Happy 25th Birthday to Batman: The Animated Series!
Batman: the Animated Series premiered on September 5th, 1992. Here are 25 facts you might not know about the series.
Honestly, Batman: The Animated Series got me into Saturday morning cartoons. It was amazing and really got me onto the strong nerd path I'm on today.
But when I was watching it as a kid, I didn't realize that I was sort of watching history in the making.
1. This show made Kevin Conroy a household name, and gave Mark Hamill another reason to be famous.
2. This show also CREATED Harley Quinn. She was just supposed to be some one-off Joker side-kick, but became a fan favorite which led to more Harley episodes, and eventually her being written into the comics.
3. She was actually created when one of the producers was watching a, quite frankly, trippy scene from Days of Our Lives. He like Arleen Sorkin in her harlequin outfit so much that he wrote a 'harlequin' character based on it. Oh, and who voice this "Harley Quinn"? Arleen Sorkin herself.
4. Harley wasn't the only character to get originated in the series. Renee Montoya also made her first appearance in B:tAS. In the series, she's merely a police detective. When she made her transition into the comics, she went from police detective to hero as The Question.
5. AND Mr. Freeze's iconic backstory was created in the series as well. Originally in the comics, he's just a guy who builds a freeze-ray that goes cray-cray. In the series, however, they gave him the backstory we all know now: The scientist with a dying wife, just trying to keep her alive, through any means necessary.
6. Did you know the title got changed? When the show first premiered in Sept. of 1992 it was Batman: The Animated Series. The second season, however, was called "The Adventures of Batman and Robin" because FOX wanted the show to be more kid-oriented. So, (as in the comics) Dick Grayson became Nightwing, and they brought in a younger Robin, Tim Drake. (Just completely skipping over Jason Todd's Robin. But, let's be honest, Jason's storyline isn't exactly "kid friendly".)
7. But why did Dick Grayson look so much older in the show anyway? Child endangerment laws. I'm not kidding. There were censorship rules banning the depiction of child endangerment. So they made him older.
Which worked out really well considering they later replaced him with Tim Drake, a younger looking child-Robin. (Sarcasm). Why do you think Tim Drake is just doing gymnastics over villains 24/7 in the show? He's jumping over those child endangerment laws, that's what he's doing.
Eventually they changed the title back to Batman: The Animated Series. Because that was stupid.
8. B:tAS was the first installment in the DC Animated Universe.
9. Tim Curry was originally going to be the Joker. Yup. The producers decided that Curry just wasn't the right fit, so they went with Mark Hamill.
10. The Penguin's depiction in the series came straight from Batman Returns. Bruce Timm (creator of B:tAS) actually went to the Batman Returns set and sketched Danny DeVito as the Penguin for the show.
11. John Glover, who voiced the Riddler, also went on to do other things in the DCU. He was later Dr. Jason Woodrue in Batman & Robin, AND was Lionel Luthor in WB's Smallville.
12. Ron Perlman also went on to do many DC things. In B:tAS he voice Killer Croc and Bane. Later he went on to voice Doctor Double X in Batman the Brave and the Bold, Slade in Teen Titans, and then voiced the Caped Crusader himself in the video game Justice League Heroes.
13. Batman's suit was based on Space Ghost's costume.
14. B:tAS won 4 Emmy's during it's run.
15. Al Pacino was offered the role of voicing Two-Face.
(...a moment of silence for what would have been an awesome moment in animation history...)
16. The title of the show was never shown. Yup. Go watch it again. All you get is a bat signal, and quite frankly, that's enough to get your point across. (It was shown when the series was briefly "The Adventures of Batman & Robin". I guess they wanted to confuse us.)
17. Over 150 voice actors auditioned for the role of Batman.
18. The villain Firefly was supposed to be in the show, but FOX refused to allow depictions of anyone being harmed by fire. And, that's kind of Firefly's thing. Luckily, when the show got moved over to the WB, they didn't have those kind of rules. So they went ALL OUT with fire in Firefly episode.
19. After each storyboard for an episode was completed, it had to be turned into Fox for censorship and restriction notes. Typical notes were "no open wounds, no strangling, no blood, no smoking, no fire..." Why don't you just add "No fun" to that list, Fox...
20. Catwoman and Black Canary were supposed to have an epic team up for an episode. Fox's response? "Where's Robin?" At the time it was in the contract that Robin had to be in EVERY episode. When they kindly asked Fox if Robin could be left out of this episode, Fox nixed the entire episode all together. No Robin, no nothing. Because a badass woman team-up takes a backseat to a child in tights running around at night with a grown man dress as a bat.
21. Alfred Pennyworth and Commissioner Gordon are both very important to the Batman story and are in a majority of the episodes. But they've never spoken to each other in the series. Even when they were right next to each other. NEVER. SPOKEN.
22. Anthony Hopkins was offered the role of Mr. Freeze.
(...a secondary moment of silence...)
23. When B:tAS was moved from Fox to WB, it was also moved from Saturday mornings, to Sunday evenings. Making it the first animated series specifically made for Saturday morning was featured in a primetime slot.
24. The New Batman Adventures is a continuation of Batman: The Animated Series.
25. Kevin Conroy was the first cartoon Batman to voice both Batman AND Bruce Wayne. In past Batman cartoons, two separate voice actors were used to differentiate between Bruce and his alter ego. Conroy was so talented, he just did it himself.