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Geek Trivia: One Of The Plot Lines Of Which Of These Animated Films Was Based On A Real Conspiracy?


Answer: Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

One of the central plot lines of the critically acclaimed 1988 animated/live-action hybrid film Who Framed Roger Rabbit is a plot by Judge Doom, played by Christopher Lloyd, to buy out and destroy Toontown (so that he can build a giant freeway through its location) and dismantle the streetcar company in Los Angeles (so people will buy cars and use his new freeway).

Unbeknownst to many viewers, the plot driving the conspiratorial machinations of Judge Doom was taken straight out of the real world playbook of American automotive industry companies in the mid-20th century. The incident was popularly known as the “General Motors streetcar conspiracy” due to General Motor’s prominent role in the conspiracy and their subsequent conviction for involvement.

The conspiracy saw companies with large stakes in the rise of the automobile (like General Motors, Firestone Tire, Standard Oil, and others) invest significant sums of money through shell corporations focused on buying up controlling interests in the major streetcar/trolley companies in major cities for the sole purpose of dismantling them in an attempt to monopolize surface transportation.

Image courtesy of Warner Brothers.


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