Also known as: Roger Rabbit: Tummy Trouble (alternative title)
Release Date: June 23rd, 1989
Directed by: Rob Minkoff, Frank Marshall (live-action part)
Written by: Kevin Harkey, Bill Kopp, Rob Minkoff, Mark Kausler, Patrick A. Ventura
Music by: James Horner
Cast: Charles Fleischer, Kathleen Turner, Lou Hirsch, April Winchell, Corey Burton, Richard Williams
Amblin Entertainment, Silver Screen Partners IV, Walt Disney Pictures, Buena Vista Pictures, 7 Minutes
“Don’t worry about a thing. I’ve learned my lesson! I’m a reformed rabbit, a better bunny, a happy hare.” – Roger Rabbit
After the immense success that was 1988’s Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Disney didn’t waste any time in producing their first Roger Rabbit theatrical short. This one, Tummy Trouble, originally played before Honey, I Shrunk the Kids in the summer of 1989.
While Roger Rabbit didn’t exist before 1988, the character was an homage to the animated shorts of yesteryear, as it channeled the work of other golden age animated shorts by studios like Warner Bros., Disney and Paramount.
With this, Disney took the instantly beloved and bankable character and gave him a legitimate short of his own.
The story sees Roger babysitting Baby Herman, who ends up swallowing his rattle. This prompts Roger to take Herman to the ER only to find himself in a zany, slapstick adventure akin to the work it’s an homage to.
Honestly, this is fantastic. For what it is, it’s damn solid and even if it didn’t bring theatrical animated shorts back to the level of prominence they once had, it did temporarily reinvigorate and re-popularize the medium and concept.
The animation is incredibly good and it’s quality can really be seen in the motion of the action, as well as the colors and how dynamic they are.
I wish Disney had really stuck to their guns and gave us more than three of these in the theater. Every Disney film could have had one of these shorts but they only saved them for just a few films.
Now I know that producing just this short took nine months but Disney could’ve had multiple teams working on putting out a few per year. I think this would’ve really helped their live-action films in that era perform better and it would’ve only grown Roger Rabbit’s popularity. Hell, it could’ve led to a second feature film.
Pairs well with: other Roger Rabbit shorts, as well as the full-length Who Framed Roger Rabbit.