Thursday, May 25, 2017

Roger Rides Casey Jr.

1988 saw the release of the madcap live-action/animated film "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?" A combination film noir, comedy, and fantasy, the movie was a runaway hit. It didn't take long for Roger to show up at Disneyland, as you can see here in this 1988 publicity shot. The accompanying blurb:

"TOP-NOTCH TOON—Roger Rabbit climbs aboard Disneyland's "Casey Jr. Circus Train" for a trip around Fantasyland."

Here's a vintage 1988 shot of two guests at the Park, enjoying this photo opportunity with Benny the Cab:

Talks began immediately about a sequel, which ended up getting stuck in development Hell. Meanwhile, Toon Town opened at Disneyland in 1993. When it became evident that the sequel wasn't going to happen, Roger kind of lost gas at the Park. In 2016, Director Robert Zemeckis was quoted as saying "The current corporate Disney culture has no interest in Roger, and they certainly don't like Jessica at all."

You can read more about Roger Rabbit at Disneyland at my main website.

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Fifthrider said...

I recall a good sized chapter in "The Vault of Walt vol 4." about the Roger Rabbit fiasco. Everything you said was spot-on accurate. The biggest fallout seemed to be that Disney never let Spielberg use his own creation. When a Roger Rabbit & Baby Herman short was made to open with a feature, Eisner insisted that it accompany the (predicted) box office flop Dick Tracy in an effort to bolster the looming poor sales. Spielberg wanted it to go with Arachnophobia which did marginally better, but doesn't fit well with a horror movie. Roger was a product of his times, meaning torn between all involved parties to the point nothing productive was done with him. A sad turning point for many of us who hadn't yet accepted that Disney had changed.

K. Martinez said...

One of the best films Disney ever participated in and they screwed up the handling of the wonderful character Roger Rabbit.

Love the B&W. I think the publicity shot became a color postcard too. Thanks, Dave.

Irene said...

Poor Roger. I think it was great that they have brought him out at Disneyland a few times these couple of years. Most people I knew though could care less when he had a full week devoted to him for a meet a greet over in DCA. Can't remember the promotion but they were featuring rare characters for a certain period of time. My brother, who is now in a nursing home, went bonkers for Roger when he came out. I have a 3 ring binder full of related Roger letters and photos that he obtained by writing to certain people. Also a marvelous jacket with Roger embroidered on the back. I had it cleaned and wore it when I went to visit Roger at the event mentioned above. I got quite the reaction to it. And now my brother has his 5 foot tall Roger sitting near his bed. It had been a display piece in a store and was probably not supposed to have been sold. But he ask the girl how much it was and she sold it to him.

Eric F. said...

I remember when Disney brought Roger to the park. They had a whole promotional going for his 1st Christmas at Disneyland. Every kid that went through the turnstile got a poster you could color in for the event. I still have 2 of them I never colored in and kept rolled up.
I wish they had done a sequel. It was such a good movie. I think a sequel would really do well in today's culture considering the love for retro, noir and such happening today.

Anonymous said...

We have good memories of Roger. Our first visit to Disneyland as parents was to visit ToonTown and do the Roger ride.

It was a great ride and a great movie, back when new stuff at Disneyland didn't mean ruining something existing.

A real pity there never was a sequel. The best part of the film was the dueling pianos between Daffy and Donald. To this day, when I order duck in a restaurant, I ask the server if it will be Daffy or Donald. There could be a great cocktail tie-in at the new Carthay Circle bar in DCA.