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The Canyon Fall Gag is a recurring gag that happens to Wile E. Coyote in the Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote shorts.


The gag is another one of Wile E. Coyote's many mishaps in capturing Road Runner when a failed scheme, a Road Runner scare, a feeble ledge, or a chase mishap causes Wile E. to be flung off the edge of a cliff, and he plummets down into a canyon, where he crashes to the ground in a cloud of dust. The cause of his fall varies between scenes, and most of the canyons are different. The first fall was in "Fast and Furry-ous", firstly when he dons a Superman costume purchased from ACME and tries to fly but fails to defy gravity and instead drops to the ground, and secondly when Wile uses a meat grinder, a refrigerator, skis, and an electric motor, to chase Road Runner, but Road Runner darts out of the way in time, and Wile, missing his target, is sent flying into a ravine. Since then, it's used in almost every episode, and Wile E. has had other problems with gravity ever since, providing humor for the Road Runner cartoons.

When Road Runner goes off the edge of the cliff, he defies the laws of gravity and physics and doesn't fall, even when he's not on the solid ground or a dislodged cliff.


The first canyon fall gag path

  • Most times, Wile only hits the ground in a cloud of dust, but the shot cuts to the next scene after the dust clears, though occasionally a crash on the ground occurs a few times throughout the series.
  • Many times, after going off the edge, Wile E. stays in midair for a few seconds, long enough to realize that he isn't on solid ground anymore. Then he falls.
  • Many times, Wile E. stops at the edge of a cliff, but then it breaks off, and he falls with the cliff into the canyon.
  • Wile E. Coyote has broken the fourth wall many times, by worriedly waving goodbye to the audience, just before he falls (and, in "War and Pieces", during a fall).
  • The canyon fall gag does appear in two Bugs Bunny/Wile E. Coyote cartoons in the Golden Age of American Animation; "To Hare Is Human" (1956, though without the overhead shot) and "Hare-Breadth Hurry" (1963).
  • In the "Rudy Larriva Eleven," the same canyon fall animation is recycled for each episode. An exception is "Highway Runnery", which had it upside down and over the planet Earth. However, it did not appear in "Clippety Clobbered", "Just Plane Beep" (which used a horizontal variant rather than the normal vertical), or "Shot and Bothered".
  • This has been spoofed often in pop culture, in shows like Family Guy, Johnny Test, The Simpsons, Teen Titans, SpongeBob SquarePants, Steven Universe, Dexter's Laboratory, Wild Kratts, Dino Dana, The Pink PantherMy Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, and even Loonatics Unleashed, among others. Some early Chuck Jones-era Tom and Jerry shorts of 1963-1965 also seem to utilize this canyon fall gag, most notably "Pent-House Mouse" (1963), "Ah, Sweet Mouse-Story of Life" (1965) and "Tom-ic Energy" (1965).
  • In most instances, the sound effect used to indicate the descent is a declining slide whistle (also known as a "bomb whistle"). Sometimes, as demonstrated in "Zoom at the Top", there is no clear sound effect.
  • "Hot-Rod and Reel!" and "Highway Runnery" ended this way; the former was punctuated by "THE END" just after the landing, while the latter involves an Iris Out.
  • One of the Larriva Eleven, "Boulder Wham!", features all five gags ending with Wile E. falling to the canyon floor. It is the only Road Runner cartoon to use the gag in all of it's gags.
    • This cartoon has the second-most uses of this gag in a Road Runner cartoon, at five. It is beaten only by "Soup or Sonic", as it has seven uses out of it's eleven gags, including the introduction.
  • Other Looney Tunes characters have faced similar gravity issues:


Original Shorts

Road Runner Cartoons

Non-Road Runner cartoons

The Looney Tunes Show


Other Looney Media




Wile E. Coyote vs Gravity

A collection of almost all the canyon fall gags happening to Wile E. Coyote from the classic era