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Coyote Seeks Professional Help

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. —    Wile E. Coyote needs help with his ACME products.
    They never work quite right. He keeps getting blown up, or knocked off a cliff, or run into a wall, or gets driven over by a truck, or gets a boulder dropped on him, or cut into halves, or swept away by tornadoes …
    And all just to get lunch.
    Really, should a company make something called the ACME Do-It-Yourself Tornado Kit or ACME
Dehydrated Boulders (Just Add Water!)?
    And poor, tenacious Coyote is fed up. He’s enlisted the
help of New Mexico Tech students to help him figure out ways to make rocket skates that actually work, or the best way to drop a boulder off a cliff so he can catch his lunch, Road Runner.
    New Mexico Tech is one of the nation’s top-rated engineering schools. So, who better than a bunch of engineering students to help him catch lunch?
    OK, it’s for the TV show “Man vs. Cartoon,” a new show produced by Pilgrim Productions that
the producers hope finds a home this fall with a major network.
    “It was just something that was a great opportunity. Something different,” said Daniel Preston, who’s one of the five Tech students involved in the show. “The mundane life of a mechanical engineer is usually working behind a computer doing (computer-assisted design) work.”
    Several dozen students tried out for roles in the
show this spring at New Mexico Tech. It’s part reality show, showing the students trying to build things like rocket skates, and part “Myth Busters,” where they show what Coyote could, or probably couldn’t, do.
    Though he’s never eaten roadrunner, Preston said he’s into helping Mr. Coyote catch his dinner.
    The whole thing is based on the “Merrie Melodies” cartoons of Wile E. Coyote and his misadventures trying to catch his too-fastfor-feet feast.
    “I used to watch as a boy, but I’d forgotten about it. I watch them now, and it was genius,” Preston said. “I think it was a karma deal. A lot of the physics don’t apply to the Coyote. I think he did something really bad in a previous life. He has a lot of bad karma.”
    But he’s also tenacious. In one episode he builds, and rebuilds and rebuilds, an airplane. He builds a giant robot of himself to catch the bird. He buys all kinds of great stuff from ACME, including a catapult, his famous rocket skates, his fan skates, his giant mousetrap and his famous elixirs like the ACME High Speed Tonic (contains Vitamins R-P+M).
    The students at Tech have a leg up on Wile. They have tools. Where Coyote builds everything with a wooden hammer, these guys are pros with air wrenches, welders and calculators.
    And, thanks to the generous people at “Man vs. Cartoon,” they also have their personal ACME storehouse of sorts.
    Rockets, anvils, boulders, giant cymbals and more are theirs for the picking.
    But, none of this could happen without a trusty stuntman.
    “We cover him in fire gel
and full leathers,” Preston said.
    And do they need it.
    When the team built rocket skates for an episode, the whole thing nearly turned into a Coyote calamity.
    “We did a preliminary test and one of the rockets jumped out of the holster,” Preston said. “It had my name on it. It chased after me and it burned my hand. After that, we took safety much more seriously.”
    After all, students don’t flatten out, or become accordions, or charbroil like a cartoon Coyote.
    Coyote tries everything to get that darn Road Runner, and is always prepared with a napkin, fork and knife to dig in — though the Tech students don’t have any roadrunner recipes.
    There are a lot of dropping things in the show. A boulder from a cliff. An anvil from a crane.
    But, sadly, unlike in the cartoon, no pianos.
    There will be giant cymbals placed alongside a road to crash in on the Road Runner. There will be a guy wearing rocket skates and fan skates. Though, in the modern world, they’re in-line skates.
    “For the last one, we’re building a Coyote contraption, a Rube Goldberg contraption,” Preston said.
    He couldn’t say what type of machine it is, but you can imagine there’s a sign somewhere on it that says, “Free Bird Seed.”
    And, in case you were wondering, the recipe for a roadrunner is: Two ounces vodka, one ounce amaretto and one ounce coconut milk. Stir and serve in a chilled glass.
    SEND US YOUR TIPS: If you know of a movie filming in the state, or are curious about one, e-mail Film@ABQJournal.com .

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