 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 guarding a cheese factory at the international border between United States and Mexico from starving Mexican mice. The mice call in the plucky, excessively energetic Speedy to save them, and amid cries of "¡Ándale! ¡Ándale! ¡Arriba! ¡Arriba! ¡Epa! ¡Epa! ¡Epa! Yee-haw!" (Spanish for "Go on! Go on! Up! Up!", although "Ándale arriba" may have been intended as meaning "hurry up") courtesy of Mel Blanc, Sylvester soon gets his comeuppance. The cartoon won the 1955 Academy Award for Best Short Subject (Cartoons).
While Speedy's last name was given as Gonzales in Cat-Tails (on a printed business card shown in the cartoon), it was spelled with an 's' from Speedy Gonzales onward. Today, the earlier spelling is occasionally used by accident.
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 The Road Runner in his Road Runner cartoons. Sylvester (often called "El Gringo Pussygato" by Speedy) 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 Tabasco hot sauce. Other cartoons pair the mouse with his cousin, Slowpoke Rodriguez, the "slowest Mouse in all Mexico." Slowpoke regularly gets into all sorts of trouble that often require Speedy to save him—but one cat in Mexicali Shmoes says that as if to compensate for his slowness, "he pack a gun!"
In the mid 1960s, Speedy's main rival became Daffy Duck or the Loco Duck as Speedy called him. In many cartoons with Daffy, the duck was an outright villain, often starving Speedy Gonzales friends and oppressing the poor, forcing Speedy to try to stop him.
Speedy Gonzales is depicted in a more sympathetic light in these episodes, doing all he can to try to reason with the stubborn Daffy Duck. For example in Moby duck, Speedy offers to give Daffy the can opener he needs in exchange for only the quarter of one single can out of Daffy's many crates of canned food. Despite Daffy refusing and trying to murder Speedy for the can opener, Speedy still gives Daffy the can opener at the end of the cartoon and stays polite even when Daffy refuses to let Speedy Gonzales have a single crumb from his stockpile of food.
Daffy was also depicted as a more threatening foe then Sylvester and defeated Speedy in two episodes.
Nevertheless a few cartoons in that period depicted Daffy as Speedy's arrogant friend instead of a completely evil character.
In 1983, he co-starred in Daffy Duck's Movie: Fantastic Island. In 1988, he made a cameo appearance in the ending scene of Who Framed Roger Rabbit. He has one appearance in the Tiny Toon Adventures episode segment The Acme Acres Summer Olympics, as the coach, and serving to be as the mentor of Lightning Rodriguez. In 1996, he made a short appearance in the film Space Jam. In 2003, he made a cameo appearance alongside Porky Pig in the film Looney Tunes: Back in Action, making fun of his politically incorrect status. At around the same time, he made a non-speaking cameo in an episode of ¡Mucha Lucha! entitled "Lucha, Rinse and Repeat." In 2009, he made a cameo appearance on Kid vs. Kat in The Kat Whisperer.
Volume 4 of the Looney Tunes Golden Collection DVD series, released on November 14, 2006, has an entire disc of Speedy shorts, although some of his other shorts had previously been released on Volumes 1 and 3. Speedy is mentioned in one Duck Dodgers episode, after Porky Pig sits on Daffy Duck, prompting him to say, "I knew I should've chosen Speedy Gonzales as a sidekick!"
The Looney Tunes Show
As of May 2011, Speedy has appeared in The Looney Tunes Show in a lot of episodes voiced by Fred Armisen. The Looney Tunes Show features a deeper voiced Speedy Gonzales. He lives with Bugs and Daffy as their "mouse-in-the-wall" and runs a pizza parlor called "Pizzarriba". He is shown to act as Daffy's "Jiminy Cricket," which is a far cry from the antagonistic relationship they had in the old days. The episode Sunday Night Slice show that Bugs buys his favorite pizzeria to prevent it from being closed and hires Speedy to help him. When Bugs decides he doesn't want to own a restaurant anymore, he hands ownership of it to Speedy. He is also in a Zorro parody Merrie Melodies segment called Queso Bandito, and appears in his other Merrie Melodies segment called Pizzarriba, and another Merrie Melodies segment called Table For One.
Speedy Gonzales appeared in the 2015 Straight to video movie Looney Tunes: Rabbits Run. He is seen as Lola Bunny's landlord.
In other media
In 1962, pop singer Pat Boone scored a top 10 hit in the United States with the song Speedy Gonzales which featured Mel Blanc spouting fake-Mexican phrases as Speedy. It was also sung by Manolo Muñoz and A.B. Quintanilla's Kumbia All Star], whose music video featured Speedy.
Henry Mancini borrowed the character's name for the title of an instrumental composition, first featured on his 1961 album Mr. Lucky Goes Latin.
In the Family Guy episode Padre De Familia Peter creates an American version of Speedy called "Rapid Dave" after deciding that immigrants shouldn't be allowed into America.
In 2006, Volkswagen licensed Speedy Gonzales for a series of Spanish-language commercials for the Volkswagen Golf, using footage from the cartoon of the same name.
In October 2010, Speedy Gonzales appeared alongside other Looney Tunes characters in a Virgin Media T.V. advertisement. Speedy also serves as the current mascot for Virgin Media, a double reference to his own speed and to that of the company's fibre optic broadband.
Speedy briefly appears in the Robot Chicken episode Werewolf Vs. Unicorn when he penetrates Sylvester's fence.
Speedy Gonzales appears in the Drawn Together episode The One Wherein There Is A Big Twist, Part II when he is one of the candidates who wants to be the new housemates.
Speedy Gonzales is also a name for a third-party cheat to the popular Indie-game, Minecraft. It enables users to travel at a faster speed than normal.
Speedy also appeared in the MetLife Super Bowl commercial in 2012.