Cesar Romero had this to say about Tim Burton's ''Batman''

TV's Joker had a hot take on Jack Nicholson.

Tim Burton's 1989 Batman was hugely successful, both commercially and critically. It was one of the most-anticipated movies of the decade; a massive marketing campaign made the Caped Crusader nearly inescapable in the leadup to the film's premiere. Prince's soundtrack was the number-one album on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for six consecutive weeks. But, despite all the praise and box office receipts, Batman was not without its detractors.

"This just hit me the wrong way," said Cesar Romero. His misadventures as Batman's nemesis predated the film version by twenty years, so it was only natural that he'd have some feelings. "This picture is dreary. The violence in it... Good God!"

Tim Burton's vision of Gotham was a far cry from that of the 1966 Batman TV show. Gone were the friendlier, tongue-in-cheek tone and dance sequences from the earlier series. Batman was, by comparison, pretty dark in '89.

"This is a very serious, heavy crime drama," said Romero, then 82 years old. "It's not the Batman concept at all. And Nicholson, who is such a wonderful actor and who has done such good work, is just so violent."

 Batman '66 was perfect for its time. It was colorful and groovy. It starred the right actors at the right time. The show was so spectacular and attention-grabbing that it created a demand for Batman merchandise.

"What we did was fun," said Caesar Romero. "It wasn't played [violent]. It was a spoof. It was fun. It was a comic strip."

Batman '66's appeal was its bombast; it captivated viewers and made children want to buy toys. The show was the cornerstone on which a commercial entity was then built.

The Batman movie from 1989, by contrast, was just one of many products. The soundtrack, a full-length album by platinum-selling megastar Prince, was its own gigantic success. $750 million in merchandise was sold leading up to the movie's premiere. David Handelman of The New York Observer observed that Tim Burton's film was "less movie than a corporate behemoth." Whereas Batman '66 was the foundation on which an empire was built, Batman '89 was the crown jewel at the top of a new phenomenon. Batman was already huge in the summer of 1989. The movie didn't create demand; it capitalized on demand built by its own marketing campaign.

While that makes the movie sound soulless, it actually freed it up to take more chances. Kids were buying toys regardless, so Batman didn't need to be a commercial. Instead, it got to be a weird, darker take on the Batman lore and its characters. It got to be a Tim Burton movie, dressed up as Batman. Instead of getting a Batman movie that was more tied to previous iterations, we got the most artist-driven Batman movie there could have been in 1989.

The Joker of old couldn't be bothered, though. "In fact, I don't understand what this 'Batmania' is all about," said Caesar Romero. 

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jdegardnuer 12 months ago
Agree with Caesar Romero... His Joker closest to the comic books of my era, late 50's through 60's... Later too psychotic and dark...
WilliamJorns 12 months ago
I have to disagree here. The Batman TV series was a parody of the comic book character; it satirized the worst aspects of Batman as he appeared in comic books in the 40's, 50's and early 60's. The show was also deliberately silly and corny, part of that "camp" movement in which shows, plays and other artistic works poked fun at themselves. That was not how Bob Kane envisioned Batman when he created the character in 1939. He depicted him as a dark, grim avenger of the night, totally bent on apprehending criminals so they might receive their just punishments. Over the years, the artists and writers at DC Comics "softened up" Batman's character, making him less menacing and more approachable. This led to what Denny O'Neill, a longtime Batman writer and DC editor, referred to as Batman's "benign Scoutmaster" phase - he was seen in the comics making short public-service films to be shown in Gotham City movie theaters; his various costumes were once put on public display at a Gotham City Museum; he even served as a guest lecturer at a local Gotham college, teaching a course on how to be a detective. That is what led to the light-hearted TV series in 1966. And while the show can be justifiably credited with saving the "Batman" comic book from cancellation (circulation took a serious drop in the mid-60's, and the show's success boosted sales dramatically), the long-time fans of the comic book began to complain that the books began to copy the series in style and tone, which caused the editors at DC to essentially "reboot" the comics once the TV show had been cancelled. They switched artists and writers, went back to more serious and dramatic storylines, and even sidelined most of Batman's classic nemeses (Joker, Riddler, Penguin, Catwoman, etc.) for a year or two in order to give the comic books a fresh start. It was only in the mid-80's, when Frank Miller's four-part graphic-novel miniseries "Batman: The Dark Knight Returns" when DC allowed Batman to become so very dark and gritty.
The 1989 Burton film drew much of its inspiration from Mr. Miller's mini-series (the island of Corto Maltese, where Vicki Vale took a series of war photographs, was a location in one of Miller's books). And, by that time, the comics readership consisted of more than just little kids. There were teen-agers, and adults, all asking for something more "mature" than what was offered back in the 50's.
With all due respect to Cesar Romero, the 1989 "Batman" film reflected the tastes of its audience, just as the 1966 television series did. As the times changed, so did the viewers. And Batman had to change as well, if he was goig
WilliamJorns WilliamJorns 12 months ago
Sorry; accidentally posted before I finished writing! My last sentence should read: And Batman had to change as well, if he was going to be relevant to contemporary audiences.
CouchPotato19 12 months ago
Cesar Romero was a neighbor and good pal of William Conrad, so he's ok in my book!
Tresix 12 months ago
I was 5 when the ‘66 series premiered. I, more or less, took it at face value not knowing that it was played for laughs. I began to read the comic books, particularly in the Seventies, and learned Batman and Robin’s origins. Then I learned more about The Joker and realized that the show was ridiculous. Burton’s movie was much closer to the comics, I haven’t watched the series since 1988.
CharlesRocksClone Tresix 12 months ago
The Joker was a homicadal maniac from the start.
Tresix CharlesRocksClone 12 months ago
And Romero’s Joker was about as frightening as Ronald McDonald.
CharlesRocksClone Tresix 12 months ago
If there was ever a fight between the two, my money is on Ronald McDonald.
mitz123 12 months ago
Tim Burton's Batman was one of the worst movies of any kind ever made. It was all the marketing that made it so big. It was constant and everywhere which seemed like forever. And Jack Nicholson's portrayal of the Joker was horrible. He just acted like Jack Nicholson with makeup.
Mblack 12 months ago
Cesar Romero was in the Disney Medeville movies, with Kurt Russell.

He was also in Oceans 11, where he plays a kind of crook.
Jeremy Mblack 12 months ago
Yeah, he played A.J. Arno. He was pretty much the main antagonist in all three films. That's where I first heard of him. Oh, and the name of the college was Medfield.
JoeGuenther 12 months ago
Batman 1989 movie was taken directly from the violent origin in the Joker's first appearance. Nickelson was perfect casting. Romero was a good campy Joker. I love the Batman Animated Series Joker played by Mark Hamill. I nice balance between Nicholson and Romero's Joker.
DaisyDuke67 12 months ago
Well, I'm glad I didn't see any of these so-called modern Batmans they sound horrible. I'll stick with the originals.
JHP DaisyDuke67 12 months ago
agreed - for those that didn/don't like the Org Batman

#1 they didnt grow up watching the series - didn't appreciate the humor and goofy-ness
#2 lack in common sense
gman042563 12 months ago
For those old enough to have seen Batman when it first came out on television(like me),the first two episodes were plenty dark. Batman gets drunk,Molly(Jill St.John) dies,etc.
JoeGuenther gman042563 12 months ago
Gorshin was excellent as The Riddler. I loved when Penguin ran for Mayor. He used the line which I'll paraphrase. All the stuff I did as a crook that were illegal are now allowed because it's politics. There's a Julie Newmar catwoman episode where Batman and Robin are trapped in a room and Julie's Catwoman is taunting them through an eye hole that is shaped like the CBS logo.
Megototown 12 months ago
No mention here of Christian Bales's trilogy (other than the quick nod to Heath Ledger). Surprising as a conversation of the best cinematic treatment of Batman cannot possiblt complete without including it.
Also interesting is the absence of mention of the Batman movie serials of the 40s. They were deadly serious and dealt with espionage and national security threats as they were WWII era productions. My take, they were all great fun for different reasons and preferences for one over the other is often generational as it is with the never ending Connery vs Moore etal debate. JMHO of course.
montagna_lunga Megototown 12 months ago
Article is about an interview with Cesar Romero in 1989 when that Tim Burton Batman movie first came out. They asked him about it because he was in the tv stuff. He didn't comment on the Christian Bales movies because he died before they were made! And he didn't comment on the 40's serials because it wasn't a history lesson, that interview was part of the 1989 movie hype. -30-
Megototown montagna_lunga 12 months ago
I wasn't taliking about the absence of commentary by Romero but rather by the absence of commentary by the commentators. It just seemed conspicuously absent as if those recent interpretations didn't exist. There was plenty of reference to Frank Miller's influence, which also came well after Romero, so your view is that the Bale contribution has no place in this thread is, to me, myopic.
BorisK Megototown 12 months ago
Floyd! Barney! Now let's stop this feud'n and let's get us all back to play'n checkers!
JHP BorisK 12 months ago
that's my morning chuckle - also you had Ol' Jud and Choney(?) playing checkers at that hotel
BorisK 12 months ago
btw there's a story about Cesar Romero and Desi Arnaz probably not suitable for the MeTV site.
musicman37 BorisK 12 months ago
I know that story.
vinman63 BorisK 12 months ago
Lucy hated Romero for that reason.
George58 12 months ago
I still prefer the 1966 Batman, I mean, Julie Newmar as Catwoman. NOTHING can top that! Besides, Tim Burton likes to mess with classic shows & turn them into something else. For instance, his movie remake of "Dark Shadows" was an insult, a joke. I hated it. Nothing like the "original" series.
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JoeGuenther Mechris 12 months ago
Batman 1989 was based on the original violent comic book stories.
George58 BrittReid 12 months ago
Are you sure you didn't mean , PURRfectly cast!
BorisK George58 12 months ago
Julie Newmar used to make me sweat and I was only 8.
Bricat2001 musicman37 12 months ago
the only Tim Burton stuff i like is his stopmotion work and thats pretty much it
LalaLucy 12 months ago
I understand his feelings as I am not a fan of violence either. However, later incarnations are, in fact, truer to the original comics. I can see the merits in either, even if I lean to the more silly and less violent.
Dave 12 months ago
Mr. Romero misses a huge point: The original Batman from the 30’s & early 40’s was exactly what Tim Burton brought to the screen. Batman and all his villains were a murderous lot, and not funny & goofy until later in the series.
LmerFudd 12 months ago
During World War II, Romero took a break from acting. He enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard in 1942 and deployed to the Pacific Theater. Romero reported for duty aboard the assault transport USS Cavalier in 1943 and took part in the Allied invasions of Tinian and Saipan. A hard worker who requested no special treatment, Romero was admired by his shipmates. When circumstances allowed for recreation, he would help to put on a variety show for the crew. At the end of the war, Romero was honorably discharged at the rank of chief boatswain’s mate.
LmerFudd 12 months ago
Romero is a gentleman in the best old-school tradition. A class act. And a man who served at sea in combat during WW2. Thank you sir. Semper Paratus.
Gossemer LmerFudd 12 months ago
So true, so few of those kind of people anymore.
Hpsnape1957 12 months ago
We love the old 1966 Batman series that gets funnier through time. Only watched 1989 Batman movie once when it came out. I don't think it's a coincidence we're overall more violent society with movies, t.v., video games, etc. getting more violent through the years. Don't care for horror films with graphic violence and gore, either. At least the 60's shows gave us laughs and real family entertainment. And many also taught values and morals along with the story.
RedjacArbez 12 months ago
This is comparing a kids friendly show to an adult movie.
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