Drawings and constructs warp reality so as to encompass them.
This warping of
reality often does not extend to the artist or builder.
Any body suspended in space will remain in space until made aware of its
- Daffy Duck steps off a cliff, expecting further pastureland. He loiters in
midair, soliloquizing flippantly, until he chances to look down. At this
point, the familiar principle of 32 feet per second per second takes over.
(Exception: This does not apply to cool characters who've never studied law.)
(Appendum: Any species capable of flight, upon distraction of vertigo, will
lose ability of flight. Conversely, any
two feathers held in each hand and waved will (temporarily) give flight
to any character that does so.)
Any body in motion will tend to remain in motion until solid matter
- Whether shot from a cannon or in hot pursuit on foot, cartoon characters are
so absolute in their momentum that only a telephone pole or an outsize
boulder retards their forward motion absolutely. Sir Isaac Newton called
this sudden termination of motion the stooge's surcease.
Any body passing through solid matter will leave a perforation conforming to
- Also called the silhouette of passage, this phenomenon is the speciality of
victims of directed-pressure explosions and of reckless cowards who are so
eager to escape that they exit directly through the wall of a house, leaving
a cookie-cutout-perfect hole. The threat of skunks or matrimony often
catalyzes this reaction.
The time required for an object to fall twenty stories
is greater than or equal to the time it takes for whoever knocked it off
the ledge to spiral down twenty flights to attempt to capture it unbroken.
- Such an object is inevitably priceless, the attempt to capture it inevitably
All principles of gravity are negated by fear.
- Psychic forces are sufficient in most bodies for a shock to propel them
directly away from the earth's surface. A spooky noise or an adversary's
signature sound will induce motion upward, usually to the cradle of a
chandelier, a treetop, or the crest of a flagpole. The feet of a character
who is running or the wheels of a speeding auto need never touch the ground,
especially when in flight.
As speed increases, objects can be in several places at once.
- This is particularly true of tooth-and-claw fights, in which a character's
head may be glimpsed emerging from the cloud of altercation at several
places simultaneously. This effect is common as well among bodies that are
spinning or being throttled.
A `wacky' character has the option of self-replication only at manic high
speeds and may ricochet off walls to achieve the velocity required.
Certain bodies can pass through solid walls painted to resemble tunnel
entrances; others cannot.
- This trompe l'oeil inconsistency has baffled generations, but at least it is
known that whoever paints an entrance on a wall's surface to trick an
opponent will be unable to pursue him into this theoretical space.
The painter is flattened against the wall when he attempts to follow into
the painting. This is ultimately a problem of art, not of science.
(Corollary: Portable holes work.)
Any violent rearrangement of feline matter is impermanent.
- Cartoon cats possess even more deaths than the traditional nine lives might
comfortably afford. They can be decimated, spliced, splayed,
accordion-pleated, spindled, or disassembled, but they cannot be destroyed.
After a few moments of blinking self pity, they reinflate, elongate, snap
back, or solidify.
Corollary: A cat will assume the shape of its container.
(Corollary 2: Cartoons cats have the uncanny ability to emit piano
sounds when their teeth are transformed into
piano keys after having a piano dropped on them.)
Everything falls faster than an anvil.
Examples too numerous to mention from the Roadrunner cartoons.
For every vengeance there is an equal and opposite revengeance.
- This is the one law of animated cartoon motion that also applies to the
physical world at large. For that reason, we need the relief of watching it
happen to a duck instead.
- A sharp object will always propel a character upward.
When poked (usually in the buttocks) with a sharp object (usually a
pin), a character will defy gravity by shooting straight up, with great
- The laws of object permanence are nullified for "cool" characters.
Characters who are intended to be "cool" can make previously
nonexistent objects appear from behind their backs at will. For
instance, the Road Runner can materialize signs to express himself
- Explosive weapons cannot cause fatal injuries.
They merely turn characters temporarily black and smoky.
- Gravity is transmitted by slow-moving waves of large wavelengths.
Their operation can be witnessed by observing the behavior of a canine
suspended over a large vertical drop. Its feet will begin to fall first,
causing its legs to stretch. As the wave reaches its torso, that part will
begin to fall, causing the neck to strech. As the head begins to fall,
tension is released and the canine will resume its regular proportions
until such time as it strikes the ground.
- Dynamite is spontaneously generated in "C-spaces" (spaces in which
cartoon laws hold).
The process is analogous to steady-state theories of the universe which
postulated that the tensions involved in maintianing a space would
cause the creation of hydrogen from nothing. Dynamite quanta are quite
large (stick sized) and unstable (lit). Such quanta are attracted to
psychic forces generated by feelings of distress in "cool" characters (see
Amendment B, which may be a special case of this law), who are able
to use said quanta to their advantage. One may imagine C-spaces where
all matter and energy result from primal masses of dynamite exploding.
A big bang indeed.
Any bag, sack, purse, etc. possessed by a cool character is a
tesseract - any number of objects of any size may be placed in it or removed
from it with no change in its outer dimensions.
Characters can spin around and change into any set of clothes
appropriate to the situation.
Rabbits can dig a burrow from here to there in less than 20 seconds and
emerge spotlessly clean.
Movements are accompanied by funny sound effects.
Especially eye blinks, which usually are accompanied by xylophone or or other
percussive noise type tinkles with each blink.
Vehicle Uncertainty Principle:
A vehicle travelling along a straight path which extends to the
horizon uninterrupted remains in state of indeterminacy-- existing invisibly
at all points along the road simultaneously-- until its waveform is collapsed
by a villain entering the road. This causes the vehicle to coalesce into an
observable form at that location, maintaining high velocity. Classical
cartoon physics take over at this point.
RDB translation into plain English:
As soon as Wile E. Coyote steps into the road, the bus appears to run him
"Rules we obeyed in the Coyote/Road Runner Series"
From an autobiography of Chuck Young, creator of the Road Runner cartoons
("Chuck Amuck: The Life And Times Of An Animated Cartoonist",
and "That's All Folks: The Art Of Warner Bros. Animation".
Copyrights and trademarks C. Jones et Warner Bros)
1. The Road Runner cannot harm the coyote except by going "Beep Beep!"
2. No outside force can harm the Coyote-only his own ineptitude or the
failure of the ACME products.
3. The Coyote could stop anytime -- IF he were not a fanatic. "A fanatic
is one who redoubles his effort when he has forgotten his aim" -George
4. No dialogue ever, except "Beep Beep!"
5. The road Runner must stay on the road -- otherwise, logically, he would
not be called Road Runner.
6. All Action must be confined to the natural environment of the two
characters -- the Southwest American desert.
7. All material, tools, weapons, or mechanical conveniences must be
obtained from the ACME Corporation.
8. Whenever possible, make gravity the Coyote's greatest enemy.
9. The Coyote is always more humiliated than harmed by his failures.
10. The audience's sympathy must remain with the Coyote.