Conspiracy In Film | Who Framed Roger Rabbit

A murder A corporate conspiracy

Coercion, corruption and blackmail Eddie Valiant vowed never to return to ToonTown after the death of his brother But that isn’t all folks In the world of ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit’, where cartoon characters are real living beings you might see in the street, Judge Doom is the fearsome and sadistic keeper of the law in ToonTown With an undying love for both torturing toons and motorised transportation infrastructure, he plans to destroy ToonTown and build a freeway in its place

[Soundbite: ‘My god, it’ll be beautiful’] The first part of this plan involves buying the public transit company Pacific Lines, with the intention to dismantle it He does this using Cloverleaf, a company of which he is the sole stockholder He then needs to gain ownership of ToonTown, which is currently owned by Marvin Acme of Acme Products To do this, he offers to buy Maroon Cartoons from RK

Maroon, but only if Maroon can convince Acme to sell his company to Cloverleaf as well So RK Maroon sets up Marvin Acme for blackmail by forcing Jessica Rabbit to play patticake with him He then hires private eye Eddie Valiant to take compromising pictures as leverage

‘The stubborn bastard wouldn’t sell! So I was gonna blackmail Acme with pictures of him and the rabbit’s wife’ While Doom acquires Maroon Cartoons through Cloverleaf, Acme refuses to sell ToonTown So Doom changes tactics and kills Marvin Acme, framing Roger Rabbit for the murder He also murders RK Maroon to stop him divulging the scheme to private eye Eddie Valiant

With Acme gone, Cloverleaf Industries’ bid to buy ToonTown will go through, and Doom can finally tear it down to make space for his beloved freeway According to police officer Lt Santino, Doom became Judge of ToonTown by buying his way into office ‘He spread a bunch of simoleons around ToonTown Bought the election

’ Vote buying is when candidates bribe or give rewards to people who vote specifically for them, whether it’s money, gifts, or preferential treatment This kind of bribery has been proven to work most effectively in developing countries with poor, rural constituents who don’t yet prefer one candidate over another While illegal in most democratic countries today, vote buying was prevalent in 19th century America Thankfully, ballot reform at the turn of the century made individual bribes to constituents a lot more difficult However, there were other ways to influence voters

As a response to The Great Depression, urban party machines, like Franklin Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration in 1935, were empowered to provide incentives to businesses to hire more people, with the unfortunate side effect of being biased towards more loyal voters This only worked until 1943, when most of these agencies were abolished “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” is set in 1947, so this probably isn’t the way Judge Doom rigged his election – he would have used more old-fashioned methods ‘I didn’t want anything to do with it, but he said that if I didn’t pose for those patticake pictures, Roger would never work in this town again’ Coercion has been a problem in Hollywood for a long time Many actors and actresses have accused studio executives of threatening to blacklist them from Hollywood unless they perform favours, usually of a sexual nature

There have been many recent, notable examples from the #MeToo movement, including Rose McGowan, Alyssa Milano, and more recently Terry Crews Crews was told by producer Avi Lerner that he’d be kicked off The Expendables franchise if he didn’t drop his lawsuit against WME partner Adam Venit, who Crews alleges sexually assaulted him at a party Crews didn’t drop the lawsuit, and has since been kicked off the franchise Cloverleaf, Judge Doom’s company, is directly based on National City Lines, a tiny transportation company that gained funding from corporations like General Motors, Firestone Tire and Standard Oil On behalf of these companies, National City Lines bought up local transit systems in 46 cities so they could dismantle the electric track infrastructure that ran the public streetcars, and replace them with oil-fueled buses

So, like Doom wanted in the film, this led to the building of freeways and highway infrastructure for motor transport; a convenient benefit to the companies building the buses, making the wheels, and providing the gasoline Many Americans were displaced, so residential housing could be knocked down for road space, much like ToonTown would be National City Lines was convicted in Federal Court in 1949 for destroying electric transit systems in 44 cities But the companies involved received no more than a meager $5,000 fine Just in case you didn’t hate this bus company enough, it was one of their buses that Rosa Parks got arrested on for refusing to move to the back

That’s not completely relevant, but it’s an interesting connection While vote buying is unheard of in modern America, corporate monopolising of transport continues even today Uber, Lyft, Zipcar and other rideshare companies are part of the group ‘Shared Mobility Principles For Livable Cities’ This group argues that all self-driving vehicles in the future should only exist as part of a larger fleet, in an effort to reduce emissions and keep them well regulated However some people, including Marc Scribner of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, have accused these companies of trying to monopolise an industry before it has managed to develop

Scribner argues these policies will gradually reduce access to downtown areas and close the road network to anyone who isn’t a registered commercial or government operator This would not just hurt small businesses, but individual car users as well, since it would limit public transport options It might well be a more environmentally friendly system, but pretending the likes of Zipcar and Uber wouldn’t grossly benefit from it, is naive at best Judge Doom’s plan for corporate America failed in “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” It succeeded in real life

National City Lines is the Cloverleaf company Judge Doom could only dream of The film portrays corporate evil as cartoonish, but avoids fantastical exaggeration, by copying their real-world plans almost exactly Minus the murder, “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” frames society’s villains how they really are

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