Lest we all forget, "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?" marked the return of Disney Studio's commitment to feature animation. The Company had produced a string of lack-luster movies after "The Rescuers" was released in 1977. Films like "The Black Cauldron" and "The Fox and the Hound" died in movie theaters, and home video had yet to make a significant impact on Disney's revenues. But Roy Disney, jr., the Vice-President in charge of Feature Animation convinced Chairman Michael Eisner and CEO Frank Wells that feature animation still had a future. In 1987, Roger Rabbit was released and was an enormous hit with both kids and adults, much to the delight of fans like us.
Maggie and I were visiting Walt Disney World in May 1989 to attend the grand opening of The Disney/MGM Studios Theme Park. During our stay, we were very attracted to another part of the resort called "Pleasure Island" which was named after the mythical den of iniquity in 1940's "Pinocchio." And there were more similarities than we ever expected. I was shocked, just like Claude Raines in Casablanca, to find the streets of Pleasure Island lined with vendors selling alcoholic beverages - from colorful cocktails in a variety of containers to your basic can of beer. It was everywhere in Pleasure Island. The restaurants all had a full bar. People were walking all over with drinks in their hands. I immediately thought Walt must be spinning in his grave. Walt Disney forbade the serving of alcohol in his beloved Disneyland, although that rule was amended to allow for it in the private dining room called Club 33 in New Orleans Square. So, to me, this was quite a sight to see. However, it must be said that Disney keeps things well under control, and I've rarely heard of any trouble from inebriated guests. Truly remarkable, and a wonderful place to unwind on those hot Florida nights after a day in the parks.
But certainly my favorite discovery in Pleasure Island was The Jessica Rabbit Shop. First of all, because I'm such a huge fan of the character. Kathleen Turner made Jessica Rabbit a heart-breaking, drop-dead grogeous, femme fetale - name-your-favorite-cliche'. And so, as I walked up the main street of Pleasure Island for the first time and spotted this 3-story neon sign of Jessica Rabbit looming overhead, I was simply dumbstruck. Not only was she staggeringly beautiful - her leg swung back and forth! It was simply too much! And then inside the building was an entire shop filled with Jessica Rabbit merchandise.
The shop wasn't very big, not more than a few hundred square feet, but it had everything from figurines of Roger and Jessica Rabbit to t-shirts, nightshirts, and even tantilizing lingerie - complete with Jessica's image all over everything. The best piece of collectible merchandise by far was the Jessica Rabbit wristwatch that sported a replica of the giant Jessica sign outside. And, to make it absolutely perfect, Jessica's leg swung back and forth - just like the sign. It was amazing, and that watch is certainly one of the most sought-after Jessica Rabbit collectibles I know of.
Sadly, Disney closed the Jessica Rabbit Shop in the mid-1990's.
Apparently there just weren't enough fans to justify dedicated the space to that
wonderful character. We make sure to tell several Cast Members how much we miss
The Jessica Rabbit shop every time we visit, but so far we haven't convinced the
Company to bring her back.
There's a better description of the Jessica Rabbit Shop available over on the I'm Not Bad Jessica Rabbit News Blog where you'll find lots of information about Roger and Jessica Rabbit history, events, and collectibles.
But while you're here, Space Rangers, take a peek at our Toy Story Toys and Collectibles page!
This page was last updated on July 21, 2014.