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Hollywood Graveyard – The BATMAN Special


Batman, The Dark Knight, the Caped
Crusader… he’s been a part of our cultural landscape for nearly 80 years,
first appearing in Detective Comics number 27 in 1939. Many of Hollywood’s
biggest stars have donned the cowl and cape over the years. But on June 9th 2017
the world lost one of these legends: Adam West. To honor him, and others who have
gone before, today we’re visiting the final resting places of those lives to
entertain us… in the city of Gotham. We begin our tour at the Courts of
Liberty at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills with the man who started it all: Bob Kane.
He worked as an artist and writer for DC Comics in the 30s, and with the success
of Superman sought to create his own hero. And so he conceived the Batman. He
cited inspirations like Douglas Fairbanks’ Zorro, Da Vinci sketches, and the 1930 film “The Bat Whispers.” His original
design had red tights, a small Domino mask, and bat wings instead of a cape. He worked with other artists and writers including Bill Finger to
develop the character and world we know today. Other characters he created
include Two-Face, the Scarecrow, and Catwoman who he claimed was modeled
after Jean Harlow. Kane parlayed his success as the Batman creator into minor
celebrity, and was a consultant on the 1989 Batman film and it’s sequels. While Bob Kane conceived the idea of Batman a lesser-known but no less important
figure in the creation and development of Batman is Bill Finger, considered the
co-creator of Batman. Bill was a writer who helped develop the look of Batman,
giving him a cowl and cape, a darker outfit, and came up with his secret
identity, Bruce Wayne. Bill wrote many of the early Batman stories, and was a major
contributor in the creation of other characters like the Joker. During his
life he was not given the credit he was due, as Bob Kane often claimed sole
credit. Bill Finger died in 1974, largely unrecognized for his contributions. He
was cremated, his ashes scattered in the shape of a bat on an Oregon beach. In
2015 DC finally officially recognized Bill Finger as the co-creator of Batman,
promising he would receive credit on all future productions.
In 2017 Hulu released a documentary about Bill’s story. “Bill Finger was the
dominant creative force of Batman, Robin, the Joker, Catwoman, the Riddler, Penguin, Scarecrow, Commissioner Gordon, Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson, and Gotham City.” “I know Bob tried to take credit for everything… everything you would think of that’s good,
that’s Bill.” “So how could this not have been so well known?” “I was a ghost, I really was.” “Bill was Batman’s secret identity. It became a crusade getting
Bill’s name on Batman. Superheroes are not doing this to get paid or praised, they
are doing something for the greater good, then they disappear into the night.
Without Bill there’d be no Batman. So, what happened to Bill Finger?” Back at Forest Lawn Hollywood in the
Courts of Remembrance, along the northeast wall of the second courtyard,
is the crypt of the very first actor to play Batman on screen: Lewis Wilson. It was the young actor’s screen debut, in the 1943 film serial, “Batman.” The series
consisted of 15 chapters. “In a chamber hewn from the living rock of the mountain is the strange, dimly lighted, mysteriously secret Bat Cave, hidden
headquarters of America’s number-one crime fighter, Batman, clad in the somber
costume which has struck terror to the heart of many of swaggering denizens of the
underworld. Batman, who even now is pondering the
plans of a new assault against the forces of crime.” Just a few miles northwest of here is Valhalla Cemetery. In the northern part of the cemetery,
block G, we find the second actor to play Batman on screen, Robert Lowery. The
follow-up to the 1943 Batman serial was another serial called “Batman and Robin.”
It too consisted of 15 chapters and was released in 1949, with Lowry now playing
the Caped Crusader. “Diamonds!” “That proves it’s the same bunch who
stole a remote-controlled machine.” Third actor to play Batman was the
inimitable Adam West, immortalized for his role in the sixties TV series
“Batman,” and the follow up feature film in 1966. His was a new kind of Batman,
colorful and delightfully campy, while still played very straight. Adam died in
June of 2017, and his final resting place is unknown. But Los Angeles held a public
memorial for Adam, lighting up City Hall with the bat-signal, and the script, “The City of Los Angeles Honors Adam West, 1928-2017.” Thousands of fans attended
the ceremony, with tributes given by several of his Batman co-stars,
including the Boy Wonder himself, Burt Ward who played Robin. “Take her up!” “Holy sardine!” “Hand me down the shark-repellent bat spray!” Younger audiences will also remember him as mayor Adam West on “Family Guy.” Down in San Diego, at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery, is the grave of the very first actor to play Robin the Boy Wonder
on screen, Douglas Croft. He starred alongside Lewis Wilson in the 1943 serial “Batman.” He was only 16 at the time. “…a crushing blow against evil in which he
will have the valuable aid of his young, two-fisted assistant, Robin the Boy
Wonder.” There would be no need for Batman
without an eclectic array of villains running amok in Gotham, the most
notorious of which is Batman’s arch nemesis, the Joker, whose devilish smile
and maniacal laugh of delighted and terrified audiences for generations. He
was created by Bob Kane, Bill Finger, and Jerry Robinson in 1940, and was inspired
by Conrad Veidt’s Gwynplaine in “The Man Who Laughs.” In the mausoleum of the
Golden West at Inglewood Cemetery, south of Los Angeles we find the niche and
harp shaped urn of the first actor to play Joker on screen, and the man who set the standard for all Jokers to follow, Cesar Romero. He played the psychopathic
jester in the 60s TV series. One of the many quirks Romero imbued in his Joker
was the application of the makeup right right over top his trademark mustache. [music] Let’s head now to the other side of the world, to Australia. Many of Hollywood’s greatest actors have
donned the white makeup and mad grin of the Joker, but if I could put my usual
objectivity aside a moment… the dark and disturbing performance given by Heath
Ledger in the 2008 film “The Dark Knight,” might just be the best. Critics were
skeptical at first of the casting of Heath, but he quickly proved them wrong
with his portrayal of the psychopathic, mass-murdering, schizophrenic clown with zero empathy. “And I thought my jokes were bad.” “Give me one reason why I shouldn’t have my boy here pull your head off.” “How about a magic trick? I’m gonna make this pencil disappear. Ta-Da! It’s gone!” Tragically, Heath died of an accidental
drug overdose before the film was even released. He was posthumously awarded a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his portrayal of the Joker. After his death
Heath was cremated, his ashes scattered at the site of his grandparents grave at
Karrakatta Cemetery in Perth Australia. In 2009 a monument to Heath was created at Point Heathcote Reserve near his hometown. Back in California at Forest
Lawn Hollywood Hills, just northwest of the Courts of Remembrance, is the grave
of Michael Ansara. He provided the voice of Mr. Freeze on “Batman: the Animated
Series.” “I failed you. I wish there were another way for me to
say it. I cannot. I can only beg your forgiveness, and pray you hear me somehow,
someplace… someplace where a warm hand waits for mine.” For our next stop we’ll travel all the
way across the country, to beautiful Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Calvary
Cemetery, where Frank Gorshin is buried. Gorshin was an actor, comedian, and
impressionist, known for being the first actor to portray Gotham villain the
Riddler on screen. The Riddler made his first appearance in Detective Comics 140
in 1948, his modus operandi being the use of puzzles and riddles in his crimes
gorshin played the Riddler in 10 episodes of the 60s TV series, “Batman,” a
role which earned him an Emmy nomination. “Riddle me this my criminal crew… When does a Boy Wonder rhyme with bubble?” “When he’s in trouble?” “Wrong! When he’s double! Split in two halves, right down the middle!” A few of the Batman stars who have
passed away don’t have a final resting place because they were cremated, their
ashes either scattered or privately held. Let’s take a moment to remember them. Legendary character actor Burgess Meredith was the first to portray the
Penguin on screen in the 60s TV series. British actor Michael Gough played
Alfred Pennyworth in four Batman movies, beginning with Tim Burton’s Batman in
1989. Yvonne Craig played Batgirl aka Barbara Gordon in the 60s TV series. Other characters from that series include George Sanders, the first actor to play Mr. Freeze on screen. Eartha Kitt, one of the actresses who portrayed Catwoman, and Neil Hamilton, who played Commissioner Gordon. At Holy Cross Cemetery, in Culver City, California, we find one of the men behind the legendary Batman TV series of the 1960s, William Dozier. Not only did he produce the show, he was also the narrator. “Could this mean curtains?
Will the identities of our dynamic duo be revealed to the whole world? Is this
the end of their career as crime-fighters? Can they avert disaster?
Answers tomorrow, same bat-time, same bat-channel.” In addition he co-created the Barbara
Gordon character, also known as Batgirl. The world of Batman has also brought us
some amazing music over the years. At Hollywood Forever Cemetery, right in the heart of Hollywood, in the Hall of David, we find the niche of composer Nelson Riddle. He wrote the music for both the 60s TV series and the 1966 film, “Batman: the
Movie.” Singer Prince wrote and performed several songs for Tim Burton’s Batman in 1989, including the “Batdance.” Prince died in 2016, his ashes kept in an urn at his Paisley Park Studio in Minnesota. The urn itself is a miniature replica of Paisley Park. We’ll finish our tour back where we
started, at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills, in the Courts of Remembrance. In the
Sanctuary of Enduring Protection, just south of the Christus, is the crypt of
Neal Hefti. He was a composer for film and television.
He’s the man who wrote that iconic main theme for the 60s Batman TV series. And that concludes our tour! What are
some of your favorite memories from city of Gotham? Share them in the comments
below, and be sure to tune in next time for more famous graves. Same grave time, same grave channel! Thanks for watching!

100 Comments

  1. Hollywood Graveyard Author

    Okay, take two!  We added Prince, Eartha Kitt, and Neil Hamilton.  Please know, however, that there’s no way we can cover everyone, so thank you for remembering others in the comments that we may have missed.

    Reply
  2. Gargoyle2556 Author

    For your consideration in future episodes. David Wayne played the Mad Hatter, Carolyn Jones played Marsha, Queen of Diamonds, Roddy McDowell played Bookworm, Anne Baxter played Olga, Queen of the Cossacks, Art Carney played The Archer, Walter Slezak played The Clock King. Mr. Freeze was played by three actors, George Saunders in season one, Otto Preminger is season two and Eli Wallach in season three. Milton Berle played Louie the Lilac. Lastly Tallulah Bankhead played Black Widow.

    Reply
  3. Chester Benjamin Lane Author

    i grew up watching the batman tv series of the 1960's and it's was a awesome time to see what batman was doing to save gotham city with robin the boy wonder and later with batgirl! 1 other person you forgotten was the man made the batmobile and other bat based things on tv or movies…

    Reply
  4. Steven Bosch Author

    Conrad Veidt was in a silent film called "The Man Who Laughs" where he plays Gwynplane, a man whose face was forced into a permanent ear-to-ear manic smile. The performance may have impressed Bill Finger and served as inspiration towards the creation of the Joker.

    Reply
  5. GhostCity Shelton Author

    I luved working on the Batman set at Great Adventure in Jackson New Jersey. They were true pros & the nicest guys you could ever meet.
    Once we put too much of a charge when shooting the dummy Robin out of the cannon. We got a call from the Fire Dept.,,went there & a fireman said to look under his fire truck….yup! there was Robin.
    Then there was the time the Batmoble broke down & Batman & Robin looked at each other, then jumped out of the car & ran & captured the bad guys on foot !
    I was walking behind the set with Batman & stated that such a wealthy guy should be able to do better than this. He laughed. We'd walked behind the 'mansion' front & behind it was an empty field.
    That summer flew by.
    They were all true gentlemen & we all went to dinner after the last show. Where ever they are I wish them all the best.

    Reply
  6. mudgebauer Author

    I think you could have covered more of the careers of Ceasar Romero and Michael Ansara. They were both in many movies from the earliest days. Romero was a great dancer in some movies in the 30's and Ansara played the part of Indians in several western movies. A little more of their history would have been nice. thanks.

    Reply
  7. jsg6532774 Author

    I love your shows, beautifully done, and so enjoyable. I was sorry that you didn't mention TV Bruce Wayne's aunt played by Madge Blake (1899-1969) who is buried at Grand View Memorial Park and Crematory in Glendale, Section F, Lot 80. She also appeared regularly in The Real McCoys as Flora McMichael, an episode of I love Lucy, and the film The Long, Long Trailer, she coined those immortal words "You and your lousy, stinking trailer."

    Reply
  8. jsg6532774 Author

    I see from looking through the comments now that you are getting picked on a lot for missed people. I'm sorry to add to the throng. It would be hard to cover everyone from Batman as they had guest stars every week. We still love you and your show, thank you.

    Reply
  9. The Odditor : A Journey Author

    Is Arthur Dark your real name ? I only ask because I once had an awesome friend whose last name was also Dark. He passed away in 1986.

    Reply
  10. Steven Sansone Author

    Well, I can't read ALL the comments because I'd like to think I have a little bit of a life. So if it's already here, I didn't see it. Victor Buono (King Tut) is in Greenwood Memorial Park
    in San Diego, California, Lily Lake Crypt 1, Tier A (Ashes Entombed in his mother's crypt.).
    Talluah Bankhead (Black Widow) is in Saint Paul's Kent Churchyard
    Chestertown, Maryland,

    Section A, Lot 94. Rudy Vallee (Lord Marmaduke Ffogg) is in
    Saint Hyacinth Cemetery

    Westbrook, Maine, Second row in from Stroudwater Street. (Rudy's gravestone and brother's have disappeared, Stones were replaced. The family stone remains.). [Source: www.findagrave.com] That's enough of that….

    Reply
  11. Jim Kirk Author

    https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/180210082/adam-west
    BURIAL Cremated, Ashes scattered at sea, Specifically: Pacific Ocean
    ORIGINAL NAME William West Anderson
    BIRTH 19 Sep 1928
    Walla Walla, Walla Walla County, Washington, USA
    DEATH 9 Jun 2017 (aged 88)
    Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA

    Reply
  12. Ken Zee Author

    Otto Preminger played Egghead in the 60's TV Series with Adam West & Burt Ward. Otto is interred at Woodlawn Cemetery, Bronx, NY, in a cremation niche. EGG-SQUISITE!!!!

    Reply
  13. Jim Tait Author

    I will never forget the time I met Frank Gorshin in the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas in 1986. He was the sweetest most accommodating Star I ever saw. He had about 30 fans around him ranging in age from 23 (me) to 60. He shook everyone’s hand, answered questions, took pictures and did his James Cagney impression. He was put here to entertain, and he did it flawlessly.

    Reply
  14. Ric Pel Author

    Just subscribed. I really like your channel but I wish you would show when possible, or at least tell, born and died dates as well as ages at death. Sometimes the markers don't show them, and sometimes you don't say.

    Reply
  15. CrazyCatPyper Author

    I visit Heath and all of those at Karrakatta all the time, to make sure no one is damaging any headstones, and also because I love a drive through a cemetery. We go to Fremantle too, and see Bon Scott from ACDC

    Reply
  16. Molina Long Author

    Your missing
    Kim Basinger ( she still alive age 65) she in batman 1989
    Jack Nicholson (he still alive age 81) he played by the joker
    Michael Keaton ( he still alive age 67) he played by batman
    Billy Dee Williams ( he still alive age 81)

    Reply
  17. Ivonne Sokol Author

    Hi, Arthur. I love your videos. I love the history and the biographies of these entertainers. I believe you tell their stories in a respectful manner by not only showcasing them as entertainers, but also as people with loved ones, lives, and passions.

    This is one of my favorite videos. As a Batman fan, I grew up with several of his adaptations, like in Batman: The Animated Series, Batman Beyond, the Tim Burton and Christopher Nolan movies, and the 1966 series. It was great to see many of these stars I grew up with, like Adam West, Ertha Kitt, Michael Anasara, Heath Ledger, etc. and remember them fondly for some of the good memories in my childhood. But the star that got to me the most in this video was Prince.

    Prince is my favorite musician. I loved him since I was a teenager. His work influenced me artisticly from writing poetry, to painting, to playing the guitar. I always hoped that I would see him in concert one day, but unfortunately, that never came to be. I cried when the news broke out he died. At least he's rocking out in Heaven with all of the other music legends up there. I believe I'll finally get to see that concert in over 80 years. At this point, I'm willing to wait. 🙂

    Thank you for the memories.

    Reply
  18. Paige Westrum Author

    My great-uncle worked for Warner Bros, and he was the Executive Producer for the movie "Batman Forever". He's buried at Eternal Valley Memorial Park in Newhall, CA. His name is Phil Rawlins.

    Reply
  19. Talia al Ghul Author

    Fun fact about Prince: He was a big Batman fan. So much so that years before he did the 1989 movie soundtrack, the first song I played on the piano was Neal Hefti's Batman theme, according to an interview Prince had with Oprah.

    Reply
  20. Ro Cerne Author

    Olá. ..eu adoro o seu canal…é uma pena que o YouTube não tem um jeito de traduzir para o português. .ou o idioma que nos interessa…deveria ter uma bandeira para podermos acessar…que pena ..um canal fantástico …eu não entendo o seu idioma. ..fico triste…super Luke em todos…adoro seu canal…😍😍😍😍

    Reply
  21. James Roberts Author

    Sorry video. A bunch of film clips to take up time due to lack of subject content. What no black people Mr. Dark.? You seem to focus on them exclusively.

    Reply
  22. Crystal Jackman Author

    Batman is my absolute favorite. Thank you for doing him justice and all the creators, actors, composers, and directors that brought him to life! Great job!!

    Reply
  23. rodney sewell Author

    I would just like to say a big thank you arthur for doing what you do .. i live in the uk and love what you do it is enthralling to see where so many great actors and actresses lay in rest thank you and look forward to the next hollywood graveyard … all the best

    Reply
  24. Dale Duval Author

    great tribute fantastic my memory was when I seen adam west giving out Autographs at a Auto show in Winnipeg Manitoba in the late 80s

    Reply
  25. Godexists100 Author

    How brilliantly was the Joker played by Heath Ledger,a fellow Perth boy like myself. His body cremated at Karrakatta where my daughter was also cremated. 😥

    Reply
  26. Shanarrie Author

    What about Alan Napier and Madge Blake? They were main characters.
    Someone else mentioned Stafford Repp.
    Otto Preminger, Eli Wallach as the other portrayers of Mr. Freeze.
    Victor Buono as KingTut
    Vincent Price as Egghead
    There are many other guest villians that have been cool to see!
    Could you make a part 2 please.
    Ceasar Romeo was the one and only Joker!!!

    Reply
  27. Dorth Surreal Author

    Thank you Bob and Bill I can't thank you enough for making my Childhood more Magical. Thank you always. 💗💝💞💐🌸💮🏵🌼🌻🌺🥀🌹🌷🍥⭐🌞🌝☀🌟🌠⛅🎇🎆✨🎈♥🎭📍❇️✳️

    Reply
  28. Dorth Surreal Author

    Cesar, Eartha, Frank, Heath, Burgess, vVctor, Roddy, Micheal, and Micheal R. Shelly, Lee. And so many of my best loved Batvillians. I wish you all eternal happiness.💗💗💗💗💗💗💗💗💘

    Reply
  29. Dorth Surreal Author

    Thank you Adam. Without you I wouldn't know-right from. Wrong. You taught a little-lonely girl whqt-itvwad like-to be a Hero. PS say Hello to my Superman George Reeves for me.

    Reply
  30. Kurt Mitchell Author

    FYI, the first photo you show of Bill Finger is not Finger at all, but Robert Kanigher, a longtime DC Comics editor and writer whose many credits include co-creating Sgt. Rock and The Metal Men. The second photo of the man in the baseball cap is indeed Finger.

    Reply
  31. Pam Author

    I was a Big Catwoman (Julie Newmar) fan the tv show Batman. She is still here with us. it says she is 85 years young Aug 16, 1933 😺

    Reply
  32. Steven DeMay Author

    😔😔😔😔😔😔 Just didn’t seem as thought out as your previous films. It seemed a bit rushed and less introduction and information on these stars.
    I follow all your videos, but this one was my least favorite.
    On a positive note. I received my Hollywood Graveyard coffee mug.
    Thank you Mr. Dark for all that you do. I’m sure it’s very time consuming and costly.
    God Bless…

    Reply
  33. Brian Weir Author

    How can you have a Batman tribute without Batman voice actor Olan Soule? He voiced him in several Hanna Barbera cartoon series Superfriends. Don't forget Casey Kasem as Robin!

    Reply

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