Today, the 4th of May, 2019, I will watch BATMAN ’89 for the first time since early August of 1989.
For me, this is a BIG deal.
While it’s not my favorite Batman movie — that would be BATMAN BEGINS — and it’s not the best Batman movie — that would be THE DARK KNIGHT — it’s arguably still the most important Batman movie ever made.
And it means a lot to me personally.
I have watched B89 more than any other Batman movie in both the theater and at home.
I saw it countless times during the Summer of 1989 and actually went through 3 VHS tapes (yes, we once had to use these things called “VCR’s”) of it in the early 1990s!
What I remember most about B89 is the hype — what I like to refer to as “Batmania II” — that took place everywhere during the months leading up to the film’s Summer 1989 release.
Despite the nonsense when the casting of Michael Keaton as Batman was revealed (in a very off the radar way compared to the way it’s done today), the hype began to simmer in early 1989 when the first “trailer” (which was really nothing more than a sizzle reel) was released.
Believe it or not, people bought tickets to movies they had no desire to see, only to watch the B89 trailer and then leave! (And yes, I was one of those folks…twice…maybe 3 times.)
From there, Batmania II reached a full-on boil by the time B89 hit theaters on June 23, 1989.
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And I was all in.
I taped (literally, via that “VCR” thing I mentioned earlier) every single B89 promo that aired on TV and watched them over and Over and OVER and OVER and OVER and OVER! again (did I make my point about how much I watched ’em?).
I also regularly went to my local mall (Central Mall in Port Arthur, TX — shoutout to Mid County!) and scoured issues of STARLOG and COMICS SCENE for any news about BATMAN. See, that’s the way it had to be done because there was no Batman-On-Film.com to turn to for Batman on film info.
You’re welcome, millennials. ANYWAY…
It was via those magazines that I learned that Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson had been cast as Batman and The Joker, respectively, and also where I saw the first image of Keaton as Batman (see upper right).
That — along with that aforementioned trailer/sizzle reel convinced me that Bill Blazejowski (See what I did there?) was going to be just fine as Batman.
Since there were no “midnight screenings” of movies back in 1989 (nor any that actually started early evening the day before its official release date), I actually went to my local theater (which was located at the previously-mentioned Central Mall in “Pote Autha“, Texas — though I’m a Groves, Texas boy — shoutout to my hometown and Blake Hopper!) at 2PM on Friday, June 23, 1989 in order to see the very first, 7PM screening of BATMAN.
And I wasn’t the first one in line.
30 years later, BATMAN ’89 is playing on the big screen — one day only — in honor of Batman’s 80th anniversary.
No matter how many times I’ve seen this movie over these last 30 years (VHS/DVD/Blu-ray), there’s no way in hell that I’d miss seeing it as I did back on June 23, 1989.
Today, I get to travel back in time for 2.5 hours and be the 23-year-old me once again.
We don’t get this kind of gift very often and I’m going to take advantage. – Bill “Jett” Ramey