The Story (continued)
Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)
Back on the road, Roger drives Dolores' smashed-up car out of the tunnel in reverse with sparks flying from the axle when the car takes a spin and crashes into the curb. Benny hears the car approaching and notices that it is being driven by Roger Rabbit. He spots Benny the Cab but barely recognizes him: "Benny! Is that you?" Benny struggles out from under the lamppost and walks painfully on his melted rear tires. Roger discovers that Jessica and Eddie have been taken by Judge Doom to the Acme factory - he offers to drive Benny the Cab there:
Roger: Jumpin' jeepers! What happened?
Benny the Cab: Doom grabbed your wife and Valiant and took them to the Acme factory.
Inside the factory, the Weasels jackhammer a hole in the brick wall at the far end - on the other side of which is Toontown, seen in its brilliant Technicolor Toon light. Doom's evil plot as "sole stockholder" and land-developer of Cloverleaf Industries will be to destroy the Toontown area: "The successful conclusion of this case draws the curtains on my career as a jurist in Toontown. I'm retiring to take a new role in the private sector." Doom IS Cloverleaf.
Benny drops Roger off at the Acme gag factory in order to rescue Eddie and Jessica. Roger struggles to raise a basement window and leans against the window and says: "Wouldn't you know? Locked." The window flaps open and Roger falls through and plummets head-first straight into a toilet. It flushes and he twirls around and disappears into the plumbing.
Doom pulls back a black tarpaulin to reveal a huge truck with several large spray guns to shoot Dip long distances. Eddie and especially Jessica are horrified to see a gigantic Dipmobile with heated Dip readied to destroy Toontown:
Doom: Can you guess what this is?
Jessica: Oh my God! It's Dip!
Doom: That's right, my dear. Enough to Dip Toontown off the face of the earth. A vehicle of my own design. Five thousand gallons of heated Dip pumped at enormous velocity through a pressurized water cannon. Toontown will be erased in a matter of minutes.
Doom, appearing cartoonish with white teeth and a clownish tuft of hair atop his nearly-bald head, isn't worried - he has anticipated that no-one will notice the disappearance of Toontown - from his new freeway: "Who's got time to wonder what happened to some ridiculous talking mice when you're driving by at seventy-five miles an hour?" Eddie and Jessica are baffled and exchange incredulous glances - they tell Doom that they don't understand why he killed Acme and Maroon for a freeway. Doom greedily recites his real estate scheme and how he will benefit from highway commercialistic enterprises next to the route of the new road - there will have to be businesses: restaurants, motels, fast-food joints, gas stations and beautiful billboards. [The idea of subverting LA's infrastructure, in this case its transportation system, recalls the plot of another film noir Chinatown (1974), involving the city's water system. Ironically, the second sequel to Polanski's original film was to be called Cloverleaf and involved LA's massive freeway system with 'cloverleaf' interchanges (!).] And he has also maneuvered to obliterate LA's existing public transportation system to force people into cars:
Doom: Jessica: What are you talking about? There's no road past Toontown.
Doom: Not yet. Several months ago, I had the good providence to stumble upon this plan of the City Council's. A construction plan of epic proportions. They're calling it - - a freeway!
Valiant: Freeway? What the hell's a freeway?
Doom: Eight lanes of shimmering cement running from here to Pasadena. Smooth, safe, fast. Traffic jams will be a thing of the past.
Valiant: So that's why you killed Acme and Maroon - for this freeway? I don't get it.
Doom: (smugly) Of course not. You lack vision. I see a place where people get on and off the freeway. On and off. Off and on. All day, all night. Soon, where Toontown once stood will be a string of gas stations, inexpensive motels, restaurants that serve rapidly-prepared food, tire salons, automobile dealerships, and wonderful, wonderful billboards reaching as far as the eye can see. My God, it'll be beautiful.
Valiant: Come on. Nobody's gonna drive this lousy freeway when they can take the Red Car for a nickel.
Doom: Oh, they'll drive. They'll have to. You see, I bought the Red Car so I could dismantle it.
[Note: The Pasadena Highway was already built - seven years earlier, before the 1947 setting of the film - so Valiant's surprise about the freeway seems very incongruous!]
Roger takes everyone by surprise when he explodes through the plumbing's drainage grate in the floor, like the Yellowstone geyser, and points a Toon gun at Judge Doom and the Weasels. He startles everyone in his daring rescue attempt when he shouts:
Roger: All right Weasels, grab some sky, or I let the Judge have it. You heard me. I said drop it.
Jessica: Roger, darling.
Roger (to Jessica): Yes, it's me, my dearest. I'd love to embrace you, but first, I have to satisfy my sense of moral outrage.
Doom: Put that gun down, you buck-tooth-ed fool.
Roger: ...Give me another excuse, I'll pump ya full of lead. You thought you could get away with it, didn't ya? Hah! We Toons may act idiotic, but we're not stupid. We demand justice. Why, the real meaning of the word probably hits you like a ton of bricks.
Weasel Greasy hangs upside-down from a net holding one ton of bricks (labeled) targeted above where Roger is standing. He snaps open a switchblade and severs the rope holding the net. Roger, standing beneath the net, is buried under the ton of weight. When Jessica asks: "Roger, Roger, say something," he responds deliriously from under the pile of bricks that he sees a ring of stars: "Look, Stars! Ready when you are, Raoul." "The lovebirds" Roger and Jessica are tied and hoisted up by a chain-hook connected to a power-winch and suspended about fifteen feet in the air - right in line with the spray muzzle of the cannon from the Dipmobile. The Weasels leave them to start mixing the vat of Dip - Jessica and Roger hear the ignition start on the Dipmobile, and she confesses her love to him in their final moments together:
Jessica: Oh Roger, you were magnificent.
Roger: Was I really?
Jessica: Better than Goofy. Roger darling, I want you to know I love you. I've loved you more than any woman's ever loved a rabbit.
When Doom walks by Valiant after taunting him ("It's over, Mr. Valiant"), his feet fly out from under him when he trips on the Gag Eyeballs that were spilled on the floor - one of his tinted spectacles shatters. The Weasels break out into hysterical laughter, and Doom angrily shrieks: "One of these days, you idiots are gonna laugh yourselves to death." Eddie gets a brilliant idea to defeat the Weasels from Doom's remark. Smart Ass is ordered to delay Eddie's death until after the two Toons are Dipped:
Smart Ass: Shall I repose of him right now, boss?
Doom: Let him watch his Toon friends get Dipped - then shoot him.
Doom stalks off as his Weasels start up the Dipmobile's engine, flick on power switches, and try to aim the Dip spray at Jessica and Roger (hung on the hook) with a nozzled gun. Eddie is backed up into a calliope by Smart Ass - he triggers the musical Select-A-Tune machine and it begins playing "Merry-Go-Round Broke Down." Jessica and Roger watch in amazement as Eddie does a rhyming song and dance act - uncharacteristically behaving like a loony Toon:
Now Roger is his name
Laughter is his game
Come on, you dope
Untie his rope
And watch him go insane.
Spontaneously, Eddie performs various pratfalls, backward handsprings/flips and other foolish maneuvers to try and make the Weasels laugh themselves to death. Roger realizes that Eddie has incorporated his Toon lesson about the power of laughter:
Jessica: (incredulously) He's lost his mind.
Roger: (thinking otherwise) I don't think so.
Valiant continues singing an improvisational song:
This singin' ain't my line.
It's tough to make a rhyme.
If I get stuck
I'm out of luck...
He becomes stuck for a closing line. Jessica shouts at him: "I'm running out of time!" and finishes his rhyme. He also juggles three bombs in his hands, slips on a banana peel, jumps high on a pogo stick and is electrocuted by a light socket. As Eddie kills off the Weasels one by one with his humor (Weasel spirits leave their dead bodies with wings and a harp and float heavenward), Roger encourages Eddie: "Hey Eddie, keep it up. You're killin' em. You're slayin' em! You're knockin' em dead."
I'm through with takin' falls
I'm bouncin' off the walls
Without that gun
I'd have some fun
I'd kick you in the --
Roger supplies the last rhyming word "Nose," but Smart Ass disagrees: "Nose? That don't rhyme with walls." Valiant kicks him in the crotch to demonstrate the right word: "No, but this does." Smart Ass lands in the Dip and evaporates. Dying of laughter, the weasel behind the wheel in the truck falls onto the gear shift and sets the truck lurching forward into motion. Psycho loses his balance on the Dip cannon platform and pulls the nozzle down so that the Dip spray just misses Jessica and Roger. When it hits the wall behind them, Roger is relieved: "Jeepers, that was close." But the Dip spray is "coming back" and Eddie must climb up to the cannon platform to disarm the sprayer.
Eddie is interrupted when Judge Doom slides into view on a high-wire and engages him in hand to hand combat. Doom pulls his cane apart, revealing a long, gleaming stiletto blade. Eddie opens up an Acme gag crate and finds a bending and wiggling Toon 'Singing Sword' [a reference to Friz Freleng's 1958 Oscar-winning Looney Tunes cartoon "Knighty Knight Bugs" in which a medieval court jester Bugs Bunny must recover the Singing Sword from the evil Black Knight (Yosemite Sam)] that starts crooning (in Frank Sinatra's voice) the Coleman-Leigh song Witchcraft: "Wicked Witchcraft, And although I know it's strictly tabooo..." when he pulls it out of its scabbard. [Anachronism: The song wasn't written or recorded by Sinatra until 1957, 8 years after the time frame of the film.] With only a singing sword (resembling Frankie wiggling limply at a microphone), Eddie faces Judge Doom. Valiant discards the useless sword and reaches for a gigantic Toon horseshoe-shaped Magnet in another box. But Doom's power deflects the magnet's electrifying force with his sword, flips it around, and turns it against Eddie. He is hopelessly trapped and clamped between the magnet and a large metal barrel that has been pulled up against him from behind by the powerful attraction.
Doom orders Valiant: "Don't move!" as he climbs into an Acme steamroller and starts it moving inexorably toward him to flatten him. Eddie looks down at the last minute and spots a box of Toon Portable Holes - he whips out one of them and slips it over the rounded part of the magnet to create a disappearing gap to allow him to squeeze out of the magnet's grasp and jump out of the steamroller's path. During more fighting, when Valiant protectively defends and shields himself with a Toon can of Extra Sticky Glue, Doom punches and jams his fist through the container and his hand becomes covered with glue. Doom's fist becomes stuck to the front of the moving steamroller's drum when he punches at Valiant and misses. Frantically, he tries to disengage his hand, but gets more mired in the sticky stuff, both onto the drum and the floor.
Meanwhile, the Dipmobile's Dip spray is getting closer to the two Toons. As the green liquid threatens to erase them, Valiant reaches the main shut-off switch in the cab of the Dipmobile. The Dip spray stops just in time - and Roger boldly brags to Jessica: "I wasn't worried. Were you?" Doom is flattened into a black-shaped pancake by the steamroller, but there are no blood and guts. The edges of the black figure curl up with a creak and the whole flattened figure peels itself off the floor and wobbles to its feet:
Valiant: (astonished) Holy smoke, he's a Toon!
Valiant: Not really. That lame-brain freeway idea could only be cooked up by a Toon.
Doom: Not just any Toon...
The corrupted adult Toon staggers over to a nearby oxygen tank, sticks the oxygen valve in his mouth and re-inflates himself. His prosthetic eyeballs pop out and he glares back at Eddie with evil, hideously red Toon eyes. Paralyzed, Eddie recognizes the murderer of his brother Teddy (in their final confrontation) when Doom talked in a high-pitched squeak:
Remember me, Eddie? When I killed your brother, I talked just like this.
Doom is propelled on his yellow shoe slinky-springs toward Valiant, and then he reactivates the Cloverleaf Industries' Dipmobile. As he and Eddie struggle some more, the Dip spray goes wild and gets closer and closer to Roger and Jessica still hanging from a hook in the direct path of the spray. With his fist transformed into a Toon Anvil, Doom punches Eddie with a bone-crushing blow. Then he threatens Eddie with his fist in the shape of a Toon Buzz-Saw and glares with wild Toon eyes. With a last ditch effort and every inch of remaining strength, Eddie reaches for an Acme Gag Knockout Mallet (the one that the detectives played with during the murder investigation), points it toward the release lever on the Dip truck, and pulls the trigger. The boxing glove accordions out of the mallet, punches the release lever, and activates the Dip spray gun - sending a gushing flood of Dip onto Judge Doom. The floor of the factory is completely covered in deadly greenish Dip.
The pressurized spray of Dip is poised to strike the two Toons, but the spray on the cannon suddenly dies and the pressure meter on the Dipmobile tank drops. The Dip spray dries up in a harmless dribble - the tank is EMPTY after dousing Doom. The evil Toon melts and dissolves in his own Dip in excruciating pain [a scene that is a direct reference to the Wicked Witch's death in The Wizard of Oz (1939)]. As he disappears into the Dip, he cries: "I'm melting, melting."
The runaway truck with the vat of Dip crashes through the factory wall. Valiant surveys the colorful sight of Toontown through the hole. Jessica and Roger also look through and see a fast-moving train and a couple of Toons on a handcar. Toontown is saved. But Roger and Jessica still have problems: "Eddie, there's Dip everywhere. How are we gonna get down?" Having destroyed Judge Doom and his evil schemes, Eddie washes all the Dip on the floor into a drain, lowers the hook to release Jessica and Roger, and unties them from the hook. Roger exclaims: "Jeepers, Eddie. That was a close shave. I thought for sure our goose was cooked." Jessica turns and coos: "My hero!" and hugs and passionately kisses Roger instead of Valiant - to Valiant's consternation.
Cars screech into the factory - Dolores, Benny, Lt. Santino, and other cops rush in. Eddie tells the Lieutenant that Doom was responsible for three murders - the deaths of Acme, Maroon, and Teddy Valiant. The cartoon characters from Toontown appear and peek through the hole in the factory wall, and then run in, gather around to marvel at the remains of Doom. They are all relieved that he was different from all the Toons:
Mickey Mouse: I've wondered who he really was.
Bugs Bunny: I'll tell you one thing, Doc. He weren't no rabbit.
Daffy Duck: Or a duck.
Goofy: Or a dog. [This was one of the very rare times that the anthropomorphic Goofy's species was hinted at. It was a memorable subject during a campfire discussion in Rob Reiner's Stand By Me (1986): ("Mickey's a mouse, Donald's a duck, Pluto's a dog. What's Goofy...?").]
Pinocchio: Or a little wooden boy.
The Big Bad Wolf (pulling off his sheep's clothing): Or a sheep.
Woody Woodpecker: Or a woodpecker.
Sylvester: Or a pussy!
Dolores is surprised when an ink stain appears on Valiant's shirt. He stares at it and then remembers it was squirted there by Marvin Acme several nights earlier - but he wonders: "Why it's comin' out now, I don't know." Roger discovers a bottle of Acme Disappearing-Re-appearing Ink and extols the virtues of Acme to them:
Roger: Here's your answer, Eddie. Acme Disappearing - Re-appearing Ink. Boy, that Acme - what a genius.
Baby Herman: (disagreeing angrily) Applesauce! If he was such a genius, why didn't he leave his will where we could find it? Without it, we're just waiting for another developer's wrecking ball.
Everyone is still worried that the destiny of Toontown will end up in some other developer's hands.
Valiant cleverly has an idea - he searches his pockets to find Roger's love letter and suggests that Roger read the love letter he wrote to his wife: "Roger, that love letter you wrote to your wife in the Ink & Paint Club - why don't you read it to her now?" While reading his love letter, Roger discovers the Acme legacy is written on the same piece of paper (in disappearing - re-appearing ink):
Dear Jessica, How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I, Marvin Acme, of sound mind and body - It's THE WILL!...do hereby bequeath, in perpetuity the property known as Toontown to those lovable characters, the Toons....
The Toons applaud, cheer loudly and rejoice to find out that Toontown has been bequeathed to them by Marvin Acme's will, in gratitude for all the laughter they have created. Tinkerbell (from Peter Pan) streaks into view. Roger asks if Eddie has truly been transformed - by laughter:
Roger: That was a pretty funny dance you did for the Weasels. Do you think your days of bein' a sourpuss are over?
Eddie: Only time will tell.
Roger: (stretching out his hand for a shake) Yeah, well, put 'er there, pal!
The gag buzzer goes off in his hand and jolts Eddie - he is not amused. When Valiant glares at Roger, the rabbit gulps in fear: "Don't tell me you lost your sense of humor already?" Valiant grabs him by the neck and replies: "Does this answer your question?" - and gives him a big wet, noisy kiss. All the Toons cheer.
Their adventure over, Jessica hugs Roger, gently puts him down and then Roger melts at Jessica's offer to make him a carrot cake: "Come on, Roger. Let's go home. I'll bake you a carrot cake." The Toons begin dancing and singing their theme song: "Smile, Darn Ya, Smile" and step aside to allow Dolores, Eddie, Jessica and Roger to pass through and walk by. They walk off into the bright future - a Toon sunset in Toontown, framed by the hole in the factory wall. [Wile E. Coyote, the Road Runner, and Speedy Gonzales within the Toon crowd weren't famous as characters yet - they did not appear in any theatrical shorts before 1949.]
At the back of the group is a Toon cop trying to maintain order - he is recognized immediately as stuttering Porky Pig. He gives his famous farewell salute and sign-off:
O-k-k-k, mm-ove along. There's nn-othing else to see. T-t-that's all, folks. Hmm, I l-l-like the sound of that. (He turns toward the camera, holds back the closing black iris, and stutters the famous line.) Eee-ba-da, eee-ba-da,...th-th-th-th-that's all, folks! (Disney's and Peter Pan's Tinkerbell touches him with her wand, christening him with pixie dust. Anachronistically, the film Peter Pan (1953) was only in development stages at this time.)
Also Worth Your Attention...
AMC Filmcritic's Review of Who Framed Roger Rabbit