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Roger Rabbit's Creator Revisits His Imagination

January 20, 1994|RICK VANDERKNYFF

Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin could count at least one unabashed fan long before it opened to the public.

Gary Wolf, who created the ride's scatterbrained hero in his 1981 novel, "Who Censored Roger Rabbit?" (on which the movie "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" was based), got a chance to check out the attraction in October, while he was in town on other business.

"It's a whole new kind of ride. The way that it's done, it's mind-boggling," Wolf said by phone from his home just outside Boston.

Many writers are deeply disappointed when their works are turned into movies or otherwise realized, but Wolf said he has been ecstatic with Disney, both for the movie and for the look and feel of Toontown.

"I love Toontown. That is as good a job of creating a tangible entity from an imaginary place as any I've ever seen in my life. The concept of Toontown from the book is realized," he said. His first walk through Toontown was "kind of an eerie experience. . . . It's kind of like walking through my own imagination."

The idea for Roger Rabbit, he has said, was something he worked out over his kitchen table, primarily to amuse himself; now Roger is a cartoon character recognized around the world. He lives on in Disney-produced cartoon shorts and in Wolf's own books. "Roger's kind of opened a lot of doors for me," he said.

Wolf's second novel based on the character was published in 1992, "Who P-P-P-Plugged Roger Rabbit?" He's at work on a third, which incorporates a real movie star, the late Gary Cooper, and will be published as a graphic novel (sort of a high-rent comic book). Plans for a movie sequel have been long delayed, but Wolf said he has heard that the studio has accepted a final script and is preparing to proceed with production. Although Disney has optioned his second novel, the coming movie is not based on it, and Wolf is not directly involved in the project.

"I would just as soon not get involved in writing screenplays," he said. "I get to put in my two cents' worth, and that's enough for me."

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