Bump the Lamp

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April 2, 2021

Written by: Jim Smith

Walt Disney fans are familiar with Walt’s philosophy of “plussing” things – where you take something that’s already good and make it just a little bit better. It’s one of the ways Walt was able to make films, shows, and attractions not just great, but exceptional, with a level of quality that has become synonymous with the Disney name.

But did you know a more modern, film-based term for this concept was coined during the production of Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

Image: Disney

Nothing about the making of Who Framed Roger Rabbit? was simple.  Between the coordination of Disney characters with Warner Bros. and multiple other licensed characters, and the hybrid of live action filming and animation – everything about this film production was a challenge. Just getting this huge project pulled together was a huge success in itself.  The idea of plussing the film in additional small ways seemed almost unnecessary.

But this was a Disney film, and it had to be the best.

Partly through the film, there’s a scene where Eddie Valiant takes Roger into the back room of a bar, to cut off a pair of handcuffs that was linking them together. During this scene, Eddie bumps into a hanging lamp, which then swings back and forth for the duration of the scene, casting constantly moving shadows across the room and the characters. Animators of the scene performed an excruciating amount of effort to match up the real shadows in the room with animated shadows cast on (and from) Roger.

Check out the finished scene here:

This extra effort to make the scene just a little bit more memorable was termed “Bumping the Lamp” by Disney employees working on the film. Bump the Lamp has gone on to represent that extra effort put into many Disney projects, that make them that much more magical to their fans. Whether it be artists working on the next animated film, Imagineers designing a timeless park attraction, or Cast Members at a resort hotel sprinkling a little pixie dust in your room – Disney knows how to Bump the Lamp.

How about you? How will you Bump the Lamp this weekend… this month… this year? Whatever you choose to do, Bump the Lamp and do it the best you can. That’s one way to add a little Disney magic to your daily life!

Speaking of Roger Rabbit, you can read more about the film in P-l-l-l-l-ease! Five(ish) Fun Facts About Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Come appreciate Roger and many other famous Disney rabbits in Disney Rabbits – An “Earresistible” Group.

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