Joker [mostly OT]


I would argue that this photo of Caesar Romero, on a break from filming 1966’s Batman, in which ironically he plays a humorous, campy version of the character, is the creepiest depiction of The Joker I’ve ever seen.

Because he’s not wearing a garish costume and sporting green hair, and looks both mundane and deeply unsettling.


  1. @ Mike – Even if the meaning is fairly obvious from the context, I shudder to think of all the CIDU readers who do not know that “coulrophobia” means “fear of clowns“, and will end up reading an extremely poorly edited Wikipedia article about “evil clowns” as a result.
    P.S. As you might expect, I did not, so then I did.

  2. Huh? I totally don’t get that comic. First, from his description, you’d think he was talking bout a piñata, but OK, fine, the second panel makes it clear that it was sarcasm on his part, he’s mad that they are treating him like a baby. But then he bursts into tears about Bobo the clown? Or are those teas of frustration at the indignities he has to put up with? But then, what’s the joke? And why the relative extreme reactions from the parents (for this strip, it looks lie the closest they’ll get to a reverse back-flip double-take)? Basically, huh?

  3. If I’d thought to remember him when I was trying to become a professional actor, I’m certain I’d have made it a lot further. His Joker’s complete often giddy expression of joy and celebration was my favorite part of the show.

    I was a kid staying in a motel one night in the 60s when Batman was on and I got to see it color. Just now, I had this thought: I was so enthralled by the characters colors that I wonder if television manufacturers gave motels free color TVs so that people would be more eager to buy one for themselves.?

  4. Not sure about that, Kevin, but the reason for all the different uniform colors on Star Trek WAS to encourage prople to buy color televisions. I think RCA owned NBC (or they were both owned by the same corporation, or something along those lines)

  5. The “color TV” effect was also the reason that the BBC started broadcasting snooker on television.

  6. “all the different uniform colors” It took me a couple tries to digest this, it must be early. If the colors are different, how can they be uniform? Are they uniform on the B&W TV, so that – (brain cells finally warming up…) oh, never mind!

  7. It was certainly a reason why NBC was a leader in color TV production in shows. I’ve heard it said that Bonanza sold a lot of color TVs for RCA.

  8. I preferred Frank Gorshin’s psycho Riddler with his strange line readings to Caesar Romero’s Joker, who was a straightforward clown made happy by crime. Also, I was always distracted by the fact you could sometimes see Romero’s mustache through the makeup.

    Julie Newmar’s Catwoman was inspired: After her first appearance as a feline siren, she was written and played as a cross between Mae West and Sheldon Leonard — yet insanely sexy. I could go on, but I won’t. You’re welcome.

  9. @ Andréa – Reading your comment reminded me of a comic based on the word “bozone“, but I could not remember where or when I had seen it. I was pleasantly surprised that an Internet search actually produced the answer this time:

  10. That is great – I’m passin’ it on to my politics list . . . thanks!

    How many call their email filter the ‘Bozo filter’? I have for years and years, but don’t if that’s common usage anymore. Or maybe it’s just those in the Midwest/Chicago area who actually know about Bozo the Clown.

  11. Andréa, don’t forget about syndication. If it was on WGN, the whole world saw it.

    I forget which mayor it was who complained that when he went to Japan, everyone there asked him about the City Council wars, which WGN of course covered fully.

  12. Several cities had their own Bozo show, with local Bozos. According to Wikipedia Boston even had an occasional stand-in clown named Nozo (Bozo’s brother), who appeared whenever Frank Avruch (who played Bozo for a period there) was unavailable.

  13. At one time, I was told there was a seven-year waiting list to be in the audience. In which case, one’s child had to be entered on the list before it was even conceived. So methinks this was an apocryphal story.

  14. “At one time, I was told there was a seven-year waiting list to be in the audience. In which case, one’s child had to be entered on the list before it was even conceived. So methinks this was an apocryphal story.”

    Probably, and I think I heard a comparable rumor about the Peanut Gallery on THE HOWDY DOODY SHOW back in the 1950s. (Well, I would have *heard* the rumor later than the 1950s, but it would have been in reference to the period when the show was at the height of its popularity.)

  15. @MA: Gorshin’s Riddler was the inspiration for Mark Hamill’s Joker. The style probably fits Joker better. It’s a pity Gorshin decided he should be paid as much as Adam West and so missed the second season. Those shoes were just too big for John Astin to fill.

    @Andréa/Shrug: I recall hearing that rumor about high-end preschools back in the 80s.

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