In the film Batman (1989), the Joker directs a commercial to terrorise the population of Gotham City.

enter image description here

It wouldn't make sense that it is Jack Palance, but the actor looks like him a lot and I didn't find actors listed as "Smylex commercial actors".

The full commercial can be seen here:

  • 1
    Why wouldn't it be Jack Palance? Oct 18, 2015 at 3:13
  • 1
    His character is shot (mortally?) in the scene the Joker and Grissom (Palance's character) are together. The actor in the commercial is alive. Oct 18, 2015 at 3:48

1 Answer 1


Well, Jack Palance played mob boss Carl Grissom in that film. And in this particular Batman movie, Grissom tries to have Jack Napier/The Joker killed, leading to the deformations that give the Joker his signature perma-smile and green hair. So, the Joker is out for revenge on Grissom, and as you noted, the man in the video does look an awful lot like Jack Palance's Grissom in that very film:

Jack Palance as Carl Grissom

So this may have been part of the Joker's revenge scheme on Carl Grissom.

(Is it possible that the Joker had time to film a little something before Grissom died? Especially given the extra allowances for suspension of disbelief that super hero movies of the era often required.)

I looked at the cast list on imdb.com, and couldn't find anybody else whose character title would fit into the description of "male hostage in Smilex advert." (And imdb tends to be pretty thorough, as you can see.)

Edit: Other possibilities may include...

  • The actor might actually be Philip O'Brien, who plays a super minor Maitre D' character, but actually looks a fair amount like Jack Palance. (Since the role is so minor, Tim Burton may have simply double cast him without giving him secondary credit as "the hostage in the advert").
  • @Erik presented a theory that the Joker is using a body double that purposefully looks like Grissom, which would allow Palance to act in the faux commercial. (This could make sense in that for a while, at least, the Joker publicly acts as though Grissom is still alive, so that he can claim Grissom put him in charge while the mob boss was "away."* So depending on when the commercial aired, this could kinda make sense.)

*I know I'm using imdb way too much here, but to quote imdb's synopsis:

Back in the criminal underworld, the Joker claims that Grissom has gone away for awhile, and has left him in charge, Claiming to oversee all of Grissom's affairs, the other crime bosses are not convinced, and still fail to acknowledge this, even when the Joker electrocutes one of their own.

  • 1
    Just rewatched the scene where the joker shoots Grissom - nevermind. Way too many shots for my theory to be right. Currently checking out some of the super minor characters just in case, but I may delete this shortly if I can't find what I'm looking for.
    – ghostdog
    Oct 18, 2015 at 4:09
  • 2
    Considering the "not an actor" had no spoken lines, SAG rules do not require a credit. That explains the lack
    – cde
    Oct 18, 2015 at 6:21
  • imdb.com does usually manage to list even uncredited roles (you'll notice in their "full cast" page for the 1989 batman that there are several people at the bottom of the page that have a note of "uncredited" next to their character name). So I was a bit surprised that they didn't manage to list the two guys who played the male hostages in that commercial.
    – ghostdog
    Oct 18, 2015 at 15:42
  • 1
    Let's wait and see maybe some,ne will know! :) Oct 18, 2015 at 21:44
  • The dark tie and striped shirt seem quite conclusive.
    – user7812
    Nov 16, 2015 at 22:56

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .