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I've been a lurker in these parts (and more active in the off topic section about things like my podcast, Dr. Who, Superman and my 1941 Captain Marvel cape find) for a while but at Scott's suggestion I figured I ought to pop in here and discuss a costume build that's finally of major interest to these parts.
That's right- the 1966 Cesar Romero Joker.
So in the back of my mind I always knew that if I were to do a costume to join the Bat Group that Scott often organizes for various events...it would be Bookworm or the Joker. I don't see either done very much and I like those characters. Of course, the greater public awareness and iconic look of the Joker made him win out in the end.
So I haven't seen a thread for this event yet but for Big Wow Comic Fest in back May '14, it was decided early on to do a 1966 Bat Group for the Batman 75th Anniversary. I had the funds so decided I would jump into tails and make up to do the Joker. But time was not on my side!
I chatted a lot with Chad Waters on this forum about how he did his superb w/ Joker Belt version that was worn at Wizard in 2010. I learned that this was going to be a bit harder than I thought.
So as usual it all starts with the fabric. I had literally 1 long weekend to find suitable fabric to get everything made in time. Scott supplied me with some good reference. Finding a good color was painful as it's hard to tell with the color saturation and shifting going on between episodes and publicity stills. But I was pointed to a single indoor and outdoor shot that looks the most neutral lit to provide the right kind of range. Basically think a little less magenta/fuscia and more very red violet purple.
I hit all the usual spots here in LA on a long Saturday in April with my GF who came along to give a color second opinion. Everything we found was too red, too blue-ish purple, too orange, too pink, too bright or simply the wrong fabric like a cheap polyester or a satin silk. Finally we doubled back to Michael Levine's the next day after more shops and fruitless searching. We saw 1 wool in there that looked promising and fairly close to the range the photos suggested but it had a mild sharkskin sheen. Luckily we flipped it over and it had a dull side. I jumped in and bought enough yards to make a whole suit.
I did my research and with Chad's help I tracked down a very close tux shirt with 10 1/4" pleats on each side, french cuffs and made in 100% cotton. I snagged some magician glove sin cotton and cotton socks as well. All of these would be dyed with Rit Dye to match.
I found some vintage style simple black oxford shoes on ebay inexpensively that gave the right look for the Joker. Then I did a search in similar style studs/cufflinks on amazon and found something fairly close for under $25.
With all the side elements on the way I went back the next weekend during Wonder Con to a new place in orange County to find lining and backing fr the suit/vest. I managed to find some cheap fabrics that worked and I was on my way. I also scored a light knit fabric for the black tie.
So due to the time crunch I had to send out the fabric for the coat and vest with about 2 dozen screengrabs and reference shots to Baron Boutique in nepal. They've done three of my Doctor Who Jackets and generally do a very good job for a very reasonable price. PLus they could meet my deadline.
I then took the remaining fabric/lining and two spools of 1/4" and 1/8" black ribbon to my local seamstress to have the trousers made. She based them on my tom Baker trousers pattern only narrowing the leg and waistband a great deal and changing the pocket design. From what Wally told me the original pants had ribbon sewn on to create the stripes and it was not screened/ or pre-printed. So the ribbon was all painstaking sewn on before the trousers were made. After a fitting for adjustments the trousers came out smashing!
By this time everything arrived at my door and I took test dye of some spare cotton socks and then crossed my fingers and really hit the gloves with a LOT of Violet Rit Dye, high concentrate. Amazingly once dry the gloves turned out very well and were a farily near match to my fabric.
The other socks and shirt were thrown together in a larger Kelly Green dye bath for an hour. The socks came out great and I did two pairs to be safe. The Shirt took two baths to fully saturate right. Once done they both looked great.
For the hair I went to Outfitter Wigs in Hollywood. I showed them photos and we selected the only wig that had that was even in the ballpark, though it was long and straight and needed major styling. They worked on it and I'd saty they go a lot of the waves and bouffant right though it's somewhat long. I'll look into trimming it though I'll need to be careful not to show my own hair. As for the color, I dusted it with dry shampoo to dull it down a bit but Im on the fence. Per the TV Series it needs to come down a tick or two in value. But in my mind I always think of the Movie where his hair was lighter and almost blonder. With that in mind I rather like this color so I'm torn about treating it with airbrushing (it's synthtic so it won't take a dye). We'll see.
With a day to go before the con the Coat and Vest had not arrived. I was told they were wrapped and it had been sent the week before. Tracking claimed it had been delivered to my work but I never saw it. No one else had seen it and it was signed for by someone that did not work for us. So I called Baron. They told me it was sent to the address I gave. I called the DHL shipping people and they told me it went to 4th Street. No... it should be 7th Street.... argh!!!! I had to run 3 blocks to another office building with the same suite number and find my package. Luckily the folks there were happy to hand it off. Doubly lucky everything fit pretty well and only needed a steaming. As good as Baron got it I aim to re-do the vest later to make the it slightly smaller lowering the break a a little bit but as-is it would do.
The make-up was handled by Vickie. We tried using pax in white all around but it didn't give good enough coverage without blotching. So we kept it for the neck to make sure little came off on my shirt. But for the face we went back to clown grease paint and hey it worked. We used a red lipstick or the mouth and added powder and eyeliner. Voila. Add a fake mustache I got at Outfitter Wigs (in white to help with any make-up issues) and we were rocking it Romero style.
The costume went over VERY well at Big Wow. The group was a hit and everyone, kids included seemed to really dig this Joker. Of course the big comment everyone had to say was 'he even has the mustache!!!" Which of course... you have to. It's the Clown prince of Crime thing to do. Base don this reaction, The Joker should ride again at SDCC in a month. Delicious.
The two main reference images I used for color.
Matching wool to backing and lining
Fabric Shopping IN Costume at Wonder Con.
Base Tux Shirt
Wig Sample and Fake Stache
Rit Kelly Green- oh yeah
Dye bath for the shirt and socks
Dyed Green Tux Shirt
Dyed Green Socks and Oxford Shoes
Matching final dyed Gloves to jacket fabric Flash
Matching final dyed Gloves to jacket fabric No Flash
Yeah bummed I won't see you in July for another SDCC Ben. Next year?
Looking forward to seeing you Mauled Vader. We'll be doing the Bat Group again on that Saturday.
Next? Batman wise I'd love to still do Bookworm. But outside of that I'm finishing a 12th Doctor Costume and a Supergirl Helen Slater style for my GF. On the drawing board would be costumes of things like The Three Amigos, a Red Dwarf Series 3 group, a Hitchhiker's Guide TV group, a James Bond Moonraker group, my always upgrading Doctors, a Nick Hammond Spider Man, Kolchak the Night Stalker, possibly a Dr. Strange and a TV Artemus Gordon.