There have been many interpretations of the Dark Knight over the years and cinema remains one of those mediums. His character has ranged from the dark and gritty Burton style to the neon pop-camp of Joel Schumacher and back to the dark realism of Christopher Nolan. Batman has spanned from live-action, animation, to TV series. Even though he’s constantly changing, he remains Batman.
Amidst the changing interpretations, one thing that remained constant was the presence of Michael Uslan and Benjamin Melniker. Their team-up started back in 1989 with Tim Burton’s film, and they’ve been onboard with every Batman film ever since in some capacity. On February 27th, 2018, Uslan announced that Benjamin Melniker has died. The team has been working together since 1979 which was the first instance of talking about bringing Batman to the silver screen. After a decade of hard work, their dreams were finally realized when Batman (1989) became the biggest blockbuster comic book hero hit during that time.
Since the first film their names have been connected to Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and most recently Scooby-Doo! & Batman: The Brave and the Bold. Without Melniker there probably would have been no Batman for us to enjoy over these past few decades.
Melniker was born May 25th, 1913 and has worked on tons of films during his career. He started working at MGM in 1939 and eventually became Executive VP and Chairman of the film selection committee. He was known as the “MGM Lion” and was involved in important deals such as Ben Hur, Dr. Zhivago, and 2001: A Space Odyssey.
“Ben was a humble man, never wishing attention,” Uslan wrote on Facebook. “He turned down endless requests to write his book or do interviews about the Golden Age of Hollywood, especially in his latter years as he became the last mogul standing from that era. He told me that he knew all the stories of what transpired behind the curtain at MGM in those decades but would never reveal things that could negatively impact those people, their children or their grandchildren. Ben was a mensch.”
Rest well Batfriend.