Cowl Question for Chuck Williams

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Joel Ross
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Cowl Question for Chuck Williams

Post by Joel Ross »

Chuck,
I've been watching the newly released series and am about 8 episodes into the first season. I can't believe I have never noticed this... The paint on the ears of Batman's cowl extend down onto the cowl itself. I have not seen you do this on your cowls. Was this a first season thing? Personally, I don't like it and much prefer your version of the ears/paint scheme. What season/time period do you base your design from? All the best, Joel.

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wally wingert
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Re: Cowl Question for Chuck Williams

Post by wally wingert »

If I might interrupt, this is a fun question, as I've studied this extensively for decades.

The extension of the paint on the ears was done only one time, on only one cowl. It looked odd and I'm not sure why they even did it. I never liked it myself either. Once the fabric turned purple on that cowl it was stripped off and recovered and repainted. And the ears were never extended like that again. As you can see in the pic below, the "Extended Ear" cowl was well on its way to Purple City at the time this photo was taken. The other two cowls in the photos have arched eyebrows and are a tad more blue.

But I remember Jan Kemp stating that their production schedule had them all in such a rush, that the cowls would go to different painters for the accentuations. Which is why you have the "variation on a theme" paint schemes going on from cowl to cowl. No consistency. I believe it was Adam's suggestion to arch the eyebrows in a more sinister fashion, which they did from late first season on into the feature film and the second season. (see cowls 1 and 3 in the pic below)

Funny thing is, the ears started off with a black paint scheme. Then later on went to a navy blue paint scheme.

I made tons of cowls in the old days and I would paint them to order. And only once was the extended ear paint scheme ever requested.
Attachments
BOX OF COWLS.jpg

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Joel Ross
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Re: Cowl Question for Chuck Williams

Post by Joel Ross »

Thanks for the reply Wally.

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Batfanman
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Re: Cowl Question for Chuck Williams

Post by Batfanman »

Wally, can you clarify - was it just the paint extended onto the fabric or were the ears themselves lengthened/painted? Can't quite tell in the photo above. Also, do you know how many cowls were made during the course of the series and how long did it take (on average) for them to reach Purple City?
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Ben Bentley
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Re: Cowl Question for Chuck Williams

Post by Ben Bentley »

Batfanman wrote:Wally, can you clarify - was it just the paint extended onto the fabric or were the ears themselves lengthened/painted?
The physical ears that were attached to the cowl remained the same size throughout, the cowl in question in this thread was painted to give the illusion of longer ears.

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Hedji
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Re: Cowl Question for Chuck Williams

Post by Hedji »

Great thread! I had the same question while watching.

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wally wingert
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Re: Cowl Question for Chuck Williams

Post by wally wingert »

Ben is right. The actual ears themselves were the same size. If you enlarge the photo you can see the ridge under the ear form where it attaches, then the paint extends on to the cowl fabric.

I never got a number from Jan in regards to how many cowls were actually made. But the fiberglass shells would get stripped and reused over and over when the fabric would turn purple. Wouldn't it be neat just to have the FABRIC that had been taken off the shells and discarded? Based on the first Mr. Freeze episode, we know that at least 6 cowls were made. I haven't seen the episode in Blu Ray yet, but I'm thinking they were all legitimate cowls. As opposed to the boots, which they cheated on with some of the actors playing "Batman" in that scene. You can even see in the lo-def episodes that some of the Bat boots were actually spats.

There's no telling how long it would take for the cowls to get "purplized," but I'm guessing it was about half a season or so, based on the comparison to the other cowls in the attached photo. Might be a good question for Adam next time you talk to him!

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Chuck Williams
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Re: Cowl Question for Chuck Williams

Post by Chuck Williams »

Hi,

I haven't had the time to load my photos to illustrate what I'm about to post but I'll try to get to it today...

It was a first season thing. It was done on every cowl to a greater or lesser extent up to the movie cowl IIRC which shows up at the end of the first season.

The why is clear and maybe two fold, I believe it was to get the smooth silhouette of the cowl from the comics and possibly for continuity to the pilot cowl.

The pilot cowl was slit on the side piece of the cowl and the ear slightly tucked in. The whole thing was painted blue and extending down the side but not as far as it would be later. It was the only cowl ear with a flat bottom. The ear itself I mean not the paint. The paint was curved.

The next few cowls in the first season all have the chevron bottom with the "Paint" extending over the ear edge and down the side of the cowl.
The first Penguin episode cowl has it only about 3/4" below the ear.

The first REALLY successful cowl has it well below the actual ear. This also has what was missing before. I think it was a piece of silk organza over the lower edge of the ear to blend it into the side.
Now this is why I said "Paint" earlier. I think it may have been clear or painted latex used to blend it together.

In certain light and angles it really works to hide the bottom of the ear. The clear latex also makes the fabric look darker but not black. It could have also been painted over.
The texture and sheen is what made me think it was latex or something like it.

I think by the time the end of the first season rolled around I believe they knew that the blending was only marginally working and not worth the trouble or time.
It would have been seen very clearly in the film which was around the corner so I believe they went back to the paint only on the ear.
I think that both the paint and finish changed a few times on the ears over time.

Like Wally said, they were cranking these out and the same person didn't necessarily do each part on every cowl.

I guess mine is a hybrid of the first and second season. The eyebrows and nose from mid first season and the painted ears of the late first season/movie/second season.
No one has requested the paint to extend down the sides... yet.

I would be surprised it there were more than about 10 shells ever made. They were getting them from the prop shop so I'm sure they took care of them and recovering them as needed.

Chuck...
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Batfanman
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Re: Cowl Question for Chuck Williams

Post by Batfanman »

Wally - I've seen a hi-def scap of the Mr. Freeze 5 and the cowls look authentic - one guy is swimming in it, it's so big on him! That's very fast for fading to purple - must have been a pain to have to keep re-doing them. I imagine the fabric would be unusable after being stripped off - probably not worth the effort to re-dye even if it was usable. It's interesting that so many were made - guess the Instant Costume changer was a well-stocked machine!

Chuck, your cowls, hybrid they may be, are undoubtedly the ultimate reference source and I imagine only the Mad-Hatter himself would want you to create one of each variation!
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Chuck Williams
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Re: Cowl Question for Chuck Williams

Post by Chuck Williams »

Pilot cowl images with the flat ear bottom blend into paint.
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pilot cowl sm.jpg
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Chuck Williams
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Re: Cowl Question for Chuck Williams

Post by Chuck Williams »

The #2 cowl with paint below the ear...
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#2 cowl comp. small.jpg
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Chuck Williams
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Re: Cowl Question for Chuck Williams

Post by Chuck Williams »

The #3 cowl with the "paint" well below the ear...
This first photo shows the successful blend probably better than any other image.
Attachments
#3 cowl. smallb.jpg2.jpg
#3 cowl sm.jpg
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Chuck Williams
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Re: Cowl Question for Chuck Williams

Post by Chuck Williams »

The #4 cowl ...Paint just below the ear...
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#4 cowl small.jpg
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Batfanman
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Re: Cowl Question for Chuck Williams

Post by Batfanman »

Looks like they were trying to make the bat-ear begin above the Adam ear. Looks good in some of those shots, others not. Thanks for the pix!
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rickrickrick
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Re: Cowl Question for Chuck Williams

Post by rickrickrick »

Wow, thanks for sharing the great pix, Chuck! Most informative!

But this also prompts a stupid question. It always seemed to me that the Pilot Cowl sort of squished Adam's nose down (look at the distorted nostrils). I don't see that in other cowls. Did they change the sculpt for subsequent cowls? Or maybe just alter the padding so it fit further from his face? I know the distance from the bottom of the eyes to the bottom edge of the cowl varied quite a bit - is it just that the Pilot Cowl nose is shorter, so it hits Adam differently?

RRR
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