Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Special Feature:
Batman The Animated Series
Unproduced Kenner "Joker House" Mockup Playset

Hey all! James here... I know I haven't been as active on here lately- but I am hoping to rectify that this year. A lot of the new content will focus on "Batman The Animated Series" (toy reviews, updates to the Style Guides, magazine articles, etc), since I have always felt it goes with the Burton Batman franchise like peanut butter and jelly. But of course you can still expect to see some Batman '89, Batman Returns, and Robin Relics posts as well!

Today's post is obviously focused on BTAS. :) A couple of decades ago, I acquired this mock-up Joker House playset from a former employee of Kenner Toys. At the time, I didn't have my own website to feature it at, so my pal Jason Geyer volunteered to feature it at his site- Toy Otter. As things go with old articles on sites, the Joker House feature was lost to time... Thankfully, Jason saves everything. :) So now this lost treasure has a new home here at 1989Batman.com! Huge thanks to Jason for saving these circa 2001 digital pics as I gifted the playset to a friend long ago (and it has now changed hands to I-don't-know-who). Here is Jason's original text that accompanied these pictures:

Well, we all know that in the toy industry, what you see is not altogether everything that was planned. Many, many designs, concepts, artwork and sculpts never make it into the public eye. Case in point is this wonderful prototype of a "Joker's House Playset", originally designed to fit into the Batman: The Animated Series line from Kenner. A nifty item, the whole thing is based on skewed angles and distorted images.

Made out of plastic, styrene, cardboard, and whatever else the designers could get their hands on, this playset has many different action features, a nice colorful palette, and would have been a welcome addition to the B:TAS line, especially as the villains rarely get any kind of consideration. Unfortuantely, with all of the product on the market at the time, it was felt that this piece would be crowded out, and not sell well. The fate of many of these unreleased prototypes is usually a short trip to the dumpster, but this one was rescued at the last minute. Who knows what else has been disposed of over the years? It's a tragedy that while Star Wars collectors have been meticulous about finding unproduced items, the superhero community isn't quite as lucky.

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