Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)
Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988) is a technically-marvelous film blending animated, ink-and-paint cartoon characters and flesh-and-blood live actors, in a convincing comedy/mystery noir thriller, set in Los Angeles in 1947. Earlier efforts to combine humans and ink-and-paint cartoon characters side-by-side in a film [Disney's Song of the South and Mary Poppins, for example] are considered primitive next to this film.
The film is a delightful spoof of the hard-boiled Sam Spade films and reminiscent of the recent Chinatown (1974), (complete with a sultry, femme fatale humanoid Toon named Jessica Rabbit (Jessica Turner, uncredited, with singing voice by Amy Irving, executive producer Steven Spielberg's wife at the time), and a case involving alleged marital infidelity ("pattycake"), murder, a missing will, blackmail, and a conspiracy hatched by evil, Toon-hating Judge Doom (Christopher Lloyd) (of Cloverleaf Industries). Doom's plan is to bring freeways to LA, thereby ruining the existing Pacific & Electric Red Car public transport electric trolley system. [There was, in fact, a real-life corporate conspiracy to 'doom' the trolley system and encourage automobile use, orchestrated by General Motors, Firestone, and Standard Oil of California.]
The film revolves around the murder of Marvin Acme (Stubby Kaye), a gag-gift promoter and props supplier (Acme Novelty Co.) for all Toon productions and the owner of the ghetto-ized Toon-town where the Toons, regarded as a segregated minority group, live just outside Hollywood. Framed for the murder, zany Maroon Cartoon Studios actor Roger Rabbit (voice of Charles Fleischer), a stuttering, disaster-prone 'Toon,' solicits help from reluctant, hard-boiled, boozing private eye Eddie Valiant (Bob Hoskins) to clear his name. Valiant is still grief-stricken over the death of brother Ted by a falling cartoon piano, but is financially - and emotionally - supported by girlfriend Dolores (Joanna Cassidy), as he solves the case. A poster capsulized the film's plot:
It's the story of a man, a woman, and a rabbit in a triangle of trouble.
The film was a milestone in animation history, one of the top-grossing films of its year, and it received four Academy Awards, one of which was a Special Achievement Award for Animation Direction (Richard Williams). Director Robert Zemeckis must be credited for piecing together the production that involved hundreds of animators, and the special visual effects of George Lucas' Industrial Light and Magic, Amblin Entertainment, Walt Disney and other studios. As a result, it was the most expensive film of its decade, at $70 million.
It was filmed as a tribute to the entire pantheon of cartoon characters from Disney, Warner Bros., and MGM, and other studios in the 1940s. Famous cartoon voices were used (Mel Blanc for Daffy Duck, Tweety Bird, Bugs Bunny, Sylvester, and Porky Pig and Charles Fleischer for Roger, Greasy, Psycho, and Benny the Cab), and the live-action characters were coordinated with cartoon characters - the animations were drawn and inserted after the live photography was shot. Its revolutionary animation: (1) used light and shadows in new ways to produce remarkably realistic, 3-D effects; (2) extensively panned and moved the camera to reduce a static look; and (3) had the car'toon' characters interact flawlessly with real-world objects and flesh-and-blood people as much as possible.
The title of the film was derived from the plot: "Who framed (the cartoon character) Roger Rabbit" for a murder. It was also derived by screenwriters Jeffrey Price and Peter Seaman from the title of Gary Wolf's 1981 novel Who Censored Roger Rabbit? - an allegorical tale with comic-book and newspaper strip characters who spoke with word ballons instead of voices. In a less sanitized version, Wolf's novel portrayed Hollywood's Golden Age 1940s car-"Toon" characters as minority contract workers subjugated by the animation studios' system of apartheid. The down-and-out, underpaid fantasy-toon players must live in a segregated ghetto named "Toontown" as victims of human bigotry. The sub-human, exploited, underpaid and oppressed creatures were monitored there and kept under control.
Although Wolf's book had a lot of the same-named characters (with their basic character traits), there were significant differences between it and the film: (1) the book had comic strip actors, not cartoon actors, who were photographed - in action - to produce comic strips, (2) Roger Rabbit, a popular toon comic strip star, was found mysteriously murdered in his Hollywood home, (3) the book had a complicated, plot twisting, noirish atmosphere, (4) Jessica Rabbit was a much cruder character who traded sexual favors for what she wanted, and (5) when the 'Toons spoke, they made word balloons that could be physically manipulated. Wolf's 1991 sequel book to the film (not to his previous book) was titled Who P-P-Plugged Roger Rabbit?: A Hare-Raising Mystery. In this book, Roger hired Eddie Valiant to investigate whether his sexy wife Jessica was having an affair with Clark Gable, one of Roger's rivals (another rival is Baby Herman) for the lead role of Rhett in the musical comedy version of Gone With the Wind. Gable also hired Eddie to find out who had been planting tabloid stories about him being gay.
In this landmark film, the Toons include appearances and cameos by Donald and Daffy Duck, Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, Tweety Bird and Sylvester, Woody Woodpecker, the Weasels - from Disney's The Wind in the Willows, Mickey Mouse, three hummingbirds from Disney's Song of the South, the Road Runner and the Coyote, the black Crows and Dumbo from Disney's Dumbo, Betty Boop, Droopy Dog, and many more. Unprecedented cooperation from Warner Brothers and Disney allowed for classic cartoon characters to be seen together for the first time, such as Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny parachuting together, having both Tinkerbell and Porky Pig end the movie, and, of course, the famous piano duel between Daffy and Donald Duck in a Cotton Club-style nightclub, the Ink & Paint Club.
Other animated and live-action mixed films would be released soon after with the same technically sophisticated human/cartoon interaction, including Joe Pytka's Space Jam (1996), Des McAnuff's The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle (2000), Henry Selick's Monkeybone (2001), and Joe Dante's Looney Tunes: Back in Action (2003), but none of them could recapture the same sense of awe or feature the same level of acting and writing.The Story - "Somethin's Cookin'"
The film begins with a manic, four-minute "Maroon Cartoon" entitled Somethin's Cookin' that is being filmed on the Maroon Cartoon Studios set and directed by Raoul J. Raoul. An animated Baby Herman, an innocent looking baby, is left under the care of babysitter Roger Rabbit, a lop-eared cartoon rabbit. As the mother leaves her child to go to the beauty parlor, she ominously warns of dire consequences: "I'm leaving you with your favorite friend Roger. He's going to take very, very good care of you...because if he doesn't, he's going back to the science lab." Roger responds characteristically: "P-p-p-p-please!" and confusedly assures her and himself that he will take care of Baby Herman as if he were his own brother, or his own sister, or his brother's sister, or his second cousin, or his ninth cousin nine times removed, or as he vows: "Or like my seventeenth cousin who is a hundred and fifty-six times removed from any side."
Meanwhile, Baby Herman leaves his play pen and in the kitchen admires and giggles at the Cookies jar sitting high atop the refrigerator. Aghast with his eyeballs telescoping out from their sockets, Roger spies in horror how Baby Herman has slipped out of his crib in a hazardous attempt to get a cookie - he has used the kitchen drawers as a ladder, climbed onto the kitchen counter, and crawled across the gas stove - lighting the burners behind him. To heroically save him, Roger dashes into the kitchen, rolls around perilously trying to keep his balance on a wooden rolling pin that Baby Herman has knocked off the counter. More mishaps - a teapot falls on Roger's head, and he lands in the Hotternell stove - Baby Herman's foot accidently slips on the top of the gas stove and turns the heat up to "Volcano Heat." The baby continues on his way to the top of the refrigerator, cooing "Cookie" and crawling across a sink-full of dishes - he focuses on the swinging pendulum of the clock and happens to turn the water faucet to full-power, unleashing a torrent of water from the sink.
After being roasted at high heat in the oven, Roger races three circles around the kitchen, leaving trails of black smoke. Baby Herman balances uneasily atop a box of Acme Deadly Mouse Poison while stretching for the Cookie jar, sending a slippery bar of soap into Roger's path. Baby Herman swings from the stack of boxes on the pendulum, while Roger has his whole body electrocuted by two wall sockets. His convulsions create a crack in the wall that unhinges a shelf above, hurling pots and pans to tumble down on Roger's head - rendering him unconscious.
A bottle of Extra Hot Acme Chili Sauce lands in the spout of one of the teapots and directs the hot sauce directly into Roger's mouth. It heats him up to the boiling point, exploding him across the room in the air, hurtling him mouth-first into the end of an ironing board. Baby Herman catapults from the pendulum to the shelf next to the refrigerator - it breaks, causing him to land on a toilet plunger. A jar of pickles falls from the shelf onto the edge of a drainer tray of sharp knives, sending them flying across the room, where the ironing board has opened up to reveal Roger Rabbit - he is pinned against the wall by the fusilade of knives. The plunger hurls Baby Herman to the top of the refrigerator, then lands in an activated toaster, which falls and shoots the plunger onto Roger's face.
In order to get to the cookies, Baby Herman kicks off slices of bread, while Roger is desperately trying to remove the suction plunger from his face. He frees himself mid-air - grins and looks into the camera - just before crashing face-first into an Acme Suck-O-Lux vacuum cleaner that is activated. His body is inflated by the vacuum cleaner and when he finally frees himself, he spins around like a deflating balloon. He smashes into the bottom of the refrigerator and struggles to free himself, jarring Baby Herman from the top of the refrigerator where he has finally attained his goal - a cookie. Baby Herman tumbles down along the front of the refrigerator and falls onto Roger Rabbit's stomach giving Roger strength to lift the refrigerator off his head. It falls on him again when he tries to pick up Baby Herman. The refrigerator door opens to reveal Roger's head poking up through a hole in the bottom - little blue birds tweet and circle around it.The Story - The Film
On a live sound stage, the Tex Avery-style human director Raoul Raoul (Joel Silver) yells "Cut" to stop the action, complaining that Roger, the successful star of Maroon Cartoons, "keeps blowin' his lines." The director scolds a sheepish Roger who has a ring of cartoon birds flying around his head:
Director: Look what it [the script] says. It says, 'Rabbit gets clunked. Rabbit sees stars!' Not birds, STARS!...
Baby Herman: Aw, for cryin' out loud, Roger! How the hell many times do we have to do this damn scene?
The camera slowly pulls back to reveal the equipment and crew of the sound stage, as the lecherous Toon "child" star Baby Herman storms off the set. After a break is ordered for lunch, Roger pleads for another chance: "Please, Raoul. I can give you stars. Just drop the refrigerator on my head one more time." But Raoul will not listen after twenty-three takes. The indestructible cartoon character Roger grabs a frying pan and hits himself repeatedly on the head to produce stars - BONG, BONG, BONG - but only exclamation points, golden bells, a cuckoo clock, and more birds spring from his head.
In the shadows of the set after witnessing the flawed take with the zany rabbit is a brown-suited man [in the next scene identified as Eddie Valiant, played by Bob Hoskins] with a beat-up fedora (and looking like a composite of Peter Falk of TV's Columbo and cartoon character Elmer Fudd). He mutters disgustedly before taking a swig from a pint bottle of Wild Turkey whiskey: "Phew. 'Toons." He slips the bottle back into his shoulder holster where a .38 should be positioned.
In the large, art-deco office of studio boss R. K. Maroon (Alan Tilvern), [a subtitle identifies the scene in "Hollywood 1947"], the chief looks over the shoulder of his editor (working on a Movieola machine) and orders changes in the cutting of the latest Maroon cartoon starring Roger: "Wait until he gets to his feet, then hit him with the boulder." Eddie Valiant is ushered in by a red-haired receptionist to listen to Maroon's complaints about the cost of show business. The Toon can take any kind of punishment - except being heartbroken over his sweetheart:
Maroon: ...There's no business more expensive. I'm 25 grand over budget on the latest Baby Herman cartoon. You saw the Rabbit blowin' his lines. He can't keep his mind on his work. You know why?
Valiant: One too many refrigerators dropped on his head?
Maroon: Nah, he's a Toon. You can drop anything you want on his head. He'll shake it off. But break his heart, he goes to pieces just like you or me.
Maroon presents Valiant with the latest issue of The Toontown Gossip, and Valiant reads part of the front-page article outloud. The possible cause of the hare-brained Roger's distractedness and forgetfulness is that his sexy cartoon-animated wife named Jessica Rabbit (with the speaking voice of Kathleen Turner) may be unfaithful, but Roger think's she's an angel. Maroon offers to hire him to take compromising photographs of Jessica, hoping to get Roger to wise up, forget his problems and concentrate on his lines instead:
Valiant: (reading outloud) 'Seen Cooing Over Calamari with Notsonew Sugar Daddy was Jessica Rabbit, wife of Maroon Cartoon star, Roger.' What's this gotta do with me?
Maroon: You're the private detective. You figure it out.
Valiant: Look (handing back the paper), I don't have time for this.
Maroon: Look, Valiant. His wife's poison, but he thinks she's Betty Crocker. I want you to follow her. Get me a couple of nice juicy pictures I can wise the rabbit up with.
Valiant: (shuddering) Forget it. I don't work Toontown.
Maroon: What's wrong with Toontown? Every Joe loves Toontown.
Valiant: Then get Joe to do the job, cause I ain't goin'.
Maroon: (pulling Valiant back) Whoa, fella. You don't wanna go to Toontown, you don't have to go to Toontown. Nobody said you had to go to Toontown, anyway...The rabbit's wife sings at a joint called The Ink & Paint Club. Toon revue. Strictly humans only. OK?
For a moment, Valiant considers the offer of becoming a Peeping Tom for Toons. He walks to the studio window, and then proposes to take the job - for a hundred bucks - plus expenses. Maroon protests: "That's ridiculous!" Valiant replies: "So's the job." Down on the studio backlot, a typical view of a Hollywood cartoon studio, workmen from the Acme company drop a crate and out tumbles Gag Musical Chairs - an animated orchestra of Toon chairs playing musical instruments. Suddenly, Valiant jumps back as a gray figure with two large eyes appears in the window. Maroon explains that he got Dumbo on loan from Disney: "I got him on loan from Disney - him and half the cast of Fantasia. The best part is - they work for peanuts." The grey elephant with large floppy ears flies away from R.K. Maroon's office window after being thrown some peanuts, while they settle the deal. Maroon presents Valiant with a check for fifty bucks, holding back the balance as "a carrot to finish the job." Valiant responds: "You been hangin' around rabbits too long."
As Valiant departs from the studio, he studies his check and nearly runs into an indignant ostrich and a dancing hippo from Fantasia - a green jumping frog also meets him on the stairs. The broomsticks from "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" sweep up the garbage in the soundstage doorway across the street. A saxophonist plays "The Sorcerer's Apprentice." The US Mail postman, a pelican, delivers mail on a bicycle. Many more cartoon characters - including a studio sound stage audition, literally a 'Cattle Call' of singing cows, Bugs Bunny (racing the Tortoise) and Bozo the Clown - appear momentarily, among others.
Across the street, down-and-out Valiant tries to board Los Angeles' Pacific Electric "Red Car" electric trolley bound for Sunset Blvd., but is denied entry by the conductor (James O'Connell) when all he can come up with is his paper check. He joins a group of young boys already hitching a free ride on the back of the Red Car. [Valiant's comment to one of the dirty-faced boys is a tongue-in-cheek tribute to a vast system of electric trolleys that once criss-crossed the LA Basin: "Who needs a car in LA? We got the best public transportation system in the world."] At the trolly terminal, a cheap cardboard sign reading "Now a Cloverleaf industry" (a dark green sign emblazoned with a four-leaf clover insignia, symbolic of the coming freeway system) is hauled up over the existing "Pacific Electric - The World's Finest Public Transportation System" sign to replace it.
Valiant leaves the trolley across the street from the trolley terminal, and finds his way into the entrance to "The Terminal Station Bar." The red neon sign malfunctions, blinking only the word "Terminal." Inside, it is decorated in the motif of a trolley car - popular in its heyday at the turn of the century when the new public transportation system was first built. When a trolley passes by underneath, the entire building shakes and the lights flicker. One of the trolley conductors, named Earl, is passed out drunk at one of the tables - Valiant is 'told' by a deaf-mute cabbie at the bar and a Soldier named Sarge (Lindsay Holiday) that Earl has been "LAID OFF" because a "new outfit bought the Red Car. Some big company called Cloverleaf."
The bar waitress Dolores (Joanna Cassidy), Valiant's girlfriend, tells him that he's behind on his payments and bills and that she will lose her job the next day if the money she lent him isn't "back in the till." Valiant calmly but proudly shows off the studio's paper check from R. K. Maroon for fifty bucks, and then asks to borrow Dolores' camera for a "snoop job." She hands it over - with some film still in it, left over from their trip to Catalina island together "a long time ago." When another trolley rumbles through, all the drinkers at the bar ritualistically lift their glasses to avoid spilling any of their drinks. A dirty laborer named Angelo (Richard Ridings) chides Valiant about his new contract for Maroon:
Angelo: So who's your client - Mr. Detective to the Stars? Chilly Willy or Screwy Squirrel?...So what happened, huh? Somebody kidnap Dinky Doodle?...Hey wait a minute, wait a minute, I know. You're workin' for Little Bo Peep. She's lost her sheep and you're gonna help her find them.
Valiant: (after kicking out Angelo's stool) Get this straight, greaseball. I DON'T WORK FOR TOONS! (Valiant jams a hard-boiled egg into Angelo's mouth, and then storms out of the bar.)
Angelo (to Dolores): So what's his problem?
Dolores: Toon killed his brother...dropped a piano on his head.
Earlier in Valiant's life, things were darkened when, as a private eye dedicated to working for Toons, his brother was killed by a falling piano in Toontown. Eddie has had a long-standing grudge against Toons and against venturing into Toontown ever since.
In a dark, run-down alley, the seedy, Raymond Chandleresque Valiant knocks on the exterior side door of a building. A speakeasy-style peephole slides open and out peers the large red eye of a big Toon Gorilla acting as a hairy bouncer. Valiant offers the proper password to enter The Ink & Paint Club, an inside joke:
Valiant: Walt sent me. (The peep hole door slides shut and the door opens. The Toon Gorilla is dressed in a tux and gives Valiant the once-over.) Nice monkey suit.
Gorilla: Wise ass...
In the segregated, cabaret-style nightclub where Toons entertain humans [a take-off of the original Cotton Club in New York City where disenfranchised blacks entertained whites], white tablecloths adorn the tables and Toon penguin waiters (anachronistically from Disney's Mary Poppins (1964)!) carry trays and serve drinks to the exclusive human guests. A many-armed Toon octopus (with the goofy face of Dopey from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs) tends the bar, mixing, stirring, pouring, and serving numerous drinks simultaneously and lighting a woman's cigarette with one of his free hands.
On stage to provide entertainment in the opening act are two Toon ducks: a tuxedoed Donald Duck and Daffy Duck. They are seated back to back at opposite keyboards of two pianos (playing Franz Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2). They play with their elbows, make wisecrack jokes, and compete and feud at the keyboards. Donald's piano is a grand-style piano - Daffy's piano is a white, upright rinky-dink one. [This is the first on-screen appearance of Disney and Warner Bros.' cartoon characters together.] They poke fun at each other at dueling pianos, while the crowd howls with laughter:
Daffy Duck: I've worked with a lot of wisequackers, but you are des-picc-able.
Donald Duck: Doggone stubborn nitwit! That did it!
Daffy Duck: This is the last time I work with someone with a s-s-speech impediment!
Donald hurls Daffy inside the grand piano and slams the lid down on his beak. Daffy retaliates: "This means war!"
Valiant finds an empty seat at the table of one of the guests [soon identified as local gagman Marvin Acme, played by Stubby Kaye] who wears a loud, garish plaid suit-jacket adorned with a red carnation. After shaking his dried-up fountain pen, he sprays the ink from it all over Valiant's shirt, causing Eddie to ask: "You think that's funny?" The prankster giggles at the sight ("It's a panic!") and is unperturbed by Valiant's anger: "Now, calm down, son, will ya? Look, the stain's gone. It's disappearing ink. No hard feelings.." Valiant looks down at his spotless shirt - he already knows the silly geezer with the urge to play practical jokes: "Marvin Acme, the guy that owns Toontown - the Gag King." [Acme had bought Toontown with the fortune he had made selling gags and novelties to the cartoon studios.] Acme responds: "If it's Acme, it's a gasser." To disperse hard feelings, Acme shakes Eddie's hand - with an electric hand buzzer that shocks Eddie all the way up his arm. "It's still our biggest seller," he boasts.
Donald's tail feathers play across the keyboard of the upright piano while his hands play the grand piano. Daffy plays frenetically on the grand piano with gag props including a boxing glove, a hammer, and a pair of chickens. To conclude the piano playing of the two ducks after Donald fires a cannon shot at his opponent, two long Toon hooks appear and abruptly end their act.
Betty Boop (voice of Mae Questel, who was also the voice of Popeye's Olive Oyl, and Little Lulu), a black-and-white cigarette girl, offers her wares behind Valiant and then recognizes him:
Betty Boop: Long time, no see.
Valiant: What are you doin' here?
Betty Boop: Well, it's been kinda slow since cartoons went to color. But I still got it, Eddie. (singing and squeaking) 'Boop boop be-doop.'
Valiant: Yeah, you still got it.
As they both watch Acme expectantly primping himself with a spray bottle of misty perfume with anticipation for the next performance, she tells Valiant: "Mr. Acme never misses a night when Jessica performs." Eddie replies: "Got a thing for rabbits, eh?"
In one of the high points of the film, out from behind a spotlight on blue curtains emerges the throaty, smokey blues sound of Jessica Rabbit singing [voice of Amy Irving]: "Why Don't You Do Right?" First, her sexy leg and ample breasts appear from behind the curtain as she begins her song and steps out. Eddie is transfixed and entranced by the beautiful Toon. [Her bright pink, slinky, high-cut gown sparkles and shimmers brilliantly due to ILM's special effects.] Looking very little like a rabbit and more like a cartoon-animated movie star, a combination Playboy bunny, Lauren Bacall and 40's peek-a-boo blonde actress Veronica Lake, the buxom, red-haired chanteuse sweeps out onto the stage and soon slinks into the audience singing - the patrons hoot and whistle. [The scene was revisited a year later in The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989), with sexy Michelle Pfeiffer performing the same kind of number - "Makin' Whoopee" - in a red dress atop a piano.]
You had plenty money in 1922
You let other women make a fool of you.
Why don't you do right?
Like some other men do...
Get out of here and
Get me some money too...
Valiant is dumbfounded and his jaw drops as he gasps: "She's married to Roger Rabbit?!" Betty Boop replies dreamily: "Yeah - What a lucky gurrll!" Betty reaches over and closes Eddie's mouth.
Jessica sashays over to Mr. Acme's table and cuddles up behind him, pinching and rolling his cheeks as he smiles with satisfaction. After removing his handkerchief and rubbing his head playfully with it, she also works her way over to Eddie's lap. There, she reaches her fingers inside his trenchcoat, removes his fedora, seductively tantalizes him, sits on his table with her statuesque chest bursting out in front of him, leans closer to him, and pulls his necktie toward her as she finishes her song:
Why don't you do right?
Like some other men do.
In the finale, she quickly struts her stuff back to the stage, where the curtain closes behind her.
After the spell-binding performance, Acme leaves his table to eagerly enter Jessica's backstage dressing room ("Jessica dear, have no fear, your Marvin is here") with a bouquet of red roses. Valiant follows and keeps a discreet distance so that he can overhear their conversation through the door and crouch to spy at them through the keyhole. The gorilla bouncer catches Eddie trying to peek through the keyhole and taps him on the shoulder with his hairy hand. He grunts: "Whaddya you think you're doin', chump?" After Valiant quips: "Who are you calling a chump, chimp?" the bouncer grabs Valiant by the seat of his pants, lifts him off the ground, and hurls him out the club's back door into a collection of garbage cans in the alley. Under Jessica's dressing room window, Valiant pulls over a milk crate to stand on, and aims his camera through the window to take incriminating photos of their affair as they earnestly converse together. Marvin is knee-to-knee with Jessica, playing "pattycake":
Jessica: Oh not tonight, Marvin, I have a headache.
Acme: Oh Jessica, you promised.
Jessica: Oh, all right. But this time, take off that hand buzzer. (As they play 'pattycake,' Valiant's eyes widen.)
Later that night, Valiant delivers the pictures to R. K. Maroon's studio office. Cartoon star Roger, already there, rants and raves and becomes hysterical - wailing and crying after being shown the incriminating photographs that confirm Jessica is having an affair with a human lover:
Roger: Pattycake! Pattycake! I don't believe it. Pattycake! Pattycake! That girl.
Maroon: Take comfort son, you're not the first man whose wife played pattycake on him. (Sobbing, Roger blows his nose into Maroon's handkerchief - Maroon takes the drenched handkerchief from Roger and deposits it in a wastebasket.)
Roger: I just don't believe it. I won't believe it. I can't believe it. I shan't believe it.
Valiant: Believe it, kid. I took the pictures myself. She played pattycake.
Roger: Not my Jessica. Not pattycake. This is impossible. I don't believe it. It can't be! It just can't be. Jessica's my wife. It's absolutely impossible!
The photographs, flipped through like an animated flipbook that simulates motion, really have caught Jessica and Marvin (her "sugardaddy") seated knee to knee, red-handed in the act of playing pattycake - slapping their palms together.
The traumatized Roger sobs in disbelief: "Jessica's the light of my life, the apple of my eye, the cream in my coffee." Valiant jokes: "You better start drinking it black." To feel better, Roger accepts a stiff drink from Maroon and swallows it in one gulp - his face (and ears) contort, change color, and vibrate as it prepares to explode. He is propelled to the ceiling, where his head turns into a Toon steam whistle - it shrieks with a high-pitched deafening screech, shattering all the glass in the office and the crystal decanter in Valiant's hand. After falling back into Maroon's chair, Roger calmly says:
Thanks, I needed that.
Valiant is paid the balance of his contract, and he assures Roger that he is "a good-looking guy" and "dames will be breaking his door down." But Roger grabs Valiant by the lapels and insists:
Dames? What dames? Jessica's the only one for me. You'll see. We'll rise above this piddling pecadillo. We're gonna be happy again. You got that? Happy. H-A-P-P-I.
Roger leaves the office by crashing through the venetian blinds and window, leaving a rabbit-shaped imprint/hole in both. Eddie looks after him through Roger's silhouette-hole and sighs: "Well, at least he took it well."