Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988) Poster


According to Robert Zemeckis, a major brewing company offered to pay to have their name visible on the liquor bottle, from which Roger drinks, early in the film. Zemeckis reminded them that Roger "turns into a steam whistle" after taking a shot, but the brewing company reps didn't care, apparently figuring that the publicity they would receive would be priceless. Ultimately, this product placement could not be included, as the film was being distributed by Touchstone Pictures (Disney).
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This movie marked the only time cartoon characters from Walt Disney and Warner Brothers appeared together on-screen.
The three ingredients of the dip that kills toons (turpentine, acetone, and benzene) are all paint thinners, which are used to remove animation from cels.
Bob Hoskins said that, for two weeks after seeing the movie, his young son wouldn't talk to him. When finally asked why, his son said he couldn't believe his father would work with cartoon characters such as Bugs Bunny and not let him meet them.
Since the movie was being made by Disney (Touchstone Pictures), Warner Brothers would only allow the use of their biggest toon stars, Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck, if they got an equal amount of screentime as Disney's biggest stars, Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. Because of this, both sets of characters are always together in frame when on the screen.
With an estimated production budget of seventy million dollars at the time of its release, this was the most expensive film produced in the 1980s, and had the longest on-screen credits for a film.
The first test audience was comprised mostly of eighteen and nineteen-year-olds, who hated it. After nearly the entire audience walked out of the screening, Robert Zemeckis, who had final cut, said he wasn't changing a thing.
Jessica Rabbit's speaking voice was performed by Kathleen Turner, and her singing voice was performed by Amy Irving. Both were uncredited.
When Eddie takes Roger Rabbit into the back room at the bar, where Dolores works, to cut apart the handcuffs, the lamp from the ceiling is bumped and swinging. Lots of extra work was needed to make the shadows match between the actual room shots and the animation. Today, "Bump the Lamp" is a term used by many Disney employees to refer to going that extra mile on an effect just to make it a little more special, even though most audience members will never notice it.
When the toon train hits the Dip Machine, each window of the train shows a murder or death taking place (if viewed frame-by-frame).
Every frame of the movie which featured a mixture of animation and live-action had to be printed up as a still photograph. An animator would then draw the particular illustration for that frame on tracing paper set on top of the photo. The outline drawing then had to be hand-colored. Once that was done, the drawing had to be composited back into the original frame using an optical printer.
On the Special Edition DVD, Robert Zemeckis recounts that he had stated in a newspaper interview that Bill Murray was his and Executive Producer Steven Spielberg's original choice for the role of Eddie Valiant, but neither could get in contact with him in time. Bill Murray, in turn, has stated that when he read the interview, he was in a public place, but he still screamed his lungs out, because he would have definitely accepted the role.
Tim Curry auditioned for the role of Judge Doom, but he gave a performance that Robert Zemeckis, Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg, and Michael Eisner all found quite terrifying.
To give Jessica's ample bosom an unusual bounce, her Supervising Animator Russell Hall reversed the natural up-down movements of her breasts as she walked. They bounce up, when a real woman's breasts bounce down and vice versa.
Although the film's title is a question, no question mark appears in the title, as this is considered bad luck in the industry.
Another scene that came about by accident was when Roger and Eddie Valiant arrive at Maroon Studios to interrogate Mr. Maroon. As Bob Hoskins delivered his lines, he looked straight ahead, instead of down at a three-foot rabbit. The animators decided to have Roger stand on tiptoe against the wall to cover up the gaffe.
Pay close attention to Christopher Lloyd's performance as Judge Doom. In every shot where he's not wearing his shades, he never blinks.
The movie's line "I'm not bad. I'm just drawn that way." was voted as the #83 of "The 100 Greatest Movie Lines" by Premiere in 2007.
Several voice actors make cameos as the voice of the character(s) they have played before. These are Tony Anselmo (Donald Duck), Wayne Allwine (Mickey Mouse), and Mel Blanc (Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Sylvester, and Tweety Bird). But most noticeable is Mae Questel as Betty Boop. Mae did Betty's voice from 1930 until the character was retired in 1939. Mae Questel then became Popeye the Sailor's girlfriend, Olive Oyl.
Bob Hoskins claimed that Jessica Rabbit was not yet sketched by the animators when filming wrapped, and he had no idea what the character would look like. Robert Zemeckis told Hoskins to imagine his ideal sexual fantasy. Hoskins claimed that his mental image was less risqué than what Jessica looked like in the completed film.
John Cleese expressed interest in playing Judge Doom, but Steven Spielberg and Robert Zemeckis refused, because they thought nobody would take a former member of Monty Python seriously as a sadistic villain.
In the original VHS release, when Eddie and Jessica are thrown out of the car, you can see for a few short frames that Jessica was not wearing any underwear. This was edited out in all future versions for obvious reasons.
Judge Doom's master plan to dismantle the Red Car trolley is based in fact. Private corporations conspired to eliminate public transit in the late 1940s and 1950s in order to generate demand for automobiles and ancillary industries to keep said automobiles running.
The proposed route for Judge Doom's freeway is the same one Interstate 10 follows through Los Angeles.
Three hundred twenty-six animators worked full-time on the film. In total, eighty-two thousand eighty frames of animation were drawn. Including storyboards and concept art. Animation Director Richard Williams estimates that well over one million drawings were done for the movie.
The Ink and Paint Club's policy of only letting toons onto the premises as entertainers and employees, not as customers, is a reference to numerous "segregated" venues during the mid twentieth century, such as Harlem's Cotton Club. The venue was located in an African-American neighborhood, the performers and staff were African-American, and the shows often had pandering jungle themes, but only white people were allowed in as customers.
To get the feel of acting with cartoon characters, Bob Hoskins studied his three-year-old daughter playing with her imaginary friends.
For this movie, Animation Director Richard Williams set out to break three rules that previously were conventions for combining live-action and animation: first, move the camera as much as possible so the Toons don't look pasted on flat backgrounds; second, use lighting and shadows to an extreme that was never before attempted; third, have the Toons interact with real-world objects and people as much as possible.
The Red Car trolley is still sitting in the boneyard at the Florida Disney Studio in 2010.
Initially, there were to be seven weasels (Greasy, Sleazy, Wheezy, Smartass, Psycho, Stupid, and Slimy) to parody the seven dwarfs.
Animation Director Richard Williams strove for three things while creating this film's animation: Warner Brothers' Looney Tunes-type characters; Disney-quality animation, and Tex Avery-style humor, "but not so brutal".
The truck full of bowling balls, pianos, et cetera, into which Eddie Valiant crashes, when he returns to Toontown is labelled, "ACME Overused Gags".
Jessica Rabbit was based exactly on four movie femme fatales. Writer Gary K. Wolf had based Jessica primarily on the cartoon character Red, Tex Avery's vixen from Red Hot Riding Hood (1943). (In fact, the musical number in Red Hot Riding Hood (1943) is duplicated by Jessica at the Ink and Paint Club.) In addition, Animation Director Richard Williams said he based Jessica mostly on Rita Hayworth in Gilda (1946), Veronica Lake for the peek-a-boo bangs of her hair, and, at the suggestion of Robert Zemeckis, "the look" trademark of Lauren Bacall.
The song at the end of the film, "Smile, Darn Ya, Smile," was recorded by most of the film's animators doing their best character voices.
The gag of the toon pelican falling off his bicycle came about by accident. Originally, the pelican would have ridden straight past the camera, but the effects technicians were unable to keep the bike upright. The filmmakers decided to let the bicycle fall and animate the pelican losing his balance.
The case where Valiant keeps his cartoon gun is inscribed "Thanks for getting me out of the Hoosegow - Yosemite Sam".
During filming, Charles Fleischer delivered Roger Rabbit's lines off-camera in full Roger costume including rabbit ears, yellow gloves, and orange cover-alls. During breaks when he was in costume, other staff at the studios would see him and make comments about the poor caliber of the effects in the "rabbit movie".
Robert Zemeckis keeps the stop-motion model of the flattened Judge Doom in his office.
Benny the Cab drives across a bridge while being pursued by the Weasels. It's the "Hyperion Bridge", which crosses a freeway near the old Disney Studio down in Hollywood, which they occupied before they built the one in Burbank (around 1939).
The tunnel, through which Valiant drives, to reach Toon Town, is the same tunnel used for Back to the Future Part II (1989)'s hoverboard versus Biff's Ford chase. Robert Zemeckis also directed that film in which Christopher Lloyd also starred, plus Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988) composer Alan Silvestri, also composed the music.
Famous characters Popeye, Bluto, Olive Oyl, Superman, 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 in a scene revolving around Marvin Acme's funeral, but the rights to the characters could not be obtained in time, although a photo of Felix shaking hands with R.K. Maroon is seen in Maroon's office when he first hires Eddie.
The password ("Walt sent me") to enter the "Ink and Paint Club" refers to Walt Disney.
Joel Silver's cameo as the director of the Baby Herman cartoon was a prank on Disney Chief Michael Eisner by Robert Zemeckis and Steven Spielberg. Eisner and Silver hated each other from their days at Paramount Pictures in the early 1980s, particularly after the difficulties involved in making 48 Hrs. (1982). Silver shaved off his beard, paid his own expenses, and kept his name out of all initial cast sheets. When Eisner was told, after the movie was complete, who was playing the director, Silver was nearly unrecognizable, he reportedly shrugged and said, "He was pretty good."
Roger Rabbit is described (design-wise) as having a "Warners face", a "Disney body", a "Tex Avery attitude", Goofy's overalls, Mickey Mouse's gloves, and Porky Pig's bowtie. Richard Williams says he based his Roger color model on the American flag (red overalls, white body, blue tie) so that "everyone would subliminally like it".
To convince the Disney and Amblin executives that they could make the movie, the filmmakers shot a short test involving Roger bumping into some crates in an alley and then getting picked up by a version of Valiant played by Joe Pantoliano (this test can be seen in the Behind the Ears: The True Story of Roger Rabbit (2003) documentary on the Vista Series DVD). After viewing the test, several of the Disney executives were convinced they had seen a traditional "man-in-a-suit" gag with added animation. They couldn't believe it when they were told that it was one hundred percent animation.
Robert Zemeckis used the "Benny the Cab" go-kart during the production of Back to the Future Part III (1990). In some shots for the scene where Marty is dragged by the horse, Michael J. Fox was actually being dragged by the Benny go-kart.
During production, one of the biggest challenges faced by the makers of the film was how to get the cartoon characters to realistically interact with real on-set props. This was ultimately accomplished in two different ways. Certain props (such as Baby Herman's cigar or the plates Roger smashes over his head) were moved on-set via motion control machines hooked up to an operator, who would move the objects in exactly the desired manner. Then, in post-production, the character was simply drawn over the machine. The other way of doing it was by using puppeteers. This is most clearly seen in the scene in the "Ink & Paint Club". The glasses held by the octopus bartender were in fact being controlled by puppeteers from above, while the trays carried by the penguin waiters were on sticks being controlled from below, the wires and the sticks were simply removed in post-production, and the characters added in.
Judge Doom picks up a record and reads its label: "The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down". Then he says, "quite a loony selection for a bunch of drunken reprobates." The song "The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down" is the familiar theme song for the Looney Tunes cartoons.
There were over forty drafts of the script, including drafts that had either Jessica Rabbit or Baby Herman as the villain.
Disney's Bonkers Bobcat was created because Amblin Entertainment, co-owner of all of the characters created for this movie, refused to allow Disney to produce a television series incorporating characters from the film. At the time, Amblin was working with Warner Brothers on the animated series Tiny Toon Adventures (1990) and Animaniacs (1993).
At the movie theater where Eddie tells Roger his backstory, the short being played is Goofy Gymnastics (1949), which came out two years after the film takes place. Crew members claimed to have chosen this particular short, despite its anachronism, because it was the zaniest thing they could find in the Disney Vault.
In the original novel, Baby Herman is thirty. In the film, he is fifty. The line "I got a thirty-year-old lust and a three-year-old dinky", is lifted directly from the novel.
The tunnel leading to Toontown is located at Griffith Park (near Los Angeles), and is frequently used in movies, and for television, as a generic tunnel.
The piano duet between Donald Duck and Daffy Duck was storyboarded by Richard Williams and Chuck Jones, who was working as a consultant. Williams drew Donald, while Jones drew Daffy.
Full-size rubber models of Roger Rabbit were used as stand-ins, so that the human actors and actresses could get a feeling for the size and shape of their imaginary co-star.
The piece played by Daffy Duck and Donald Duck, in the Ink & Paint Club, is the Second Hungarian Rhapsody by Franz Liszt, a piece featured in numerous cartoons, including the Oscar winning Tom & Jerry cartoon, The Cat Concerto (1947), and the Bugs Bunny cartoon, Rhapsody Rabbit (1946).
Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote, who briefly appear in the final "roll call" shot, actually had not been created at the time the movie was set (1947). The characters were given a small cameo anyway at the insistence of Steven Spielberg.
This film and Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) are the only films under the Touchstone Pictures label that are considered official Disney films.
One of the photos in Roger's wallet is of him and Jessica dining at the Brown Derby. The caricatures on the walls are of some of the filmmakers, including Robert Zemeckis, Richard Williams, and Steven Spielberg, as well as one of Mickey Mouse.
During production, there was disagreement over the way the Looney Tunes characters should look. Warner Brothers wanted the filmmakers to use the characters as they appeared in their merchandising at the time, while the producers insisted on having the characters looking the way they had looked at the time period where the film is set, the mid to late 1940s. Dummy footage using the modern designs was sent to Warner Brothers for approval, while the animators used the period-appropriate designs in the actual film.
Some scenes in the taxi actually contain an animated Eddie Valiant, instead of live-action footage of Bob Hoskins.
HIDDEN MICKEY: Before Eddie begins to juggle, he holds the three black bombs in a manner that mimics Mickey Mouse's head.
Eddie Valiant's initial thirty second stroll through Maroon Cartoon Studios was so complex, that it involved over one hundred eighty individual elements, that when assembled with the film pieces, created stacks eight feet in height.
Richard Williams jokingly described the Ink & Paint Club (which has never existed) as the place Walt Disney discovered the penguin waiters to use in his film Mary Poppins (1964).
Bob Hoskins had to do a lot of his acting in front of a greenscreen, only visualizing the cartoon characters that were added later. In a 1988 interview for Danish television, he said, "I had to learn to hallucinate to do it. After doing it for six months, for sixteen hours a day, I lost control of it, and sort of had weasels and rabbits popping out of the wall at me." Hoskins didn't take another job for a year.
A list of the classic cartoon cameos in the film (which is supposed to be set in 1947, though quite a few post-1947 characters appear), grouped by studio: Warner Brothers (Looney Tunes): Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Tweety, Sylvester, Yosemite Sam, Foghorn Leghorn, Marvin the Martian, Road Runner, Wile E. Coyote, Marc Anthony the bulldog from Feed the Kitty (1952), Sam the Sheepdog from Don't Give Up the Sheep (1953), and Speedy Gonzales. Max Fleischer and Paramount: Koko the Clown (Out of the Inkwell (1919)) and Betty Boop. Walter Lantz: Woody Woodpecker. MGM: Droopy.
Eddie Murphy revealed on Inside the Actors Studio (1994) that he turned down the role of Eddie Valiant. He regrets that decision.
Screenwriters Jeffrey Price and Peter S. Seaman admired Chinatown (1974). There were two sequels planned to that film; the first was The Two Jakes (1990), which was eventually made. The second was to be about corruption in Los Angeles when the streetcar system was undermined, and freeways were built to replace them. It was to be called "Cloverleaf". Although it is an animated comedy, Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988) pretty much tells the story that would have been covered in the never-filmed, post-noir sequel.
Sir Christopher Lee turned down the role of Judge Doom. Lee has the same first name as Christopher Lloyd, who played Judge Doom.
Screenwriters Jeffrey Price and Peter S. Seaman first adapted the Gary K. Wolf novel, "Who Censored Roger Rabbit?", in 1981, with a view to making it with up-and-coming Director Robert Zemeckis. However, when Disney viewed Zemeckis' two feature films, I Wanna Hold Your Hand (1978) and Used Cars (1980), they felt that he wasn't talented enough to pull off the movie. But after he made Romancing the Stone (1984) and Back to the Future (1985), Disney reconsidered, and the movie was green-lit.
Lena Hyena, the hideously ugly toon whom Eddie mistakes for Jessica Rabbit in Toontown, is based on the creation of the same name by artist Basil Wolverton. She was first conceived in 1946 for a contest by Al Capp to depict "the world's ugliest woman" to be featured in his "Lil' Abner" comic strip.
Judge Doom originally had a vulture on his shoulder, and seven weasels accompanying him, rather like the Seven Dwarfs. He ended up only having five. He was also to have a jury of kangaroos, as in "Kangaroo Court". These elements were all dropped, because animating these extra characters would be too costly.
An elaborate funeral scene for Marvin Acme, set at the famous Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, was discarded from the shooting script in pre-production. It came complete with Foghorn Leghorn delivering the eulogy, and the Harvey Toons jack-in-the-box logo springing out of Acme's casket to the tune of "Pop Goes the Weasel", with a giant funeral wreath attached; also in this scene, were many cartoon cameos that were eventually cut, including Casper the Friendly Ghost (who eventually sends everyone fleeing), Tom & Jerry, Screwy Squirrel, Superman and Lois Lane, Felix the Cat, Chip and Dale, Baby Huey, Mighty Mouse, Crusader Rabbit, Little Lulu, Popeye, Olive Oyl, Bluto, Wimpy, Heckle and Jeckle, Cinderella, Alice, the White Rabbit, the Mad Hatter, the March Hare, Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, Peter Pan and Wendy, Herman and Catnip, and Little Audrey amongst others.
Felix the Cat's face appears as the masks of tragedy and comedy on the keystone of the entrance to Toontown.
Judge Doom was originally going to have an animated pet vulture that sat on his shoulder, but that idea was dropped in the interest of saving time. However, the vulture later resurfaced with Judge Doom, when a bendable action figure was produced.
Kathleen Turner was nine months pregnant when she recorded the voice of Jessica Rabbit.
A brief sequence was prepared to test the techniques used to combine live-action with animation. The footage, which showed Eddie Valiant (played by Joe Pantoliano) walking in an alley with Roger Rabbit, touched on all the challenges expected of the production, shading on the cartoon characters, interaction with the live-action cast members and environment, matching with the constantly moving camera, et cetera. The brief, one-minute film, budgeted at one hundred thousand dollars, convinced the filmmakers that the effects could create the illusion of cartoons and live cast members occupying the same reality.
Robin Williams was considered for the role of Judge Doom. He was also considered to play Eddie Valiant.
The crowd scenes at the beginning of the Toontown sequence consist mostly of animation from previous Disney films. (Re-using animation was a common practice for Disney up until the early 1990s.)
Wallace Shawn was considered for the role of Eddie Valiant.
Before he was the official voice of Goofy, Bill Farmer had his first job as a voice over artist singing ensemble for the closing song, "Smile, Darn Ya, Smile!". He snuck in the voice of Goofy during this song.
A prequel with the working title "Toon Platoon" never got out of the developmental stage.
Richard Williams fell in love with the character of ("adult") Baby Herman, and insisted on animating pratically every frame of this character himself.
In the documentary Behind the Ears: The True Story of Roger Rabbit (2003), Bob Hoskins refers (jokingly) to Charles Fleischer as "completely nuts". This is likely due to Fleischer's insistence upon wearing a Roger Rabbit suit while voicing the character live on the set, despite reminders that he would never be on-camera himself.
Robert Zemeckis wanted to use the Robert Clampett version of Daffy Duck, but Chuck Jones wanted to use his version of the character, and had personally disliked Clampett. Zemeckis had his way, and this was one of the main factors in Jones' stated distaste for the film.
The film's original budget was projected at fifty million dollars, which Walt Disney Productions felt was too expensive. The film was finally green-lit when the budget decreased to thirty million dollars. However, when the film's shooting schedule lasted longer than originally expected, the budget escalated until it reached seventy million dollars.
Paul Reubens was considered for the role of Roger Rabbit.
Originally, when Lena Hyena caught Eddie in her arms, as she kissed him, she was to stick her tongue in his ear and it would come out through the other ear, it was cut, because they didn't want too many cartoonish things happening to him.
To create the animation, over eighty-five thousand hand-inked and painted cels were created and composited with the live-action backdrops, live-action characters, and hand-animated tone mattes (shading), and cast shadows using optical film printers. No computer animation was used in creating the animations. Some scenes involved up to one hundred individual film elements. Any live-action that had to be later composited was shot in VistaVision to take advantage of the double-area frame of the horizontal 35mm format. The finished film thus does not suffer from the increased grain that plagued previous live-action and animation combos, such as Mary Poppins (1964).
The bottle of chili sauce falling in the opening cartoon had to be re-animated several times, as British animators used the UK spelling "chilli".
The photograph that Eddie takes of Marvin Acme and Jessica playing "patty-cake" was created during pre-production, and features an earlier design of Jessica, than the one that is used in the final character animation. The one shot that was re-done to incorporate the new Jessica design, was the insert shot of the picture after it is first developed.
Exteriors of the Maroon Cartoon Studios were shot at Ren-Mar Studios in Hollywood, California, formerly the home of Desilu Productions.
Given the extraordinary process of making this film, shooting the live-action first, then the animation, which took twice as long, there were little-to-no options in the editing of the final composite. This, coupled with the fact that animation could not begin until all of the dialogue was recorded, practically meant finishing the film before it was finished. This also ruled out alternate takes or re-shoots, since the animation for alternate scenes would have been too expensive, and the animation had already been completed for any scenes that the filmmakers might have wanted to film again. As such, cutting even part of a scene for timing, meant that the entire scene had to be taken out, animation and all.
A list of the classic cartoon cameos in the film (which is supposed to be set in 1947, though quite a few post-1947 characters appear), grouped by studio: Disney: Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Pluto, Donald Duck, Goofy, Pegleg Pete, Horace Horsecollar, Clarabell Cow, the merry dwarfs from The Merry Dwarfs (1929), the flowers and trees from Flowers and Trees (1932), the Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf from Three Little Pigs (1933), Peter Pig from The Wise Little Hen (1934), Toby Tortoise, Max Hare, and the girl bunnies from The Tortoise and the Hare (1935), Mickey's orphans from Orphan's Benefit (1934), Little Red Riding Hood from The Big Bad Wolf (1934), Jenny Wren from Who Killed Cock Robin? (1935), Elmer Elephant from Elmer Elephant (1936), Snow White, all seven dwarfs, and the Old Hag/Witch from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), Wynken, Blynken, and Nod from Wynken, Blynken & Nod (1938), Ferdinand the bull from Ferdinand the Bull (1938), Pinocchio and Jiminy Cricket from Pinocchio (1940), the broomsticks, the cupids, the baby Pegasuses, an ostrich, and a hippo from Fantasia (1940), the Reluctant Dragon and Sir Giles from The Reluctant Dragon (1941), Dumbo, Mrs. Jumbo, Casey, Jr., and the crows (as Jessica's backing band in the Ink & Paint Club) from Dumbo (1941), Bambi from Bambi (1942), Chicken Little from Chicken Little (1943), Jose Carioca from Saludos Amigos (1942), Monte the pelican from The Pelican and the Snipe (1944), Peter from the "Peter and the Wolf" segment of Make Mine Music (1946), Br'er Bear, the groundhogs, and the Tar Baby from Song of the South (1946), the singing harp from the "Mickey and the Beanstalk" segment of Fun & Fancy Free (1947), the animals from The Legend of Johnny Appleseed (1948), Danny the lamb from So Dear to My Heart (1948), Mr. Toad and his horse Cyril from The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1949), Tinker Bell from Peter Pan (1953), Maleficent's goons from Sleeping Beauty (1959), and the penguins from Mary Poppins (1964).
Four phrases appear in this film and Zemeckis' previous film, Back to the Future (1985): "Didn't hear you come in", "You're a sight for sore eyes", "I'm gonna ram him", and (referring to a piece of land) "As far as the eye can see". The latter was said in both films by Christopher Lloyd (Judge Doom).
The animation production was done mostly in England at Richard Williams' studio. Some fill-in work and production on the "Toontown" sequence was done in Los Angeles.
Sting was considered for the role of Judge Doom.
Peter Renaday auditioned for the role of Eddie Valiant. In the test footage with an animated Jessica Rabbit (animated by Darrell Van Citters), he resembled Eddie as he appeared in the books: slender and with a beard.
When panning over the newspaper articles on Eddie's desk of past cases he and his brother worked on, one heading reads "Mayor Mouse Awards ..... Toontown," indicating that Mickey Mouse is the mayor of Toontown.
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Because Mel Blanc was in his late 70s during production, he was no longer able to properly perform the voice of Yosemite Sam, which was provided by Joe Alaskey. This makes Alaskey the only credited voice actor to have replaced Blanc as a Looney Tunes character during Blanc's lifetime, and Alaskey would later become a recurring non-consistent Looney Tunes voice actor up until his own death in 2016 (none of those times were reprising Yosemite Sam).
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Based on Robert Towne's story for the third J.J. "Jake" Gittes (Jack Nicholson) movie, this film has several parallels to Chinatown (1974): Both films begin with the detective being hired to investigate an infidelity case. Both result in one of the targets of that investigation (Hollis Mulwray, R.K. Maroon) being killed. In both films, the real guilty party is a public official (Noah Cross, Judge Doom), who hoped to gain control of a public utility (water, transportation). Just as Jake is haunted by a tragedy that took place in Chinatown, Eddie lost his brother in Toontown.
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Christopher Lloyd compared his part as Judge Doom to his previous role as Klingon Commander Kruge in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984), both being overly evil characters, which he considered being "fun to play". Lloyd avoided blinking his eyes while on-camera, in order to perfectly portray the character.
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Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner also appear silhouetted on the elevator door as it goes up.
This was Stubby Kaye's (Marvin Acme's) final film before his death on December 14, 1997 at the age of seventy-nine.
Robert Redford, Harrison Ford, Sylvester Stallone, Jack Nicholson, and Ed Harris were considered for the role of Eddie Valiant.
Visual Effects Supervisor Ken Ralston donned the Judge Doom costume for the scene where Eddie Valiant shoots cartoon bullets at Doom in Toontown, as Doom runs away from Valiant.
An exposure sheet (a chart for keeping track of the drawings to be shot for animation) can be seen in R.K. Maroon's desk. The exposure sheet can also be seen clinging to Eddie Valiant as Roger jumps up screaming after drinking scotch in Maroon's office.
Among the song selections on the Acme "Select-a-Tune" (the device, to which Eddie "sings", in order to make the weasels laugh themselves to death) are "Jolson Medley", "Merry-Go-Round Broke Down", "Broadway Selection", and "Mickey's Melody".
Surprisingly very little merchandise was made for this film. Only a few small plastic figures of Roger, The Weasels and Baby Herman where made, able to be purchased from selected video rental stores at the time of the movie's release on home video.
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Chuck Jones received a credit as "animation consultant", but disavowed the movie forever after, complaining that there was something wrong with a movie where the live-action hero got more sympathy than the animated-cartoon star did.
The Pacific Electric "Red Cars" are actually rubber-tired replicas of an original electric car from the Orange Empire Railway Museum. The "tracks" were simply metal strips added to the pavement.
The stove in the animated opening has the brand name Hotternell, a play on the phrase "hotter than hell".
Steven Spielberg's first choice for Eddie Valiant was Harrison Ford, but his price was too high.
While the film was very well received by critics, it has not been without detractors, especially, and surprisingly, among actual Golden Age veterans and fans. Chuck Jones, in particular, who worked on the film, ended up loathing the final product. He called it an obnoxious, witless misunderstanding of the old cartoons it set out to honor, and he even accused Robert Zemeckis of robbing Richard Williams of any creative input, and for apparently ruining the piano sequence that he and Williams had planned together. Cartoon historian Michael Barrier derided the animation direction as "disastrous", and Frank Thomas of Disney's Nine Old Men was strongly disappointed in Richard Williams' failure to have any actual pathos come from the main character himself. John Kricfalusi has also not spoken highly of it, thinking that it had "great animators" but was "misdirected", "filled with takes and zany movement, but no character or wit."
Unusual for an optical effects-heavy production of the 1980s, this film used no matte paintings. Robert Zemeckis comments, "You name an effect, and we have it somewhere in the film. When we realized we were missing only one type, we thought maybe we should do a matte painting just for the hell of it, but in the end, we decided against it."
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In the original take for the scene where Eddie and Roger run from Judge Doom and the Weasels at the bar, Roger said "Come on Eddie, we've got to get the hell out of here!" This was to be the only time Roger cursed in the film. For unknown reasons, in the final cut, the line was changed to "Come on Eddie, we've got to get out of here!"
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While most of Donald Duck's lines were recorded by Tony Anselmo (the character's official voice since 1985), an archival recording of the late Clarence Nash was also used for the beginning of the scene where Donald competes with Daffy Duck. Only Anselmo is credited in the finished film.
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Orginally, during the piano duel between Donald Duck and Daffy Duck, Animator David Spafford snuck in a frame of Daffy using a dead baby as a prop, with which to play the piano, in addition to the rubber chickens, the baby was later removed at Richard Williams insistence.
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Bob Hoskins was cast as Eddie Valiant largely due to his acclaimed performance in the crime drama, Mona Lisa (1986). Ironically, the previous film includes a scene where Hoskins buys a white rabbit in a pet shop, to give to his boss, played by Michael Caine.
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The second time Marvin Acme appears on-screen, there is a piece of paper in front of him on the table, presumably the will, that has disappeared by the third time he appears on-screen. Consistent with the ink stain on Eddie's shirt, the ink on the will returns at the same time.
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First live-action and traditional animation hybrid Disney film to be rated PG by the MPAA, mainly due to its adult based content and situations. It would've been PG-13 if it came out after the 1980s, when the MPAA got stricter about the themes that this film has to offer.
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Bob Hoskins (Eddie Valiant) and Charles Fleischer (Roger Rabbit) voiced the character "Boris Goosnivov" in the Balto film trilogy. Hoskins voiced Boris in the original, and Fleischer voiced him in the sequels.
Alan Tilvern's (R.K. Maroon's) last film before his death in December 2003.
This, and Daffy Duck's Quackbusters (1988) were the last appearances by Mel Blanc, as he died a year after this film's release.
Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
Being the one who voiced Mrs. Herman as the film opens, and Baby Herman, who are all on a set in a "Roger Rabbit" cartoon, this film was where April Winchell did her first voice.
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In addition to a negative test screening that unfazed Robert Zemeckis, an "experimental" teaser trailer was test-marketed several months prior to its release to similarly dismal response. Bob Levin, President of marketing at Buena Vista, was so horrified to overhear one audience member compare the teaser to Howard the Duck (1986), that the trailer was discarded without evaluation of the scores.
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Marks the second live action film to feature Experienced Voice Actor Jim Cummings voice acting in a Live Action film. His first one was The Garbage Pail Kids Movie (1987) released one year prior, and his next three in the next three decades would later be Babe: Pig in the City (1998), Small Soldiers (1998), and Christopher Robin (2018).
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June Foray's first time voice acting in a Live Action Film. Her next 3 films in the next 2 decades would later be Space Jam (1996), The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle (2000) and Looney Tunes: Back in Action (2003).
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Roddy McDowall was considered for the role of Judge Doom.
Originally, during Roger's song-and-dance number at the bar when he says ''Who's your tailor, Quasimodo?" he was to do an impression of a hunchback, but the editors cut the scene.
Terry Gilliam was initially offered the job of directing this movie, but turned it down because he considered it "conceptually inauthentic to use the Looney Tunes genre/character stable as a springboard for a variation on the Howard the Duck (1986) story."
Lou Rawls was the original voice for Benny, until Phillip Stahl, who voiced Roger, Greasy, and Psycho, got the role.
This film's plot is a spoof/homage of Chinatown. Actor Bruce Glover appeared in that film, while his son, Crispin Glover, appeared in Robert Zemeckis's previous film, Back to the Future.
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Richard Williams The animation director also provides the voice of Droopy.
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Invisible ink appear in this film and another Steven Spielberg production, Young Sherlock Holmes (1985). Also, both films have a scene where the lead character or characters go to a club or tavern and someone behind a grill or slot reluctantly admits them, and than violently ejects them. The exotic clientele also recalls Spielberg's Indiana Jones films. Also, Sherlock Holmes and Eddie Valiant get almost an exact same line, "I'm/we're on the verge of wrapping up/cracking this case."
The scene shot in the theater with the organ was shot in England, specifically the State Cinema (a grade II listed building) in Grays, Essex.
Eddie Deezen, who worked with Robert Zemeckis on I Wanna Hold Your Hand (1978), was to do the voice of Roger before Phillip Stahl got the role.
Despite the fact that this was filmed in VistaVision, and in the standard spherical format, "Filmed in Panavision" is listed in the end credits.
Tony Pope, who voiced Goofy and the Big Bad Wolf in this film, was born the year that this film takes place: 1947.
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Christopher Lloyd (Judge Doom) and Kathleen Turner (Jessica Rabbit) appeared in Baby Geniuses (1999).
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The microwave that Baby Herman turns on is manufactured by "Hotternell," which sounds like "Hotter'n'Hell."
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Eddie Deezen was considered for the role of Roger Rabbit.
Charles Grodin was considered for the role of Eddie Valiant.
Don Lane auditioned for Eddie Valiant.
The film takes place in 1947, as clearly indicated towards the beginning of the movie.
When Valiant confronts Maroon and sprays him with a seltzer bottle, a Roger Rabbit poster can be seen in the background.
Bill Murray was originally going to play Eddie Valiant before Bob Hoskins got the role. They starred in Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties (2006) as the voices of Garfield and Winston, respectively.
This film contains Disney and Warner Brothers cartoon characters. Disney went on to produce Marvel comic movies. Warner Brothers continued to produce DC movies.
Detective Eddie Valiant and Sherlock Holmes in Young Sherlock Holmes (1985) use a magnifying glass.

Director Trademark 

Robert Zemeckis: [keyhole] Bob Hoskins looks through a keyhole in the Toontown sequence.


The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

In one of the early versions of the script, Judge Doom was revealed to be the one who killed Bambi (1942)'s mother.
There are numerous clues to the fact that Judge Doom is a toon. 1 - Despite Dip being harmless to live-action humans, Doom always wears gloves when demonstrating it. 2 - His waxy skin, fake Adam's Apple, and oversized teeth. 3 - His cloak is always blowing with a slight breeze, even when indoors, a common cartoon villain staple. 4 - His stiff, exaggerated movements resemble that of a toon. 5 - Getting around quickly in a toony sort of way. 6 - Wearing his clothes well, with no exposed skin showing around his body. 7- The fact that he jumped out of the way when The Dip was tipped over when Roger Rabbit had a drink and went ballistic. 8- He was not in any pain after being shot by the gun Jessica had in Toontown, being able to get away easily unharmed.
The weasel's names are not mentioned in the film. They are Smart Ass (who is the leader with the hat), Psycho (in the straight jacket and spiky hair), Stupid (in the striped shirt), Greasy (the "suave" one in green with the Hispanic accent and dark skin), and Wheezy (the blue smoker).
Christopher Lloyd figured that Doom was a toon when he read the introduction of his character in the script, and it was stated that Doom never blinks.
The opening track on the Sting album "...Nothing Like the Sun", the song "The Lazarus Heart" was originally written as the movie's musical finale, at an early stage of the movie's production when the book's tragic ending, where Roger is killed in the crossfire during the final duel, was still in the script. When the studio ordered its default ending to be used at the film's end, in which Roger is alive at the end of the duel, however, the song was deleted from the script and ended up on Sting's album instead.
One of the scripts called for Eddie to become a toon for the Toontown sequence. The scene was produced, but not used, causing the animators given the scene to waste a reported seven weeks of work. (They still got paid for it though.)
One of two films released in 1988 in which the main villain is run over with a steamroller and survives, the other being A Fish Called Wanda (1988).
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In the first scene that takes place in R.K. Maroon's office, there is a poster of a character named Pistol Packin' Possum holding a long gun. The gun is always pointing in Maroon's direction, "foreshadowing" his death later in the film. Coincidentally, the Pistol Packin' Possum character sports the same "burnin' red eyes" as toon Judge Doom, as well as the same gun used to kill Maroon.
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Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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