While I am a Superman girl at heart, Batman: The Animated Series defined my childhood. Twenty-five years ago today, on September 5, 1992, Batman: The Animated Series aired for the first time at 4:30pm, delighting children with a new after school cartoon.
— Batman: TAS (@TheAnimatedBat) September 5, 2017
I was one of the ones that, after a long day of learning, was fortunate enough to get to turn the television over to Fox Kids (at the time, it was a programming block on Fox, not a separate channel) and enjoy an evening of crime fighting. The thirty-minute cartoon re-introduced me to all of my DC favorites that I either knew from the live action movies or from browsing the small shelf of comics at my middle-of-nowhere town’s grocery store. It also brought me new characters to enjoy!
And, I do mean “new characters” as in completely new to me in more ways than one.
Fast Fact 1 – The Show Introduced Harley Quinn
Did you know that Harley Quinn did not exist until she was drawn for the show? Her first appearance, voiced by Arleen Sorkin, was in “Joker’s Favor” where she first cheers on The Joker (Mark Hamill) in her black and red jester uniform before donning a police uniform to slip a cake in to a police banquet. She is immediately shown to be no-nonsense where men are concerned, giving Detective Bullock (Robert Costanzo) a strong whack with her baton over his crude remarks.
Harley’s backstory as a psychiatrist is not shown until The New Batman Adventures, though. The Joker becomes infatuated with her and courts her over to the criminally insane side and, well, the rest is history.
Fast Fact 2 – Mark Hamill Almost Wasn’t The Joker
Speaking of The Joker, Hamill makes a pretty convincing psychotic villain. But did you know that Tim Curry was originally cast as the infamous clown? He was considered too dark and scary for children, so the role was recast with Hamill. Even so, there are tales of people getting chills listening to the Star Wars actor do the voice live, though I have not had that pleasure. He is described as having been very animated during his voice recording sessions, video of which was used to aid the animators during the creation of The Joker. In the DVD extra, Hamill talks about the laugh that defines the man with its many iterations – he did not want “just one rogue laugh” – and how he perfectly compliments his arch-nemesis: Batman.
— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) September 5, 2017
Fast Fact 3 – Bruce Wayne and Batman Have Different Voices
As for the main character, who doesn’t dream of being a billionaire playboy or meeting Bruce Wayne? If you ask me, Kevin Conroy is Batman (Sorry, Michael Keaton!) and he is the main reason I had a crush on the man in the cowl. Interestingly, Conroy made the decision to create two distinct voices, essentially two characters, to differentiate between the businessman, Bruce, and the masked vigilante, Batman. To hear a backstory on the voice, check out this interview with Newsrama from 2011:
'The greatest glory in living lies not in never failing but in rising every time you fail' Emerson. 25 years ago today the journey began! pic.twitter.com/3muc9MRvPx
— Kevin Conroy (@RealKevinConroy) September 5, 2017
It may have been a quarter of a century from the first airing of the first episode of Batman: The Animated Series, but it is still a go-to show in my household and is one that I hold near and dear to my heart. Do you have fond memories of watching Batman: The Animated Series when it first aired? Are you a super fan intent on passing on the love to your children? Share them with us in a comment below!
Watch the opening sequence below and catch the full series on Amazon Prime Video:
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