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Jean Boone - Interview with Cast of Batman, The Movie (1966)

Gordon Wilkison

Sound | 1966

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Transcript
  •  Of course she is here at the premiere, and she is one of the evil ones. And I want to if we could - look how evil. The claws of the Catwoman. Do, you were meowing a while ago, do us a meow.  
  •  Oh you want some meows? Let's see do you want, ecstasy meows? 
  •  Alright. 
  •  [meows] You'll see that when I'm flying on a jet umbrella. That's the jet umbrella ecstasy meow.  
  •  How did you learn all of those? I assumed somebody else did them? 
  •  No, no, as a matter of fact, I had to even loop my own meows because of sound difficulties and everything they didn't get them and I came in for a whole day of looping. Just the meows.  
  •  That's funny. 
  •  But I had a, we used to live in Phoenix, Arizona and there were two cats who would, every night, on our back fence, and you know the usual bit, they would, every night, until after I was long gone asleep, but that's what I would go to sleep to and then I began imitating them, so it became very easy for me to. 
  •  Surely. Did they know all of that when they chose you for the part?  
  •  No, as a matter of fact, um, they didn't even suggest in the script that she meows, they had other ideas and all, and I said can I just try a meow here, or purr here or do this and that. And they were willing to go along with it, it worked out fine.  
  •  Have you had fun? 
  •  Oh yes, it was a marvelous experience. 
  •  How do you like living on the coast, you do live there, now don't you? 
  •  Yes. 
  •  Because I know you were in New York when you were doing the Today Show. 
  •  Right. I love it out there, it's actually, I was born in Los Angeles.  
  •  Oh you're home.  
  •  So I've returned home really. And it's, the weather is nice, and we have two daughters. They're out in the sun all the time. It's much better than New York. 
  •  That's true, that's true. Do you miss getting up for the Today Show? 
  •  Oh, well it's not as bad in films as it was then. I used to get up at 4 o'clock in the morning. 
  •  But now what time to you have to get there now say for all of the makeup? 
  •  For all the make-up usually 6:30. 
  •  You see it's still no bed of roses. 
  •  That's two and a half hours later. 
  •  Boy, you're lucky these days! 
  •  And I hang on to those two and a half hours. 
  •  You've got another picture I understand that's ready for release. 
  •  Mmmhmm, it's called "Namu, the Killer Whale." 
  •  Good. 
  •  And that'll be out, it should be I know in Los Angeles it's out next week, so it should be out pretty soon. As a matter of fact, I'm going out for the premiere for that immediately following this. I arrive Sunday night in Los Angeles and leave Sunday night right away to come to Seattle. 
  •  And then there's another one coming up, something about tunnels? 
  •  Oh that's the series. 
  •  That's television. 
  •  Yes, a series starting in September on Friday nights, 8 o'clock. 
  •  Obviously that's New York. It may not be here that time. 
  •  Oh I hope it will be! I don't know what, it may be 7 o'clock here, I don't know how the time differentiates. But it's a marvelous science fiction thriller. 
  •  You like all of this then. 
  •  Oh yes. 
  •  Well I know that I'd heard you studied under Lee Strasberg with your Miss America winnings and uh, you couldn't have chose a better man. I hope you have a lot of luck. We'll look for you all the time. 
  •  Good. Thank you very much. 
  •  Lee Meriwether of course here as Catwoman.  
  •  I'd like for you to meet Cesar Romero because under all of this makeup as the Joker in the Batman movie. He is of course one of the handsomest actors and men in the world 
  •  Well you can easily tell. 
  •  You can easily tell. I have a question. Why the green hair on the Joker? 
  •  Oh well that's part of the Joker's makeup, you know 
  •  No I never realized. 
  •  The green hair. I'm not a great student actually of the Batman comic strip, but I understand that the Joker got the green hair because in one of the first strips that he appeared in, in making his escape from Batman, he dove into a river that was full of a certain chemical that turned his hair green. So from then on, he's had green hair.  
  •  That's ridiculous. Do you like playing Joker? Is it fun? 
  •  Oh sure, it's a lot of fun. We have a lot of fun doing the show. We had a lot of fun making the movie and it's a part you know, that you can do everything you've always been told not to do as an actor. In other words you can get as hammy as you like.  
  •   Right. 
  •  And go all out. It's, it's great fun. I enjoy it. 
  •  What are you doing, are you doing some film now, are you doing Broadway? 
  •  No, I've been doing some personal appearances up in Boston and in Oklahoma City. And now, in about a week or so, I'm gonna do a television special with Red Skelton and then I have to do a two parter Man from Uncle, and then the Batman television show. And then in September, I suspect I'll be doing Picture Paramount, so I'll be kind of busy.  
  •  I know it. You started out I know as a song and dance man, I remember you seeing you and Ann Sothern cutting up, you're still good. Do you dance much? 
  •  No. 
  •  You're the best dancer in the world. 
  •  No, I'm getting too old. 
  •  Oh no you are not. 
  •  And it's too much hard work. 
  •  No you are not. 
  •  Know you know really, the last time, you know how old you were when I first met you? 
  •  17 
  •  You were 17, you see, and I was, let me see... 
  •  You were 18 or 19 I think. 
  •  Oh yes easily. 
  •  Easily. We were well chaperoned but Cesar happened to be a friend of my sister, and so when I visited her, he had to take care of baby sister and take her every place in Hollywood. And you even rode things at Ocean Park. And I think we all got sick riding the rides. 
  •  Oh but it was a lot of fun. 
  •  I had a wonderful time. 
  •  I look back on those years with a lot of sort of nostalgia, whatever you want to call it, but they were fun and I miss them too. 
  •  Oh I do too. 
  •  I miss seeing Elaine, I see her once in a blue moon when I go to New York and of course she's had a very exciting life. Being married to John Steinbeck, traveling all over the world. It's been a wonderful thing for her. 
  •  I think probably you see her more than I do. 
  •  No I don't Jean, I really don't go to New York very often. 
  •   You're really working mainly then. 
  •  I stay in California most of the time. 
  •  When you're doing your regular Batman for television, how often do you have to work, how often do you work during the week?  
  •   Well each show, each show see, I only, I don't do, I'm not in all the shows. 
  •  Right well sure. 
  •  Now last season I did three of the Batman shows, and then of course the motion picture. And now next month, I'll be doing the first one for the new season. How many I'll do I don't know. Probably about three or four. 
  •  I wish you'd win some time. 
  •  Oh you can't win. The villain can't win. We always win you know on Wednesday night, at the end of the show Wednesday night we're winning. But then comes Thursday night we'll lose. 
  •  You've had it. You don't care. Well I've enjoyed talking with you and we're gonna see you in the movie. 
  •  Well thank you, it's wonderful to see you again.  
  •  Nice to see you. Cesar Romero, of course a fine actor, and presently staring as the Joker in the Batman movie.  
  •  You should you gotta show, well you gotta be free to move. Do you know that your bat boat was built here in Austin?  
  •  Yes Mr. Dozier told me that. 
  •  Surely, yes. 
  •  Glastron. 
  •  Right Glastron did it. I've been watching, some friends of mine helped with the design so I've been sneaking looks in the garage all along. So how does it look? 
  •  It looks very exciting on the screen. 
  •  I think it does too. 
  •  It's incredible. It enables us to really move at tremendously high speeds to chase, chase whomever we wish. 
  •  At any moment. At any given moment. At the drop of a hat. Tell me, is uh, Batman, of course Batman is premiering here, Mr. Dozier. 
  •  First public showing will be this afternoon.  
  •  Yes right. Then does it open simultaneously all of the country, or... 
  •  No it opens this month, or August all over the country. New York the 24th, in Chicago the 26th, in Los Angeles the 31st, but it opens what they call multiple situations every place. 
  •  Well now, is Batman your only involvement of the moment?   
  •  No no. 
  •  I didn't think so. 
  •  I have two other series going on the air in September and a couple, three or found others on the drawing board as we say. 
  •  Do you want to say the names of them? 
  •  Well, I will yes, Green Hornet is going on. 
  •  That's what I knew. 
  •  The Tami Grimes Show, a comedy with Tammy Grimes. 
  •  Oh I love her. We'll look forward to them. They're telling me we have no more time. 
  •  Is that Tammy Hornet and Green Grimes. 
  •  And Green Grimes. Oh that's awful. Adam West and William Dozier. Here in connection with the Batman premiere. Thank you. 
  •  Peace. 
  •  Peace. That's Tonto. Thank you both very much. Do they stay here for someone? 
 
TAMI Tags
  •  Filmed at the Paramount Theatre 
  •  Jean Boone 
  •  Lee Meriwether as Catwoman 
  •  Cesar Romero as The Joker 
  •  Jean's sister, Elaine, was married for 18 years to John Steinbeck. Prior to this, she was married to Austin actor Zachary Scott. An actress herself, Elaine was also one of the first female stage managers. 
  •  Adam West as Batman 
  •  William Dozier 
 
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  • About the video
  • Gordon Wilkison Gordon Wilkison
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Produced in 1966, "Batman" had been originally envisioned as a launch for the beloved television show of the same name starring Adam West, Burt Ward and Cesar Romero. The film, however, was filmed between the first and second seasons of the television show - and had its premiere in Austin, Texas. Why Austin? According to sources, the "BatBoat" featured in the film was created by an Austin based company, Glastron, whose payment was in having the film premiere in their hometown. This film features local CBS affiliate's noontime host, Jean Boone, interviewing the cast - in town for the premiere. Ms. Boone speaks with Catwoman, Lee Meriwether, Joker, Cesar Romero, and Adam West, Batman himself. Apparently, Romero and Boone knew each other previously and reminisce on-air.
Gordon Wilkison began work as a cameraman at the local Austin television station KTBC (now FOX 7) during 1952, its first year of operation.  At the time the station was owned by the Texas Broadcasting Company, which was owned by Senator Lyndon B. and Lady Bird Johnson. This relationship would continue to shape Wilkison's career well into the next decades - during the Johnson administration, Wilkison covered the president's visits to Texas, preparing material for national and international news correspondents. 
 
A particularly notable moment in his career occurred on August 1, 1966, when Wilkison and KTBC reporter Neal Spelce risked their lives to capture footage of the Tower shooting at the University of Texas. 
 
Wilkison was also the General Manager of Photo Processors at the LBJ Broadcasting Corporation, which he later took over and renamed Cenetex Film Labs. In addition to his camera work and film processing, his work at the station also included direction of a number of television film productions.
 
Outside of KTBC, Wilkison shot, edited, and processed Longhorn football game footage for the University of Texas, a partnership that lasted nearly 30 years.    
 
Recognizing the historical value of film and news footage, Wilkison kept the material, later contributing hundreds of reels to the Texas Archive of the Moving Image's collection.