Jessica Rabbit

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Jessica Rabbit
Who Censored Roger Rabbit? and Who Framed Roger Rabbit character
Jessica. Rabbit.png
Jessica Rabbit in Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)
First appearanceWho Censored Roger Rabbit? (1981)
Created by
Voiced by
Performance modelBetsy Brantley[5]
In-universe information
SpeciesToon human
OccupationActress and performer at The Ink and Paint Club
SpouseRoger Rabbit

Jessica Rabbit is a fictional character in the novel Who Censored Roger Rabbit? and its film adaptation, Who Framed Roger Rabbit. She is depicted as Roger's human toon wife in various Roger Rabbit media. Jessica is renowned as one of the best-known sex symbols in animation.[6] She is also well known for the line: "I'm not bad, I'm just drawn that way."

Development[edit]

Author Gary K. Wolf based Jessica primarily on the cartoon character Red from Tex Avery's Red Hot Riding Hood.[7][8] The film version of the character was inspired by various actresses. Richard Williams explained, "I tried to make her like Rita Hayworth; we took her hair from Veronica Lake, and Zemeckis kept saying, 'What about the look Lauren Bacall had?'" He described that combination as an "ultimate male fantasy, drawn by a cartoonist."[9] Before Robert Zemeckis was brought on board as director, Jessica had a different design, and was to be voiced by Russi Taylor. Taylor would go on to provide the voice in test footage from 1981.[10] When Zemeckis was hired, he brought along Kathleen Turner to voice Jessica, whom he had worked with in Romancing the Stone. Turner, who went uncredited, accepted the role because she was pregnant and "just had to show up and do her voice."[11]

Character synopsis[edit]

In the novel, Jessica was an immoral, up-and-coming star, and former comic character with whom her estranged husband (comic strip star Roger Rabbit) became obsessed. She is re-imagined in the film as a sultry, but moral, cartoon singer at a Los Angeles supper club called The Ink and Paint Club. She is one of several suspects in the framing of her husband, who is a famous cartoon star accused of murder. She is voiced by Kathleen Turner, who was uncredited for her role. Amy Irving was cast to sing "Why Don't You Do Right?" (a blues song made famous by Peggy Lee) for Jessica's first scene in the movie. According to animation director Richard Williams, other than being a feisty-redhead female human toon temptress, she deeply loves her husband Roger. She even calls him her "honey-bunny" and "darling." She claims that he makes her laugh, is a better lover than a driver and that he's "better than Goofy" after Roger attempts to save her from Judge Doom and the Toon Patrol. As proof of her love, she tells Eddie that she'll pay any price for Roger and she even helps prove him innocent by helping in the investigation.

Even though she's a human Toon, she is shown to have a few of the comedic cartoon antics typical of other Toons. One such example was her cleavage having a hammerspace ability, as one of the weasels searched her (with obvious perverted intent) for Marvin Acme's last will and testament, only to comically get his hand caught in a bear trap, with Valiant commenting on the event with a pun ("Nice booby trap"). Another could be her restrained "wild take" (as she shouts, "Oh, my God, it's Dip!!!") seeing Judge Doom's scheme involving the Dip, while a subtle effect was added by animator Russell Hall: The bounce of Jessica's bosom was reversed from that of a real woman so that it would bounce up when a real woman's breasts bounce down and vice versa. Furthermore, when she blows kisses (as seen to Eddie in one scene) the lip-kisses are also done in a cartoonish style.[12]

After the film, Jessica also appeared in the Roger Rabbit/Baby Herman shorts Tummy Trouble as a nurse, Roller Coaster Rabbit as a damsel in distress, and Trail Mix-Up as a park ranger. In Tummy Trouble and Roller Coaster Rabbit, she made no impression. But in Trail Mix-Up, Roger fantasizes over her, calling her a "babe in the woods" and panting like a dog. She also appeared frequently in the Roger Rabbit comic book series, and she had her own feature in most issues of Roger Rabbit's Toontown such as "Beauty Parlor Bedlam," where she comes face to face with female weasel counterpart, Winnie.

Though Jessica didn't physically appear in the Disney film Aladdin and the King of Thieves, a cardboard cut-out of her body (from the neck-down) was visible for a few seconds while Genie was picking wedding dresses for Princess Jasmine, to which he did the Wolf-whistle. She was mentioned in the 1991 Tiny Toon Adventures episode "New Character Day," while her legs were briefly seen out a limo door in the episode "Buster and Babs Go Hawaiian."

Legacy[edit]

With the success of the film and upon the opening of Disney’s Hollywood Studios on May 1, 1989,[13] the film's characters featured prominently in the company. After taking the Studio Backlot Tour, various props decorated the streets including two different photo opportunities with Jessica: a glittery cardboard cutout and "The Loony Bin" photo shop which allowed you to take pictures in costume standing next to an actual cartoon drawing of characters from the film. There was also a plethora of merchandise including Jessica Rabbit rub-on stickers called "pressers".[citation needed] The Jessica Rabbit Store, entitled "Jessica's", was once part of Pleasure Island, Disney's nightclub attraction and shopping area. The store included a giant two-sided neon Jessica sign with sequined dress and swinging leg and featured nothing but Jessica Rabbit merchandise. The store closed in 1992.

Her line "I'm not bad, I'm just drawn that way" became one of the most popular quotes from the film, and was nominated as one of the 400 greatest movie quotes by AFI's 100 Years...100 Movie Quotes, ultimately failing to make the final list.[14] Jessica Rabbit was named number six on Empire's list of the 50 Best Animated Movie Characters in 2010.[15]

Kathleen Turner, the speaking voice of Jessica Rabbit, stated in an interview that she is asked more often to sign photos of Jessica Rabbit than herself.[11]

Reception[edit]

Jessica Rabbit has received positive reviews and is described as a sex symbol among classic animated characters, commonly ranked among other animated characters such as Betty Boop and Red Hot Riding Hood. According to research by Cadbury Dairy Milk[citation needed], Jessica Rabbit remains the most alluring character in cartoons. Her red dress was also among the most recognized clothing worn by an animated character along with Snow White's dress. In 2008, Jessica Rabbit was selected by Empire as one of The 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All-Time, explaining that despite being drawn as a classic femme fatale, one of the movie's strengths is to allow the character to play against the stereotype".[16] She was also ranked as the sixth greatest animated character by the same magazine stating that "there's more to her than just the sort of lines that would clean sweep America's Next Top Model. There's a pure heart and ready wit beneath that magnificent exterior."[17] Internet Movie Database had a poll that ranked her as the most alluring Disney character according to votes from audiences of the page.[18]

Nudity and impact on LaserDisc release[edit]

With the LaserDisc release of Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Variety reported in March 1994 that Jessica was depicted nude for a few frames of animation, undetectable when played at the usual rate of 24 film frames per second, but visible when advancing through the film frame-by-frame;[19][20] Snopes examined it, and reported that although a scene does exist where Jessica's dress is hiked up and her underwear disappears for a few frames, it could be either intentional or a coloration error.[21] The scene drove sales of the LaserDisc release: many retailers reported that due to reports on the nudity from media including CNN and newspapers, their entire inventories of the LaserDisc release sold out in minutes.[22] Sources from Disney told Variety that the company was unlikely to do anything about the frames, and that the film is not intended for children regardless.[19]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Voice of Jessica Rabbit in Hare Raising Havoc". Behind The Voice Actors. Archived from the original on 2021-01-22. Retrieved 2020-08-03.
  2. ^ "Voice(s) of Jessica Rabbit in Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin". Behind The Voice Actors. Archived from the original on 2021-01-22. Retrieved 2020-08-03.
  3. ^ "Voice of Jessica Rabbit in Robot Chicken". Behind The Voice Actors. Archived from the original on 2021-01-22. Retrieved 2020-08-03.
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2019-10-18. Retrieved 2020-08-03.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ Listed in the end of movie credits
  6. ^ THE LAST MOVIE STAR Archived 2014-12-05 at the Wayback Machine from Entertainment Weekly.
  7. ^ "Q & A with Gary Wolf". JimDavies.org. Archived from the original on 2015-09-09. Retrieved 2015-08-29.
  8. ^ Corliss, Richard (August 8, 1994). "CINEMA: Like the Mask?". Time. Archived from the original on August 12, 2013. Retrieved August 29, 2015.
  9. ^ Weinraub, Bernard (August 1, 1988). "An Animator Breaks Old Rules And New Ground in 'Roger Rabbit'". New York Times. Archived from the original on January 17, 2017. Retrieved February 9, 2017.
  10. ^ "'Who Framed Roger Rabbit?' Test Footage Released 30 Years Later". MovieWeb. 5 September 2014. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 29 August 2015.
  11. ^ a b "Roger Rabbit turns 30: Kathleen Turner talks voicing Jessica Rabbit". marcandrew.ca. Archived from the original on 2020-07-11. Retrieved 2020-07-13.
  12. ^ "Trivia for Who Framed Roger Rabbit". Archived from the original on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2018-07-01.
  13. ^ "WDW Opening Dates". Archived from the original on 2008-07-04. Retrieved 2008-06-11.
  14. ^ "AFI's 100 Years...100 Movie Quotes nomination" (PDF). American Film Institute. Archived (PDF) from the original on 13 July 2020. Retrieved 29 August 2015.
  15. ^ "50 Greatest Animated Characters". Archived from the original on 2020-06-30. Retrieved 2020-07-13.
  16. ^ "The 100 Greatest Movie Characters: Jessica Rabbit". Empire. December 5, 2006. Retrieved 2010-09-09.
  17. ^ "The 50 Best Animated Movie Characters: Jessica Rabbit". Empire. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 29 August 2015.
  18. ^ "Daily Poll: Discuss past/current daily polls, and propose new polls Of all the Disney animated heroines, who was the most alluring?". Internet Movie Database. Archived from the original on 2015-04-05. Retrieved 29 August 2015.
  19. ^ a b "No Underwear Under There". Chicago Tribune. March 22, 1994. Archived from the original on November 14, 2013. Retrieved August 18, 2013.
  20. ^ Michael Fleming (March 14, 1994). "Jessica Rabbit revealed". Variety. Archived from the original on January 22, 2021. Retrieved November 4, 2008.
  21. ^ Mikkelson, David (August 6, 1996). "Who Stripped Jessica Rabbit". Snopes. Archived from the original on January 22, 2021. Retrieved January 22, 2021.
  22. ^ Adam Sandler (March 16, 1994). "Rabbit frames feed flap". Variety. Archived from the original on May 19, 2011. Retrieved November 4, 2008.