Beep Beep: The Roadrunner has roots in Dayton

BY: Michael Woody
last updated 06/10/2021
Beep Beep: The Roadrunner has roots in Dayton

Ever wonder where the Road Runner has been running to all these years? Perhaps the answer is Dayton.

Beep Beep: The Roadrunner has roots in Dayton

Ever wonder where the Road Runner has been running to for all these years with Wile E. Coyote giving chase? Perhaps the answer is to Dayton. The Roadrunner has roots in the Miami Valley, as the cartoons original theme song was written and sung by Barbara Cameron Kotler. A professional singer/songwriter ‘Barbara Cameron’ was born in Dayton on February 14, 1926.

In the 1940’s long before Bill Cunningham, Cameron ruled the airwaves of WLW. At just 18 years old, she replaced the popular Doris Day as a radio personality in 1943. Cameron was also part of the nationally syndicated late-night program ‘Moon River,’ as part of the trio named ‘Mary, Jean, and Betty.’ The group was originally known as the DeVore Sisters (Billie, Marge, and Ruth). Cameron served as Ruth’s replacement when she left the trio. During her time at WLW, Cameron got to sing with the likes of Rosemary Clooney, the Andrew Sisters, and Bob Hope, as well as others.

With her fame rising, Cameron recorded an album with the Cincinnati based King Records. In 1947, she released an eight sided ‘album’ box titled, ‘An Invitation to Love.’ In the 1950’s, Cameron expanded to television and began appearing as a hostess/variety star on WKRC. It’s where she met Joe Kotler, a rising executive with Ziv Television. In the late fifties, the couple moved to New York City when Ziv was bought out by Warner Brothers.

In 1965, Warner Brothers wanted to develop the Road Runner cartoon into a TV series, with an updated theme song. Joe suggested his wife for the job, and she reportedly wrote all the lyrics in just a few hours. Cameron also recorded it herself with Studio musicians. Her vocal talents were also part of the theme song for Porky Pig.

After Joe died in 2011, Cameron passed away with dementia in 2013, just short on her 87th birthday. However, through lyrics such as, ‘If you’re on the highway and Road Runner goes ‘beep beep.’ Just step aside or ya might end up in a head,’ her work continues to live on.

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