Batman: The Animated Series — The 90s New Dark Knight (Cinefantastique on BTAS)

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Revelator

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Hello Gang,

Way back in 1994 the magazine Cinefantastique published a double length issue on Batman, and the heart of the issue was a set of 11 articles on Batman: the Animated Series. For many years this issue was the best resource on BTAS and today it remains extremely valuable. I have decided to transcribe all 11 articles (with the help of Adobe Acrobat's OCR) and share them with you. The only section I will omit are the episode commentaries, which were reprinted in Animato magazine and shared on this board several years ago (you can read them at World's Finest).

This post will serve as an index to the articles. I will post one every Thursday until the series has ended. Links will be added into the article titles.

Cinefantastique: Batman: The Animated Series — The 90s New Dark Knight (Vol. 24 No. 6/Vol. 25 No. 1, February 1994)

01. Batman: The Animated Adventures. Warner Bros Animation's Emmy-winning series appeals to adults as well as kids.

02. Mask of the Phantasm: How the direct-to-video feature got upgraded to theatrical movie release.

03. Eric Radomski, Series Co-Creator: Devising a stylized noir look for the cartoon mean streets of Gotham City.

04. Bruce Timm, Series Co-Creator: Devising a new and distinctive look for the Caped Crusader in animation.

05. Alan Burnett, Script Supervisor: Writing adventures that satisfy adult comic book fans as well as the kids.

06. Paul Dini, Cartoon Criminology: The story editor-cum-producer who became the series’ villain specialist.

07. Andrea Romano, Voice Director: Assembling a stellar cast and coaxing the right reading for animation.

08. Directing the Cartoon Action: Directors at Warner’s Animation design the show for overseas cartooning.

09. Producing the Presentation Reel: Eric Radomski and Bruce Timm on filming the short that defined the show.

10. Things to Come Second Season: A rundown of the twenty new episodes to premiere on Fox-TV for Fall 1994.

11. Composing Music for Animation: Emmy-nominated musical supervisor Shirley Walker on scoring cartoons.

All articles are by Bob Garcia. Cinefantastique ceased publication many years ago, and this issue is already available on the Internet Archive. I have decide to post the transcribed text here to make it more accessible to researchers and fans. The first article is by far the longest, but patient readers will be rewarded.
 
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Revelator

Loathsome spotted reptile
Nov 18, 2001
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01. Batman: The Animated Adventures
Warner Bros Animation's Emmy-winning series appeals to adults as well as kids.
By Bob Garcia

Batman could have been just another Saturday morning cartoon show with Batman and Robin fighting goofy villains. Neither it’s heroes nor villains would need to have any reason for doing what they're doing. Their only motivation and justification would be the fact that they wear funny costumes. And these cardboard characters would fight each other in some simplified Eyerytown. In other words, the show could have been completely unmemorable.

Instead, Batman gives its audience characters they can care about; a hero with a tragic past and villains with tales of woe of their own. They exist in the epitome of a crumbling twentieth-century American city, Gotham City. And the stories told arc usually exciting, sometimes controversial, and often emotionally affecting animated dramas.

The difference in approach has put Batman on the top of the critics’ lists and garnered Warner Bros Animation two more Emmys to add to their roster, next to the ones earned by Tiny Toons. It’s a groundbreaking show for American television, and credit for its success can’t be given to just one individual person or decision. Bringing the Dark Knight to television in such a grand manner was not an easy task, but ultimately a rewarding one for the show’s producers, Bruce Timm, Eric Radomski and Alan Burnett, and their talented crew.

For Warner Brothers, the idea for the series began even before the animation division was fully formed, when Tiny Toons was just a movie project the studio was negotiating to do with Steven Spielberg. Warners was looking for someone to run their animation division and they hired Jean MacCurdy, on a hiatus from animation after working for years at Hanna-Barbera. MacCurdy had worked for Warner Brothers in the early ’80s when the studio decided that animated shorts were dead.

“If the studio was going to get back into the animation business, the only way to do it was by doing the best possible production, given the time and the money available,” said Jean MacCurdy. “It was very important that we maintain our heritage of quality work that goes back to the days of Looney Tunes. They gave us all the tools to make that happen. They also understood that they hired us because we knew what we were doing, and they left us alone to do it.”

The division has been wildly successful. The Emmy Award-winning Tiny Toons ran for two seasons that eventually led to a direct-to-video movie, a strategy that was copied with Batman, with the movie opening theatrically December 25th. Tazmania and Animaniacs have also hit the television airwaves from Warner Brothers.

Alan Burnett, the producer in charge of Batman’s scripts, is an old friend of MacCurdy’s. “She gets things going. She puts the right people in the right place, and then she steps back and says essentially, ‘Have fun. Do a good job.’ I don't think I’ve worked with another executive who gave me as much freedom.

“She brought in Tom Ruegger to Warner Brothers, and I know for a fact that people above her were saying ‘Who’s Tom Ruegger?’ But she knew. Here is a fellow who not only brought Tiny Toons to the screen, but helped forge a relationship between Steven Spielberg and Warners Animation. And with Animaniacs Ruegger will have another big hit on his hands. She has a keen sense of choosing the right people and putting them in the right spot.”

MacCurdy is currently the president of the animation division and clearly loves her work. “I have the best job there is, no doubt about it,” said MacCurdy. ''The one thing that ties all of our projects together, I think is quality. These are all very well-produced shows. The other thing is the studio’s heritage that had to do with sophistication, irreverence and all the wonderful things that were the essence of Looney Tunes. I think we’ve tried to carry through on all of our shows. I like to believe we treat our audiences with respect.”

Before 1990, Tiny Toons was the only show in production at Warner Brothers and at the time it was coming to a close. Even though the first episode of Tiny Toons hadn’t even aired, MacCurdy was looking toward the future. She called an open meeting of her staff of forty and placed a number of Warner-owned projects on the table: Gremlins, The Griswolds, Tazmania and Batman. She asked for development ideas on the projects from everybody.

Eric Radomski, then a background artist, created background ideas for all the projects, and a production staffer named Bruce Timm came up with a character design for Batman. Independently, they showed their work to MacCurdy, who saw the potential of putting Timm’s stylized characters into Radomski’s Dark Deco Gotham City, and asked the two to produce a presentation reel to show the studio. MacCurdy told them to make it look like the old Max Fleischer Superman cartoons.

“I wanted it to be very Fleischeresque, having that style and look,” said MacCurdy. “They both responded to that very positively. What was real important to me was that Batman would be distinctive in its look and style. And while you can say that’s what you're going to do, to a lot of people, until you really show it to them, no one gets it. It was really important to me that from the very beginning everyone at the studio and Fox [TV, which bought the show) understood what we were after.”

Radomski and Timm were a bit taken aback by the mandate. “It would be easy to say that I’m a fan of the old Fleischer Superman cartoons,” said Timm. “We said: ‘Okay, sure. No problem. Those are only the most expensive cartoons ever made.’” [Paramount did indeed pay Fleischer Studios $100,000 per episode or four times the cost of an average cartoon in the ’40s for that era.] That didn’t deter the duo from getting to work.

While Timm and Radomski were to spend the next month producing the show, MacCurdy and Warner Brothers started negotiating to put the series in a package for Fox Television. The big selling point for the show was that the first episode would appear shortly after Batman Returns.

“I don’t know if the series would have been made if it was not for the Tim Burton movie,” said Timm. “In fact we had to buy the rights back from Nelvanna in Canada. They bought an option on the character for a series back in 1987 or ’88. I remember Bob Camp, when I was working on the Beanie and Cecil show, showing me these drawings for Nelvanna, which were his ideas on how to do Batman. It was very modern and hip, but still had this very kid’s s how mentality about it. Bright colors and all that stuff. That’s obviously how they thought people perceived Batman. The Tim Burton movie changed the public’s mind about how Batman should be treated.”

MacCurdy had wanted to do a serious Batman back in the ’80s before the Burton movies. “When Alan Burnett and I worked at Hanna-Barbera we worked on development of Batman for Saturday morning, and were not able to do it,” said MacCurdy. “Partly I think because we both wanted it to be dark and serious, and conceptually it wasn't really acceptable yet.

Batman has always been a property that I personally have been extremely fond of,” said MacCurdy. “I’ve always found him to be an interesting, kind of sexy character. There’s a depth to him, partly from his psychosis I guess. Because Warner Bros had the second movie coming out, the timing was really right to have the series come out right after.”

When MacCurdy presented Batman to Fox , she told them that it would be a dramatic series. She had complete faith that they could pull it off. “I thought there was endless story potential,” said MacCurdy. “With this styling and with this look, I really felt that we could make an artistic statement that could make a difference.”

Fox bought the show as part of a package, with only slight reservations. “There was some concern about Batman playing too old.” said MacCurdy. “Certainly from the advertising point of view, but it’s got a strong enough following that those concerns have been overcome.”

Timm and Radomski finished their presentation reel and got called in to MacCurdy’s office a few weeks later. Recalled Radomski, “Jean said, ‘Everybody’s loved this thing. How would you like to produce the show?’ I think both of our jaws hit the floor. We thought to ourselves, ‘Holy S***, what’s this?’ Neither of us had ever produced on that level: 65 episodes!”

Timm and Radomski had never really worked together before. “All I knew of him was that he was a background painter on Tiny Toons,” said Timm. "I thought it was really strange that Jean made him co-producer of the show. I had done all types of stuff on Tiny Toons: character designs, storyboards, background designs—just about everything. So it kind of made sense to put me in charge, but I didn’t know where she was coming from pulling Eric in charge. Neither Jean nor I knew anything about Eric’s extensive production background at Reinert.”

MacCurdy noted that the anointing was purely gut instinct. “They seemed like earnest young men,” she said, laughing. “I told them actually that I thought they both had enough guilt that they would make good producers. Because if you are a producer, what you have to do is worry all the lime and they both looked like they’d worry a lot. And they both really cared passionately about it and that’s very important.”

After Fox bought the package, Warner Bros Animation started to expand, and quickly outgrew its space on the lot. The offices were moved to the old Lorimar Telepictures building and eventually filled three floors, growing to almost 200 staff members.

Work began on producing the contracted-for 65 episodes in November 1990, with no time allotted for development. “Normally, when you go into production on a series you have a certain amount of time just to develop the show before you actually start working on episodes,” said Timm. “But we didn’t have any time. When it was sold, we had an air date and a production schedule to keep. So it was ‘Make it up as you go along,’ and we said ‘Okay!’ — We didn’t know any better. We didn’t know how it was done — so we just did it.”

Noted Radomski, “Once we got going, I was searching around town to get as many available artists as possible. Warners was just starting up and we only had one crew of guys with Tiny Toons, and that show was going into a second season. With both shows in production at the same time, we were only able to rob a couple of artists from Tiny Toons. I ended up literally calling everybody on the union list to get the rest. We had these guys filtering in, and slowly but surely we assembled a crew and got going.

One of the first things the crew started working on was the background look for the show. “The first thing we did was manage to steal Ted Blackman, a background designer from Tiny Toons,” said Timm. “I have known Ted since our Mighty Mouse days. We had him design the look of Gotham City. Now, Eric had his background treatment of painting on black paper [a liquidtex acrylic paint through an airbrush onto a two-ply black board). So we knew that’s how we were going to paint it, but we still didn’t have the actual design. But I always knew I wanted to do something really Deco, because I’m just a real big Deco fan.”

Noted Timm, “We didn’t want our Gotham to look as totally menacing as in the films, for two reasons: one, just because I didn’t want to do what Burton had done and two, I wanted to do a different kind of Gotham City. It was something we decided to do early on. I realized that for animation purposes, we could not get that kind of Baroque detail on the screen and make it work like it does in live-action. It just wouldn’t look the same.

“Working with Ted Blackman and Eric, we came up with this look that seems to be a lot more detailed than it is. All the buildings are basically big slabs that have an interesting shape, but without a lot of detail. There are very few windows on the buildings, there’s almost no ornamentation, no spires and gargoyles (there are a few, but only enough to read: if they’re always there, you’re not going to even see them.) We would focus in on certain buildings and make that the predominant piece of the composition. It actually focuses your attention more on what you’re trying to get across.”

Noted Radomski, “The backgrounds are designed, almost like a paint by number. Once the building is designed in a black and while form, you already have your black shapes outlined for you. As a painter, all you have to do is think what’s going to be the coolest color combination here on the light side, in moody lighting. The black areas are already done for you, so all you’re doing is filling in the blanks. That allows the artist to have a little more time to concentrate on color schemes. So you can get some real cool, moody color combinations against the black, really making it look rich and elegant.

“There are a lot of techniques you can do with the airbrush. If you take the tip of the airbrush off, you can spatter, so you get a texture on the walls, giving it a gritty kind of look. If it’s a rainy night or a misty night, it’s real easy with the airbrush to soft focus the distant buildings. It gives it a real feeling of fog, as opposed of trying to draw it in. You can suggest it with the airbrush around the backgrounds, and it looks just like a foggy day.”

When Radomski developed the series background technique, he had thought that Batman would probably be animated by the same people he'd been working with for the past year on Tiny Toons, TMS Animation Studio in Japan. But, it didn’t work out as planned. “TMS came in at the very beginning of the show and they walked,” said Timm. “They didn’t want to do the show. It was too difficult for them to do for the type of money we were offering and they only wanted to work with Spielberg. They decided they wanted to work on Animaniacs, which is the next Spielberg show. We were very upset.”

As a result, Batman has been animated at several overseas studios, including Dong Yang. Sunrise, Spectrum, Jade, Blue Pencil, AKOM, and even TMS (when Animaniacs wasn’t being shipped fast enough, they ended up doing several episodes). Radomski initially had a difficult time selling all the studios on the technique.

“There was a learning curve with the overseas studios,” said Radomski. “We had our techniques down, and they were interpreting our new painting style. The studios overseas are kind of production lines. They get their methods down and do their paintings. The traditional ways of doing things are pretty standard with all cartoon shows whether they have a different look or not.

“Now our process pretty much stands that on its ear. We had to go overseas and convince them this was the way we had to do it, and it would benefit them in the long run. It simplified their work by half, because of the way the backgrounds are designed as a drawing. One-half or two-thirds of every background is going to be black anyway, they would only be adding color to the light side. Once I was able to convince them that this was going to work, they started adapting their approach to it and it ended up turning out great.

“It also added to the uniform look of the series, because we dealt with upwards of seven studios at any one time,” Radomski continued. "In order to keep the shows consistently looking like Batman, it had to be a style everyone could copy. Because it was this simple airbrush approach on black, an almost idiot-proof style, you can’t really screw it up unless you absolutely don’t know what you’re doing. It was not a hard sell, thanks to Warners Bros. They stood behind us and said ‘If it costs a little bit more, fine. We’ll support it because it really does have this unique look.’”

Radomski assembled a staff of background designers who created the locations for each episode: “There may be 30 of those designs for an episode,” said Radomski. “Whatever the story calls for we have to give a general design. There may be an establishing shot of an exterior of a building that has an office on the inside. Maybe two views of that office for a reverse-angle shot.

“These are not shots that are always incorporated into that show,” he continued. “We may have to do something that is an expanded view of what is called for in that shot, but it gives all the information. So that when the overseas studio has to interpret one of the over 300 scenes in the show, we may send only 30 keys. They have to interpret the balance of those backgrounds. Now, one of the backgrounds may be as simple as the upper corner of a room, but at least they have all the detailing information they need from those original background designs.”

In the last year many of those designs have been done on computer by Animated FX. The backgrounds are then sent from the designers to the production’s painters. “Our painters choose which ones they need to paint, because they don’t need to paint both views of something; they’ll paint just one master shot,” said Radomski. “Then they set the color scheme, the lighting and the textures, which the overseas painters will take as their main blueprint. They’ll paint those corners of the room and whatever angles are called for, using the color scheme and lighting that was given to them in the key. Basically, production in the states is a blueprint for the show. All the production art is done overseas.

“Along with finished backgrounds I go through storyboards, background designs, character designs, and approve all of that stuff,” said Radomski. “But a general rule we have for our crew is that we try to allow them as much creative input as possible. We only had three principal background painters for the entire first season: John Calmette, Russell Chong, and Steve Butz. We've since lost John, and we have a new guy for the second season: Charles Pickens.

“Early on, I was on top of a lot of the master shots,” said Radomski. “I decided what the Batcave was going to look like, the city’s general color schemes, what colors we want to avoid and the lighting treatments we wanted to avoid. But after that, once the guys started to get into it and felt comfortable about it, I pretty much let them do their thing. I end up approving all of the backgrounds that are done. For the most part there are minor changes, if I have any changes at all.

“We assembled a couple of workbooks, because we had several studios working on the show,” said Radomski. “Each studio got a workbook, and we had a master book here. Not only does that help keep consistency, but it allowed our guys to call up stock references. So they don’t have to keep sending samples of the Batcave. There must be 15 different paintings of the Batcave, with different locations, different levels: different computer areas, where the Batboat is docked, all of those kinds of things. So they’re all logged in this stock book.

“When we have another episode that calls for the Batcave, rather than paint it, they just designate the stock workbook number,” said Radomski. “Then we send that along on a color storyboard that spells out for each of the scenes what background to use. So every studio has the same stock book.”

Along with the backgrounds, the characters had to be designed, and Bruce Timm did much of the initial work, eventually hiring Glen Murakami, Mike Gougen and others to work on the individual episodes: Batman. Catwoman, Commissioner Gordon, Mayor Hill, Harvey Bullock, Harvey Dent/Two-Face and Harley Quinn were designed by Timm. The Joker, Alfred, Robin, Killer Croc, and Mad Hatter were designed by freelancer Kevin Nowlan. The Riddler and Mr. Freeze were designed by Mike Mignola.

“I end up doing more designs than I would like to do,” said Timm. “My character designers are all great, but they don’t know what’s inside my head. So they’ll show me a design I don’t like, and I’ll just slap a piece of paper over the design and redraw it. Sometimes, they’ll do things that to me are quite obviously wrong. They’ll have a character that’s supposed to be a rich socialite and he looks like a thug. There are very few episodes that don’t have some characters I designed.”

But Timm had one problem in the character designs he could not surmount: “Early on, I had a real hard time with the female characters because I was drawing them too realistically,” said Timm. “While I was making all the other characters real cartoony and exaggerated, I had a real stumbling block on the women. They were ending up looking very realistic and kind of masculine.

“So a great artist, Lynne Naylor, showed up one day looking for freelance work, and I gave her all the women to design. She redesigned Summer Gleeson and Renee Montoya and did the first character designs on Poison Ivy.

“It was much easier for me to design women after Lynne came in,” he continued. “I was able to see what was missing from my own drawings, and I haven’t had as much trouble since. One of the things I’m proudest of on the series is that we have the cutest cartoon women ever. For some reason, women are very, very hard to animate convincingly.”

The first six months of production were fraught with delays. “When we first started doing the show, there was always this question about whether Tim Burton was going to be involved in an executive producer capacity, like he was al Nelvanna [on Family Dog], and Fox was all hot for the idea,” said Timm. “We were not hot for the idea, even though he’s fine and makes good movies we really didn’t need another cook in the kitchen. So, basically we were stalled, we weren’t allowed to do anything concrete until we found out about Burton.”

Noted MacCurdy, “We wanted Tim Burton to be aware and comfortable with what we were doing. His opinion mattered to the studio, and there were some delays, because Tim was busy. But I don’t know if there was ever really a huge issue of him being executive producer. Maybe there was.”

It turned out Burton was too busy with Batman Returns to become involved with the show, but the delay caused Timm and Radomski to make a decision that would cause more headaches for Timm later. “We knew we were behind schedule,” he said. “So we went ahead and started working, getting scripts, but without Fox’s involvement.” A bible had to be created for the show, and Radomski and Timm turned to Tiny Toons story editor Paul Dini. “We tried to get Paul, early on in the production, because I knew I was going to need a story editor to deal with writers,” said Timm. “Paul was initially gung-ho about the idea, at least he seemed to be, but he would never quite commit to doing the series. Paul wanted to keep working with Spielberg. Everybody gets lured by Spielberg. TMS was the same way. They didn’t want to work on our show, because they wanted to work on Spielberg’s next project. Paul did a little work early on developing the series with me and Eric, but I brought in Mitch Brian. Paul told me that Tom Ruegger demanded that he go back to Tiny Toons, and we were stuck without Paul.”

Dini admitted that it was a tough decision. “I was torn,” said Dini. “I liked Tiny Toons and thought ‘they’ll bring in somebody who’s good for Batman.’”
Dini summed up the work he did on the bible: “It was one of the most liberal bibles we’d ever done. It was just a brief description of each character with some of Bruce’s drawings on each page, and just a few plot lines for stories. That’s all we wanted to do. We had an instinctive feel about where we were going to go with the stories.

“We did it that way, because we had all suffered with writer’s guides from every other studio in town,” Dini continued. “You go in, meet with the story editors and they’re usually two frazzled guys who’ve got no idea what's going on because they’ve had no hand in developing the show and they don’t really care about the show that much. They’re out soliciting premises from every writer in town, and then they all buy the same hackneyed 65 stories over and over again. We didn’t want to do that.”

Noted Radomski, “for the first few months we were dangling out there. We were pitching our ideas for scripts and the network was a little leery. We were first time producers and they didn’t know how strong they wanted the show to go. We knew we wanted it to be as strong as it could be. We needed a story editor and Dini wasn’t available or inspired to, at that moment, come over and be the senior story editor.”

Eventually, Sean Derek was hired as story editor and trouble began. “I didn’t know her from Adam, but I took everybody else’s recommendation,” said Timm. “She was well-regarded so thought we’d try to work with her, but it didn’t work. She’s a nice lady and very talented, but I don’t think she quite grasped what we were trying to do with Batman.

“Most of the scripts she story-edited for us early on, came about very standard TV cartoon fare,” said Timm. “She knew we were trying to do something different, but she couldn’t get it out of the writers. It was coming out very standard, and we had these long nasty arguments over stuff. It was really quite painful.”

Noted MacCurdy, “These things happen on all shows. Sometimes it clicks and sometimes it doesn’t. I think Sean was frustrated and I know the guys were frustrated. I had always hoped to have Alan Burnett [Smurfs, Duck Tales: the Movie] involved, because I knew that Batman was one of his favorite properties. But he wasn’t available when we started up the show.”

Once scripts did come in that were working or could be made to work by the directors, Timm had to take the scripts to Fox. The network would normally have been involved in the development of every script and every casting decision, but hadn’t been consulted.

“When they got the first batch of stuff, they hated everything,” said Timm. “It was as if we had done something behind their back. It was nasty at first. [Fox liaison] Sidney Iwanter and I were very adversarial. It was really because their feelings were hurt. Sidney absolutely hated “On Leather Wings.” And it's one of our best episodes. Eventually he calmed down, but we would still have these arguments about the direction of the show. I used to sit down with every single board and he would call me, and we would go on for hours! It would sometimes take longer to talk about the board than to draw it.

“Eric and I didn’t have a track record,” said Timm, also “because we had never produced before and were an unknown quantity. While we knew what we were talking about was really cool, Sidney was unsure. When the shows starting coming in looking really good. they backed off. Now Sidney’s on our side, and we get along fine.”

Being first-time producers turned out to be a problem for Timm and Radomski. “Everybody thought they could walk over us,” said Timm. “Literally, everybody came in and thought ‘These guys don't know what they’re talking about. They’re not writers. They can’t tell me whether it’s a good script or not. I’ll steamroller them.” And everybody tried. Eric and I fought back.”

“Eric is a godsend,” said Timm. “I couldn’t do the show without him. When we started this show, he basically told me ‘Bruce you make most of the creative decisions and I’ll back you up,’ and I thought that was fine. But as it turned out Eric had more animation experience than I did, because of his training at Rick Reinert Productions. He did literally everything in animation from liming to painting cels to doing camera work and literally everything you can do in animation.

“More importantly, he has really strong feelings about what makes a good show. I fly off the handle and argue with writers and everything, but Eric has been a bear, ever since we first started. When we were having the story problems and we went in to talk to Sean, Eric would be saying that the script was really bad and we had to make it cooler, pointing out where to make changes and everything.

“Even when we got in a lousy script that I thought we could do, Eric would say that we couldn’t. He’s as opinionated and responsible for the overall look and style of the show as I am.”

Noted series director Frank Paur about working at Warner Bros. “It’s certainly a refreshing studio.” The difference with Warner Bros is their attitude. They are genuinely interested in doing quality work. They want their work to last. Other studios like Marvel or DIC, the attitude is ‘Just get the product out there.’ The networks don’t care what happens to it as long as it gets on the air. One person in control of a company once put it to me that all he cared about was how many pounds of film he had in his hand to put on the air. So Warner Bros is a great place to work."

In the first few months of production, Bruce Timm wouldn’t have agreed. The production was so far behind schedule, they had to have a layout crew on location to save the time of sending storyboards overseas and waiting for the results. Timm was depressed with all the delays, script problems and network intervention, and came very close to quitting. “I had my quit speech all planned,” he said, “I’d go home and tell it to myself, just what I was going to say the next day. Fortunately, I never had to use it.”

Timm didn’t quit ultimately because Alan Burnett finally became free of his contract at Disney and joined the staff as the show’s third producer. “Things backed off a lot when Alan came in,” said Timm. “For one thing Alan is a little bit older, and even though he had never produced before, he was very well known in animation circles as being a very good writer. He brought a certain amount of respectability with him.”

“We met up with Alan and he’s just a really great guy,” said Radomski. “He turned out to be a real blessing for the show. He's real even-tempered and very sympathetic to what we felt real strongly we wanted the direction of the show to be. Alan just basically started going ahead with stories and getting writers interested and maintaining the quality.” Noted Burnett, "there were story problems because Fox had concerns, political problems. There was already a lot of good stuff in place, it was just a matter of massaging and that’s why I was brought in. I’d done a lot of massaging as a story editor with the network s and creative people at other companies.

“Everybody was working as hard as they could. They just needed someone to come in and take everyone’s individual vision of the show and bring it together with everyone else’s, taking the best of all the ideas and making it work as a cohesive vision. It wasn’t an overnight process, it took months!”

When Burnett came on board the show had already gone through two bibles. “I read both and culled from them,” said Burnett. “I could have written another one, but I decided to discover the show through the scripts. I was interested in Wayne’s past and how the boy was forged by the moment that his parents were shot.”

Besides the creative problems, Burnett had the very practical problem of being far behind schedule. The editorial staff. comprised of himself, Sean Derek and Laren Bright. was too small to handle the crunch. Burnett hired additional story editors, including Martin Pasko, Michael Reaves, and convinced Paul Dini to leave Tiny Toons.

“All of the story editors had different takes on what the show was about,” said Michael Reaves. “It is to Alan Burnett’s credit that we were all able to subsume all those different takes under the same umbrella, and have it come out as a coherent vision.”

In the Fall of 1991, with his editing staff in place, Burnett called a meeting that reforged the show’s concept. “I got all the story editors and producers into one room for two days,” he said. “We just talked about Batman and talked it out. What we thought his childhood was like before his parents were shot, and after his parents were shot. What his relationship with his father and mother was like. You never hear about what his relationship was with his mother, not even in the comic books. It’s always his father, his father, his father. We talked about his sex life. Everything.

“We talked about the villains and why Gotham City is the type of city that produces these quirky characters. We talked about what Batman means to the city. We decided that Gotham City is a city where the institutions are not only breaking down but sometimes are the problem. Batman is the glue holding it together. He’s sort of the painkiller for the city. He tries to lessen the pain.”

Burnett was given a great degree of latitude to make the show work. “It was a dream job," said Burnett. “I answer to Broadcast Standards. Everyone else who gave me notes, I didn’t necessarily have to listen to them. I’ve never been in that situation before. And the BS&P folks at Fox, Avery Coburn and Sidney Iwanter, have been terrific. Many times I’ve called up Sidney and told him I was having a story problem. and asked his opinion about a solution. He would volunteer his ideas. and I found him very helpful.”

Timm and Radomski liked working with Burnett. “He had an open ear for us,” said Radomski. “When we really didn’t care for something, we could go and tell him our reasons, and he wouldn’t be an a*****e about it. He was real cool. and it ended up working out great.

“For the most part, he trusted us, and our opinions about how things would work, and we believed in a lot of stuff he did. It proved to be a great combination. The majority of stuff we got to do the way we wanted to do it.”
Timm and Radomski wanted to avoid references to Batman’s origin as much as possible. “Bruce and I fought against it every time,” said Radomski. “It would have been twice as many times, had it not been for us. It’s an important point, but you don’t have to beat people over the head with it. Once people know this man has been inspired to be this dark vigilante because his parents were killed—okay, done deal—let’s move on to how he handles this problem in his everyday life.”

Story editor Michael Reaves took a very hard stance on Batman’s personality. “I see Batman as a borderline psychopath who just happens to be on our side,” said Reaves. “He has a moral code that he does not kill, and we’re lucky he has that. But otherwise he is a grim, driven character.”

Noted Radomski, “Bruce and I gave the writers free rein to have their creative input. But still we maintained a general look and direction for the show. A lot of them have been waiting for this chance for a long time, because everyone has paid their dues. Just about everyone on the crew has been in the business for the past ten years. Everyone has had to work on a lot of crappy stuff.”

“That’s why we’re all so excited to be working on it,” said director Boyd Kirkland, “Finally, something that doesn’t insult your intelligence and is high quality. It’s like a dream come true for a lot of us. With this show you didn’t have a toy company dictating things, you didn’t have a network that was trying to squash everything and while DC Comics was in the loop, they pretty much stood back and let us handle it.

“But the quality control and all that sort of thing comes down to the amount of time Warner Bros gives us. You can have the best intentions in the world, but if you’ve only got a week and that’s all you've got. you can only do so much. Plus it helps to be with a studio with deep pockets. There is a lot of money involved in animation and usually a lot of lead time before you can recoup your investment. You need somebody with enough financial wherewithal to absorb all the costs and then float the whole thing for a couple years or however long it takes before they start seeing a profit. A lot of the smaller studios just can’t afford to do that.”

Kirkland outlined Batman’s system of production. “The art department, the storyboard people, the sound folks all get the script the same time I get the script, all on the same day, basically. Then we start to coordinate. The storyboard guys get working on it first. From their roughs or finished boards then characters and backgrounds are redesigned to accommodate whatever happened on the board. It’s a give and take all done simultaneously.” Storyboards are completed in three weeks and turned over to the directors who work with the storyboard artists for another week on refinements.

“At the same time I’m going through it Bruce and Eric are also going through it making notes of some things they’d like to see,” said Kirkland. “We also have to send a copy to the network to get their approval. So I get notes back from the producers and the network and I try to incorporate everybody’s wishes.”

As production was coming to a close on the first few episodes, the producers realized they needed a musical director and composer and Shirley Walker came on board. “Bruce and Alan and Eric all felt they didn’t want electronic music except under special circumstances” said Walker. “The aura of this show reflects back into the late ’30s, early ’40s in the visual design and of course the comic book character is from that era. We all felt there was a certain honoring of those roots that we wanted to maintain. And even though it’s a very contemporary use of orchestra and sound, the style of the music to me still reflects back to that era like the old Superman cartoons.”

Towards the end of that first year, after the score was laid in, the first episode “On Leather Wings” was completed. The news was met with some anxiety, and a screening was scheduled. “We have such a long lag time between when we do a show and we get the film back that we didn’t see this first episode until we had been working on the series for almost a whole year,” said Timm. "We didn’t know if any of the stuff was going to work at all.

“‘On Leather Wings’ came back looking really great, and we all knew our jobs were safe. I’m sure that has a lot to do with why I love it so much.”

Radomski credited the episode for inspiring the whole crew. “I don’t know that everyone had the true faith that the show would be this good. Everybody was just blown away by it. It was enough inspiration to get people to work their asses off, and give us their best work.”

Even though the episode was exciting. there was one technical problem to be dealt with. Radomski’s and Timm’s Dark Knight was a bit too…dark. “From the very beginning, Warner Bros. had always been uncomfortable with how dark the show was,” said Timm. “When they saw the first episode, even though they loved it, they still said there were scenes that were almost black. Fox was very nervous about it too. And in truth, some of the shots in ‘On Leather Wings’ were so dark, you couldn’t even see what was going on.

“At the same time we had never seen a look like that in any animated series ever! We’d never seen anything that impenetrable, and we were freaking out and thought it was really cool.

“In fact, when we transferred it to video, the guy who did the video transfer for us, told us that we were actually getting close to the legal limit of blackness. The FCC has a law about how dark the image can be. I don’t know the details of it, but when we heard that, we laughed, ‘Oh that’s cool. Let’s push it even darker. Let’s break the law.’ We did actually end up going in and brightening up some of the scenes.”

With an episode completed, a main title sequence needed to be added, something that had stymied Radomski and Timm for months, and didn’t get finished until months later. “We had been putting it off, because we couldn’t think of anything cool enough,” said Timm. “We didn’t want to do a typical cartoon main title. While we knew we wanted to do something different, we didn’t know what. Eric and I came up with the idea of doing it in a different style than the rest of the series: very graphic angular shapes with the characters pretty much in silhouette throughout, like Art Deco posters of the 30s."

The main title was sent out for animation to the best studio working on the show, TMS. When it came back looking nothing like Timm and Radomski’s concept. TMS was forced to do it over. “They were really upset when we called them and told them they had to do it over from scratch,” said Timm. “They did eventually tum in the main title sequence the way it now looks, and we are very happy with it.”

As the shows came in different problems arose with the various animation studios. and the producers quickly began to learn the strengths and weaknesses of each of their suppliers: AKOM, Sunrise. Blue Pencil, Spectrum. Dong Yang and TMS. It seemed that AKOM had two or three levels of animating teams available to work on shows. When they put in their bid for the series. They used their A-Team. As the months went along, it seemed that Batman was slowly being relegated to the B-Team and finally the C-Team. There were so many retakes necessary in the second year of production, they actually fired the studio off the show.

Sunrise was another studio that contracted for episodes, and farmed out the work to another studio: Jade Animation in China. “Jade is notorious for cel dirt,” said Timm. “Before they shoot the cels. They’re supposed to wipe them off, but they don’t. So you get these scenes with what look like dust moles flitting around. We retake half of their stuff, just for cel dirt. It’s a drag.”

Blue Pencil was a Spanish studio That did some wonderful work for the show. Unfortunately it underbid to get the show, and the episodes they did busted the studio. Its second episode went to Jade to complete. TMS did the best-looking show of the first season: “Feat of Clay” Part Two, and provided better-than-average shows later on.

Dong Yang is one of their most reliable studios. “I don’t worry about sending stuff to Dong Yang,” said Timm. “They are never less than competent. But sometimes it’s worse to have something mediocre than really bad. You can write off the stuff that’s really bad, but not when it just misses the mark.”

Spectrum is also a dream to work with, providing superb animation for some of the series best-looking episodes. Timm and Radomski eventually teamed up the studio with Dong Yang. Spectrum supplies the layouts, and Dong Yang the final animation.

The team-up of Spectrum and Dong Yang was not only to get a better-looking show, but also to streamline production for the studios. The combination cut down on the number of retakes, something the series needed by the end of 1992.

“Normally we have enough time to have the retakes cut in before we get on the air,” said Timm. “Sometime around December 1992, we weren’t getting the shows fast enough. We were getting a lot of shows that we had to order what we called priority retakes for. Just the retakes we absolutely needed to get the show on the air. Really obvious things, like characters being upside-down or the background being on top. We’d get the rest of the retakes later and cut them in for the second run.”

Batman has been a spectacular success, becoming Warner Bros number one show for the past year, even in some overseas markets. “Apparently, Batman is a huge hit in Korea,” said MacCurdy, adding, “it’s done very well in Great Britain.”

Noted Burnett, “I think Fox and Warner Bros. were taking a chance with this show. While it has some humor it’s basically a drama and is so very different than anything that’s ever been done on American television. I think Fox was a courageous network. And I think that the network is happy with the result.”
 

Revelator

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Nov 18, 2001
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Some notes...

Garcia is absolutely right when he writes "Batman could have been just another Saturday morning cartoon show." It happened to come along at exactly the right time. Warner Brothers wanted to restart its dormant animation division and hired Jean MacCurdy to run it. Without MacCurdy, a genuinely enlightened executive, BTAS might have been a mediocre cartoon based on a hit movie.

As MacCurdy said, “It was very important that we maintain our heritage of quality work that goes back to the days of Looney Tunes. [Warner Bros.] gave us all the tools to make that happen. They also understood that they hired us because we knew what we were doing, and they left us alone to do it.” And as Alan Burnett said of MacCurdy, “She puts the right people in the right place, and then she steps back and says essentially, ‘Have fun. Do a good job.’ I don't think I’ve worked with another executive who gave me as much freedom."

It was McCurdy who decided on an untried background artist and production staffer to produce BTAS, though Eric Radomski and Bruce Timm had never produced a cartoon series. Stop and think what might have happened if a less adventurous executive had been in her place!

And it was MacCurdy who settled the show's gravest crisis: the struggle over the show's direction between story editor Sean Catherine Derek and producers Timm and Radomski. Consider what a less enlightened executive might have done: fire Timm and Radomski and give more control to Derek. Instead MacCurdy brought in Alan Burnett as story editor. This was what saved Timm from quitting the series. Imagine what a disaster that would have been!

BTAS could very easily have been a stylish cartoon whose stories were nevertheless "very standard TV cartoon fare," to use Timm's phrase about the scripts Derek story-edited. Burnett stopped this and hired as additional story editors the late Martin Pasko, Michael Reaves, and Paul Dini, who Burnett convinced to leave Tiny Toons. It's almost impossible to overestimate Burnett's impact on BTAS.

The genesis of BTAS also presents a pair of interesting what-ifs or could-have-beens...
The first: Radomski and Timm thought BTAS would be animated by TMS, the studio that handled Tiny Toons. But TMS backed out; it wanted to keep working with Spielberg. "We were very upset” said Radomski. BTAS was instead animated by a an erratic group of studios: Dong Yang, Sunrise, Spectrum, Jade, Blue Pencil, and AKOM (Ick! Even as a 12 year old I could tell the Akom episodes apart from the rest by their crumminess). TMS eventually came on board to animate a few episodes, but just imagine if TMS had stayed and become BTAS's principal animation studio!

The second what-if: early on Timm and Radomski had tried getting Paul Dini as the show's story editor. Dini wrote the series bible but like TMS he was seduced by the false god Spielberg and returned to Tiny Toons. Now, imagine if had stayed on! Sean Catherine Derek would not have been hired and many of the substandard episodes that plagued the first season of BTAS would have been avoided.

But instead of wishing that chance had allowed BTAS to avoid the flaws of its first season, let's be grateful that chance allowed the show to be as great as it was, because so much could have gone wrong. Without Warners, Fox, and MacCurdy all being on the same wavelength and committing to costly quality, BTAS could have been just another cheap and lousy superhero cartoon. Instead it was the first great one.
 

iammattie

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This is a great mag, out of curiosity, is your staggered release of the articles just due to how long it takes to type up the posts? If so, I've got the whole thing scanned and in a google drive folder that I'd be more than willing to share!
 
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Revelator

Loathsome spotted reptile
Nov 18, 2001
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This is a great mag, out of curiosity, is your staggered release of the articles just due to how long it takes to type up the posts? If so, I've got the whole thing scanned and in a google drive folder that I'd be more than willing to share!
Thanks very much for the kind words! The staggered release is primarily because I didn't want to dump everything on readers at once, since there's such a large amount of material. The optical character recognition feature in Adobe Acrobat pro takes care of most of the transcription work, though I still spend time checking and correcting the results. The next article will be posted this afternoon.
 
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iammattie

Active Member
Aug 11, 2012
296
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Georgia
Thanks very much for the kind words! The staggered release is primarily because I didn't want to dump everything on readers at once, since there's such a large amount of material. The optical character recognition feature in Adobe Acrobat pro takes care of most of the transcription work, though I still spend time checking and correcting the results. The next article will be posted this afternoon.
Sweet, then I'll refain from throwing off the groove. Suppose I can share the scans once you've got the series all wrapped!
 

Revelator

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02. Mask of the Phantasm
How the direct-to-video feature got upgraded to theatrical movie release.
By Bob Garcia

Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, opening nationwide in theatres December 25, began as a direct-to-video feature at Warner Bros. “The original idea came out of a series of conversations between Bob Daley, Terry Semel, Sandy Riesenbach and myself,” said Warner's animation president Jean MacCurdy. “We were thinking about what would be a good way to continue the series and into what other forms we could take it. The made-to-video movie was the answer.”

Sweeping action adventure storylines were being considered when producer Alan Burnett suggested doing a more personal love story. Recalled story editor Michael Reaves of the conversation over lunch, “I thought that was very daring,” said Reaves. “I suggested that we tell the story about the one woman for whom Bruce would have given it all up. He sparked to that and we laid out the basics right there.”

Noted Burnett , “Even though it was originally slated for direct-to-video release, I wanted it to have the feel of a movie, and felt we needed really strong emotions. So we decided that years ago, Bruce fell in love with Andrea Beaumont and wanted to marry her. She brought to his life something he hadn’t had in years, happiness. Then she left town and severed their relationship.”

Burnett and Reaves devised a story that brought Beaumont back to Gotham City just as Phantasm, a new villain, was engaged in a campaign to wipe out rival criminals. “While Batman is trying to track down this killer, he’s haunted by his one true love,” said Burnett. “As he gets deeper into the mystery, he finds there is not only a connection to his girlfriend’s past, but to the Joker as well. A final cataclysmic fight pits Batman against Phantasm and the Joker and the love of his life hangs in the balance.”

A series of flashbacks show Bruce Wayne’s early attempts at being a vigilante before be created the Batman persona. In a sequence inspired by Frank Miller’s and David Mazzucchelli’s comic series Batman: Year One, Wayne dons black leathers and a mask to go out and fight crime. The flashbacks also depict Wayne and Beaumont’s love affair. “We have nicknamed this sequence ‘The Last Temptation of Batman,’” said producer Timm.

The Joker enters the picture when a gangster, fearing a hit from Phantasm, hires him for protection. “The Joker gives the movie a great big shot in the arm,” said Timm. “He comes in as you’re beginning to think that this is too heavy for a cartoon. He’s hilarious. Even though he’s scarier and meaner than he ever was in the series, he’s funny. Without a doubt, it’s Mark Hamill’s best performance. He’s way at the top of his form in this movie.”

The final, dramatic confrontation between Batman, Phantasm, the Joker, and Beaumont is set at the site of Gotham City’s World Fair: a setting combining elements of New York's 1939 and 1964 World's Fair. Story editor Paul Dini had wanted to use the abandoned fairgrounds of the 1964 fair as a setting since 1990, when he and Timm drove past its “sad and decrepit remains” on a trip to New York. Noted Dini, “when we were looking for a way in the movie to convey the hopefulness that Bruce and Andrea were undergoing when they were 19 and looking toward the future, we thought ‘Let's do the World’s Fair,’ where the focus was on mankind and technology working together to make a bright, glorious future.

“It plays on the idea of the lie of the future as seen in our own lifetime. from the early ’60s. One of the indignities I go through every now and then is, ‘Where the hell is my jet pack? I still have to drive to work?’ None of that came true. That sort of parallels what happens to Bruce and Andrea, they’re looking ahead toward the future in this golden paradise that’s going to be Gotham City, and the happiness they’ll know together as a couple. And sadly, none of it comes true. The future just didn’t work out like anybody planned.”

The battle between Batman and the Joker breaks through the various exhibits with startling speed, wrecking miniature cities and swinging around giant globes on sets bigger and more elaborate than any designed for the TV series. Unencumbered by television’s Broadcast Standards and Practices, director Kevin Altieri gives the fight a few deadly twists like the Joker's lapel flower shooting acid, not a gas as it did in the television series.

And Batman is a bit grimmer, so determined to take out the Joker that even when the villain screams at him, “You idiot. I’m your only way out of this. Let me go or we both die!” Batman answers simply, “That’s the idea.”

Even though there’s some restriction on blood—Altieri had to take out a shot of Batman stabbed in the shoulder—the sequence is so violent the producers are worrying that it might push the movie to get a PG-13 rating, and Warner Bros has demanded that they deliver a PG rated film. “The studio wanted to make sure the movie wasn’t too dark or too far out,” said Jean MacCurdy. “They certainly wanted something that was accessible for kids as well as adults.”

Such worries are a far cry from television’s BS&P restrictions which didn’t even allow them to point a gun at someone. “In the first five minutes, we have things we weren’t able to do in the series,” said producer Eric Radomski. “We have guys with handguns directly taking shots at Batman, who retaliates with fist-to-face. Someone actually gets killed.”

The murder actually got toned down a bit. “This comes from the executives on the lot,” said Radomski. “They only had other very minor suggestions about changes. Although, [though] we would have liked to push it just a bit more, you don’t need to see anyone getting their head blown off.”

The PG rating means more to Radomski than just being able to be more violent. “It says this is a real drama, and you have to have some wits about you to understand what this story is about. While I’m sure young kids are going to come see it for Batman, I don’t think they’re coming to see this psychological crisis we put him through. They want to see him run around the screen. And I don’t think the rating says keep the children away from this, as much as it says this movie has an adult appeal. This is for people who are looking for a real movie, not just an expansion of the TV show. We’re just pushing what we’ve done and taking it a step further.”

The final script was assigned to the show’s story editors to write. Paul Dini wrote the Joker’s scenes and the first rooftop confrontation between Batman and Phantasm. Producer Alan Burnett and Martin Pasko wrote the movie's dominating flashback sequences of Andrea and Bruce falling in love. Michael Reaves wrote most of the final act, with its confrontation between Batman, the Joker and Phantasm.

Unlike the television series, where flashbacks were always rendered in sepia tone, the movie’s flashbacks—almost half its running time—are set off visually with ripple dissolves, the present dark and grim and the past bright and optimistic.

“We’re also going to really give the music a more positive attitude,” said Radomski. “Gotham is always grim, and the music is always deep and foreboding. We did the same thing with the designs of the characters, dressing them up a little bit. I believe all these things together will convey that this was a more optimistic time in Gotham City.”

When the script was finished in November 1992, Alan Burnett submitted it to the Warner Bros executives. They had asked to see the script, with the idea that it might be profitable to release as a theatrical film, and even bad Burnett come over and give them a pitch.

President Jean MacCurdy remembered the reaction on the lot. “Everyone got quite excited about it. It was a terrific script. We realized we have quite a wide following and the show is not a kid’s show by any means. It’s a show that appeals to a very broad group of people, and it probably could work as a feature release. They did some brief market testing on it to see if people would be interested in seeing an animated feature of Batman, and the answer was yes.” The decision to release the film theatrically was reached in February 1993. In November the movie had gone into production. But that decision was finalized in February 1993 and in November when the script was finished, the movie had to go into production.

Series directors Dan Riba, Frank Paur and Kevin Altieri were each given a section of the movie divided up by location. Boyd Kirkland was given all the flashback sequences. “There is a lot of romance and drama set up in the flashback sequences, and Boyd was the guy we wanted to handle it,” said Radomski. “It kept things uniform for the film.”

After working hard on the series first year, the staff was looking more forward to a vacation than more work at the time. “No one was gung-ho about it, regardless of whether it was a feature or not,” said Radomski. “We had done our duty for the series, and just wanted to go lay in the sun. We got the first set of rough storyboards from everyone, and they were just okay, but they weren’t pushed. They were just so used to the cost-saving methods they had come up with for the daytime series that they used those methods for the feature film.”

Radomski and Timm called a meeting of the entire staff and had a rather heated discussion to encourage pushing the movie to the limit. Radomski said he was very pleased with the results. “They realized they could ask for more elaborate camera moves and effects than they could on the show, and they started making this stuff even better than we had originally expected."

The storyboards were done by Brad Rader, Mike Goguen, Kevin Altieri (who boarded much of the climax himself), Doug Murphy, Curt Geda, Ronnie Del Carmen (who worked for Paur and Kirkland), Gregg Davidson, Boyd Kirkland, Frank Paur and Butch Lukic (who did the vigilante sequence).

For the movie, Warner Bros Animation’s computer division was asked to model a two-minute 3-D sequence: a computer-generated flight through Gotham City for the movie’s credits, supervised by Alan Brown. “We picked the best buildings from the last 65 episodes rendered by the crew’s background artists [Russell Chong and Steve Butz] and set them in place throughout the motion path,” said Brown. “After two months work we rendered the sequence directly to 35mm film in about 50 hours with 64 processors.”

Voice director Andrea Romano gathered the cast together for a two-day recording marathon soon after the production began. In addition to regular cast members, Kevin Conroy (Batman), Bob Costanzo (Harvey Bullock), Bob Hastings (Commissioner Gordon), Mark Hamill (The Joker), Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. (Alfred) and Lloyd Bochner (Mayor Hill), added to the mix was Stacey Keach as both Phantasm and Carl Beaumont, Dana Delaney as Andrea Beaumont, Abe Vigoda as Salvatore Valestra, Dick Miller as Chucky Saul, John P. Ryan as Buzz Bronsky, and Hart Bochner as Councilman Reeves.

“This was right before Christmas,” said Romano. “The timing was both good and bad. Some people were on vacation and said yes. Others who we really wanted were not available because they were out of town.” Romano had a bit of fun casting Bochner as the Batman-bashing Councilman Reeves. “Lloyd Bochner played Mayor Hill on the series and I always thought it would be fun to have his son Carl come in and have them work together.”

When the storyboards of the script ran long by half, Timm and Radomski cut them and reboarded some sequences to fit a video budget. “We pulled our hair out trying to get it down to a manageable length,” said Timm. “If we had known it was going to be a theatrical feature we would have let it run longer.”

Timm and Radomski flew over to Spectrum Animation’s offices in Japan to review the storyboards with Spectrum owners Norio Fakuda and Yukio Suzuki. The studio was to provide layouts for the entire film and half of the animation. The group then flew to Dong Yang studios in Korea to review the work that was to be animated there.

When word came through that the film would be released theatrically, Timm and Radomski grappled with Warner’s request that the animation work in a 1.8:5 as well as a television aspect ratio. “At first we thought it would be a nightmare, and that we’d have to restage everything,” said Timm. “Fortunately we didn’t.

“It worked in both formals, in full-frame and wide screen. I only had to shift it slightly, up, down, left or right. I drew right on the board with my little [1.8:5] template, and gave that to them as a guide and left it up to them. What’s forgiving about a 1.8:5, is that it's not a super-wide screen format. You’re really not losing that much off the top and bottom.”

The news that the film was going to be released in theaters left director Boyd Kirkland with reservations. “I was excited that we were finally gelling something into the theaters, but ideally I would have liked it to have been something we had done that was designed as a theatrical release, with much more lead time. The decision to release it theatrically was made too late in production. A feature should have one head, one mind in control of the whole thing. This was basically a project to keep all of us busy between seasons. All of the directors worked on it, plus [producers] Bruce [Timm] and Eric [Radomski]. It will be interesting to see if it all comes together.”

Because of the crush of the December release, layouts weren’t checked and okayed prior to animation. The producers were disappointed with the first batch that came in. “It was obvious they didn’t stick to our boards,” said Timm. “The boards were practically tight enough to be layouts. We knew this was going to be theatrical quality, so we even took an extra precaution of shadowing the whole board because we wanted to make sure the shadows were going to be in the right place on the characters. When it came back, they had changed things quite drastically. We were very disappointed and surprised. It was a case where they wanted to feel creatively involved in the process.”

The result? “We’re calling for a million retakes from Spectrum on it,” said Timm. “But the schedule doesn’t change, so they just have three times as much work to do in the same period of time.” The problem didn’t extend to Dong Yang’s animation because the studio’s overseas animation coordinator Ric Marich caught most of the problems in Spectrum’s layouts before they got into production.

In June a Leica reel (the storyboards shot to the correct timing) was shown to the staff and garnered mixed reactions. The flashbacks proved difficult to follow, necessitating more work to make them stand out, but the story was judged to have worked. “It flowed so smoothly,” said Timm. “We sat there for an hour and twenty-five minutes and it felt like an hour. It was nice to see that the story really worked.”

Noted producer Alan Burnett of his reaction to the reel, “this is a terrific graphic novel for the screen. I was hoping it would be. If what we put up on the screen is an absorbing graphic novel for the audience, I will come away clicking my heels.”

In October, the final stages of the movie were coming together, and time was weighing heavily on the producers’ minds. “It was intense up front, and then we waited for stuff to come back,” said Timm. “Now that it’s back, it’s intense again, pure panic time. As we knew it would be. It’s different than on the television show. It’s not like we have to be working around the clock, but the day the film comes back, we have to edit it right away, cut it into the work print and call for retakes.

“We had some deadlines like this last December when we ran out of episodes to run, and aired shows with missing retakes in them. We’ve called a million retakes on this picture, obvious mistakes and stuff we’d just like to see finessed a little better. We’re not going to get the finessing re takes back in time. We’ll cut them into the video release.”

Series composer Shirley Walker is eagerly anticipating the movie. Knowing her soundtrack was scheduled to be released on CD, she put in a call for musicians in August of 1993. “I was very excited, I beat out all the composers who have Christmas films to score,” she said.

Walker isn't worried about any comparisons to Danny Elfman’s Batman score. “One of the original ideas for the animated Batman was for him to have musical distinction from the live action Batman. There were creative reasons for that but also corporate reasons. I don’t believe that Danny’s music will be anywhere at all in this soundtrack. Warner Bros is really going to great lengths to separate and protect the two franchises. They don’t want the animated Batman to take anything away from what might be a possible third live action Batman.”

Walker began recording the score in October with two orchestras: an A-Orchestra of 110 pieces, and a B-orchestra of 80 pieces, up from the usual 30-40 musicians she used on the series.

The series’ regular sound effects crew at Soundcastle couldn’t do the film because they didn’t have the manpower, so a regular feature film sound crew was brought in. Besides more complex sound effects, there is also a lot of dubbing work to be done, mainly because of the fight sequences.

Timm estimated he was “90% happy” with the results but complained that with the December release, “We just didn’t have that extra time to fine-tune it and tweak it.”
 

Revelator

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03. Eric Radomski, Series Co-Creator
Devising a stylized noir look for the cartoon mean streets of Gotham City.
By Bob Garcia

Producer Eric Radomski doesn’t ever remember reading a comic book in his life before Batman. “And I think this is to our benefit, because I’m not locked down to some religious take on Batman,” said Radomski. “It’s great what’s been done, but why not try something different. There’s no reason you can’t bend the rules. It’s important to have the comics background on Batman, but had we stuck only to what the comics had created, it would have been a completely different show.”

Noted Radomski’s co- producer Bruce Timm, “He comes in with a real fresh approach to what’s really cool from a purely layman’s point of view. Otherwise it would’ve turned into a fan boy geek fest. When [director) Kevin Altieri and I start arguing about who’s the better artist, Jack Kirby or Neal Adams, Eric just looks at us and says, “What the heck are you guys talking about?”

Like much of the Batman staff, Radomski was a veteran of Warners’ Tiny Toons, drafted by Warner’s animation president Jean MacCurdy to develop new shows, including Tazmania, Gremlins, The Griswolds and Batman. Like everyone on the Tiny Toons staff, Radomski had the opportunity to pitch ideas directly to MacCurdy.

All of the shows were of equal interest to Radomski, who originally wanted to be an illustrator. “I did paintings for each,” said Radomski. “We each bad to take the seed idea, and come up with a look for that particular sbow. What it might look like if I had the opportunity to develop it.” For Gotham City, Radomski turned to his two favorite illustrators for inspiration, Bob Peak and Bernie Fuches.

“They look nothing like Batman, said Radomski. “Bernie Fuches did a lot of sports illustrations, oil painting with a lot of wiping color out with rags, just leaving it very painterly. Bob Peak is just the opposite, he did the Apocalypse Now movie poster and you can trace him back to My Fair Lady, which is really colorfully lit with multiple composition of characters and colors.”

But it was Peak and Fucbes that influenced Radomski to create the technique that gives Gotham City its startling look: painting the city’s buildings on a black board. “[The] Tim Burton movie’s darkness and mysteriousness were really the influence for our Gotham,” said Radomski. “Bob Peak and Bernie Fuches suggested detail techniques which I’ve picked up on and applied to the look of the show. You see elements of detail, but you don’t see everything. Your imagination fills in the gaps. I just remembered that, and did a treatment on black, because I knew Gotham City had to be a dark, mysterious place.

“Because of the amount of work you have to generate with animation, I wanted to make it as simple as possible,” said Radomski. "When we got into production I didn’t want to be swamped with an incredible amount of painting. Typically in cartoons, the characters live in a wooded area, something real simplified. But Gotham City is nothing but architecture, hard-edged lines and very accurate angles. And you can’t necessarily cheat perspective, otherwise the audience will look at it and say: ‘Jeez, that doesn't look right.’ It’s a real obvious mistake, if you don’t get perspectives or scale in comparison to characters right.

“The idea came to me that we have to cheat this somehow. We can’t literally paint all of these buildings into these backgrounds. So while black immediately set it in nighttime, I lit the buildings (using airbrush) with a light source, which would catch one edge of the building, and suggest the detail. Then I put in a few flecks of detail in that lighted area. That’s all you need to see. It’s an old Disney process, that they call ‘pools of light.’ It’s where the character works. You add the detail, color and your most interesting lighting in that area, but everything else is secondary.

“Keeping that in mind, you’ll see on an establishing shot that the most prominent building is the building lit the most. Everything else may be just a silhouette of shapes against a red sky. And that’s all you need. You know it’s a city. You know it’s big, and you know it’s mysterious. You don’t have to get in there and put in every detail. You suggest what the audience needs to see, and let the rest spring from their imagination.”

Co-producer Bruce Timm took some convincing to accept the painting on black technique. Recalled Radomski, “When he saw it the first time he thought, ‘Jeez, we’re going to have Elvis paintings here.’ But we had a pencil-test camera [a color video camera and monitor] to show him and others how it would look under the camera. Once you put these paintings under light, the color throws a strong contrast, and they really brighten up a lot.”

MacCurdy liked Radomski’s style for Batman, and paired him with Timm to produce a presentation reel for the show. When that proved a success, she hired them as producers to whip up the shows for already scheduled air dates.

Radomski is still surprised by the whirlwind pace of it all. “My biggest influence, after Disney, was Warner Bros,” said Radomski, who hails from Cleveland. “Daily after school I would watch Bugs Bunny, Daffy, the Coyote and Road Runner. They were the best. Now I work for the studio.”
 
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Revelator

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04. Bruce Timm, Series Co-Creator
Devising a new and distinctive look for the Caped Crusader in animation.
By Bob Garcia

Producer Bruce Timm has been caught up with Batman ever since he first saw the '60s TV show as a kid. “I didn’t realize it was supposed to be a comedy,” he said. “I took it all seriously.” Timm trained himself as a comic book artist, but found work instead in cartoon animation, on shows like G.I. Joe and He-Man.

In 1987 Timm went to work at Ralph Bakshi’s studio on Mighty Mouse. “I did it so I could work with John Kricfalusi [the creator of Ren & Stimpy],” said Timm. “It was easily the most fun job I ever had in animation. Everything else before that was just sort of go in, sit down, do your work, don’t think about it, and go home. It was very tame, but at the time it was outrageous, especially for network TV which had monstrous restrictions. We were doing all sorts of weird and nutty stuff and getting away with it. We used to stay until midnight and beyond to make it as good as possible.”

Timm followed Kricfalusi to DIC to work on Beanie and Cecil, a disaster due to fights between ABC and the producers for creative control. Recalled Timm, “The Beanie and Cecil debacle was so odious, I basically quit and said I would never work in animation again.”

Timm tried to get work on comic books, but DC or Marvel Comics didn’t seem to be interested. He worked for First Comics as a colorist, putting in long hours for little pay and getting sick on marker fumes. “Out of the blue, [Kricfalusi associate] Bob Camp called me up and told me Warners was doing Tiny Toons,” recalled Timm. “After Beanie and Cecil I decided I would no longer care about any project ever again. I’d just do my job and take my paycheck.”

Timm worked on Tiny Toons at Warners almost two years, actually enjoying the show, and as production wound down. Warner Animation’s president Jean MacCurdy put out the call for development ideas on a number of properties including Batman.

“I went nuts,” said Timm. “I went back to my desk, and I had this Tiny Toons board I was supposed to be doing and I put it aside. I sat down and whipped out these Batman drawings, and they were what I always wanted to draw Batman like.

“I’d never been able to draw him like that before, it was weird. I always loved Batman since I was a kid and always tried to come up with my own version of the character. I’d either do a Bob Kane-style Batman or a Frank Miller-style Batman, and I never could find my own identifiable Batman design. Within an hour I had all these drawings, and the next time Jean [MacCurdy] had a development meeting I went in with these drawings, and she said, “That’s perfect, that’s just what he should look like.’”

Timm soon started work on the show, but his initial ideas were somewhat different than the direction eventually taken. “If I had my druthers at the very beginning of the show, I wouldn’t have done it the way we did,” said Timm. “I actually had a very different look in mind. I actually wanted to do the show a little bit more colorful, a little bit more graphic, a little bit more stylized than it is. Even though the look of the show today is very stylized, it still has a very realistic grounding. I initially wanted to do something a little more bizarre than that, a little bit more color saturated, with buildings more twisted and dense; a little bit more like the Mighty Mouse style, but still keep it within a semi-realistic context.”

In retrospect Timm recognizes how difficult such a concept would have been to realize. “It would have been really hard to get people to understand what we were trying to do,” said Timm. “We had a hell-of-a-time of hard time trying to find artists who could draw our current style, because it’s half-realistic and half cartoony. If we had gone the other way to the little more twisted Mighty Mouse style, we’d still be trying to find artists to work on this series. It was actually very helpful that Jean [MacCurdy] asked for it to look like the Fleischer cartoons. It gave us a little more grounding.”

Timm also thought the character of Batman should have been handled very differently. “It has changed over the years,” he said. “I have to admit, I didn’t really think too much about the dramatic aspect of it. At first, I wanted it to be a real scary and exciting adventure show. Going from Jean’s edict about making it like the Fleischer cartoons and knowing of the popularity of the first Tim Burton movie, I thought we’d do a straight, pulp style action adventure show that was dark and moody and exciting and action ruled. I initially thought of the Batman character as being like a force of God, where he wasn’t even human. He’d show up and beat people up, and disappear without ever saying a word. I wanted to treat him as very grim and very mythical.”

“Whether that would really have worked for 65 half-hours, I don’t know. But eventually the character evolved, and he has more personality and the more human aspects of him came out. And I think that’s fine, it works for the character. He’s a little off and while he’s not as psychologically screwed up as the Michael Keaton character, he’s definitely not your average Joe in the street. There’s something off about him and I think that is kind of appealing.”

Timm has been impressed with the drama the show has achieved through its animation. “It’s really weird seeing two-dimensional comic-strip characters painted with flat cel paint, and they’re completely believable characters having real adult conflicts,” said Timm. “For example, I’m constantly amazed while watching the episode, 'Robin’s Reckoning.' I can’t believe that is a cartoon. It works on all cylinders. It’s a heartbreaking show.

“Another example is the second part of ‘Two Face.’ At the end where his girlfriend Grace has her big confrontation scene with Two Face, she says ‘You don’t need this mask.’ You cut to that closeup of her face. She’s not even animating. It’s just a held drawing on her. She’s just staring at his face, but you know what she’s thinking. She has so much compassion coming out of her. I say to myself 'I can’t believe this is a cartoon, I'm getting so caught up in this.’”
 
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05. Alan Burnett, Script Supervisor
Writing adventures that satisfy adult comic book fans as well as the kids.
By Bob Garcia

“Batman was the first superhero I read as a kid, so I have a real affection for the character,” said producer Alan Burnett. “I find it ironic that here I am, thirty years later actually writing and producing the stories of this character for a new generation. I find it ironic and sort of humbling."

Burnett and the staff at Warner Bros. Animation don’t have too much to be humble about. Batman picked up two Emmys, one for Best Writing in an Animated Series, and one for Best Prime-Time Animated Show. It was Burnett’s respect for the character that kept the quality of the show’s scripts up to Emmy-level. After helping to get the series on track, Burnett left after the first season to work on other projects at Warners.

“When you think about Batman, he’s one of the great heroic fictional icons of the century,” said Burnett. “Who's bigger than him? Superman certainly. But is Sherlock Holmes bigger than he? Is James Bond bigger than Batman? When you talk about these heroic mythologies of the twentieth century, I think Batman is among the top three. There’s a responsibility there. You have to have respect for the character. He's a great invention.”

Burnett was a comic book fan as a kid, and worked in animation for 15 years at NBC, Hanna-Barbera and Disney before coming to Warner Bros. Burnett had written an unsold pilot for Batman while at Hanna-Barbera. “It was too dark and serious,” said Burnett. But Jean MacCurdy, an executive at Hanna-Barbera at the time, remembered Burnett and the pilot when she was given the task to develop the Batman series at Warners, and hired Burnett.

Burnett stepped into a chaotic production set-up and quickly whipped the series into shape in a series of staff meetings that defined the format. “I look at Gotham City as a place where the institutions aren’t working or they’re only working halfway,” said Burnett. “And things are not getting better, they’re getting worse, and Batman can be looked upon in some respects as a necessary evil. Others would say a guardian angel. He is someone who does not want others to experience the pain that he experienced.”

Burnett said he was delighted that the staff wanted to go in a direction never tried before, one more adult and serious. “It was nice to work with people who didn't have preconceptions of what you can or can’t do on an action-adventure show,” noted Burnett. “It was a breath of fresh air. One of the smart things I did when I got in here was try to forget the rules myself. It helped the show push the envelope.

“There were certain things I knew we couldn't do, but there were also some things where I said to myself, ‘Well, let’s just see. Let's have the network tell us we can't do this.’ And son-of-a-gun, we ended up getting what we wanted most of the time.” Surprisingly the series has received exceptionally little flack for its editorial content. “Fox tells us that Tiny Toons gets more mail about violence than we do,” said Burnett.

Burnett’s first priority was to establish the series’ Rogue’s Gallery of villains quickly, plotting out the debut or Two-Face before his first meeting was convened. “I wanted to show him as a split-personality before he had the accident,” said Burnett, “because I always thought that his comic origin was bogus. Just because a person has an accident of that nature [struck by chemicals that disfigured half his face] doesn't mean that he’s going to be psychologically split too. I wanted the psychological split to be the first thing, and the physical accident to be the event that brings out the evil personality.”

Other villains’ stories had been stalled for various reasons. Fellow producers Bruce Timm and Eric Radomski had been holding off on the Riddler, because they were never satisfied with the character. Burnett found a simple hook that satisfied them and got the script going: “Our Riddler is in reaction to the old television show’s Riddler. As opposed to Frank Gorshin, we wanted our Riddler to be deadly serious.”

The Penguin was held up by the studio’s mandate to make the character like that in Tim Burton’s Batman Returns, in production at the same time. Noted Burnett, “The Penguin we came up with was a merger of the comic book’s and the one that Tim Burton was talking to us about.”

Robin was also stuck in Batman Returns limbo. “That’s one of the reasons we didn’t do Robin’s story for the longest time,” said Burnett. “Burton didn’t know if he wanted Robin to be an African American or Caucasian. In the end, when they cut Robin out of the movie altogether, we went with the old Dick Grayson Robin."

Most scripts came from stories created in-house. “We had a chance to do something special, so let’s do something special,” Burnett said. “Animation is too good a thing to be just relegated to kids, it should be of interest to young adults and older adults. I’m hoping against hope that Batman will help push animation dramas in the future.”
 
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Revelator

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06. Paul Dini, Cartoon Criminology
The story editor-cum-producer who became the series’ villain specialist.
By Bob Garcia

Producer Paul Dini made the villains of Batman his specialty, shaping the foes for the show’s “bible” in development. “What excited me early on was the opportunity to take these stock, nothing villains and try to turn them into something better,” said Dini, “more hateful or more sympathetic than they appeared before.”

Dini wasn’t able to join the Batman production team as one of producer Alan Burnett’s three story editors until late in the first year, because of obligations as a story editor on Tiny Toons. When he joined the staff, he was a bit dismayed at the type of stories being told. “They were a little simplistic,” said Dini. “A lot of these villains who could be real characters in their own right, were kind of relegated to ‘Freak of the Day’ status.

“What is the point of having rich characters like Penguin, Joker or Two-Face in the show, if all they do is go after a rare statue? It doesn’t add to the show or the character. They’re after things and things don’t mean much. If those things are connected to something personal to the villain, at least that gives them motivation. Then Batman’s reason for going out and stopping them is made that much clearer. It deals with something deeper.”

Dini's first script was “Heart of Ice,” which won an Emmy for the series, a story in which Mr. Freeze commits a series of crimes for the purpose of getting revenge on the man who killed his wife and trapped Freeze into a life at sub-zero temperatures. Not only is it an action-packed show, it’s one of the most emotionally charged of the series. Dini credited Batman’s animated success to Warner’s exec Jean MacCurdy, who had a love for the comic character and encouraged some serious dramatic writing to take place.

Dini, a comic fan of Batman first hooked by the Adam West TV show, outlined his take on Gotham City. “It’s a criminal environment that brings out this theatricality in the criminal element,” said Dini, who always had a special interest in the villains, even as a fan. “Everybody has a gimmick. And in some ways you can actually get people to believe in a more realistic story with these characters. Since the audience is buying the basic concept of the show, you’re able to take the characters down a notch, and make them a little more human—like Mr. Freeze or Man-Bat or Two-Face.”

Dini recalled showing the “Two-Face” episode to longtime Batman comics writer and editor Denny O’Neill. “He sat there and he watched it very quietly, and said ‘I wish that was the story that we told 40 years ago. That is one of the best motivations for a villain I’ve ever seen.’” Motivations for the villains is what fascinates Dini. “I have an aunt who is a criminal psychologist, and I’ve actually used her expertise for information,” said Dini.

“Gotham city is a place that once looked to the future with optimism but somehow things got confused, things got dark, horrible, psychotic,” said Dini. “And to a degree Bruce Wayne went that way too, and he’s trying to fight for some sort of sanity in the city. It’s a city that lost its way.”

The show’s producers and story editors maintain a tight control on the scripts. “For the most part we tend to generate most of the stories in house,” said Dini. “I’ll talk over stories with [producer] Alan Burnett, [and story editors] Michael Reaves and Marty Pasko. Or if we have writers we want to work with, some of them will suggest a story. Or talking with [producers Bruce Timm and Eric Radomski] will spark an idea. We try to generate as much of the actual story in house. We might farm out the script.

“I like writing my own stuff. I like writing the stories that I come up with. I believe, at least in the case of Batman, that in the time it takes me to bring in a writer, give him a plot, discuss the plot with him and then have him go to outline and then to script, I could have written the script myself.

That’s why Dini wrote ten episodes for the first season. “I’m up to speed on these characters and there are things I actively want to do with them,” he said. Dini however, doesn’t let the script be the final stage of his involvement with the story. He likes working with the directors to make suggestions. “It’s really a collaboration for me,” said Dini, who noted that it’s unusual in animation. “There were times when I was working at Filmation that people would rat on me saying, ‘Dini’s up talking to the directors again.’

“One of the producers would come up and say, ‘How many times have I told you not to talk to the directors.’ And I’d answer, ‘Well how are we going to make any good cartoons if I can’t talk to the guys who are drawing the things?’ But that’s the way they did it back then. It was cheap.”

Dini patterns the way he works with directors on the way Disney and the great Warner Bros. cartoonists worked. “I read accounts of Chuck Jones and how he used to work with Michael Maltese,” said Dini. “Maltese would pitch an idea to Jones, and they would rough them out and they would work on it together. Maltese would go and he’d either draw a series of thumbnail sketches or be would write a loose little script. He’d give this to Jones and they’d rough them out, and they’d have a cartoon. I love working that way. I love working with directors and board artists way, because if you can these guys excited about drawing the show they’ll give you 110%.”

Dini likes to think he is giving 110% to the show himself, calling it the best work experience of his career; far more rewarding than previous stints on Masters of the Universe, Ewoks and Droids and Beanie and Cecil. For his extra effort, Warner Brothers has elevated Dini from story editor to producer on Batman’s second season.
 
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Raider969

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One of the reason Batman: The Animated Series looked so good is cel animation. Now that everything's digital, we'll never be able to get that specific timeless look.
I agree, there are a lot of cartoons I like because they are cel animated, especially the ones from the 90s, like Batman: The Animated Series, Superman: The Animated Series, The New Batman Adventures, and the first half of Batman Beyond from DC and other cartoons. But I do like most newer cartoons that are digitally animated like the rest of the DC Animated Universe and others.

To Revelator: By the way, I like what you are posting. I noticed that this issue is about the first season of Batman: The Animated Series. Are there later issues that talk about the rest of Batman: The Animated Series, and the other DC Animated Universe cartoons? If so, will you post them here as well?
 

Revelator

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One of the reason Batman: The Animated Series looked so good is cel animation. Now that everything's digital, we'll never be able to get that specific timeless look.
Agreed. As I wrote on another thread, The Mystery of the Batwoman and Batman and Harley Quinn look less impressive and atmospheric than their cell-animated predecessors. I also lament the loss after season one of Eric Radomski and several of the terrific airbrush artists who worked on BTAS, like John Calmette (digitally-based animation doesn't full express the texture achieved through airbrushing). I'm a pretty strong defender of TNBA, but I will admit that BTAS had stronger backgrounds and atmosphere.

To Revelator: By the way, I like what you are posting. I noticed that this issue is about the first season of Batman: The Animated Series. Are there later issues that talk about the rest of Batman: The Animated Series, and the other DC Animated Universe cartoons? If so, will you post them here as well?
Glad you're enjoying the series! In four weeks I will post the "Things to Come Second Season" article from this issue. Aside from that, I don't know if Cinefantastique devoted any stories to the second season or TNBA, though I will certainly take a look and post anything that might crop up. I have also found several more vintage interviews interviews with the BTAS crew from Comics Scene and will post those in a new thread when this one ends.
 

Yojimbo

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Glad you're enjoying the series! In four weeks I will post the "Things to Come Second Season" article from this issue. Aside from that, I don't know if Cinefantastique devoted any stories to the second season or TNBA, though I will certainly take a look and post anything that might crop up. I have also found several more vintage interviews interviews with the BTAS crew from Comics Scene and will post those in a new thread when this one ends.
Thank you very much, Revelator. It's funny looking back that print magazine where the thing for interviews. Like Wizard, Toyfair, and Starlog also interviewed Timm and co. in the 90s and reported DC animation rumors that we 'commonly' find online nowadays.
 

Otaku-sempai

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To Revelator: By the way, I like what you are posting. I noticed that this issue is about the first season of Batman: The Animated Series. Are there later issues that talk about the rest of Batman: The Animated Series, and the other DC Animated Universe cartoons? If so, will you post them here as well?
I'll admit that I have had some qualms about the posting of entire articles written by another. It seems to me that this raises some ethical and legal concerns even though the material is readily available in an archived form.
 

Yojimbo

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I'll admit that I have had some qualms about the posting of entire articles written by another. It seems to me that this raises some ethical and legal concerns even though the material is readily available in an archived form.
Well, it's out of print and Revelator is making no profit from posting them so legally it's above board. It's why the thread hasn't been canned yet.
 

Revelator

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Thank you very much, Revelator. It's funny looking back that print magazine where the thing for interviews. Like Wizard, Toyfair, and Starlog also interviewed Timm and co. in the 90s and reported DC animation rumors that we 'commonly' find online nowadays.
You're very welcome! Luckily Starlog is available at the Internet Archive. I have fond memories of seeing animated news in Wizard, and an online search suggests that DCAU content appears in issues 12, 59, 72, 88, 92, 98, 103, 108, 173, which I'll be on the lookout for.

I'll admit that I have had some qualms about the posting of entire articles written by others. It seems to me that this raises some ethical and legal concerns.
The ethical concerns would not be very pressing in this case. The articles I'm posting were written over 20 years ago for a long defunct magazine, and this particular issue was already posted online by Internet Archive and World's Finest. The writer (Bob Garcia, who is credited in every post) was paid for his work 20 years ago and is not being robbed. The same goes for any other vintage articles I find and post. They will be from magazines no longer published and all will be over 20 years old. So no harm would be done to anyone. And as Yojimbo states, I make no profit of any kind by posting these articles. I wish to share them with fans who might not otherwise know of them.
 
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Otaku-sempai

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Well, it's out of print and Revelator is making no profit from posting them so legally it's above board. It's why the thread hasn't been canned yet.
Robert Garcia might disagree if he, for example, was re-purposing those old articles into a book, but I'll concede the point. I guess I'd feel better about it if I knew that Revelator was reprinting them with his permission. Hey, Bob isn't by any chance a member (possibly inactive) here, is he? As far as I can tell, he's still around and working.
 
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Going to change my avatar for the whole of October. Milo the Merman is back!
@RandomMe Aw, you beat me to the punch with The Flintstones' 60th anniversary (I was also going to say it's been 1 year since MeTV started airing it). Ah well.

Though, I should note The Jetsons started in 1962, so it's two years for them.
Mac Davis, Helen Reddy, AND Tower of Power bassist Rocco Prestia? Yikes.
Well,this is it people. Today is the day that Disney Channel UK closes after its 25 year brodcast. Well this sucks.
R..I.P Disney Channel UK 1995-2020
I hope it gets final mesage,so it can go with the bang
Edit: Ok,guys im really sorry for scaring you,i was talking about the closure of the UK version of DC,not the US one.
Silly me...
sooooooo....

anyone use Quibi or even care about it?

honestly for me i don't think making a streaming service for short form series (5-10 minutes) would work