Batman Birthday: Robert Lowery!


We all know and talk about the iconic actors who have played Batman on screen. Adam West, Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, George Clooney, Christian Bale and now Ben Affleck have donned the cape and cowl, but there are some lesser known guys you may not remember.

Yesterday would have been the 102nd birthday of actor Robert Lowery who played the Caped Crusader in the 1949 serial Batman and Robin. I’m a bit more familiar with him because he was a fellow Kansas Citian, but not many other people remember anymore.

"Born Robert Larkin Hanks in Kansas City, Missouri, Lowery grew up on Wayne Avenue near the long-demolished Electric Park. Lowery’s father was a local attorney and oil investor who worked several years for the Pullman Corporation as a railroad agent; his mother, Leah Thompson Hanks, was a concert pianist.During his career, Lowery was primarily known for roles in action movies such as The Mark of Zorro (1940), The Mummy’s Ghost(1944), and Dangerous Passage (1944). He became the second actor to play DC Comics‘ Batman (succeeding Lewis Wilson), starring in a 1949’s Batman and Robin serial. Lowery also had roles in a number of Western films including The Homesteaders(1953), The Parson and the Outlaw (1957), Young Guns of Texas (1962), and Johnny Reno (1966). He was also an accomplished stage actor and appeared in Born Yesterday, The Caine Mutiny, and in several other productions.On television, Lowery was best known for the role of Big Tim Champion on the series Circus Boy (1956–1957). In 1956, he guest starred in “The Deadly Rock,” an episode of The Adventures of Superman (which was the first time a Batman actor shared screen time with a Superman actor, although Lowery and Reeves had appeared together in their pre-superhero days in the 1942 WWII anti-VD propaganda film, Sex Hygiene.) Lowery also had guest roles on Perry Mason, featured as murder victim Amos Bryant in “The Case of the Roving River,” Playhouse 90 (“The Helen Morgan Story”), Cowboy G-Men, Maverick, Tales of Wells Fargo, Rawhide, 77 Sunset Strip,Hawaiian Eye, and Pistols ‘n’ Petticoats. He made his last onscreen appearance in the 1967 comedy/Western film The Ballad of Josie, opposite Doris Day and Peter Graves."

Lowery passed away of heart failure in 1971, but his Batman roles are once again available to watch thanks to their re-release a few years ago.

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