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I can't even begin to describe what an impact this movie had on my life. I was 8 years old when it came out, and that is the earliest specific date I can recall. It's like when you're a child, you don't have a real solid sense of time yet. All events over the span of years get lumped into this one big nebulous chunk of time, with no real dates or years attached to any specific moment to delineate one from the other. It all becomes "back when I was a kid". But "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" was such a momentous event in my life, I've always been able to remember it as the summer of '88.
This movie was like a depiction of my dreams made manifest on celluloid. My parents tell me that when I was a toddler watching Looney Tunes, I had tried to crawl into the TV because I wanted to live with the cartoons. I wanted a world where cartoons were real. Roger Rabbit was the first time I actually got to see that idea of cartoons as being real and part of our world. Now I know that Who Framed Roger Rabbit is certainly not the first time cartoons have been integrated with live action film. But, back in '88, I had not yet seen the Porky/Daffy short "You Ought To Be In Pictures" or any of Disney's "Alice" comedies, or even Disney's "Mary Poppins" (I never really cared for many of the Disney live action films when I was a kid, and sadly, I still don't)I still remember sitting in the theater when the big "Maroon Cartoon" title cards popped up and "Somethin's Cookin'" began and while watching it with wide eyes wondering how they were going to make the jump from this 100% animated cartoon into the real world. I was thinking "is the jump into the real world what changes Baby Herman into a cigar smoking tough guy, like he is in the commercials on TV? Are they gonna have to try to get back? Is that plot?" 5 minutes later when the camera pulls back to reveal its all a set, and they were just filming a cartoon on a soundstage in Hollywood the same way they would make any other movie, it completely blew my mind. That was the world I wanted to live in.
After that, I drew Roger Rabbit obsessively for the next 3 or 4 years on any paper I could get my hands on. I'll have to post some of those drawings later. Roger Rabbit was definitely a benchmark in my life and I really hope he makes a return to the screen someday, and I really hope that I may be lucky enough to get to work with him professionally one day.