Episode 105: Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)

We couldn’t be more chuffed to welcome back one of our favourite podcasters, Em from Verbal Diorama, as she brings us Robert Zemeckis’ madcap 1988 live action/animated hybrid noirtoon Who Framed Roger Rabbit. As an avowed enthusiast of all things animated, Em was gracious enough to offer her expertise and insight once again, after her earlier guest appearance on that other, erm, great Bob Hoskins classic Super Mario Brothers.

Boozed-up, embittered gumshoe Eddie Valiant (Bob Hoskins) is hired to catch Maroon Cartoons star turn Roger Rabbit’s impossibly glamorous, equally two-dimensional wife, Jessica (voiced by Charles Fleischer and Kathleen Turner, respectively) playing promiscuous patty cake with gag king, and owner of Toontown, Marvin Acme. When Acme turns up dead with a safe dropped on his head, our toon-hating, hard-boiled antihero Valiant is drawn into a classic mystery of murder, greed, blackmail, and public transportation, literally shackled to the zany Rabbit who has been tagged as the prime suspect.

A technical marvel and smash hit on its release, the film’s powerhouse production team combined Steven Spielberg’s Midas-touch family film factory Amblin Entertainment with the then-struggling but still mighty cultural clout of Walt Disney Studios to splash out on the best animators and technicians in the industry – and license a jaw-dropping cast of mid-Century America’s most famous cartoon icons from Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny, through to Betty Boop and the Big Bad Wolf to fill out the dazzling frames. Joining Em on the Merry-Go-Round (Broke Down) are Gali, Devlin and Patrick, as we swoon over Bob Hoskins, discuss the film’s use of genre and period trappings, its importance in the Disney renaissance in the years that followed, and recall our trauma at seeing that little squeaky shoe get dipped.

You can find Em’s 200-episode-strong treasure trove of the history and legacy of movies you know (and movies you don’t) at verbaldiorama.com, where you’ll find links to all major platforms, and give her a follow @verbaldiorama. Check out her Roger Rabbit episode here!

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