Thursday, December 18, 2014

Production Materials:
Warner Brothers' Gotham City Streets Set
From "Batman Returns"

As part of our holiday celebration of Batman Returns, today's post acts as a pseudo "kid brother" to last year's Pinewood Studios Gotham City feature. That post incorporated Mark Jones' wonderful candid images of the Pinewood Studios Gotham City set into a virtual tour. While today's feature doesn't carry as much imagery (nor can it be structured into a tour), the photos do provide a rare daytime glimpse of one of the Gotham City street sets constructed at Warner Brothers studios for Batman Returns! The photos come courtesy of Bat-fan Billy Yost, whose friend Ken knew folks that visited the set during the production of the film. Ken fills us in:

My college girlfriend's mom worked in the film industry at the time Batman Returns was being made, so they were able to get on the Warner Brothers' lots legitimately. They knew I was a huge Batman fan, so they sneaked over to the Gotham City set and started to take some pictures for me... but were unfortunately run off by security fairly quickly. The photos shown here are what they managed to snap before that happened.

The set that Ken's group visited that day was one of eight locations on the Warner Brothers lot devoted to filming Batman Returns. Since this was an outdoor street set, many of the scenes involving the Batmobile & Batman's second fight with the Red Triangle circus gang were shot here. Let's take a look at Ken's pics, followed by some reference from the film-

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First up is this great shot of one of the store fronts in Gotham... An 89 cent store! That is even a better bargain than a 99 cent store! Sadly, the Red Triangle circus gang wiped this place out...Here it is just before the missile hits:

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The archway to your right on that set photo above also pops up quite a few times in the film. Here it is behind the poodle lady's right shoulder (note the now lit neon sign and the same white car parked in front)-

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These next shots give us a couple of glimpses at some nondescript buildings and nice views of the many large support structures that pepper the sidewalks of Gotham...

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These large supports can be seen many times during the Batmobile chase scene. One appears above & behind the Batmobile below-

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...while the next shot shows the base supports on each side of the street as the Batmobile races towards a narrow escape-

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Speaking of that narrow escape... Check out this shot of a very large and impressive NBG sign from the set-

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You can spot it VERY briefly as the Batmissile zips through the 2 structures-

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Oh... and in case you were curious about what NBG stands for:

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We aren't quite done with this set photo just yet though. Take another look at it-

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See that thing wrapped up in plastic towards the bottom of the pic? Recognize it? ...That is the Batmissile! Here is another shot of it from the set visit-

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While seeing the Batmissile sitting on the Gotham set is pretty impressive... it doesn't stop there! Check out what else was sitting out that day:

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The fully cocooned Batmobile!?! That is too cool for words! Oh... and just for reference, the wall shown beside it pops up during the Red Triangle fight scenes. You can spot it behind Batman here-

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So we've seen the Batmissile and the shielded Batmobile... but it just so happens that one more vehicle was parked out on the lot too-

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Yup! Penguin's campaign trailer (where he rode his little Batmobile in an effort to discredit Batman) just sitting out in the parking lot! Here it is from the film in case you've forgotten it...

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If that van is a-rockin', don't come a-knockin'...

And that concludes today's special segment... Hope you enjoyed it! A very special thanks to Billy Yost and his friend Ken for supplying these fantastic shots. I have always been of the mindset that Batman Returns' Gotham is a far cry from the masterfully constructed Pinewood Studios version designed by Anton Furst for Batman '89.... but seeing it from these angles in daylight (and without such an emphasis on the Gotham Plaze portion), I now have a much more accepting view on Bo Welch's version. The shots shown here could easily fit into the '89 Gotham... Like streets we just hadn't explored the first time around. :)

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