If you’re a Marvel fan, you will be aware that many movies based on Marvel Comics characters featured a cameo from Stan Lee. Before his death in 2018, Lee appeared in countless cameos, more often than not in films about characters he co-created.
But what of Bob Kane, famed co-creator of Batman? Did Kane share a similar movie career to Lee, by appearing in movies about DC Comics’ Dark Knight?
In this post, I am taking a look at Bob Kane and the Batman films. Seven feature-length movies were produced during his lifetime, so did they feature Kane?
The Batman movies and Bob Kane
Bob Kane passed away in 1998. Prior to his passing, five feature-length, live-action Batman films were produced, along with two animated adventures. The films included Batman: The Movie (1966), Batman (1989), Batman Returns (1992), Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993), Batman Forever (1995), Batman & Robin (1997), and Batman: Subzero (1998).
I can tell you, that neither Batman: The Movie, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm or Batman: Subzero contained a cameo or a nod to Kane. In fact, Kane didn’t cameo in any Batman film from the list above – but there is a Kane connection across four of the movies.
Bob Kane in Batman ‘89
In Batman ‘89, there is a brief reference to Kane, which takes place early into the movie at the office of the Gotham Globe. The paper’s resident sketch artist produces a picture of the ‘bat man’ for journalist, Alexander Knox.
At this point in the movie, with the exception of Knox, few people believe that Batman exists. As a result, Knox is ridiculed by his peers for his belief in Batman.
The sketch is a way of poking fun at Knox. However, upon closer inspection it becomes clear the drawing is also a way to provide a quick reference Kane.
In the bottom corner of the sketch, the artist has signed his work with the name Bob Kane. It’s a brief nod, but it’s there, and it means the sketch artist (played by Denis Lill) is playing Bob Kane!
The Bob Kane connection
There’s no Kane character in Batman Returns, however, Kane’s real-life wife, Elizabeth Sanders puts in an appearance instead. The actress plays a Gothamite for a brief cameo to deliver the line: “He’s like a frog that became a prince.”
You may have spotted her when watching the film – or you may have missed it. I’m sure you will look out for her on your next viewing.
Sanders then continues the Kane link for both Batman Forever and Batman & Robin, where her role gets upgraded from cameo to a supporting character. For both of these Batman movies, Sanders plays Gossip Gerty – Gotham City’s showbiz correspondent.
I hope this information about Bob Kane references in early Batman movies has proved useful. Should you want to know more about the Batman movie series, check out one of the recommended reads below.