1 More Day Till The Dark Knight and I’m Geeking Out!
Ok, so I know I said in the last one that I was going to have all this crap for you guys to read between now and THE BIG DAY, but I’ve had a bit of a complication. As some of you know, my brakes went out on my car last week, causing me to run out into the middle of an intersection. After saying a few choice words and hitting the emergency brake I managed to get it back to safety. By safety I mean the parking lot of a Mexican restaurant not too far from my house. I contemplated trying to make it to the house, but seeing as my own emergency braking reflexes were the only thing keeping me from the cold sweet hands of death, I left it there and had it towed the next morning. It’s in the shop now and I won’t have it back till Friday. Apparently, everything that’s possibly related to the braking system, from pads to roters, to all kinds of other parts I had never heard of have to be replaced. The roters apparently just broke clean off. The final damage is going to be somewhere around $500.
However, the good news is…
I’m seeing THE DARK KNIGHT tomorrow night at the midnight show!!! The one movie I want to see more than anything this year! Batman vs. The Joker for the first time on the big screen in 19 years!!! Zippity-doo!
Sooo, anyway I’ve been homebound the past week, aside from bumming rides to get to work and back. I know what you’re thinking. “Well, DJ D, if you’ve been sitting at home all this time watching E3 coverage and The Two Coreys and stuff, why couldn’t you have been writing. I mean, you sure are on the daggum X-E all the time!” I got 2 answers to that:
1) You’re absolutely right. I’m a weenie.
2) Most of the Bat-blogs, as I call them, required a ton of pictures that I took with a roll of film that I was going to get developed the day my brakes died…so, it sits right here next to me and I’ve had no way to go anywhere to get it developed, so it’s kind of trapped in there. Good stuff, too, I promise. Remember that Cure show I went to a while back??? (Oh, and YES, I will connect it to Batman…sorta). So yeah, all that stuff’s coming next week, after the obligatory review of THE DARK KNIGHT. Yes, the all-caps are necessary.
So, that leaves me tonight with a couple of ideas I wanted to discuss that didn’t require the services of CVS. One of them is going to be fairly long and involved and will require a certain degree of research, and I kept putting it off, and just decided to do it next week. It may be more relevant next week anyway, after I’ve given you my review of THE DARK KNIGHT. The other one is as follows…
First off, I want to apologize for what you are about to read–especially to you non comic book reading folks. What you are about to see is probably the nerdiest thing you’ll ever read on this site and is the result of 20+ years of Bat-Geekyness and comes from the mind of a man who lately has had way too much free time on his hands. I promise, that while the next few posts will be Batman related, they will be much more accessible, and then of course I’ll be off my Batmania kick and will move on to other stuff. But for now, I give you…WEIRD BAT-NAME CONNECTIONS!
Ok, growing up and reading the comics and watching the old Adam West re-runs and stuff when I was a kid, I started to notice something. There are a few odd connections in the comics, movies, and TV show with respect the names of the characters and the actors involved. Just some weird coincidences. Bear with me and just hear this out…
The Joker, before he becomes the Joker, is a guy by the name of Jack Napier. His back story has been told and retold several times and there are variations on it. Sometimes he’s presented as a failed stand-up comedian, sometimes a gangster, sometimes a worker in the Axis chemical factory. The character himself has even joked in the comics that he himself doesn’t even remember too much from before he took a dive into the chemicals that transformed him into what he is now. It looks like that origin will be somewhat different in The Dark Knight, but that’s neither here nor there. Anyway, the one thing that has remained the same so far is his name, even in Burton’s first movie–Jack Napier.
This is the man that played Alfred Pennyworth, Bruce Wayne’s butler, in the 60’s Batman series with Adam West.
His name was Alan Napier. Here’s a few things about him: He was the cousin of Neville Chamberlain, Britain’s prime minister from 1937-1940, and was the great-great-grandson of Charles Dickens. When he was first offered the role of Alfred, he had no idea who Batman was. He’d never even heard of him, but when they told him how much he would be making, he butlered-up. Here’s something else. in the series finale of the Justice League cartoon, Batman goes undercover to investigate The Thangarians, and he does it in makeup that makes him look just like Alan Napier. So, how about that one?
In 1977, in order to revive the popularity of the 60’s Batman show, a cartoon was made called The New Adventures of Batman. It had the voices of Adam West and Burt Ward doing Batman and Robin, as well as a bunch of other people from the show. They also introduced Bat-Mite. God only knows why. Alan Napier didn’t return to do the voice. Instead, it was this guy:
Charles Napier. No relation to Alan Napier at all. He’s a famous character actor and if you haven’t seen him in a movie (chances are you have), then you’ve heard his voice cause he’s done voice work for just about everything. He did all the growling for The Hulk in the old Hulk series, and he was one of the guards that Hannibal Lector kills in The Silence of the Lambs. Funny, cause Edward Norton was in Red Dragon, and now he’s playing…The Hulk. Ok, now I’m just getting off on a tangent. The point is…
The Joker = Jack Napier (played by Jack Nicholson–hey, there’s one!)
Then you got 2 different guys, totally unrelated, both playing Alfred, and they’re both named…Napier. Cowinky-dink? I think not.
Here’s another. Robin was played by Burt Ward in the old series. Robin is Bruce Wayne’s ward…Ok, that one kind of sucked. Moving on.
Ooh, speaking of Robins…
The first Robin in the comics was named Dick Grayson. He’s now all grown up and has the secret identity of Nightwing. Back in 2000, DC put out a series called Batman: Gotham Knights. It was written by a chick named Devon K. Grayson. Hmmmm…
Now, we come to the most recent Robin, the third one, named Tim Drake. Back in the early days of the Batman series, a writer by the name of Arnold Drake wrote a lot of early scripts for it. He also helped Bill Finger get a lot of the recognition he deserved. Bob Kane invented Batman, but Bill Finger had a lot to do with his early success, but for years never got any recognition. He helped to create The Joker, The Penguin, Catwoman, Two-Face, and The Riddler. Arnold Drake also went on to create Doom Patrol and Deadman.
Incidentally, if you look close in Burton’s first Batman movie (my personal favorite movie of all time), Bob Kane kind of makes a “cameo.” When Alexander Knox walks into the newspaper office and everyone is heckling him because he’s been chasing the Batman story, one of the guys hands him an artist’s rendition of Batman. It’s a cartoon of a bat standing up, wearing a suit. The signature at the bottom right corner is Bob Kane’s.
Am I losing anybody yet? I only got one more…
Christopher Drake–He’s a composer who wrote the music for 2 of the short films in the new Batman: Gotham Knight thing that just came out–“Have I Got A Story For You” and “In Darkness Dwells.” And no, I STILL haven’t gotten it yet. I’ll get it this weekend, I swear.
Tim Drake = Third Robin
Arnold Drake = Writer on the early Batman books
Christopher Drake = Composer on Batman: Gotham Knight
The conspiracy gets thicker and thicker…
So, what have we learned tonight, kids?
I really need to get my car out of the shop on Friday because I have to get out of this house.