Countdown to 'The Dark Knight Rises'

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"The Dark Knight Rises," shot partially in Pittsburgh, opens Friday, July 20. We count down the days with trivia and features in print and online leading up to the release of one of summer's most anticipated movies.


PG Review: Movie editor Barbara Vancheri's four-star review.

PG Intereview & Audio: Christian Bale talks about the end of his run as Batman.

Readers send their photos of Gotham days and nights in Pittsburgh.

Gotham Nights at the ToonSeum

Riddle me this, Batburgh: What is Ka-Blam!, and what does it have to do with Gotham Nights?

If you guessed it has something to do with ToonSeum, the museum of comic and cartoon art in the Pittsburgh Cultural District, you are, of course, right. Ka-Blam!, the museum's annual fundraiser, is Saturday, with the theme "Gotham Nights" celebrating the filming here last summer of "The Dark Knight Rises."

The event will be at two sites in the Pittsburgh Cultural District, Downtown: Pierce Gallery, 805-807 Liberty Ave., and the ToonSeum, 945 Liberty. The event will begin with the VIP debut of the new exhibition "Pittsburgh as Gotham" at the ToonSeum and feature stand-up by Jimmy Krenn, to be followed by a gala, hosted by Rick Sebak, at the Pierce Gallery.

"Pittsburgh as Gotham," which runs through Oct. 7, featured Batman comic art by regional artists and props from "The Dark Knight Rises," including a cowl worn in the movie, on loan from Warner Bros. Studio Archives, and Mayor Ravenstahl's costume from the film. Featured artists include Wayne Faucher, Ron Frenz, Michael Kaluta, Scott McDaniel, Chris Moeller, Pat Oliffe, Jim Rugg, John Totleben, Dave Wachter, Mike Zeck and the PG's Rob Rogers.

There will be a silent auction benefitting the ToonSeum, entertainment by DJ Jordan Taylor of Tracksploitation and food and refreshments. The VIP reception is 6:30-8 p.m. at the ToonSeum; the Pierce Gallery is open 8-11:30 p.m, Tickets are $50; $125 for VIP reception and $200 for a VIP couple, including a one-year ToonSeum family membership. Visit or call 412-232-0199 for details.


MAPPING BATBURGH: In case you find yourself wondering if that atmospheric alley in "The Dark Knight Rises" is in Pittsburgh or New York, solve the site with our spoiler-free interactive map, created with help from the Pittsburgh Film Office. (Note: We indicate scenes that were shot, not necessarily ones in the movie.)

Click image to connect to interactive map.


Question # 21:

Which villain made the most appearances in the 1966-68 televised "Batman" series?

1. Joker (Cesar Romero)
2. Penguin (Burgess Meredith)
3. Riddler (Frank Gorshin)
4. Egghead (Vincent Price)

Scroll to bottom of the page for answer.


Holy Parental Quandry, Batman! Those Legos are outta site!


Question # 20: Which early Christian Bale film became a hit Broadway musical?

1. "Empire of the Sun"
1. "Newsies"
3. "Little Women"
4. "Swing Kids"

Scroll to bottom of the page for answer.


Question # 19: Which Oscar-winning composer plans an iPhone app that for a more immersive musical and sonic experience into the world of Gotham City?

1. Hans Zimmer
1. Alan Menken
3. Gustavo Santaolalla
4. John Williams

Scroll to bottom of the page for answer.


From PG movie editor Barbara Vancheri's Mad About the Movies blog:


"It Ended in Pittsburgh."

That's what Gary Oldman feared his book would be called -- when he thought he lost his specially marked copy of "The Dark Knight Rises" script. He plays Police Commissioner Jim Gordon in the conclusion to Christopher Nolan's trilogy and was in a "white-hot panic" when he feared he had misplaced the top-secret screenplay. Read more ...

One Pittsburgher's "Dark Knight Rises" experience: Todd McDevitt is busy readying an expanded space for his New Dimensions Comics store in Century III Mall, but around this time last summer, he was busy elsewhere for a couple of days. Like many Pittsburghers, he was caught up in "Dark Knight Rises" fever.

He was among the hordes of local helper for the Heinz Field and Downtown street scenes.

"I'm still an enthusiastic nerd about behind-the-scenes movie stuff, and this one specifically, being in my realm, so I was pretty excited to check it out," he said. "Even though I was such a small part of it, it's fascinating to see all the intricate stuff they go through for a scene that may only last minutes or less than that."

At Heinz Field, he watched that participants in the crowd didn't have logos on their shirts -- certainly nothing Batman-related -- and hand out water during the long day. "It wasn't anything glamorous; I was warned it wouldn't be."

The photo with the flying Bat at right was taken Downtown.

"That day they were filming a chase scene on Smithfield Street with a couple of Tumblers. I'm not sure, but I believe the bad guys steal them and that's why he has to chase them on the streets of Gotham. That was a weekend; I remember that because it was the only day they could get away with closing down that much of the city."


Question #18: Which "Dark Knight Rises" star was not in "Inception," also directed by Christopher Nolan?

1. Tom Hardy
2. Ellen Page
3. Marion Cotillard
4. Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Scroll to bottom of the page for answer.


Question #17: "The Dark Knight" scored eight Academy Award nominations and won two in which categories?

1. Makeup and visual effects
2. Supporting actor and sound mixing
3. Art direction and cinematography
4. Supporting actor and sound editing.

Scroll to bottom of the page for answer.


Cast dishes on experiences filming in Pittsburgh.

Click image to see "Dark Knight Rises" 13-minute video.


Question #16: Batman first appeared in 1939 and so did his utility belt. Which of these was among his earliest weapons?

1. Batgun
2. Bat-Shark Repellent
3. Batbazooka
4. Batarang.

Scroll to bottom of the page for answer.


Question #15: What is Catwoman's real name?

1. Selina Kyle
2. Selina Cobblepot
3. Selina Fries
4. Selina Ivy

Scroll to bottom of the page for answer.


Local actress Daina Michelle Griffith eager to see how her day of filming "The Dark Knight Rises" looks on film.


Question #14: What is the name of the ubiquitous automobile seen on Pittsburgh streets during filming?

1. Batteram
2. Rambler
3. Tumbler
4. Rumbler

Scroll to bottom of the page for answer.


Question #13: Last year, DC Comics relaunched its characters by starting over at #1, with the New 52. The new Batman incorporated bad guys named for which nocturnal creature.

1. Bats
2. Flying squirrels
3. Possums
4. Owls

Scroll to bottom of the page for answer.


Question #12: In the trailers for the film, the mask has made it difficult to understand actor Tom Hardy as the villainous Bane. Why does Bane wear a mask in the comic books?

1. He prefers pure oxygen.
2. He inhales a steroid serum.
3. To hide his identity.
4. To look scary.

Scroll to bottom of the page for answer.


Question #11: Name the late British actor who played Alfred Pennyworth in four Batman movies, starting in 1989.

1. Roddy McDowall
2. Michael Gough
3. Alan Napier
4. John Gielgud

Scroll to bottom of the page for answer.


Question #10: In an April 2011 Post-Gazette poll, fans picked which actor as their favorite portrayer of Batman?

1. Michael Keaton
2. George Clooney
3. Christian Bale
4. Adam West

Scroll to bottom of the page for answer.


Question #9: Tom Hardy, who plays Bane in "The Dark Knight Rises," flew under the radar while shooting "Warrior" in Pittsburgh in 2009. His character entered a competition in what arena?

1. Football.
2. Soccer.
3. Mixed martial arts.
4. Basketball.

Scroll to bottom of the page for answer.


Question #8: Anne Hathaway was no stranger to Pittsburgh before "The Dark Knight Rises." Why?

1. She filmed "Love & Other Drugs" here.
2. She filmed "The Next Three Days" here.
3. She filmed "The Mysteries of Pittsburgh" here.
4. She filmed "Rachel Getting Married" here.

Scroll to bottom of the page for answer.


Question #7: Name the co-creator of the Joker who was in Pittsburgh during the filming of "The Dark Knight Rises" and met with Christopher Nolan at the ToonSeum.

1. Bob Kane
2. Jack Kirby
3. Jerry Robinson
4. Bill Finger

Scroll to bottom of the page for answer.


Question #6: How many Oscar nominations did "Batman Begins" earn?

1. Zero.
2. One.
3. Six.
4. Ten.

Scroll to bottom of the page for answer.


Question #5: What did director Christopher Nolan do while Michael Caine read his script for "Batman Begins?"

1. Bite his nails.
2. Make phone calls to other possible Alfreds.
3. Wait in Mr. Caine's kitchen while the actor's wife prepared Sunday lunch.
4. Hop on a plane and cross his fingers.

Scroll to bottom of the page for answer.


Question #4: In July 1994, Joseph Gordon-Levitt told the PG he was pumped about what event in Pittsburgh?

1. Major League Baseball All-Star Game.
2. World premiere of "Angels in the Outfield" remake at Three Rivers Stadium.
3. Pirates' FanFest.
4. Unveiling of Roberto Clemente statue.

Scroll to bottom of the page for answer.


Question #3: When did Batman make his first appearance in a comic book?

1. 1929
2. 1939
3. 1953
4. 1961

Scroll to bottom of the page for answer.


Question #2: Steelers Troy Polamalu, Ben Roethlisberger, Hines Ward portray players for which fictional football team in "The Dark Knight Rises?"

1. Gotham City Rogues
2. Rapid City Monuments
3. Gotham Knights
4. Boston Colonials

Scroll to bottom of the page for answer.


Question #1: In July 2011, director Christopher Nolan was part of a press briefing in Pittsburgh in which he apologized in advance for what?

1. Pretending to blow up Heinz Field.
2. Future inconveniences due to road and building closures.
3. Making it snow in August.
4. Fooling fans with stunt doubles standing in for the film's stars.

Scroll to bottom of the page for answer.

Answer #1: 2. Nolan predicted disruption, in order to make the action appear credible. (June 20)

Answer #2: 1. The Gotham City Rogues. (June 21)

Answer #3: 2. "Detective Comics #27" in May 1939. (June 22)

Answer #4: 2. "Angels in the Outfield," which attracted the 13-year-old along with Tony Danza, Danny Glover, Milton Davis Jr., Taylor Negron and then-Disney lion kings Michael Eisner and Jeffrey Katzenberg. Mr. Gordon-Levitt plays police officer John Blake in "The Dark Knight Rises." (June 23)

Answer #5: 3. Mr. Caine recalls in his 2010 autobiography that he went to his office, read the script, loved it and returned to the kitchen for handshakes all around. Mr. Nolan was so protective of the script that he asked for it back, and Mr. Caine obliged.

Answer #6: 2. One, for cinematographer Wally Pfister, who lost the statuette to Dion Beebe, "Memoirs of a Geisha."

Answer #7: 3. Jerry Robinson, who died just a few months later, in December 2011, at age 89.

Answer #8: 1. She co-starred with Jake Gyllenhaal in "Love & Other Drugs." Bonus if you know her father graduated from University of Pittsburgh Law School and that "Rachel Getting Married" was not shot in Pittsburgh.

Answer #9: 3. He and his brother, played by Joel Edgerton, are on a collision course to end up in a $5 million MMA competition.

Answer #10: 1. Local favorite Michael Keaton was your overwhelming choice.

Answer #11: 2. Michael Gough, who starred in Hammer Films such as "Horror of Dracula" early in his career and had a distinguished, Tony Award-winning career on stage.

Answer #12: 2. In the comic books, Bane used the mask to ingest a steroid called "venom" that gave him superhuman strength and stamina but also made him psychotic. He also has used the mask to administer pain killers.

Answer #13: 4. Owls, or more specifically, The Court of Owls and Talon, a name given to the group's assassins.

Answer #14: 3. The Tumbler Batmobile first appeared in "Batman Begins."

Answer #15: 1. Selina Kyle.

Answer #16: 4. Batarang. Bonus if you knew that Batman does not tote guns and that he faced off against a shark in the 1966 film based on the TV show.

Answer #17: 4. Supporting actor for the late Heath Ledger and sound editing for Richard King.

Answer #18: 2. Ellen Page is not a member of the Batman cast.

Answer #19: 1. Hans Zimmer.

Answer #20: 2. "Newsies."

Answer #21: 1. Cesar Romero as the Joker (22); a close second was Burgess Meredith's Penguin (21).


First Published June 20, 2012 4:00 AM


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