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June 23: Reliving the legacy of Batman series

Batman was first released on June 23, 1989Based on the famous DC Comics of the same name, Batman, the American superhero film released on June 23, 1989. It was the first installment of Warner Bros Batman film series.

It became a great box office success and won a lot of critical acclaim. It was dubbed as the fifth-highest grosser in history at the time of its release. It earned over $400 million at the box office. The film won an Academy Award and won several nominations at the Saturn Awards and a Golden Globe nomination.

There are many interesting stories before the film went on the floor. Even though Tim Burton was hired as a director in 1986, the film’s shoot got a go-ahead only after the success of his ‘Beetlejuice’ in 1988. Before Michael Keaton was cast as Batman, several A-list actors were considered for the role. Keaton as a choice for Batman’s role had stirred a lot of controversy as at that time Keaton had become typecast as a comic actor and critics very doubtful if he could portray a serious role. Jack Nicholson, who essayed the role of the Joker, demanded a high salary and a portion of the box office returns and dictated his shooting schedule. Filmed at Pinewood Studios for four months, the film’s budget shot up from $30 million to $48 million.

Before Batman’s release, a modern cultural phenomenon known as ‘Batmania’ caught up with the public. There was Batman merchandise everywhere. Over $750 million was earned in Batman merchandise alone. The summer of 1989 was called the summer of the Batman. In The New York Observer, David Handelman categorised it as a ‘high concept film’ and said ‘ it is less movie than a corporate behemoth’.

Other significant events that took place on June 23 over the years are:

930: The Alpingi, the world’s oldest parliament was established in Iceland.

1775: The first Regatta was held on the Thames river in England.

1784: Thirteen year old, Edward Warren takes the Ist US balloon flight.

1868: ‘Type-writer’ patented by Christopher Latham Sholes.

1894: At the initiative of Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the International Olympic Committee is founded in Sorbonne, Paris.

1927: All India Radio’s first broadcasting service began today by using privately owned transmitters at Mumbai.

1933: The thirty-five and a half year run of Don McNeill’s Pepper Pot begins on NBC.

1949: The Harvard Medical School gets its first twelve women graduates.

1950: Women in Switzerland are refused voting rights by its’ Parliament.

1956: Gamal Abdul Nasser is elected as the president of Egypt.

1958: Women ministers accepted by Dutch Reformed Church.

1961: The Antarctic Treaty came into force on this day. It ensured that Antarctica was to be used for peaceful purposes and international co-operation in scientific research and that it did not become the scene or object of any international discord.

1972: Allowing their currencies to fluctuate independent of the British pound, forty-five countries leave the Sterling Area.

1974: The first extraterrestrial message was sent from Earth into Space on this day.

1980: The first solar-powered radio conversation from coast-to-coast took place.

1982: An all-time low temperature of – 117 degrees F was recorded at the South Pole.

1990: Moldavia declared its independence.

1992: The corridor opening to Bangladesh led to the ’Tin Bigha Day’ protest in India.

1994: South Africa reclaims its seat in the UN, which it had lost because of its’ apartheid policy.

2004: Bob Dylan accepts an honorary degree in music bestowed upon him by Scotland’s oldest university, University of St. Andrews.

2013: India wins the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy in cricket after defeating England.


Text by Tasneem Dhinojwala

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