Paul Reubens Was So Much More Than Pee-Wee Herman

It’s a well-known fact that Paul Reubens has a small role in Tim Burton’s “Batman Returns” as the father of Oswald Cobblepot (Danny DeVito), more commonly known as The Penguin. The former District Attorney of Gotham, Reubens donned a monocle, a thin mustache, and a bit of gray hair spray to play the wealthy patriarch Tucker Cobblepot who would eventually dump his infant son in a river upon realizing there was something very wrong with the newborn.

In a bit of brilliant meta-casting, Reubens played the role of Elijah Van Dahl on the TV series “Gotham,” who is eventually revealed to be the father of Oswald Cobblepot (Robin Lord Taylor). And they say DC can’t do multiverses as well as Marvel. Pfft. While both characters are the father of The Penguin, Tucker and Elijah are different in their approach to fatherhood. Tucker willingly threw a baby carriage into a river while Elijah was warm, loving, and left his great fortune to his son so he’d be financially secure for the rest of his life.

Reubens also happily played in the animated sandbox of Batman as well, providing the voice of Bat-Mite in “Batman: the Brave and the Bold.” The character is an imp with magical powers from the Fifth Dimension who is utterly obsessed with Batman, existing as a Batman-inspired combination of the Great Gazoo from “The Flintstones” and Syndrome from “The Incredibles.” With an un-ending shrine to all of the Batmen throughout the multiverse like he’s Helga Patacki from “Hey Arnold!” Reubens channeled the childlike wonder present in his voice to give Bat-Mite the ultimate sound of an obsessed fanboy, and became a fan-favorite character.

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