In honor of The Dark Knight Rises hitting theaters this week, we scoured the web for the most interesting trivia would could find for the caped crusader. Here's 10 things you might not know about the Batman franchise:
- Batgirl and Harley Quinn, Creations of Television: The campy Batman television needed something to boost ratings. How about a new female lead? The producers of the show worked with DC Comics and the result was Batgirl, who was really Commissioner Gordon's daughter Barbara. Even though the TV show was cancelled, Batgirl and Barbara Gordon remain in the comics. In a similar occurrence, a character named Harley Quinn was introduced via Batman: The Animated Series and had the honor of being adapted into the comics.
- Andy Warhol's Batman: Without the permission of DC Comics, artist Andy Warhol made Batman Dracula, a particularly campy take on the hero. He only showed it at art exhibits, although allegedly there are copies of the film around.
- Adam West's Nestle Quik: It was this role of a James Bond-esque special agent Captain Q in a Quik commercial that netted Adam West job of playing Batman for the campy TV series.
- Pee-Wee and Beetlejuice Brought Batman to the Movies: The financial success of Pee-Wee's Big Adventure and Beetlejuice convinced Warner Bros. that Tim Burton could be trusted with a Batman film. It was not without its problems, however, as his choice of Michael Keaton (a romantic comedy star) as Batman brought thousands of angry letters to WB's doorstep. Burton stood firm, and Keaton stayed.
- Alfred's Cloudy Past: Bruce Wayne's butler Alfred has been a confidant for the Dark Knight since the beginning. When he was first introduced, he was a Watson rip-off to Batman's Sherlock Holmes. In the 60s he was killed off and brought back as a villain. However, the most peculiar thing about him is that he appears to be trained in a manner of handy skills like advanced first aid and hand-to-hand combat. If we didn't know any better, it sounds like he could be an earlier Batman...
- Bane is the Newest Villain in the Movies: While enemies like the Joker and Scarecrow have been fighting Batman for several decades, Bane is a relative newcomer. Perhaps inspired by steroids, Bane made his first appearance in comics in 1993 as a man boosted to insane levels of physical strength by a drug named Venom. He also became the first enemy to truly beat Batman, breaking his back and leaving him paralyzed.
- The Riddler was Probably in Dark Knight Returns: Remember the guy trying to get his big break by unmasking Batman in The Dark Knight? His name is Coleman Reese or Mr. Reese for short. Say Mr. Reese out loud and you get mysteries. A similar naming convention can be found in The Riddler's real name, Edward Nigma (or E. Nigma). Just something to think about…
- Kevin Conroy Has Been Batman the Longest: For 19 years, Kevin Conroy has voiced Batman and Bruce Wayne in cartoons and video games. Conroy won the audition out of 50 applicants and introduced the idea of changing his voice radically when he was saying lines as Batman (not to a Christian Bale level, mind you). He has voiced Batman in a total of 25 projects. Mark Hamill voiced The Joker in The Animated Series, the latest video games, and made cameos in several other projects.
- Heath Ledger's Hospital Explosion Reaction Was Not Ad-Libbed: Remember when The Joker was walking away from the hospital in Dark Knight in his nurse uniform, and there was that dinky explosion? Christopher Nolan wanted a delayed, staggered explosive effect that would allow Ledger to walk close to the building without getting hurt. They only had one take, as the building was actually demolished, and to this day Nolan credits Heath for not looking back despite the loud noises and nearby debris. Many sites online believe that the explosions were faulty and that Ledger improvised his frustrated reaction, but this is not the case.