When Batman Returns arrived in cinemas back in 1992, the film was surrounded by a media blitz which included trailers, merchandise, and a series of posters. The posters came in different forms, depending on which territory you lived in (the US, Japan etc), but the most commonly used poster was a one-sheet featuring three characters: Batman, Catwoman, and the Penguin.

The poster is one that most Bat-fans will be familiar with, with headshots of the three characters. For those who are not quite sure what this poster looks like, here it is in all its glory.

Image: ©Warner Bros. Pictures/DC Entertainment

Now, take a look at the poster and see if you can spot something slightly odd about it. I’ll give you a clue, it has nothing to do with Batman or Catwoman.

Have you spotted it yet?

If it helps, this alternative poster below, features the same anomaly. Take another look – the anomaly is related to the Penguin.

Image: ©Warner Bros. Pictures/DC Entertainment

What you may have missed before, but possibly have noticed now, is that in both posters the Penguin is smoking a cigarette. In the first poster, the smoke from the cigarette is even moving its way up the to the top of the headshots.  

So, why is this odd? Well, it is odd because at no point in Batman Returns does the Penguin smoke a cigarette.

There are scenes with the Penguin in a top hat, wearing a monocle, and even in various amounts of disarray, but not once is he seen smoking. You can watch every inch of the movie, back-to-front and upside down if you wish to, but you won’t see it.

Image: ©Warner Bros. Pictures/DC Entertainment

So, why is the Penguin depicted as smoking on the poster to Batman Returns?

Well, there are two possible reasons for this. The first is that it was part of the original character design, yet this element of his character’s look was never translated to the screen when it came time to shoot the picture.

The second possible reason is that in the past, smoking is something which is associated with the Penguin. Penguin has smoked in the comics, and the Penguin from the 1966 Batman TV show also smoked.

Image: ©DC Entertainment

In Batman ’66, the Penguin was played by Burgess Meredith – and he smoked in pretty much every scene he appeared in. The Penguin was one of the most iconic villains from the show, and as such, many fans associate smoking with the character.

Even to this day, if you were to ask some Bat-fans to name notable elements about the character’s appearance, smoking is likely to crop up. So, it’s not all that surprising that it cropped up in the promotion of Batman Returns.



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