CEDAR RAPIDS — Holy anniversary, Batman!
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the release of “Batman: The Movie,” the first time the caped crusader and his sidekick, Robin, appeared on the big screen.
The movie was released July 30, 1966. On Saturday, local fans have a chance to relive the excitement or see the movie for the first time as Wehrenberg Galaxy 16 Cine, 5340 Council St. NE, Cedar Rapids, hosts a showing of the film at 3:15 p.m. Tickets are on sale now for $4 each. A limited supply of free tickets from Hi-Rev Motors are to be available during a preshow event kicking off at 1 p.m. at the Barnes & Noble store at Northland Square, 333 Collins Road NE in Cedar Rapids.
Barnes & Noble, in partnership with the movie theater and the Cedar Rapids Comic Book Club, is sponsoring Saturday’s events that organizers hope draws a large crowd.
“People seem to love Batman,” said Amanda Zhorne, community business development manager at Barnes & Noble in Cedar Rapids. She said the event at the bookseller is to include Batman-themed activities, door prizes and, at 2 p.m., distribution of a limited supply of special edition Batman No. 1 Batman Day comic books.
The superhero draws the interest of people of all ages, Zhorne said, so organizers are aiming for a “completely family-friendly” event. She encouraged those who attend to come dressed in their best Batman outfits.
And since there can be no Batman event without his gadgets, a Batmobile created for the 1960s “Batman” television series is also making an appearance on Saturday. Weather permitting, the Batmobile is to be parked outside of the movie theater from 2:30-6 p.m.
The Batmobile belongs to the Vasey family, including Zach Vasey, 22, owner of Hi-Rev Motors. The family purchased the vehicle 20 years ago from George Barris, who designed the vehicle — as well as several other Hollywood custom cars.
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“We like to give other people enjoyment with the car, rather than keep it in the garage — or the Batcave, as we call it,” Vasey said.
As for the movie, it is based on the characters featured in the television series that ran for three seasons from 1966 to 1968. The 20th Century Fox film stars Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward as Robin.
Batman, also known as Bruce Wayne, is a superhero created by DC Comics in 1939 as the protector of fictional Gotham City. Since the character’s creation, he has been the subject of several comic books, television shows and films — most recently in the 2016 film “Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice” staring Ben Affleck.
“Part of the reason to do this was to introduce the (1966) Batman movie to a new generation of fans,” said Matt Cody, who created the Cedar Rapids Comic Book Club in April and was instrumental in sparking Saturday’s event. “In the many generations he’s had, even if you’re not a fan of every type of Batman, there is going to be a version that you can connect with because he’s been done over 75 years of history.”