Sunday, March 23

Who Framed Roger Rabbit Retrospective

I have had this movie for a while but it is one of my favorite movies and since I have covered Animation before, I decided to do a play-by-play like I did with Clueless.

I saw this movie when I was 5 1/2 and looked so forward to seeing it. I remembered it open on a Wednesday, which was rare for a movie. It seldom happens these days. I saw it a couple times in theaters, which is rare. I first saw it with my parents and then again in a school field trip. The opening cartoon obviously took roots from Tex Avery and i remember having a fascination with Tex Avery cartoons afterwards. I was an animation buff, even back then and wanted to be an animator. Some of this was drawn in England and they misspelled Chili as 'Chilli' and had to re-shoot the sequence with the bottle.

The extreme violence in the opening toon, you can't find these days. Baby Herman passing by a female on the set of the opening cartoon and sticking his middle finger up her dress, and then coming back from under the dress with a drool of spit on his lip. This was edited out of the first DVD edition of the movie, though it can be found on editions of the VHS, laserdisc, and my DVD.

This movie was a huge event for the audience. i remember going and hearing the cheers when a famous toon would appear. The first was Dumbo. It was amazing to see him and be referenced as "we got him on loan from Disney" which was strange for me at that age because I knew the movie was from Disney. I didn't understand at that time the man was talking about Maroon cartoons.

What always gets me and wasn't referenced in the director's commentary was the kids smoking and giving the cigarettes to Eddie. I think it is just plain awesome. So many things got away from the censors, which make this movie cool. It made it more real. Of course, I didn't notice this as a kid. I also like the little touches, even with how this movie was extremely hard to make and everyone involved is still tired... there was a mute veteran with no explanation.

Joanna Cassidy is freaking awesome as Dolores, the heart of the movie. She says the lines with a straight face like "A toon dropped a piano on his head" or "Is that a rabbit in your jacket or are you just happy to see me?" and of course, "I had to shake the weasels." I remember seeing her in Don't Tell Mom, the Babysitter is Dead, she played Christina Applegate's fashion-ista boss. Also to the right, the gorilla bouncer who says, "Wiseass." Disney made a fuss but at least it wasn't a Disney character cursing. I remember seeing the VHS in class with other students (third grade) and we all made noise when he said it. The teacher didn't like it of course.

The stuff the octopus' held and all the things in the Ink and Paint Club, they were held by puppeteers. Just amazing. I found it weird as a child that Eddie had to go to an illegal club where humans and toons can be together. I thought cartoons are cool and fun, why wouldn't humans want to be with them. Obviously as an adult, I see it as a civil rights metaphor.

As a kid, I loved Marvin Acme and felt it was a cool explanation on Acme company always used on Loony Tunes. I felt like there was more to this whole meeting of cartoons event, there was this secret world that explained everything. The producers say they thought it was cool to make a character that was related to the Acme company. As for Betty Boop, most kids in the 80's knew her from merchandising. funny enough, the animators who in charge of her drew in frames of her flashing--as tradition as they did back i the day---but it was cut out, while all the other Roger 'easter eggs' weren't until today.

Ah, the famous Jessica entrance. Labidios went high in the theater and anywhere else I saw the movie with a crowd. We didn't really get a real feel for the character until the scene with Eddie shirtless.

The patty-cake scene, where Eddie takes the pictures as Jessica moans---all kids thought it was sex and still beleive it was sex. I found it funny back then and still find it funny these days with the patty cake flip photos.

This scene where Roger went into an alley and looked through old photos of him and Jessica was added to make the audience feel for him because up to this point, he was just 'annoying.' In the background of the pictures is caricatures of the producers.

When they mentioned Eddie's brother, I felt like I missed something. As a kid, I wanted a scene with them together, flashback or something. I still love the background music in this scene. it has a great soundtrack, which the director calls a great mix of film noir oldy time music with toony music. I love the film noir elements, as a kid it made me feel like I was watching a real adult movie, in some ways.

I don't like how in the photo above it says 'some floozy' instead of Dolores. Richard LeParmentier played Lt. Santino, also played Admiral Motti who Darth Vader killed. He said "The Rabbit cacked him last night" in this scene and they took the word 'cacked' from an old Jazz musician.

When Yosemite Sam leaped out of Toon Town, it always made me happy because it like a sneak preview to the wonderful Toon Town. As for the jackass to the right, I hated him so much because he tormented Eddie.

Ah, Christopher Lloyd, I knew him from Back to the Future and for a time, didn't recognize him in this role.

Ah, the infamous Dip scene. This brought chills and moans to all the kids in the audience. It was a big deal but I was never scared. One thing producers decided not to do was have his partner shoe see his partner die.

I always found Baby Herman cool and interesting. I remember there was always a debate with kids over the baby was female or male. His arm moved strangely because it was a robotic arm moving the real cigar. As for the scene to the right, 'Eddie' was put in blue screen to cut out a bit of scene to make it shorter. Unfortunately if they wanted a scene out, they had to take it out completely, animation and all.

The best detail was the fingerprints on the chair Roger touched. As for the scene to the right, the image always got on my nerves.

In this scene where Roger and Eddie are handcuffed together and they are in a secret cellar, the light swings to and fro, giving a on-purpose challenge to the animators by the director. They had to match the light on Roger. As for the 'big pills' joke, Roger confuses probate with prostate, even the producers asmit fans will probably get it now that they are older, because back when in theaters no one (in all-kids audience) laughed.

In a deleted scene, now known as the 'Pighead sequence,' Eddie returned to Jessica's dressing room to find her, Judge Doom, the Weasels, and the doorman gorilla. This was broadcasted on CBS as part of the movie and when I saw it on TV, I found it strange I didn't remember it since I already saw it in theaters so many times. It was also included in the laserdisc, but on current DVDs, it is as a deleted scene.

The Weasels take Eddie to toon town, the camera pans up to Witch Hazel zipping around and being hit by lighting from a cloud and the moon acting none the wiser. The sun then comes up.

Eddie comes out with a bag on his head to reveal he has been and I quote, "tooned-a-rooned."

He washes it off in the shower in a creepy sequence as the eyes pop into the drain.

This is why he is shirtless when Jessica comes into his home in the movie. To ease the transition, they had Jessica's silhouette behind his door and we heard a toilet flush, supposedly he went to the bathroom with his shirt off. As a kid, I found this sequence crucial in Jessica's character. She says how she is not really bad, she was just drawn that way. I don't know if it was because I am gay but I thought you couldn't trust her and I had a sigh of relief to discover she was not bad.

To the left is a sequence which is one of the few or just the only errors in the movie, Dolores fixes Eddie's collar and in another shot, it isn't fixed. This is because more of the plot was fleshed out and shot in California, instead of England.

The chalk sequence in which Doom squeeks a chalk, always got on me and my nephew's nerves as kids. What I didn't notice was that Doom used the amputee's sleeve to clean the board. My favorite scene is the reverse psychology use on Roger to drink his drink.

One indicator to later in the plot was Doom staying away from the dip. To the right, Roger and Eddie hop in the Toon Patrol car and find Benny the Cab. Roger was so thrilled but I was scratching my head. As a kid, Roger, Herman and Jessica were all new characters to all of us obviously so it was kinda exhausting to be this long into the movie (for a kid, minutes are longer) to discover yet another new character.

The short Goofy Gymnastics (1949) was used for the movie, even though it is set in 1947 because it is the only wacky Disney cartoon they could find for the movie. As for the pull in when Eddie reveals to Roger that his brother was killed by a toon, producers were afraid of moving the camera with a cartoon but they believe it all came out fine. I personally think it pulled out too fast, a bit like macromedia flash action.

When Roger was upset about a news reel, I never knew about news reel being shown in movie theaters when I was 7. It was interesting. As for the picture to the right, it is a classic death, what editors' dream to do to their boss with their old editor machines.

One of the producers said a woman said 'thank god' in a screening when Eddie poured out their drink. Everyone complains about the drinking, but as a kid, I found it more real. As for the tunnel, as a kid, I loved this scene but I wa shocked to find out it was a miniature tunnel. It looks pretty well.

Now I notice that the mushrooms look like Chinese stereotypes and on top of it, the controversial Tar Baby from the even more controversial Song of the South is to the far right. He has a sign that says 'Visit La Brea Tar Pits. ' I think it was supposed to be Brer instead of Brea.

Droopy Dog not only appeared in this movie but in some of the following Roger Rabbit shorts. And of course, the famous scary-looking Jessica-impersonating Lena Hyena (Toon Hag).

The door nob is the doornob from Alice in Wonderland and the writing on the wall says, "For good time call Allyson "Wonderland." The best is yet to be.

When Tweety is taking off Eddie's fingers, he looks so disinterested. And with Mickey and Bugs, many swear Bugs gave Mickey the middle finger but he is just twiddling his fingers. According to Wikipedia: For one frame in the middle of this, animator Dave Spafford claims that he deliberately drew Bugs as flipping Mickey off, and requested that the animator working on Mickey respond with a shocked expression.

other than the ending, a brief cameo of Porky Pig is to the left on an advertisement. And some say this silhouette who speaks to Eddie is Dick Tracy.

Where Jessica saved Eddie, Judge Doom ran away. I remember seeing this and thinking it wasn't Doom, I was confused and thought it was another character. I was aware enough to know it wasn't Christopher Lloyd. It was actually Ken Ralston, the visual effects supervisor. As for the scene to the right, Jessica's famous panty showing has been 'covered' on the DVD. What it basically was just skin-color, no actually vagina. When the DVD set was reissued in 2002--which is the one I have, the scene was reanimated so that a piece of Jessica's skirt strategically covers Jessica as she rolls down the hill.

One of the weasels reaches in to Jessica's breasts and finds a bear trap. Eddie called it a 'booby trap.' Lame pun but not so much for Disney, it's considered risque. Meanwhile, a classic look: a car driving a car. You don't even see that in Cars, where a car rides inside a truck.

When Jessica sees the Dip, the shot always freaked me out because of her exaggerated reaction. The animators mentioned how if humanoid characters did something un-characteristic, it would look horrific, which this does, we even see her nose. To the right is Eddie and Jessica's reaction to when Judge Doom says, "People will going off and on... off and on all day." Hilarious dirty innuendo.

In this final battle sequence, it gets tiring to see the dip 'almost' get Jessica and Roger about 2 to 3 times. One cool thing about Judge Doom that people don't know is that he originally was going to be the guy who killed Bambi's mother but of course, Disney didn't approve.

There was much debate if either the Frank Sinatra sword should be the old or young Frank, it was a reaction to caricatures of celebrities in early toons. As for the big reveal of Judge Doom, it always freaked me and the younger kids in family out. His squeeky voice still runs chills down my spine. When he would pop up walking, I knew it wasn't traditional animation when I first saw it--I was 6. Indeed it was stop-action animation.

This sequence where Judge Doom tries killing Eddie, it takes Beetlejuice territory and a bit too, I don't know what, even for the movie. When Doom dies, he says, "what a world, what a world' which supposedly the wicked witch in the Wizard of OZ said when she died similarly but I don't recall her really saying it.

This is a rare known fact that in the train that passes them that it contains different murders inside the windows. A toon is hanged, one commits suicide and various other killings occur.

The first toons of the horde of toons that appear at the end to appear first is Peter from Disney's Peter and the Wolf and various little woodlen critters.

Above: Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Bugs Bunny, Betty Boop, Daffy, Donald Duck, Baby Herman, Sylvester, Tweety, Bambi, Pinocchio, Pluto the dog, Dopey...

Yosemite Sam, Speedy Gonzales*, Wile E. Coyote*, The Road Runner*, Jose Carioca, The Singing Harp from Mickey and the Beanstalk, Koko the Clown, and Droopy Dog
* - denotes the characters were created after 1947.

Brer Bear, Woody Woodpecker, Hector the Bulldog, Big Bad Wolf, Snow White, Foghorn Leghorn, Marvin the Martian*, and the next picture: Clarabelle Cow. Look how Bugs Bunny looks mildly interested.

The Reluctant Dragon, Various Fantasia characters, and the Joker from Noveltoons.

From back in the center of the picture to the left, I see Sam Sheepdog*.

In the back, the guy in blue is Pete. Then even more confusingly, Porky comes up behind him in a similar blue outfit with hat. I remember seeing Porky Pig and Tinkerbell together and thought it all came full circle. Like I said before, it was a big event picture was happening and it was the coolest thing ever. Zemeckis says they added Tinkerbell for Michael Eisner because he said, "We are ending the picture with a Warner character?!" I still feel like Porky ended the picture.

This the 'test' done to see if the movie could be done and approved. One of the big wigs at Disney thought it was a guy in a costume. The first time I saw it, it freaked me out a bit.

To the left, an animation mistake, Roger disappears through the pole. As for Eddie, it is a stand-in actor.

They used rubber stand-ins for the characters for reference and then filmed it without them and those frames were used as backplates for the animators.

Charlie Fleischer, the voice of Roger famously dressed as Roger to 'go into the dressing room' like the other actors. Around the studio. they could hear people go, "did you see that guy in the rabbit suit? Who is going to see that movie?"

Famous Studio/Paramount characters Popeye, Bluto, Olive Oyl, Little Lulu, and Casper the Friendly Ghost, as well as Pat Sullivan's Felix the Cat and MGM's Tom & Jerry, were all scripted to appear, but the rights to the characters could not be obtained. Although, a photo of Felix shaking hands with R.K. Maroon is seen in Maroon's office when he first hires Eddie and Felix also appears as as the masks of tragedy and comedy on the entrance for Toon Town.