Twenty-six years ago today, the world was introduced to an animated version of the now infamous character Roger Rabbit. After success of the novel Who Censored Roger Rabbit?, Walt Disney Pictures purchased the rights in 1981 and set out to make an advanced production of live action scenes and animated sequences with the help of Steven Spielberg and Warner Bros. Over the past 26 years, investigator Eddie Valiant, voluptuous Jessica Rabbit, and the framed Roger have become iconic characters in American cinema. But what do we not know about the beloved film?
We opened the Disney vault to find 13 fun facts about the story of a man, a woman, and a rabbit in a triangle of trouble.
1. Often mistaken, the film’s title does not contain a question mark.
2. The film was the first time Warner Bros and Disney cartoons appeared together on screen, with over 100 classic cartoon cameos in the film. Though the film is set in 1947, lots of post-1947 characters appear including Mr. Toad from The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1949), Tinkerbell from Peter Pan (1952), and the penguins from Mary Poppins (1964).
3. Chevy Chase, Eddie Murphy, Robert Redford, Harrison Ford, Sylvester Stallone, Jack Nicholson, Ed Harris, Don Lane, Wallace Shawn, and Peter Renaday were all considered for the role of Eddie Valiant, who was described as slender with a beard in the original novel. Eddie Murphy revealed on Inside the Actor’s Studio it was the role he regretted turning down.
4. The crowds of cartoons in the Toontown sequences were reused animations from previous Disney films. Disney commonly re-used already animated works in films up until the 1990s.
5. 326 animators created over 82,000 frames of animation for the film, the equivalent of over one million total drawings.
6. Though never appearing on screen, Charles Fleischer insisted on performing Roger Rabbit’s voice lines on set in a specially made Roger Rabbit suit. Bob Hoskins would later refer to Fleischer as “completely nuts.”
7. Kathleen Turner was nine months pregnant when she recorded her voice-overs of Jessica Rabbit.
8. An early version of the script contained a flashback, revealing Judge Doom killed Bambi’s mother.
9. The final song of the film, “Smile, Darn Ya, Smile,” was recorded by the film’s animators giving their best character voices.
10. Animation Director Richard Williams says he based Roger’s color model on the American flag’s red, white, and blue so that the audience would subconsciously like it.
11. Jessica Rabbit’s iconic breast bouncing was created by reversing the natural up/down movements of her boobs as she walked. Hers bounce up when a real woman’s breasts would bounce down and vice versa.
12. Disney made a dig at another major animator at the time. The truck that Eddie crashes into is full of bowling balls, pianos, etc. and reads “ACME Overused Gags.”
13. With a budget of $70 million, Who Framed Roger Rabbit was the most expensive film produced in the 1980s.