Sunday, January 22, 2012

Batman's 'Debonair' Joker!

Cesar Romero
February 15, 1907 ~ January 1, 1994

Are you wondering WHY I picked this guy to write about?  Well, Karo and I were talking about the 'Batman' series on TV in the 1960's, and some of the cast on that series, and Cesar Romero's name came up.  I just couldn't imagine this 'suave' gentleman as that NASTY villain, could you?  I watched the 'Batman' TV series, and just didn't realize it was him...guess I was focusing too much on the handsome Batman himself, Adam West, haha! 

Well, having been born in New York, this Latin lover began as a dancer, later progressing into films.
Here, Romero is dancing with Carmen Miranda in the 1941 film~
'Weekend in Havana'

And again, with Betty Grable, dancing 'The Swing' in 1942
'Springtime In The Rockies'

From a career that started in nightclubs, ballroom dancing, and on to Broadway, Mr. Romero danced his way into Hollywood films, bringing him fame and wealth enough to care for his family.  Cesar Romero was born to an Italian father and Cuban mother in New York.  They were wealthy importers of sugar, and Cesar attended the best schools.  His parents lost their business and prosperity as a result of the devastating stock market crash in 1929.  Of this situation, Cesar said, "If my father's business hadn't gone broke, I'd be exporting nuts, bolts and sugar machinery.  What an awful thought!  I was free to choose my own career."

Cesar Romero deemed himself "Latin from Manhattan", and, for the most part, was cast accordingly.  Steming from his 'latinesse', he could take on versatile roles...Italian gangster, an Indian prince, and appeared as 'The Cisco Kid' in six westerns between 1939 and 1941.  He was Don Diego's uncle in 'Zorro', and, I think he played Freddie Prinze's dad in 'Chico and The Man'.  In one 'Thin Man' episode, he played the part of a gigolo, and he was forever dubbed as the most eligible bachelor, stating right before his death that he had no regrets over his confirmed bachelorhood.

Moving right are all my blogmates doing, now that the New Year is in full swing? 

By the time Cesar Romero was 50 years old, he had enough wealth to retire, but chose not to.  His family had moved to California and he was able to take care of them.  But he could not shake the acting bug, no matter how big or small the roles were. 1966!
"Can somebody tell me, what kind of a world do we live in,
where a man dressed as a bat gets all of my press?
 This town needs an enema!"

In 1966 the producer of the new 'Batman' series, based on the comic book series from Detective Comics in 1939, called 58 year old Cesar Romero.  They had done the first two shows of the series, and were anticipating taping of the 3rd show.  The producer told Cesar that the show was really based on the villains, and they needed a new villain for the 3rd show, who would be called 'The Joker'.  He, then told Mr. Romero, "I would like you to play the part."  Cesar went to the studio, viewed the first episode, liked it, and said he would read the script.  Now, you see, they already had 'The Riddler' and 'The Penguin' (Burgess Meredith-YES!!!)

Anyway, Cesar read the script...he said, "I thought it was a gas, and I said, "Sure, I'll do it!"  And, do it, he did!  Cesar Romero REALLY became well known for his role as the 'Joker'.  "Once you get into costume with the make-up on, and the wig, you change completely and fall right into it," said Romero.  "You whooped it on, laughed and screamed...that's all you gotta do!"

Cesar Romero truly enjoyed his role as 'The Joker', however, he refused to do away with his moustache, so, they simply smacked the white makeup over it.  Of Cesar's role as 'The Joker', Adam West said, "He brought an enormous amount of energy to the role.  His piercing eyes, his laugh.  I dunno how he did it, because he wasn't 22!" 

Detective Comics ~ 1939 ~ 10¢

The Batman series aired 120 episodes from 1966, ending in 1968.  ABC decided they wanted to cut Robin and Chief O'Hara from the show, leaving poor Batman with only Cat Woman as a partner.  The producer William Dozier and Adam West were against this change, to save on the budget, so the program was cancelled.  NBC offered to pick up another season, however, on discovering that the sets had already been demolished, they declined.

"Holy Nightmare!"

After 'Batman', Cesar Romero moved on to other projects.  He made guest appearances on various sitcoms and programs such as 'Bewitched', 'The Golden Girls', 'Chico and The Man', and even played a vampire in Rod Serling's 'Night Gallery'.  So, I think he had fun, and, stayed busy until around 1990.
Then, on January 1,1996, at the age of 86, Cesar 'The Joker' Romero passed away.
And, I know, he is missed, first as 'Latin from Manhattan',  and, then, as:

"The Joker"
"The Clown Prince of Crime"

Two Other Famous Jokers!
Jack Nicholson
'Batman' ~ 1989
Heath Ledger
'The Dark Knight' ~ 2008

My Thanks Goes out to:
Cesar Romero
Adam West
Jack Nicholson
The late Heath Ledger
And Batman!

My dear readers, I thank you especially for coming by and saying hello.  I love hearing from you, and I love reading your blogs.

Which brings me to the BONE I have to pick!!!

I've had trouble all week leaving messages on some of my favorite blogs...some, I have managed to call up and read, but, alas, cannot comment.  I will keep trying...'something's gotta give'!
Have a wonderful week...we're having up and down weather in Texas...cloudy, sunny, cloudy, sunny, cold, warm...on and off with the and shut with umbrellas, heat off, heat on!

"You know, kids, a lot has changed since your old Uncle Joker's been away.
New Gotham, new rules, even a new Batman.
But now I'm tanned, I'm rested and I'm ready to give this old town a wedgie again!"

From the animated film
'Batman Beyond, The Return of the Joker'
starring Mark Hamill
December 12, 2000


  1. Loved your blog , yes he was quite the dancer, didn't realize that he had branched out into other acting fields. Was Heath Ledger the one who committed suicide, I liked him, and saw the last movie he made.

  2. Hi Susan, Thanks for stopping by my blog! I love old movies and actors so it I really enjoyed reading about Cesar Romero. Very interesting!

  3. * Hi Mom, glad you could stop by. I didn't realize Romero was such a dancer until I started probing. And, Heath Ledger is said to have died from an accidental overdose. What a waste...he was only 28. Have a great celebration at your luncheon this week. Love, Suzanne

  4. hey susan!
    you always amaze me...with ALL your info!!
    i couldn't even tell you the actor's name who played the Joker in the original Batman!!
    personally, i think Jack was the best Joker!

    by the your new purplish background!! my favorite color!
    it goes perfectly with Jack the Joker's jacket!

    thanks again...for a really interesting...and nostalgic post!

  5. Oh, Susan, I am so sorry I'm late getting here again. I still don't have either of your fine blogs in my daily stream. I have them both bookmarked and try to remember to check every day but apparently I didn't check for a few days. Again, I apologize. It's just another example of the frustrations many of us are dealing with here on

    This was an excellent article about Cesar Romero. I never missed an episode of Batman and his portrayal of Joker was the definitive. Quite often a serious actor gets cast in a comedic or fantasy role and becomes a big star. Sometimes they never manage to break free of that role. Such was the case with George Reeves in Superman. Cesar Romero seemed to be an actor that never took himself too seriously, nor did he try to make people forget that he was the Joker as some stuffy actors might try to do. I never heard that story about the proposed budget cuts that would have allowed the Batman TV series to continue w/o Robin and the Chief. It's so typical of the weasel mentality that existed then and still does today. It shows nothing but contempt for the fans. It doesn't surprise me that the sets were promptly demolished either. Props, signage and other artifacts of TV shows that fans deemed priceless and worthy display at the Smithsonian were routinely trashed and countless hours of program footage erased because the guys in the suits didn't get it and never will. Cesar Romero and several other actors involved in Batman are no longer with us but Adam West is still going strong on Family Guy.

    Thank you for a another very entertaining post, dear Susan!

  6. * Michelle, I didn't watch many movies or TV when I was younger. Always outside hiking around. So, now, I really appreciate the old movies and stars of the days, and, can find so much more information about them. Thank you for taking the time to say's good to hear from you!

  7. * Hey Laura! Jack was a great joker! You know, he always has something spectacular to add to his characters. Glad you like the're right, it does go good with Jack's jacket.

    Thanks for coming by and for the gracious comments. Hope to see you soon! Have a good weekend!

  8. * Shady! You made it...we always return to the scene of the crime don't we? You're right about Cesar Romero, he had no regrets, and it seems as tho he enjoyed everything he did. Love your interpretation of the suits, and, I totally agree. From what I learned, they demolished the Batman sets quickly! I was really impressed with what I learned about Romero. And, Adam West cracks me up! I've seen him on Family Guy, and glad he's still working.

    Thank you so much for coming by, even with the blogger problems lately-what a hassle! I'm glad you enjoyed the post. Have a great evening, Dell Master!


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