Happy Anniversaries to the Bat, the Rat and the Runner

The end of June is historically a busy time for movies. Just about all schools are out for the summer, and that means blockbusters and more box office business. Today, June 23 is a great example of that, with not one, but three anniversaries of major Imagi-Movie releases.

“Where Does He Get Those Wonderful Toys?”

Quite possibly the most anticipated movie of 1989 was Tim Burton’s BATMAN (1989). It might be safe to say that half of the fanbase were anticipating how cool it was, and the other half were anticipating how fast it would bomb, because of the bizarre casting. A LOT of people (Ye Olde Dragon included) were like, “Mr. Mom is Batman??” But we all got the surprise of our lives when he turned out to actually be GOOD. On top of that, sprinkle in Jack Nicholson’s epic performance as The Joker and the unforgettable score by Danny Elfman and you have one of the most popular comic book based films ever, which opened 22 years ago today.

“…The Two of Us Need Look No More…”

Forty years ago today, we learned that a boy’s best friend is his…rat? That’s the premise of Phil Karlson’s BEN (1972), a sequel to Daniel Mann’s WILLARD (1971). Ben the rat befriends a young boy with a heart condition, and  protects him from bullies and people that make him unhappy. Mayhem ensues when Ben’s horde starts running amok and people start dying. Will Ben survive the police’s flame throwers?

The film is possibly best known for the title song, sung by a young Michael Jackson (which went to #1 for that year), and has proven to be one of his all time hits.
Note – the tag line on the poster is a ‘call back’ of sorts to the poster for WILLARD, which read, “Where your nightmares end… that’s where Willard begins.”

It’s Last Day. Will You Renew?

Thirty-six years ago today, we were introduced to the pristine future world of Michael Anderson’s LOGAN’S RUN (1976). It’s been said that the future belongs to the young. It’s certainly true here, as nobody lives past their 30th birthday, or “Last Day’. On Last Day, the life clock in their palms, a prismatic gem, turns red and they report to Carousel in the hopes of renewing themselves. Nobody ever renews, but the spectacle entertains the masses.

There are those who rebel against this system, and when they reach Last Day, they run. They run to find a place called Sanctuary. When they run, they’re hunted by the Sandmen – the future police charged with catching, or killing, Runners.

Logan 5 (Michael York) is a Sandman who meets a young woman named Jessica 6 (Jenny Agutter) who may be connected to the Runner Network. Logan’s superiors want him to infiltrate, and they speed up his life clock so it flashes red to convince the underground. To further the cover, they don’t let any other Sandman in on it, and soon Logan is running from his own partner, Francis (Richard Jordan). Will Logan win his race?

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