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Who Framed Roger Rabbit General Discussion

Steve Arino

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Hello Everyone,

I'd like to start a General Discussion on one of my all-time favorite movies: the hit '80s Box Office juggernaut "Who Framed Roger Rabbit."

For those of you unfamiliar with the film, here's the Inside Information.

"Who Framed Roger Rabbit" was released theatrically on June 24, 1988 on a $50 million budget, eventually grossing just shy of $330 million in the U.S. Domestic Box Office alone; growing up, I always thought it was conceived as a film, but in recent years, I learned that the movie was actually based on a book by author Gary Wolf called "Who Censored Roger Rabbit," a book which was much different than "Who Framed Roger Rabbit." Among other differences from book to film: Roger Rabbit is Murdered, and his "Double" (Toon speak for Doppleganger) hires Eddie Valiant to investigate his own Murder; Jessica, his wife, didn't marry Roger for love, but rather Money; and there was no Judge Doom in the book, along with the fact the original book is set in the Present.

Shortly after the book's 1981 Publication by St. Martin's Press, The Walt Disney Company (then Walt Disney Productions) purchased the movie rights to the book, the rights of which sat on the shelf for several years with a Script written by the duo of Jeff Price and Pete Seaman; after Walt's son-in-law, Ron Miller, was Ousted as Disney Chairman and CEO, Mike Eisner became Ron's successor at Disney, and helped revive the Script for what eventually became "Who Framed Roger Rabbit," hiring Steven Spielberg to produce the film for Disney under Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment banner, with Spielberg's ally Bob Zemeckis (fresh from his success for Universal Pictures' "Back to the Future") directing the film; the men eventually hired British actor Bob Hoskins to portray Eddie Valiant, with Hoskins adopting an American accent for his Valiant portrayal.

Joining Hoskins in the cast were Charlie Fleischer as Roger Rabbit, Kathleen Turner as Roger's wife, Jessica, and Christopher Lloyd as Judge Doom, to name a bunch of other cast members; filming commenced on December 5, 1986 at Elstree Studios in Hertfordshire, England, with filming culminating on March 28, 1987, followed by more than a year in Post-Production where the cartoons were interspersed with the Live-Action Actors, treating Toons as if they were Human.

"Who Framed Roger Rabbit" made its world debut on June 21, 1988, with Disney releasing the film under both the Walt Disney Feature Animation and Touchstone Pictures banners, with Walt Disney Feature Animation choosing to remain uncredited; 72 hours later, June 24, 1988, was when "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" was issued theatrically in U.S. Theaters Everywhere.

Of all the characters in "Who Framed Roger Rabbit," only Eddie Valiant, Roger Rabbit, Jessica Rabbit and Baby Herman were the only major characters who transitioned from book to film; in the movie, 'Toon star Roger Rabbit was Framed for the Murder of Marvin Acme (Stubby Kaye), only for the real Murderer turning out to be Judge Doom, who later killed R.K. Maroon (British actor Alan Tilvern) towards the Climatic End of the film.

Personally, I have no less than 3 copies of the film: the original 1989 VHS Print, the 2003 VHS Re-Release, and the recent 2013 first-time-ever Blu Ray Release.

Of those 3 copies, I like the original 1989 VHS Release the best, because of its uniqueness in the sense that after the Disney/Buena Vista FBI Warning of the era, the VHS goes straight to the Touchstone Pictures logo of the era and the rest of the film from there; by comparison, the 2003 VHS Re-Release features the Navy Blue Disney/Buena Vista FBI Warnings, followed by the 2003 Touchstone Home Entertainment logo, and Previews for, respectively, Eddie Murphy's then-new Disney film "The Haunted Mansion," followed by the DVD/VHS Combo "The Best of Schoolhouse Rock," and a Promo for Disney's first-ever "Kingdom Hearts" video game for Playstation; after the movie comes the Bonus Feature of the Roger Rabbit short "Tummy Trouble."

The 2013 Blu Ray features Previews for, among other films, Disney's "Planes" after the 2013 Touchstone Home Entertainment logo appears.

I think "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" is one of the best films ANY Company ever made, featuring Disney characters such as Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Dumbo and Pinocchio to name a few Disney characters appearing in Cameos, along with Warner Bros. and Paramount characters such as Betty Boop, Daffy Duck, Bugs Bunny, and more, along with Lena the Hyena; this also marked the next-to-last time that Mel Blanc played his "Looney Tunes" characters before he died, and also likewise the last time Mae Questel played Betty Boop before she died.

Before I conclude this Discussion, one memorable scene cut out of the movie but issued as a Bonus Feature on the 2013 Blu Ray is "The Pig-Headed Scene," where Bob Hoskins' character Eddie Valiant became Toon-a-Roond, with his face and head drawn like a Pig; as Eddie washes the Pig-Head in the Shower, Jessica Rabbit appeared at Valiant's home (which doubled as his Private Eye office).

"Who Framed Roger Rabbit" was produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation, Amblin Entertainment & Touchstone Pictures and is Distributed by Buena Vista Pictures Distribution, Inc.
 

minor muppetz

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Who Framed Roger Rabbit is a great movie.

One thing that confused me was the fact that it had the Touchstone logo instead of the Disney logo, as I had associated Roger Rabbit with Disney. At the time I did not know that Touchstone was a Disney property. I’m guessing that they didn’t want to associate Roger with the company, but then it became a hit and Roger Rabbit then became more directly associated with Disney, appearing mad a walk-around character at the theme parks, having a part in Mickey Mouse’s 60th anniversary special (a role that could have been given to Goody), and the Roger Rabbit shorts being released with Walt Disney Pictures films (and I believe the Walt Disney Pictures opening logo was used on the shorts). At least, I think Dick Tracey and the third film were Disney and not Touchstone (Dick Tracey was another that I always associated as a Disney film... and I’ve never even seen that one).

I believe TV Tropes says that the three Roger Rabbit shorts weren’t that successful but that could have been a case of the movies they came with, but I don’t think that’s entirely the case. After all, Honey I Shrunk the Kids was one of the top five box office hits of 1989 and I think Dick Tracey was a big hit (or was it a lot better known than the box office results?). Maybe the third film (which I keep forgetting it’s title, I want to say “A Far Off Place”) was a flop.

There have been times when I’ve been talking About Looney Tunes with people, usually adults, and they asked if Looney Tunes were Disney. I blame this film for that, though I wonder if those adults don’t really care enough about who owns what cartoon (even if they grew up with them).
 

C to the J

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Not too long ago, I came across some images of an unused storyboard with a funeral for Marvin Acme. There were several other Toons who came into existence before the end of the 1940s but never really made the cut. If memory serves, there were Felix the Cat, Popeye and Bluto, Tom (of Tom and Jerry), George and Junior, Dick Tracy, Herman and Katnip, Baby Huey, Casper the Friendly Ghost...
 

Blue Frackle

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To piggyback off of minor muppetz' post, when I was younger Roger somehow managed to weasel his way into the main Mickey Mouse troupe at Disney Parks, though he seemed to have left as quickly as he came.

Although I've only seen bits and pieces of the film (I have ADD when it comes to movies), I've always loved the design of the character. That infamous shoe scene is so sad.

And yeah, Touchstone was (is?) just a fake subsidiary created by Disney to release controversial (by Disney's standards) films such as this and NBX.
 

fuzzygobo

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I got to see Roger Rabbit when it first came out. Actually saw it twice, since in some scenes there's so much going on you see it again to take it all in. Like when Eddie Valiant crashes his car in Toon Town and you see the Seven Dwarves coming out of the subway, etc. There's a lot to take in.
Yes, I felt so bad for the poor little shoe getting Dipped.It's one thing watching it at home. It's something else seeing it on the big screen, and little kiddies crying. Still small potatoes compared to the meltdowns kids had when Mufasa died in The Lion King.

Ten years before Roger, Charles Fleischer starred in this wacky live action Saturday morning show called Wacko!" Little shades of his toon personality starting to sprout.
 

Blue Frackle

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I got to see Roger Rabbit when it first came out. Actually saw it twice, since in some scenes there's so much going on you see it again to take it all in. Like when Eddie Valiant crashes his car in Toon Town and you see the Seven Dwarves coming out of the subway, etc. There's a lot to take in.
Yes, I felt so bad for the poor little shoe getting Dipped.It's one thing watching it at home. It's something else seeing it on the big screen, and little kiddies crying. Still small potatoes compared to the meltdowns kids had when Mufasa died in The Lion King.
The shoe is way worse: this cute, innocent thing going to this ******* for help and he just slowly tortures it.

If I were to make a Disney film, it would just be Scar and Judge Doom being tortured for an hour thirty.
 

fuzzygobo

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I just watched Roger Rabbit the other night. After looking for clues of Marvin Acme's death, somebody dropped a box of toon shoes. The one who got dipped was cuddling up to Judge Doom. Cute little shoe with a spat (very fashionable once upon a time). Doom opens a barrel of dip ( with green fumes rising out), and the shoe knew this stuff was bad news. Poor little guy melted to nothing.
Christopher Lloyd was great no matter what his role; in the Back to the Future trilogy, as Reverend James on Taxi, or his early scenes (which hinted at things to come) in the nuthouse with Jack Nicholson and Danny DeVito in"One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest".
So casting Lloyd as an evil toon was brilliant.
 

mr3urious

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The book, Who Censored Roger Rabbit?, was way different from the movie, though it's to the point where Gary Wolf (the author) preferred it and actually wrote a pseudo-sequel based more closely on the movie. For one, it's set in the then-present day and uses comic strip characters, who can create temporary clones of themselves as stunt doubles as they are as vulnerable as humans are, and can only communicate by projecting word balloons above their heads, which obviously wouldn't take advantage of the medium very well compared to 1940s cartoons. Also, Eddie Valiant is a young, handsome, and rugged guy rather than the fat, balding schlub in Framed (the latter of which I kinda prefer).
 
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