Animators have been hiding things in plain sight since the medium of cartoons was invented. But Roger Rabbit? Lordy mercy, did they take it to the next level!
If you’ve listened to our interview with Roger Rabbit creator Gary K. Wolf, the Roger Rabbit cartoons are riddled with gags, cameos and assorted hidden naughtiness in the margins. For those of you who don’t remember a time before animation being handled exclusively by computers, “In The Margins” is a term that describes jokes animators deliberately hid from our naked eye.
Just a shot of Jessica because you might not see her again
Theatrical animation moves at 24 frames a second, or 24 drawings per a single second, not all of which the human eye can see, to create the illusion of motion. As Mr. Wolf described it, our perception leaves about SIX FRAMES in the margins, approximately a quarter of a second, that would be relatively imperceptible to the casual viewer. But we’ve evolved past celluloid, haven’t we? And internet obsessives like you and I are hardly what you’d call the “casual viewer.” So with the advent of modern technology, we can giddily show you the almost thirty animated gags hidden “in the margins” using the Roger Rabbit short “Trail Mix-Up” as an example.
*And before you mention it, yes, I’m aware “Trail Mix-Up” is the only Roger cartoon to use digital technology this extensively. Rather than correct me, hey, JUST WATCH IT FIRST! I don’t trust any of you to have seen A Far Off Place in theaters, so it’s unlikely you saw this Roger short when it premiered in 1993.
1. The authentic Maroon Cartoon title card is dated MCMXLVII, or 1947, the chronological setting of Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
Now look closely during this panning shot…
2. Released in 1993, there was plenty of time to squeeze in this reference to Disney’s Aladdin in the opening of “Trail Mix-Up”
Blink and you’ll miss a couple gags during the scene when roger trips…
3. Roger’s choice of underwear: Blue Bikini Briefs.
4. Among the many things Roger drops, one of the items is the Suck-O-Lux from Who Framed Roger Rabbit’s original opening cartoon.
5. While describing his outdoor prowess, my dad and his generation might recognize Roger briefly positioning his ears to form a Davy Crockett raccoon skin hat (made famous by Fess Parker in the classic Disney series.)
6. Roger makes an epic baby dick joke even the blind can enjoy!
7. Roger leers at Jessica’s ass until he rubs himself into an explosion. Read into that what you will.
8. Roger’s bug spray is labeled “Mink-Off,” a reference to Roger Rabbit short Producer/Director, Rob Minkoff
9. Roger’s cereal features a target over a moose’s asshole.
10. As Roger runs frantically with a beehive on his head, you can see Baby Herman’s mother taking a dump in an outhouse in the background for a few frames.
When Roger is stung by the hive, he spits out numerous bees that are caricatures you cant see without slowing the scene down.
11. Notice Mickey Mouse?
12. Evinrude from the Rescuers
13. Genie from Aladdin [Note: These two have been removed from the Blu-ray edition for some reason]
14. A female fairy. Either a palette-swapped Tinkerbell/Fantasia fairy/animator caricature. I’m open to any theory you have.
When Roger is getting slammed with logs on his way into the sawmill. Literally from bad to worse and back again. From being pounded into gum…
15. To lounging in a lawn chair…
16. And barfing his own intestines out.
17. Inside the sawmill, when Roger’s pants get caught in the machine, his hairy ass is revealed. Disney beat ya to it, Deviant Art!
18. Roger makes a clever joke about shitting his pants…
19. Then takes one of the most vicious crotch shots in Disney animation history,
The log flume sequence in particular is jam packed with single frame gags you’d never see without the ability to view it frame by frame.
20. On the way out of the log flume, you can see two Hidden Mickey’s in the pupils of Baby Herman’s eyes…
21. While Roger’s eyes reveal a skull and crossbones.
22. Look closely during the first-person portion, and you’ll see a Wanted poster featuring the kid from “Off His Rockers“, a 1992 short directed by Barry Cook, the same man at the helm of “Trail Mix-Up.”
23. And on their way out off the log flume, look for the “We Visited Splash Mountain” bumper sticker on the back of the log.
This one’s minor but worth showcasing…
24. The fishing bear yanks out Baby Herman’s mother’s boot just before getting rammed by Roger’s log (still a PG statement!)
25. Even though the short was made primarily at Disney’s MGM (Hollywood) Studios in Florida, the Trail Mix-Up gang bursts forth from Disney’s Burbank lot.
26. The South Dakota Governor is named Raoul. J Raoul, the in-movie director of Roger Rabbit cartoons played by producer Joel Silver.
27. When Roger and co slam in Mount Rushmore the resulting explosion is real (not animated)
Let us know what we missed, and please check out our interview with Roger Rabbit creator Gary K. Wolf, as well as our previous features like 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Roger Rabbit. And for chrissake, watch Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Buy it on Amazon if you have to!