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Batman, Batman Returns (Michael Keaton years & Prince soundtrack)

1989 – Howard says Michael Keaton was crazy to ever give up on this franchise. Howard loved the fact that this movie was dark like the comic book, unlike the TV show that made a mockery of the story.  He likes the comic book stories taken seriously.  Thinks Kim Basinger was a truly beautiful woman. Comedian Robert Wuhl was on the show talking about his marketing genius, that he had signed a contract for little money, but with a piece of the back end.  What he hadn’t realized was that what he had a piece of was the action figure of his character, and not many kids were buying the “reporter doll.”  Howard said the Prince soundtrack is amazing.  Even in 2014, he would talk about listening to Prince’s Batdance.

Speaking of Prince and Howard saying the greatest movie soundtracks were Purple Rain and 1989’s Michael Keaton’s Batman. He says movie and soundtrack just blew his mind. He says lots of people think it’s junk, but Howard thinks it’s brilliant. The story goes that Tim Burton went to Prince and asked for one or two songs. Prince came back with the entire soundtrack, and he used sound bytes from the film in the songs, which was revolutionary at the time.

Adam West from the 60’s Batman TV Series called in when Batman with Michael Keaton was released. Adam West said he hasn’t seen the new movie, but if he had read the script, he wouldn’t have accepted.  Adam said this Batman was too dark; his Batman was lighthearted.  Caesar Romero was the Joker in the 60’s series, and he’d made the comment that he didn’t like this new Batman movie because it was too dark. Adam West was in Lady Chatterly’s Lover with Richard Belzer’s wife.  Adam said all the sex was simulated.  After Adam hung, up, Howard said Adam must be crying himself to sleep every night because he didn’t get to be in the new movie.  Michael Keaton gets a big paycheck, and Robin said then he’d sign for another sequel, then another, then another.  Later, when Michael Keaton turned down the sequel, Howard thought he was insane, and predicted he’d never have a career after that.  Howard said that the creator of Batman didn’t get credit or money for his work, but did get a mention in the credits.

Batman and Robin with Arnold Schwarzenegger was too light for Howard.  There was a rumor started that Howard was going to play the Joker in the next movie, but Howard said the last movie was was too light,.  He said the first Tim Burton’s Batman was great , the 2nd not so good, and the 3rd, Batman and Robin was a joke.  He said he’d only play the Joker if it was darker than the last movie.

Kevin Smith was on the phone talking about when he was writing a script from the graphic novel Death of Superman, which Howard said was great, and wanted to follow that story.  He said he wrote two drafts of the script.  Jon Peters was producer, and said to Kevin that it will be so great because they were men of the streets.  Kevin said that he’s a writer and Jon was a hairdresser, so that they were hardly men of the street.  Kevin said the script was 75% dialogue, and they ended up taking lots of the dialogue out, so he was out.  He said he had been very disappointed in Batman and Robin, especially after the first Tim Burton Batman was so great.  It was like the gay ice capades, but didn’t think it was Arnold’s or Uma’s fault.  He agreed that Christopher Reeve’s Superman was great, and the 2nd movie was crap.

Batman talk:  There’s a rumor that Justin Beiber may be the next Robin?  People still made at the Ben Affleck announcement.  Howard reminded everyone that people were upset at Michael Keaton being picked for Batman years ago and he turned out great.

A 2014 Twitter conversation between Ralph and fans:  @WicMets: why does batman returns get such a bad rap?”  Dunno, I LOVE IT! GREAT VILLAIN casting including the LEGENDARY CHRISTOPHER WALKEN!”  “@gremlin401w: Walken had best line. Bruce Wayne, why are you dressed like Batman?  and Ralph replied:  Actually it was when he said “WAS BATMAN” and shot him

Ronnie gets the Batman mustache in 2013

Image by Doctor Ivan


Batman on IMDb 1989

Batman Returns on IMDb  1992

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