Open from late 1990 to some time in 1992, many people never got the chance to visit The Jessica Rabbit Store. After compiling information these last several years, ImNotBad.com is happy to offer an extensive look at what was - including merchandise photos, concept art and interviews, in a three-part article that will put a spotlight on one of Disney's first character-themed stores.
Roger Rabbit's Hollywood was a proposed section of the park. In the photo below (left) you can see a replica of the Acme warehouse and Maroon Cartoons building (doubling as "Maroon Studios" from the written description). The other photo (right) is of concept art for the Roger Rabbit Toontown Trolley Ride, which was to be a motion simulator much like Star Tours. There were also plans for Baby Herman's Runaway Baby Buggy, a dark-light ride in the style of Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin, that would take you careening through the hospital hallways as seen in the cartoon short Tummy Trouble. A Toontown Diner was also planned as the main restaurant.
(photo left courtesy MartinsVids.net) shows how invested Disney was with Roger Rabbit. The section was to include what might have been the parks first roller coaster, based on one of the cartoon shorts. While plans for a grand Roger Rabbit-themed section were unfortunately scrapped, the characters did play a big part in the final version of the park. A costumed Roger Rabbit was often seen walking around the parks and included in parades and shows. When you walked down Hollywood Boulevard, the shops prominently showcased Roger Rabbit merchandise. Overlooking Echo Lake was the Maroon Studios billboard. Nearby, the Hollywood and Vine Restaurant building featured windows on the second story with Roger Rabbit's shape in the window shades and the Valiant and Valiant logo. The windows and billboard still remain as of 2015.
In 2008 I had the honor of conducing my first interview for the site with artist Mark Marderosian. Not only did he create the art for most of the Jessica's store merchandise, he designed the famous neon sign that everyone knew so well. He was chosen for the job because his comic book, Delta Tenn, Lady Cop, was proof that he could draw leggy women. Here is what he added about the beginnings of the Jessica Rabbit store:
A talented artist I had known from a couple of years back, Mark Seppala, called me out of the blue. Mark had been hired by Walt Disney Theme Parks in Florida. They were ramping up the creative merchandise department, and gearing up to produce more merchandise exclusive to the parks. At that time, the Jessica Rabbit store was about eight months from opening, and they needed a TON of merchandise drawn and produced. I got all my reference; they sent me a long list of drawings needed for key chains, t-shirts, clocks, balloons.
(Image above courtesy Disney Vacation Kingdom)
In Part Two we will go inside the store and take a closer look at the Jessica Rabbit store building, the giant neon sign, floor plan, layout and more...
In Part Three we will take an in-depth look at all of the merchandise available at Jessica's, from shirts to mugs to boxers and nightgowns - even art of things that were never made...