Speedy Reaches the Finish Line

True to the laws of the cartoon world, Speedy Gonzales has won again.

The hyperactive cartoon mouse, who had been barred from the air by the Cartoon Network because it considered him an offensive Mexican stereotype, is roaming the airwaves once again.

"Many fans, including myself, are extremely happy to see that Cartoon Network has reconsidered and will once again be airing the Warner Bros. cartoons with Speedy," Jon Cooke, creator of the Unofficial Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies Page, wrote in an e-mail. "He's always been one of the major stars of the classic Looney Tunes shorts, and many people really missed the character. We hope he's back to stay."

According to the Cartoon Network Web site, several Speedy cartoons will appear throughout late June and July.

"With the sudden interest in the show, we decided to rotate it in and see how it does," Cartoon Network spokeswoman Laurie Goldberg said in a telephone interview from the network's Atlanta offices.

Foxnews.com first reported the story in March.

Speedy hadn't been seen on the network the only one with the rights to show the cartoon in the U.S. since it took over the Warner Bros. stable of old animated movies in 1999. The mouse was caged despite the fact that some of his earlier cartoons had won Oscars.

Some said the Speedy cartoons, with a cast of hard-drinking, lazy Mexican mice, could give children preconceptions about Latinos. Critics were happy to see Speedy and friends relegated to the limbo that holds the "Censored 11," old Warner Bros. cartoons that depict blacks as fat-lipped minstrels or cannibalistic savages. Networks commonly edit out scenes from animated movies with now-questionable gags or behavior like smoking or drinking.

Others said the cartoons simply weren't that entertaining in the first place.

But diehard Speedy fans complained, lobbying to get the Fastest Mouse in Mexico back on the Cartoon Network rotation with an online petition that included 1,000 names. The League of United Latin American Citizens, the nation's oldest Hispanic-American rights organization, also joined the movement, saying the network's decision to ban Speedy was political correctness run amok.

Virginia Cueto, associate editor of HispanicOnline.com, said the new network lineup was proof that the Cartoon Network heard the "Viva Speedy!" call.

"To me it was clear evidence that all the media exposure and the petition and the outcry from the fans have had an effect," she said.