The Disney Roger Rabbit development unit was led by Darrell Van Citters, as director, and Marc Stirdivant, as producer. It included Mike Giaimo, designer. Peter Seaman and Jeffrey Price had completed a screenplay, Malta Wants Me Dead, which was eventually produced by Disney as Trenchcoat – although it was not released under the Disney name due to its more adult themes. They were assigned to the Roger Rabbit development unit and provided several screenplay versions. Later, Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel were contracted to provide another screenplay for a Roger Rabbit feature film. Joe Ranft and Chris Buck also joined the Roger Rabbit development unit. Character designs were created and storyboards were developed. Chris Buck and Randy Cartwright produced some animation pencil tests and a short colored animation test was produced. Clips of these tests were included in the April 1983 segment of Disney Channel’s Disney Studio Showcase. That segment can be seen below, along with early drawings from the Disney Roger Rabbit development unit – this clip was restored and edited by Garrett Gilchrist.
The actor playing Eddie Valiant was Pete Renoudet (also known as Pete Renaday). He started at Disney in 1959 in the Art Props Department. He occasionally did ‘stand-in’ work during screen tests and had bit parts in several Disney comedies in the 1960s. He did voice acting later in his Disney career. He describes his work on Roger Rabbit as, “one unremarkable day of filming.” Paul Reubens (‘Pee-wee Herman’) did the voice work on these animation tests.