The Inspiration Behind Looney Tunes' Acme Corporation

Anyone who has ever watched a Looney Tunes cartoon, particularly any episode featuring Wile E. Coyote chasing after Roadrunner, will notice a recurring theme. Other than the fact that Wile E. Coyote always fails in his attempts to capture the speeding bird, those unsuccessful attempts usually feature a product with the "ACME" brand name on it. 

This fictionalized brand seemingly had the ability to create any product imaginable. From simple everyday items like matches, or products that you can't find in the real world like dehydrated boulders and Earthquake pills. 

It became a running gag for use in these lovable cartoons and it appeared as though this gigantic fake corporation had a monopoly over every product in existence in the Looney Tunes world. 

The gag of the ACME corporation has continued to this day in current iterations of Looney Tunes. And of course the 1988 movie, "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" had a plot centered around the ACME corporation, according to IMDb. The movie looked to figure out who framed Roger Rabbit for the murder of ACME corporation's owner. 

Other uses of ACME

The ACME moniker was used in more than just cartoons. There were also instances of the corporation's name being used in episodes of "I Love Lucy" according to Fandom, "The Andy Griffith Show," and "The Three Stooges." Disney also used the ACME name in a 1945 Donald Duck cartoon as seen in the episode itself posted on YouTube.

But Warner Brothers isn't going to lose out on continuing its famed fake brand. According to Deadline, another movie centered around the ACME corporation is set to hit theaters in 2023. It will star John Cena and the movie centers around Wile E. Coyote choosing to hire a lawyer and sue the ACME corporation for its consistency in producing poor products. The plot makes sense given all of ACME's failed products and the sheer number of injuries that Wile E. Coyote has sustained for nearly a quarter of a century.

What is ACME

With the wide range of ACME products and the name continuing to be used to this day, it begs the question of where this company came from and why it was used As Mental Floss notes, the name is not an acronym. Some people have falsely claimed that it stands for "A Company Manufacturing Everything."

The word ACME is derived from Greek according to Today I Found Out, and means "peak." In other words, it signifies that its products have peak performance or are the best. Though any viewer of a Wile E. Coyote cartoon knows that these products are far from the best. 

But Chuck Jones, mastermind behind many of the Looney Tunes cartoons in its heyday said in a documentary that the reason ACME was used was far simpler according to Mental Floss. There are many real-world companies that use the name ACME. And back in the day well before there was the internet, if someone wanted to look up a business they would do so in a phone book. Many businesses went with the name ACME because it would likely be one of the very first listings in the book since companies would be listed alphabetically. 

So Chuck Jones said he would open a phone book, see "ACME" listed all the time at the top of lists, and decided that he would use that in the cartoons according to Mental Floss. Thanks to that, it's hard to find an episode of Looney Tunes without seeing ACME somewhere within it.