This Day in Pop Culture for September 17

The Coyote and the Road Runner’s First Race
It was on this day in 1949 that movie-goers were first introduced to Warner Bros. cartoon characters Wile E. Coyote and the simply named Road Runner in their first short film titled, Fast and Furry-ous. Before the film premiered, the cartoonists toyed with calling him Don Coyote as a pun of Don Quixote and in one Looney Tunes comic book, it was revealed that the “E” in his name stood for “Ethelbert.” He is known for building outrageous traps in hopes of capturing the fast bird for dinner buying many of his supplies from ACME. The characters were created by Chuck Jones and have appeared together 48 times. Usually Wile appears mute, but Wile sometimes speaks describing himself as a genius and has appeared in five Bugs Bunny shorts including Operation: Rabbit, To Hare Is Human, Rabbit's Feat, Compressed Hare and Hare-Breadth Hurry. In 2013, TV Guide named him one of the nastiest of villains of all time. The duo’s most recent film, Flash in the Pain, was released on June 10, 2014.


Vanessa Williams Becomes the First Black Miss America
Vanessa Williams is a singer, actress, producer and former fashion model, but she might not have become as famous as she is if she didn’t win the Miss America crown on this day in 1983. She was the first African-American to win the title, but it was short-lived. A scandal came about shortly thereafter when Penthouse magazine purchased nude photographs of Williams that were taken a year earlier that Williams thought were private and were destroyed. For the first time ever, a Miss America was targeted with hate mail and even death threats. Williams stepped down from her title on July 23, 1984 and was succeeded by the first runner-up, Suzette Charles of New Jersey. She is recognized as "Miss America 1984-b.” However, Williams has been noted to have become the most successful Miss America of all time. On September 13, 2015 during the live telecast of the 88th pageant, Miss America CEO Sam Haskell apologized to Williams "for anything that was said or done that made you feel any less than the Miss America you are and the Miss America you always will be."


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