Monday, April 18, 2011

P is for Penguin

This is the original animated Penguin as he is seen in "Batman: The Animated Series". Oswald Chesterfield Cobblepot was required to look similar to the Danny DeVito Penguin as he appeared in the movie "Batman Returns" as the movie came out roughly around the same time as the original animated series.

Director Tim Burton, inspired by the film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, re-imagined the character not as an eloquent gentleman of crime, but a physically deformed lunatic with a childhood trauma.

While this Penguin retained a number of trademarks, particularly the variety of trick umbrellas and the use of a monocle, he was given a huge visual makeover. His hands were now flippers, with a thumb and index finger, and the remaining three fingers fused together.

Where the comic version had varied between a full head of hair and varying degrees of thinning, this Penguin was bald, with his remaining length of hair long and stringy.

One visual aspect that remained fairly intact in this re-imagining was the familiar top hat.

For "Batman Returns", Danny DeVito had to put a combination of mouthwash and red/green food coloring in his mouth "to create a grotesque texture of some weird ooze."

Unlike most of Batman's rogues gallery, the Penguin is not insane, as he would be sent to Stonegate Penitentiary if found guilty of a certain crime, instead of Arkham Asylum where his "fellow rogues" went for rehabilitation.

Check out the vintage Mego 8-inch Penguin figure in a post I titled "The Crook, the Bat and the Ugly" PLUS all the Penguins in a line-up called "The March of the Penguins".

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