Acme Corporation

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Acme Corporation
TypeFictional company
 
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Acme Corporation
TypeFictional company
A real-world advertisement for ACME anvils.

The Acme Corporation is a fictional corporation that features prominently in the Road Runner/Wile E. Coyote cartoons as a running gag featuring outlandish products that fail catastrophically at the worst possible times. The name is also used as a generic title in many cartoons, films and TV series.

The company name in the Road Runner cartoons is ironic, since the word acme is derived from Greek (αιχμή / ακμή ; English transliteration: acmē) meaning the peak, zenith or prime, and products from the fictional Acme Corporation are both generic and failure-prone.

Origin[edit]

The name Acme became popular for businesses by the 1920s, when alphabetized business telephone directories such as the Yellow Pages began to be widespread. There were a flood of businesses named Acme (some of these still survive[1]). For example, early Sears catalogues contained a number of products with the "Acme" trademark, including anvils, which are frequently used in Warner Bros. cartoons.[2]

We were little madcaps along the beach and we did what we enjoyed doing and could get dirty and could eat hot dogs and so on. Since we had to search out our own entertainment, we devised our own fairy stories. If you wanted a bow and arrow you got a stick. If you wanted to conduct an orchestra you got a stick. If you wanted a duel you used a stick. You couldn't go and buy one; that's where the terms acme came from. Whenever we played a game where we had a grocery store or something we called it the ACME corporation. Why? Because in the yellow pages if you looked, say, under drugstores, you'd find the first one would be Acme Drugs. Why? Because "AC" was about as high as you could go; it means the best; the superlative.

Fictional depiction[edit]

The company is never clearly defined in Road Runner cartoons but appears to be a conglomerate which produces every product type imaginable, no matter how elaborate or extravagant - none of which ever work as desired or expected. In the Road Runner cartoon Beep, Beep, it was referred to as "Acme Rocket-Powered Products, Inc." based in Fairfield, New Jersey. Many of its products appear to be produced specifically for Wile E. Coyote; for example, the Acme Giant Rubber Band, subtitled "(For Tripping Road Runners)".

Sometimes, Acme can also send living creatures through the mail, though that isn't done very often. Two examples of this are the Acme Wild-Cat, which had been used on Elmer Fudd and Sam Sheepdog (which doesn't maul its intended victim); and Acme Bumblebees in one-fifth bottles (which sting Wile E. Coyote). The Wild Cat was used in the shorts Don't Give Up the Sheep and A Mutt in a Rut, while the bees were used in the short Zoom and Bored.

While their products leave much to be desired, Acme delivery service is second to none; Wile E. can merely drop an order into a mailbox (or enter an order on a website, as in the Looney Tunes: Back in Action movie), and have the product in his hands within seconds.

Appearances[edit]

The name "Acme" is used as a generic corporate name in a huge number of cartoons, comics, television shows (as early as an I Love Lucy episode), and film (as early as Buster Keaton's 1920 silent film Neighbors and Harold Lloyd's 1922 film Grandma's Boy).

Examples which specifically reference the Wile E. Coyote cartoon character include:

Animated films, TV series[edit]

Live-action films, TV series[edit]

Music[edit]

Legal humor[edit]

Other[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ For example, Acme Brick, Acme Markets, Acme Boots.
  2. ^ E.O. Costello. "ACME". The Warner Brothers Cartoon Companion. 
  3. ^ Peggy Stern and John Canemaker (filmmakers) (March 24, 2009). Chuck Jones: Memories of Childhood (Documentary). Turner Classic Movies and Warner Bros. Event occurs at 12 min. Retrieved April 29, 2009. 
  4. ^ Catálogo Cogumelo 30 anos. Cogumelo Records. 2012. p. 83. 
  5. ^ Gordon III, James E., "A Bibliography of Humor and the Law", 1992 BYU Law Review No.2 427 at 451, retrieved August 15, 2013 from http://www.law2.byu.edu/lawreview4/archives/1992/2/gordo.pdf
  6. ^ Wile E. Coyote, Plaintiff. vs. Acme Company, Defendant IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT, SOUTHWESTERN DISTRICT, TEMPE, ARIZONA CASE NO. B19294, JUDGE JOAN KUJAVA, PRESIDING Frazier, Ian, The New Yorker, February 26, 1990, p. 42-44 Satire.
  7. ^ "Journal of acme (189)". use Perl;. May 23, 2001. 
  8. ^ "What does ACME stand for?". AcronymFinder. 

External links[edit]