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The Acme Corporation is a
fictional corporation Fictional companies are often used in film A film, also called a movie, motion picture or moving picture, is a work of visual art The visual arts are art forms such as painting Painting is the practice of applying paint Pa ...
that features prominently in the '' Road Runner/Wile E. Coyote'' animated shorts as a
running gag A running gag, or running joke, is a literary device A narrative technique (known for literary fiction Literary fiction is a controversial label that, in the book trade, refers to market novels which do not fit neatly into an established genre ( ...

running gag
featuring outlandish products that fail or backfire catastrophically at the worst possible times. The name is also used as a generic title in many
cartoons A cartoon is a type of illustration An illustration is a decoration, interpretation or visual explanation of a text, concept or process, designed for integration in print and digital published media, such as poster A poster is a tempor ...
, especially those made by
Warner Bros. Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. (commonly known as Warner Bros. and abbreviated as WB) is an American diversified multinational mass media and entertainment conglomerate Conglomerate or conglomeration may refer to: * Conglomerate (company) * ...
, and
film A film, also called a movie, motion picture or moving picture, is a work of visual art The visual arts are art forms such as painting Painting is the practice of applying paint Paint is any pigmented liquid, liquefiable, ...

film
s,
TV series A television show – or simply TV show – is any content produced for viewing on a television set A television set or television receiver, more commonly called the television, TV, TV set, tube, telly, or tele, is a device that combines a ...
,
commercials A television advertisement (also called a television commercial, commercial, advert, TV advert or simply an ad) is a span of television programming produced and paid for by an organization. It conveys a message promoting, and aiming to market, ...
and
comic strips A comic strip is a sequence of drawings, often cartoons A cartoon is a type of illustration An illustration is a decoration, interpretation or visual explanation of a text, concept or process, designed for integration in print and digi ...
. The company name in the ''Road Runner'' cartoons is
ironic Irony (), in its broadest sense, is a rhetorical device In rhetoric Rhetoric () is the art Art is a diverse range of (products of) human activities involving creative imagination to express technical proficiency, beauty, emoti ...

ironic
, since the word ''acme'' is derived from
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
(ακμή; English transliteration: ''akmē'') meaning ''the peak'', ''zenith'' or ''prime'', yet products from the fictional Acme Corporation are often
generic Generic or generics may refer to: In business * Generic term, a common name used for a range or class of similar things not protected by trademark * Generic brand, a brand for a product that does not have an associated brand or trademark, other t ...
, failure-prone, or explosive.


History

Acme means "highest point", so the name was popularized by companies wanting to symbolize the best. An early global Acme brand name was the "Acme City" whistle made from mid 1870s onwards by J Hudson & Co, followed by the "Acme Thunderer", and " Acme siren" in 1895. The name became particularly popular for businesses in the 1920s, when alphabetized business telephone directories such as the
Yellow Pages #REDIRECT Yellow pages The yellow pages are any telephone directory of businesses, organized by category rather than alphabetically by business name, and in which advertising is sold. The directories were originally printed on yellow paper, as ...
began to be widespread: A name at the beginning of the alphabet would be listed first, and a name implying "the best" was even better. There was a flood of businesses named Acme; some survive to this day, including Acme Brick,
Acme Markets Acme Markets Inc. is a supermarket A supermarket is a self-service shop offering a wide variety of food Food is any substance consumed to provide nutritional support for an organism In biology, an organism (from Ancient Gre ...
, and Acme Boots. Early
Sears Sears, Roebuck and Co., commonly known as Sears, is an American chain of department store A department store is a retail Retail is the sale of goods In economics Economics () is the social science that studies how people inter ...

Sears
catalogues contained a number of products with the "Acme" trademark, including
anvil An anvil is a metalworking Metalworking is the process of shaping and reshaping metal A metal (from Ancient Greek, Greek μέταλλον ''métallon'', "mine, quarry, metal") is a material that, when freshly prepared, polished, or fr ...

anvil
s, which are frequently used in Warner Bros. cartoons. The name Acme also had other connotations for people in Los Angeles at the time. During the time the
Warner Bros. Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. (commonly known as Warner Bros. and abbreviated as WB) is an American diversified multinational mass media and entertainment conglomerate Conglomerate or conglomeration may refer to: * Conglomerate (company) * ...
cartoons were being produced, the
traffic light Traffic lights, traffic signals, stoplights or robots (as they are known in South Africa) are signalling devices positioned at road intersections, pedestrian crossing A pedestrian crossing (primarily British English) or crosswalk (primar ...

traffic light
s in Los Angeles were manufactured by the Acme Traffic Signal Company. The traffic lights paired "Stop" and "Go" semaphore arms with small red and green lights. Bells played the role of today's amber or yellow lights, ringing when the flags changed—a process that took five seconds. It is a common misbelief that ACME was intended by cartoonists to be an acronym. ACME has variously been attributed to stand for "A Company Making Everything", "American Companies Make Everything" and "American Company that Manufactures Everything". Warner Brothers animator
Chuck Jones Charles Martin Jones (September 21, 1912 – February 22, 2002) was an American animator, voice actor, and painter, best known for his work with Warner Bros. Cartoons Warner Bros. Cartoons, Inc. (also known as Warner Bros. Classic Animation an ...

Chuck Jones
has said the name Acme was chosen because of its prevalence: The Acme semaphore traffic lights were often used in
Warner Bros. Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. (commonly known as Warner Bros. and abbreviated as WB) is an American diversified multinational mass media and entertainment conglomerate Conglomerate or conglomeration may refer to: * Conglomerate (company) * ...
' ''
Looney Tunes ''Looney Tunes'' is an American animated Animation is a method in which Image, figures are manipulated to appear as moving images. In traditional animation, images are drawn or painted by hand on transparent cel, celluloid sheets to be photo ...
'' and ''
Merrie Melodies ''Merrie Melodies'' is an American animation, animated series of comedy short films produced by Warner Bros. starting in 1931, during the golden age of American animation, and ending in 1969. As with its partner series, ''Looney Tunes'', it featu ...
'' cartoons for comedic effect due to their loud bell which was often followed by screeching tires and many sight gags.


Fictional depiction

The company is never clearly defined in ''Road Runner'' cartoons but appears to be a
conglomerate Conglomerate or conglomeration may refer to: * Conglomerate (company) * Conglomerate (geology) * Conglomerate (mathematics) In popular culture: * The Conglomerate (American group), a production crew and musical group founded by Busta Rhymes ** Con ...
which produces every product type imaginable, no matter how elaborate or extravagant—most of which never work as desired or expected (some products do work very well, but backfire against the coyote). 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 A rubber band (also known as an elastic band, gum band or lacky band) is a loop of rubber, usually ring or oval shaped, and commonly used to hold multiple objects together. The rubber band was patented in England on March 17, 1845 by Stephen Pe ...
, subtitled "(For Tripping Road Runners)". 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

The name "Acme" is used as a generic corporate name in a huge number of cartoons, comics, television shows, such as in early episodes of ''
I Love Lucy ''I Love Lucy'' is an American television sitcom A sitcom, clipping Clipping may refer to: Words * Clipping (morphology) In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of ever ...
'' and ''
The Andy Griffith Show ''The Andy Griffith Show '' is an American situation comedy A sitcom, Clipping (morphology), clipping for situational comedy (situation comedy in the U.S.), is a genre of comedy centered on a fixed set of characters who mostly carry over from ...
'', and film, from the silent era onward in such titles as
Buster Keaton Joseph Frank Keaton (October 4, 1895 – February 1, 1966), known professionally as Buster Keaton, was an American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the Unit ...

Buster Keaton
's silent film '' Neighbors'' (1920) and
Harold Lloyd Harold Clayton Lloyd Sr. (April 20, 1893 – March 8, 1971) was an American actor, comedian, and stunt performer who appeared in many Silent film, silent comedy films.Obituary ''Variety Obituaries, Variety'', March 10, 1971, page 55. Ll ...

Harold Lloyd
's '' Grandma's Boy'' (1922). Acme is also briefly featured in the Walt Disney Donald Duck episode '' Cured Duck'' released in 1945. Examples which specifically reference the Wile E. Coyote cartoon character include:


Animated films and TV series

* Films, shows and cartoons based on Looney Tunes characters often deal with Acme Corporation. ** The 1988 film ''
Who Framed Roger Rabbit ''Who Framed Roger Rabbit'' is a 1988 American live-action/animated comedy Comedy (from the el, wikt:κωμῳδία, κωμῳδία, ''kōmōdía'') is a genre of fiction that consists of discourses or works intended to be humorous or amu ...
'' attempted to explain Acme's inner workings in detail. The movie's plot is centered on the murder of the corporation's founder, Marvin Acme (
Stubby Kaye Bernard Solomon Kotzin (November 11, 1918 – December 14, 1997), known as Stubby Kaye, was an American actor, comedian, vaudevillian, and singer, known for his appearances on Broadway Broadway may refer to: Theatre * Broadway Theatre (disamb ...
). Many of the film's scenes involve Acme products, and the film's climax is set in an Acme warehouse. ** The ''
Tiny Toon Adventures ''Tiny Toon Adventures'' is an American animated comedy television series that was broadcast from September 14, 1990 to December 6, 1992 as the first collaborative effort of Warner Bros. Animation and Steven Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment after ...
'' series expanded on Acme's influence, with the entire setting of the show taking place in a city called "Acme Acres". The show's young protagonists attended "Acme Looniversity". In one episode, the coyote sues Acme, accusing it of making products that are unsafe. ** The corporation appears as the antagonistic force of '' Looney Tunes: Back in Action''. The head offices of Acme are depicted, revealing it to be a multinational corporation whose executive officers are led by the film's main antagonist, Mr. Chairman, portrayed by
Steve Martin Stephen Glenn Martin (born August 14, 1945) is an American actor, comedian, writer, producer, and musician. He has earned five Grammy Awards The Grammy Award (stylized as GRAMMY, originally called Gramophone Award), or just Grammy, is an aw ...

Steve Martin
. ** The 2015
direct-to-video Direct-to-video or straight-to-video refers to the release Release may refer to: * Film release, the public distribution of a film * Legal release, a legal instrument * News release, a communication directed at the news media * Release (ISUP), a ...
animated film '' Looney Tunes: Rabbits Run'' portrays Acme as a
department store A department store is a retail Retail is the sale of goods In economics Economics () is the social science that studies how people interact with value; in particular, the Production (economics), production, distribution (economics) ...
. ** In August 2018, Warner Bros. announced they were developing a ''Coyote Vs. Acme'' animated movie with
Chris McKay Christopher McKay, also known as Chris Taylor (born November 11, 1973), is an American animator, television director, editor, television writer, television producer, visual effects artist, and film director. He is best known for directing and ed ...
producing and Jon and Josh Silberman completing the script. However, by December 2019, the project was reportedly looking for a writer. A year later,
James Gunn James Francis Gunn Jr. (born August 5, 1966) is an American filmmaker, actor, and former musician. He began his career as a screenwriter in the mid-1990s. He then began working as a director, starting with the horror-comedy film ''Slither Slith ...
was announced as both producer and writer on the project and a release date in 2023. ** The cartoon series ''
Loonatics Unleashed ''Loonatics Unleashed'' is an American Superhero fiction, superhero animated television series produced by Warner Bros. Animation that ran on Kids' WB for two seasons from 2005 to 2007 in the United States. The series was based/inspired on the ' ...

Loonatics Unleashed
'' is set in Acmetropolis. * The corporation is mentioned in ''
Animaniacs ''Animaniacs'' is an American Animated series, animated Comedy television, comedy Musical film, musical television series created by Tom Ruegger for Fox Broadcasting Company's Fox Kids block, before moving to The WB in 1995, as part of its Ki ...
'', such as the Acme song from Cookies for Einstein, and ''
Pinky and the Brain ''Pinky and the Brain'' is an American Animated series, animated television series that was created by Tom Ruegger that premiered on Kids' WB on September 9, 1995. It was the first animated television series to be presented in Dolby Pro Logic, ...
''s home in Acme Labs. In ''
Wakko's Wish ''Wakko's Wish'' is a 1999 direct-to-video animated film, animated Musical film, musical comedy film based on the 1993–98 animated series ''Animaniacs'', serving as the series finale until the announcement of the Animaniacs (2020 TV series), 202 ...
'', the ''Animaniacs'' feature film, characters live in the village of Acme Falls. * ''External World'', a short film by David OReilly, features Acme Retirement Castle, a dystopian retirement facility for disabled cartoon characters.


Music

*
Bell X1 The Bell X-1 (Bell Model 44) is a Rocket-powered aircraft, rocket engine–powered aircraft, designated originally as the XS-1, and was a joint National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics–U.S. Army Air Forces–U.S. Air Force supersonic resear ...
's song "One Stringed Harp" includes the lyric ''"Like Wile E. Coyote/As if the fall wasn't enough/Those bastards from Acme/They got more nasty stuff"''. * The
Brazilian thrash metal Along with Bay Area thrash metal Bay Area thrash metal (also known as Bay Area thrash) referred to a steady following of heavy metal bands in the 1980s who formed and gained international status in the San Francisco Bay Area in California. Along ...
band Chakal has a song titled "Acme Dead End Road" from its 1990 album, ''The Man Is His Own Jackal''. The song begins with the Road Runner signature sound " beep, beep".


Legal humor

*Joey Green wrote "Cliff-Hanger Justice", a fictional account of a
product liability Product liability is the area of law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its ...
lawsuit by Wile E. Coyote against Acme, which appeared in three parts in the August, September, and October 1982 issues of '' National Lampoon'' magazine. *
Ian Frazier Ian Frazier (born 1951 in Cleveland, Ohio Cleveland ( ), officially the City of Cleveland, is a major city in the U.S. state of Ohio, and the county seat of Cuyahoga County. It is located along the southern shore of Lake Erie, across th ...
wrote a fictional legal complaint "''Coyote vs. Acme''", which was published in ''The New Yorker'' and eventually became the title piece of a short fiction collection.


Other

* The Comprehensive Perl Archive Network provides an "Acme::" namespace which contains many humorous, useless and abstract modules for the
Perl Perl is a family of two high-level High-level and low-level, as technical terms, are used to classify, describe and point to specific Objective (goal), goals of a systematic operation; and are applied in a wide range of contexts, such as, for ...
programming language. It was named "in homage to that greatest of all absurd system creators: Wile E. Coyote." *
Acme Communications ACME Communications was a United States-based broadcasting company that was involved in operations of television stations and programming from the late 1990s until 2013. Company profile ACME Communications was co-founded by Chairman and original C ...
was a former U.S. broadcasting company established by former
Fox Broadcasting Company The Fox Broadcasting Company (often shortened to Fox and stylized in all caps as FOX) is an Television in the United States, American Commercial broadcasting, commercial terrestrial television, broadcast television network owned by Fox Corporati ...
executive
Jamie Kellner Jamie Kellner is an American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United State ...
. The stations were affiliated with Warner Bros's broadcast television network
The WB The WB Television Network (commonly shortened to The WB, standing for Warner Bros.) was an American television network A television network or broadcaster is a telecommunications network for distribution of television program content, wher ...
, for which he was also a founding executive, and the Acme name was a reference to the cartoon.


See also

* Ajax name brand of the Mickey Mouse universe *
List of filmmaker's signaturesThis is a list of filmmakers' signatures or Easter eggs Easter eggs, also called Paschal eggs, and Egg of Easter are eggs that are sometimes decorated. They are usually used as gifts on the occasion of Easter Easter,Traditional names for ...
* :Fictional companies


References


External links

* From - Mock legal opening statement. * {{Warner Bros. animation and comics Fictional brands Fictional companies In-jokes Looney Tunes Running gags Who Framed Roger Rabbit