Who Freeze-Framed ‘Roger Rabbit’? : Movies: Pssst? Wanna see Jessica Rabbit in the altogether? You’ll need a laser disc, and you better hurry--they’re in short supply at Southland video outlets.
Video stores reported a brisk run this week on the laser-disc version of the 1988 animated/live-action film “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” after reports surfaced that mischievous animators at Walt Disney Studios snuck X-rated scenes into the film--including a partly nude Jessica Rabbit.
In one three-frame sequence that can only be spotted in the standard-play disc, the animated character’s skirt hikes up during a twirl, revealing that the voluptuous redhead is not wearing any underwear.
In another scene, Baby Herman fondles a woman as he passes under her dress and there is graffiti on a wall including a plug for a brothel run by Allyson Wonderland.
Existence of the racy scenes was first reported in Daily Variety.
The scenes, which Disney animators apparently felt were virtually subliminal and could not be detected by the naked eye, caused embarrassment at the Burbank-based studio--which is known worldwide for its wholesome, family entertainment. Word of the controversy also triggered a run on the laser disc at local video outlets.
“Some mischievous animators who drew the voluptuous redhead snuck in a few frames of Jessica that are reminiscent of Sharon Stone’s interrogation scene from ‘Basic Instinct,’ ” Michael Fleming wrote in Variety. Included with Fleming’s column was a scene from “Roger Rabbit” showing Jessica Rabbit with her skirt hiked up.
“On the first spin, she appears to be wearing underwear,” Fleming wrote. “On the second spin, however, there are three frames which clearly show she’s wearing nothing at all.”
Fleming said that while unnoticeable at the usual 24 frames per second, the scenes are visible when viewed frame by frame, as is possible with laser-disc players and four-head VCRs. Thousands of the discs have already been sold.
Disney officials were not immediately available for comment, but were said to be holding meetings to see what, if anything, should be done. Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment also produced the film.
Meanwhile, sales of the disc were brisk.
“We sold out everything we had,” said Marty Sikich, buyer-manager in the video department at Virgin Megastore in West Hollywood. “I have checked a couple other places and nobody seems to have it.”
Other scenes said to have been in the original film, according to Fleming, was one in which a weasel, told to frisk Jessica, puts his hand down her cleavage and emerges with a steel trap snapped shut on his arm. And, one in which actor Bob Hoskins steps into a Toon Town men’s room, where some graffiti was scrawled on the wall reading: “For a good time, call Allyson Wonderland.” Another message on the wall that read “The Best Is Yet to Be” was rumored to have been replaced with Disney Chairman Michael Eisner’s home phone number, Fleming wrote.
Sikich recalled that this wasn’t the first time Disney was embarrassed by its animators.
“When ‘The Little Mermaid’ was first released, the poster for the film was drawn from original film and the undersea tower was drawn like a golden phallus,” he recalled. “Once it was pointed out, it was changed. Disney weathered that.”
At Tower Records on Sunset, a salesman said “everybody’s been calling every morning” looking for the disc.
“They want to see the CAV laser-disc version,” the salesman said. “You can go frame-by-frame. We’ve only got two left, but we have the wrong version so nobody wants it.”