Wednesday, September 16, 2020

EP192: The Man who Saved Batman Part One


Ken talks with Michael Uslan, the originator and executive producer of the Batman movie franchise. We’ll talk the origin of Batman, his revered place in popular culture, the co-creator who didn’t get credit for 70 years, the TV show, and first Tim Burton Batman movie.   It’s comic-con for the ears!  

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16 comments :

Mike Wallster said...

Really enjoyed that, can't wait for part 2!

James Van Hise said...

I hope he talks about the producer who arbitrarily reduced his profit participation, and who he sued. I wonder because he wrote a whole book about his involvement with Batman but never mentioned the lawsuit.

M Shayler said...

What I remember most about seeing the movie is the multiple gasps and cries of "noooo" and "aww come On" when Alfred brought Vicki Vale down to the batcave.

VincentS said...

Great podcast, Ken. Can't wait till next week.

Troy McClure said...

I've downloaded to listen to later. Love the Burton/Keaton Batman films.

Uslan's producing partner, Benjamin Melniker, lived to 104!

Bob Paris said...

Let's not forget the 60's Batman movie which was essentially a higher-budget TV episode.

VP81955 said...

And it was so hastily arranged that Julie Newmar couldn't participate due to other commitments, which is why Lee Meriwether wore the cat suit.

iamr4man said...

Hi Ken. Did you miss the Jerry Robinson exhibit at the Skirball Culteral Center in Los Angeles? It was several years ago. Really wonderful. They had a bunch of original art from Jerry Robinson’s personal collection, including the original “Joker” card he drew. Even as a person who knew of Robinson’s contributions to Batman I was very impressed. It also included art from other comics he drew and having seen those drawings it really became easy to spot his drawing style and what was missing when he wasn’t drawing the comic.

For many years I heard the rumors that Bob Kane had almost nothing to do with the drawing and writing of the Batman comics. It was clear that more than one person was drawing the stories, but I thought the rumors were unfair and that I could recognize Kane’s drawings, and he was my favorite Batman artist. Years later I found out the comics I thought were drawn by Kane were actually drawn by Sheldon Moldoff!

Jerry Robinson and Neal Adams were instrumental in getting recognition and a pension for Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster from Warner Communications, the owners of DC Comics. Siegel and Shuster, of course, created Superman.

Bob Kane was probably an asshole like you say. But he was the only comic book creator of the original guys who had the business sense to make money off of his creations long after he stopped drawing it himself.

Jeff Boice said...

Thank you- looking forward to Part 2. I have to say that what Bob Kane did seemed to be standard operating procedure for comic strips and comic books- going back to Bud Fisher with "Mutt and Jeff".

Anonymous said...

“Bob Kane was probably an a••h••e like you say. But he was the only comic book creator of the original guys who had the business sense to make money off of his creations long after he stopped drawing it himself.”

Will Eisner (The Spirit) seems to have had business sense, and seems to have been liked by his writing (e.g. Jules Feiffer) and art (e.g. Jack “Plastic Man” Cole) assistants during his WW II service and afterwards.

Frank Beans said...

That was very illuminating, I didn't know the backstory about the visionary for the "dark Batman" guest you interviewed. And I always thought that Keaton?Nicholson were the ideal adversaries for the original BATMAN film. Tim Burton had great ideas all around for how to make it work.

Bruce P. said...

OK so what is the name of the Netflix documentary on Batman?

By Ken Levine said...

Batman and Bill

Breadbaker said...

Passed this along to a friend who has a personal connection to the Batman story. I'm not a Batman fan but the episode of the podcast was one of your best and had me on the edge of my seat. Good job!

DwWashburn said...

Sorry but there were MEN who saved Batman.

Julius Schwartz took a comic magazine that was on the verge of cancellation because of its weak science fiction stories of the 50s and early 60s and provided a "New Look" Batman which allowed the character to survive until the Batman TV series cemented Batman as a pop culture icon.

Frank Miller created a dark and gritty Batman in "The Dark Knight Returns" that brought new life into a faltering character and was the basis of Tim Burton's movie portrayal.

I think these events did more to "save" Batman than the 1989 movie did.

Breadbaker said...

And I just saw on my Facebook feed that the Klugman-Randall "Odd Couple" debuted fifty years ago last Thursday. For a lot of us who saw that before we saw the Matthau-Lemmon film, their characterizations were the lodestar and it was hard to normalize what Matthau and Lemmon were doing. Even though they had originated the roles.