Who Framed Roger Rabbit | 1988
Although the film is set in 1947 Los Angeles, the production was based at Elstree Studios in Hertfordshire (where the ‘Ink and Paint Club’, the interior of Eddie’s office and the 'Terminal Bar’ sets were built), so the locations are divided between California and the UK.
And, no, there is no question mark. Traditionalists consider it bad luck in a film title (as you may have noticed from other films here – although What Ever Happened To Baby Jane? survived). No need to have worried here, though, with Robert Zemeckis’ irresistible blend of animation and live action.
‘Maroon Cartoons’, home of Roger Rabbit, is the RED Studios Hollywood, 846 North Cahuenga Boulevard, north of Melrose Avenue, Hollywood (previously the Desilu Studios of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, where TV show I Love Lucy was taped, and later the Ren-Mar Studios). It pops up again as another fictitious studio lot, ‘Kinograph’ in Michel Hazanavicius’ The Artist.
Eddie Valiant (Bob Hoskins) takes the old Pacific Electric ‘Red Car’ to his office on Hope Street, between 11th and 12th Streets, downtown Los Angeles, heavily disguised behind scads of period dressing. Much of the street has since been demolished. In mid-2004, when I took the photo, Eddie’s office still stood, at 1130 South Hope Street. Inevitably, this last remnant has not been demolished.
The ‘Acme Factory’, on the border of Toontown, where Marvin Acme is killed by the falling safe, and Judge Doom (Christopher Lloyd) finally gets his just desserts, can be seen in west London. Beneath the neon and palm tree dressing is the Dimco Building, Wood Lane, alongside the new Westfield Shopping Centre, London W12 (tube: White City, Central Line).
Back in the real Los Angeles, Eddie and Roger escape from Judge Doom at the ‘Terminal Bar’ and scoot off in the animated Yellow Cab down Hope Street, finally shaking off the pursuing weasels by leaping onto the Glendale-Hyperion Viaduct, on Hyperion Avenue-Glendale Boulevard, over I-5 and the Los Angeles River, in Los Feliz, way northeast of downtown.
The cinema, in which they hide out, is back in the UK. It’s the, now closed, 2,000 seat Gray’s State Theatre, George Street, Grays in Essex (rail: Grays, from London Fenchurch Street) The wonderful Thirties movie palace was the largest single-screen auditorium still operating in Europe at the time, and has since been a nightclub but is currently closed.
In 2021, it was announced the the State was to be refurbished into a Wetherspoons pub but, with a downturn in the chain's fortunes, in 2022 the plans were called off and the building was put up for sale yet again.
The entrance to Toontown, at which Eddie finally overcomes his hatred of Toons and pours away the Wild Turkey, is the Griffith Park Tunnel, between Western Canyon Road and Vermont Canyon Road, north of the Observatory. The tunnel was also featured in WarGames and Robert Zemeckis’ first two Back to the Future movies.