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They are not kid gloves, Mr. Valiant. This is how we handle things down in Toontown. I'd think you of all people would appreciate that.
~ Doom to Eddie.
Remember me, Eddie?! When I killed your brother, I talked, JUST... LIKE... THIS!!!
~ Judge Doom revealing his true form as a toon.
Judge Doom (real name: Baron von Rotten) is the main antagonist of the 1988 Disney/Touchstone film Who Framed Roger Rabbit. He is the judge of Toontown, Eddie Valiant's arch-nemesis, and the boss of the Toon Patrol.
Judge Doom started off as a cold, brutal, manipulative and ruthless judge who holds a hatred towards Toons, even abusing his own Toon Patrol whenever they laugh at something funny. However, this was shown to be a facade to cover his true nature as a sadistic, heartless, psychopathic and homicidal toon who enjoys committing crimes for his own pleasure, even gleefully boasting to a shocked Eddie that he had killed Eddie's brother Teddy. Interestingly enough, despite being a toon himself, he actually has absolutely no redeeming or even comedic qualities whatsoever.
Judge Doom dresses ominously like most villains would; it insisted of a black coat, shady glasses, a white shirt, a black bow tie, and a black hat that he pulls over his head a bit. He also walks with a cane, implying that he is older or wants to look sophisticated.
For the majority of the film, Doom poses as a high-ranking judge. However, he employs tactics that are at odds with traditional views of justice, such as the employment of a mob of toon weasel gangsters (whom he has hired as his new henchmen) and the execution of Toons through a chemical paint thinner solution called the Dip, which is said to be the only way to truly kill a Toon forever.
During the start of the film, Toontown owner Marvin Acme was found dead as a large safe fell into his head at the Acme Factory. Suspicions points out to a Toon rabbit named Roger (due to pictures of Marvin playing 'patty-cake' with Roger's wife Jessica) and Eddie Valiant gets into hot water for provoking Roger with the pictures in the first place. Judge Doom arrives to the scene, as he swears to catch, convict, and execute Roger for the murder. Eddie was also told that Doom became a judge due to spending millions of dollars to buy the judicial election.
In desperation to prove his innocence, Roger seeks help and advice from Eddie, despite the latter's reluctance to get involved in another case involving a Toon, due to a bad case when a Toon robber murdered his brother Teddy while getting away with millions of dollars, which made Eddie extremely cynical of Toons.
However, Eddie soon learns of a hidden will that Acme has bestowed which will allow the Toons to have ownership of Toontown, and that a company called Cloverleaf Industries (which has already bought the local trolley company known as the Red Car) will buy Toontown unless Acme's will shows up by midnight. Eddie also learns that he was used as a patsy by studio head R.K. Maroon in an attempt to blackmail Acme into selling Toontown to Cloverleaf, so that Maroon could sell his studio to Cloverleaf for $3,000,000. Arriving at Maroon's office, Eddie confronts Maroon, who confessed that he only wanted to blackmail Acme with the pictures as Cloverleaf refused to buy the studio unless Acme sold Toontown to them first. However, before Maroon could explain further, he is murdered by an unknown gunman.
At first, Eddie believed the gunman to be Jessica as she was in the studio during the murder, but he soon learned that Doom was the real murderer after following Jessica into Toontown. However, anticipating that he would be followed, Doom traps Eddie, Roger and Jessica, and has the Toon Patrol to hold them captive at the Acme factory.
At the Acme factory, Doom confessed to be the true owner of Cloverleaf Industries as he explained his true plan: to destroy Toontown in order to build a freeway over the entire area. To that end, he has built a huge vehicle that can literally erase Toontown from existence via the use of high-pressured cannons filled with Dip. Doom also explained that he killed both Acme and Maroon and framed Roger to cover his tracks, and that he bought the Red Car to dismantle it so that he can retire as a jurist and take control of the profits of the new road system.
Doom orders the Toon Patrol to tie up both Roger and Jessica to have them sprayed with Dip, but Eddie foils this by making the weasels literally laugh themselves to death with crazy antics, much to Doom's annoyance. Deciding to take matters in his own hands, Doom fights Eddie, but ends up squashed flat by a steamroller.
However, Doom survives being squashed, revealing himself to be a Toon using fake props to hide his unknown true appearance. After inflating himself again with an oxygen tank, he reveals himself, much to Eddie's horror, as the same Toon who murdered Eddie's brother, Teddy Valiant, thus triggering his hatred towards Toons and explaining how Doom managed to buy the judicial election and the trolley car company in the first place.
His voice grew higher until it reaches a horrifyingly high pitch and his eyes turn to daggers, showing Doom's intent that he is now out to kill him as well.
With an evil grin, Doom sprouts a cartoon anvil and buzz-saw to kill Eddie, but the latter uses a Toon glove-loaded hammer to open the vehicle's Dip vat, leaving Doom doused in his own concoction. As he begins to melt, Doom shows more of his "Toony" nature as he cannot resist doing a direct spoof of the Wicked Witch of the West's death throes (screaming in pain that he's melting) in The Wizard of Oz.
He finally melts in a flood of Dip and fatally dissolves, leaving behind only his clothes, fake teeth, and rubber mask. Following the arrival of the police, Eddie exposed Doom's plan to clear Roger's name, and Roger found out that the will was in his love letter all along, as Acme used disappearing ink to hide the contents, thus leaving the Toons in ownership of Toontown for good. When the other toons come to investigate, they all wonder what Doom really was and what he actually looked like under the mask; however, they soon realize that it doesn't matter what Doom was as they are now safe from his wrath forever and celebrate their victory.
Teddy Valiant (dropped a piano on his head from 15 stories up)
Marvin Acme (dropped a large safe on his head)
A Toon Shoe (dipped in the Dip)
R.K. Maroon (shot in the back)
Before Christopher Lloyd was cast in the role, Tim Curry auditioned for the role, but the producers thought his performance was too scary. This is ironic, however, as Christopher Lloyd's perfomance in the finished film was pretty scary after all, considering that Lloyd is best known for mostly playing comedic and good-hearted characters.
John Cleese expressed interest in playing Doom, but both Steven Spielberg and Robert Zemeckis refused, thinking nobody would take a former member of Monty Python seriously as a sadistic villain.
The late Christopher Lee turned down the role.
The late Roddy McDowall, the late Robin Williams, Eddie Deezen, Sting, the late Jon Pertwee, John Lithgow, Willem Dafoe, John Malkovich, George Hearn, Gabriel Byrne, Tim Robbins, Michael Keaton, Alec Baldwin, Richard Gere, Gene Hackman, Brad Garrett, Michael Richards, Dudley Moore, Dustin Hoffman, Robert De Niro, the late Richard Attenborough, Al Pacino, Ron Perlman, Tommy Lee Jones, Ray Liotta, Thomas F. Wilson, Kevin Spacey, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Biehn, Donald Sutherland, the late Dennis Hopper, Christopher Walken, and Jeff Goldblum were all considered to play Judge Doom.
Doom's death is an allusion to the Wicked Witch of the West's death in MGM's The Wizard of Oz, as they both melt while shouting "I'm melting! Melting!".
In addition, both have weaknesses to liquid. The Witch's demise comes from water while Judge Doom's demise is the Dip (a paint thinner).
The character was originally going to have an animated pet vulture (one of the two that appeared in Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs) named Voltaire (after the French philosopher) that sat on his shoulder, but that idea was dropped in the interest of saving time. However, the vulture later resurfaced with Doom when a bendable action figure was produced.
Christopher Lloyd correctly guessed Doom's true identity as a toon when he was told not to blink in his script.
Doom originally had seven weasels accompanying him, rather like the Seven Dwarfs, but he ultimately ended up only having five. He was also to have a jury of kangaroos, as in "Kangaroo Court". These elements were all dropped, because animating them would be too expensive.
In a deleted scene, when Doom attempts to dip Roger at the bar, the patrons protest that Roger should at least have a proper trial. The judge agrees, then pulls out a suitcase from which jumps a group of kangaroos that hold out signs reading "Y-O-U A-R-E G-U-I-L-T-Y" (a literal Kangaroo Court, in other words).
Originally, Doom was going to dip a toon gopher instead of the cartoon shoe seen in the film. This was likely changed for the film to keep a PG rating.
It is believed by a large group of spectators that Judge Doom is also the Toon who robbed the 1st National Bank of Toontown. This is never told is the film: they only say that it's a day they were searching the guilty party for a rob in this bank that Eddie and Teddy met Doom for the first time and that Doom killed Teddy. Also, they think that the money Doom gave to the Toons for being elected was the one he previously robbed in the bank.
The ending scene was originally going to have Doom reveal his Toon mouth and red hands with long nails.
In early drafts for the film, he was revealed to be Man from Bambi, as in the early drafts Eddie mentions offhand to Roger that the person who killed Teddy was probably the one who killed Bambi's mother. However this dialogue was cut from the film for reasons yet-unknown.
In the Bonkers series, The Collector is the reverse of Judge Doom. He is a human disguised as a Toon, but shares a similar personality and glasses.
Though Doom's real identity remains a mystery in the film, the yellow paint that remains of him following his death may hint that he was a Toon of a yellow or gold color, as evidenced from the yellow/gold-animated props (handles of his knife-like eyes, springs in his heels, anvil and buzz saw) that sprouted from his black suit during his second fight with Eddie.
Prior to the publication of The Resurrection of Doom, many fans speculated that Doom's real Toon form was the "Pistol Packin' Possum", a Toon seen on one of the posters in R.K. Maroon's office. This is mainly because the Possum has red eyes just like the Toon that killed Teddy Valiant as well as the exact same gun that Judge Doom had in the scene where he shot Maroon.
Additionally, in the first scene where Valiant talks to Maroon about taking on the snoop job, behind Maroon are posters of cartoons on a rotating wall. The one on the right is a poster of the "Pistol Packin' Possum". When Valiant and Maroon walk over to the desk to discuss more business, the rotating wall is closed and the poster (along with the gun the possum is holding) is always pointed towards Maroon with his back turned to it.
Even after the release of The Resurrection of Doom, this theory could still be somewhat valid, as "Baron Von Rotten" was known as "the toon with a thousand faces" and played many disguised roles, one of which might have been Pistol Packin' Possum.
The name "The Toon with a Thousand Faces" seem to be a reference of the late Mel Blanc (the man of a thousand voices), who was know to voiced vairous Looney Tunes character like Daffy Duck,Wile E. Coyote (who also appear in the film as cameo).
There are many instances throughout the film that foreshadow the fact that Judge Doom is a Toon, or more precisely, that he isn't human at all:
In the bar, he backs away from the spilled Dip, which is later shown not to affect regular people. Also, when he demonstrates the Dip's effectiveness for the first time by dunking a toon shoe in the chemical, he wears a rubber glove to protect himself (though one could argue that he used gloves to not get his hands stained with the toon shoe's remains). Also, when he decides to get Benny off the road so he can capture Eddie Valiant and Jessica Rabbit, he kicks the Dip and keeps a distance from it.
When Doom was playing "Shave and a Haircut" to lure Roger Rabbit out of hiding, Eddie begins to wonder whose toonier, Roger Rabbit or Judge Doom ("I don't know who's Toonier, you or Doom"), which is because the idea was somehow ridiculous for capturing a murderer.
On several occasions, Doom is shown to detest laughter. Seeing as it is a Toon's role to be funny, too much laughter may have blown Doom's cover.
Another instance that implies that Doom is a Toon is when he falls on fake eyeballs, he trips in a cartoonish way before falling down (he doesn't fall directly but slips a few times until he suddenly falls. Normally, a human would fall directly after slipping once, as Eddie did.), making the Toon Patrol laugh at him (which he once again ordered to stop). Also, when he gets back on his feet after falling, he hides one of his eyes, not because it is in pain, but so as to conceal his actual red toon eyes with the fake eyeballs that he's wearing. It is especially noticeable since Doom is always seen wearing glasses over his eyes. The fact that he had to cover one of the eyes, imply that the glasses are indeed fake, a fact hinted in the bar when all the glasses in the establishment broke from Roger Rabbit's loud screaming, but the glasses did not.
His glasses glow with a white light that completely obscure his eyes during his talk about the freeway, the initial fight with Eddie, and slightly during a brief moment during his introduction. It is very noticeable because the majority of those incidents take in dim locations that do not have the light to generate that sort of light reflection. In fact, his glasses glow in a manner similar to animated bespectacled villains like Shou Tucker or Sosuke Aizen when talking about their sinister motives in an animated format that justifies that kind of lighting that is unnatural in the real world. This is hinted when a bespectacled cop earlier did not have that light obscuring effect on his glasses at any point in his screen time.
Doom's face appears to be made out of rubber as he never blinks onscreen, This was foreshadowing to the fact that his face was actually revealed to be a mask and his eyes were fake and his teeth looked fake.
Doom constantly performed an exaggerated toon-like turn whenever he turns his body.
A gust of wind almost always blows on Doom's cape even when he's in an area where there's no wind (for an example, Eddie's house).
Eddie states that Doom's "lamebrain freeway idea could only be cooked up by a Toon"; due to the plan being so absurdly simple for all the complicated planning underwent to make the plan a reality, how it was over the top in villainy due to the heinous actions leading up to it without a humane sense of guilt, and the lack of foresight to the inherent flaws of the freeway system that a human with common sense would realize after properly thinking it over. This made it all the more obvious that Doom was a Toon who by nature, lacked common sense and was naive to how the world actually works, and possessed an over-the-top flair that he could not entirely suppress, despite his best efforts to do so.
When Doom is run over by the steamroller in the Acme Factory, he is merely compressed and flattened. If he was a human, it would have been a lot messier.
In Toontown, when Jessica shot Doom to save Eddie, Doom quickly recovered from the gunshot and continued running without injury from the shot.
When Doom reveals his plans to Eddie about building the freeway, he suddenly gets very theatrical and over-the-top while he gushes about everything it would entail (as well as the fact that he would profit off of it all) to the point that it contrasted so much with the mostly cold and understated personality he had shown up until then, that it came off as somewhat out-of-character. This makes perfect sense once it's revealed he's a Toon; it's in the nature of many cartoon villains to be very flamboyant and over-the-top, so as much as he tried to disguise himself as a more normal, understated human being, he couldn't resist hamming it up like cartoons villains normally do when revealing their plans. To especially observant viewers, this is one of the biggest clues that he's not quite what he seems.
If one pauses at the shot of Doom getting knocked by the spray of Dip, they will notice the dummy used for filming.
According to the non-canonical graphic novel "The Resurrection of Doom", Doom's real name was "Baron Von Rotten", who worked as an actor until an accident resulted in him believing that he was a villain.
Fittingly enough, Judge Doom is one of the most evil villains ever involved with Warner Brothers and Disney. He is said to be the "Enemy of All Toons" which is perfectly suitable since his plan threatened to exterminate them all, including other cartoon villains such as Pete and Yosemite Sam who were also in the film.