Batman: The Animated Series (lost Tim Curry Joker audio recordings from television series; 1992)

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Tim-curry-joker.jpg

Tim Curry and the Joker, as seen in Batman: Mask of the Phantasm.

Status: Lost

Batman: The Animated Series is an animated television series produced by DC Comics and Warner Bros. Animation between 1992 and 1995. Critically acclaimed for its voice acting, themes and faithfulness to its source material, the series paved the way to the DC Animated Universe and remains to this day one of the most influential animated series of all time.

The series is probably best known for Mark Hamill’s performance as the Joker, however, Tim Curry was originally appointed to voice Batman’s main villain.

Background

During the production of the second episode of the series, "Christmas with the Joker", where the eponymous character makes his debut, the producers felt unsatisfied with Curry’s performance in his recording sessions, deeming unsuitable for the character. Despite Bruce Timm and Andrea Romano, the series’ creator and voice director, respectively, insisting on keeping the role to Tim Curry, it ultimately landed on Mark Hamill. John Glover was also auditioned to play the Joker, but ended up voicing The Riddler.[1]

Tim Curry ended up voicing miscellaneous characters in Batman: The Animated Series, such as a henchman in the episode "Fear of Victory", and an animatronic clown in "Be a Clown". It is heavily speculated that the laughter that comes from the animatronic clown in the latter episode is taken from Curry’s recording sessions as the Joker.[2]

Aftermath

Apart from "Christmas with The Joker", it is unknown how many episodes Tim Curry recorded, though sources claim that he had done at least four episodes before being replaced by Mark Hamill, while others claim that he recorded the entire first season of the series. If the recordings do exist, it's likely that they remain in Warner Bros.’ archives.

While the casting change has been known for years, in 2017 it sparked a sudden interest after Tim Curry revealing that he had bronchitis when he recorded the first episode, which was the biggest factor for his replacement;[3] around the same time, an interview with Bruce Timm and Andrea Romano was made for the comic book-themed magazine Back Issue!, where they talk about the replacement and the impact it had on the series.

Gallery

A clip from the episode "Be a Clown", where Tim Curry's laugh can be heard (at 1:45).

References