Fan-favorite DC character Harley Quinn made his big debut Batman: Animated Series. He was an original character created specifically for the show and has become one of the most popular DC characters ever. He first appeared in Episode 22 “Joker’s Favor”.
For those who are curious about the creation story of the series creator character Bruce Timm and the author Paul Religious She shared with Vulture all the details you need to know about Harley Quinn getting pregnant.
The inspiration came from Dini’s college friend. Arleen SorkinBack then she was best known for playing Calliope Jones. Days of Our Lives. He was wearing a jester costume for part of the show. Dini recounted that one day when she was sick, she opened a VHS tape that Arleen gave her the best she could. Days of Our Lives clips.
He explained: “I had already decided to give the Joker a butler in the script, and I thought Arleen’s wacky personality would be a good contrast to the Joker’s dangerous insanity. The story is pretty dark, the Joker chooses an ordinary guy and enjoys torturing him, so I needed a few laughs there to break the tension. I also like the idea of throwing Harley into some sort of colorful costume, harking back to the moss of the 1960s live-action Batman franchise. Seeing Arleen in a jester suit at the time helped fix that image in my brain.”
Bruce Timm shared that Dini wanted to name her Harley Quinn: “Obviously, she had a dilapidated version of the harlequin and a rough design for Dini, which frankly wasn’t very good. It was just weird. It had that ’60s vibe. It was just weird. Fascinating but weird. I thought we could improve on this, so I immediately started researching traditional mottled gear and made a simplified super villain version of it.
Timm’s design is the one used in the series at the end. Arleen Sorkin finally provided the voice for the character, and when talking about how she found the voice, she said: “I could have given you an impressive answer on how I made the voice, but I don’t have it. I read it and at that moment I thought that was the best sound for him. I don’t want to pretend that I am this woman with a wide spectrum, so I chose what I could easily do and it worked. Paul decided to make him Jewish, so I put some Yiddish sound in there. At least we know the Joker isn’t anti-Semitic. That’s his only good feature.”
Timm went on to explain that Harley Quinn was originally supposed to be a one-off character, they never planned to bring her back! However, everything changed when they saw the first images of him. He said: “When we got the first episode he showed, when he came back from overseas and saw the animation and the combination of the visual with Arleen Sorkin’s performance, it was kind of magical.”
After that, Dini started planning her comeback, saying Timm shared: “So Paul immediately started planning his comeback and he’d say, ‘I want to bring that Harley Quinn character back in another episode.’ I’d say, ‘I don’t know if that’s a good idea.’ But he was really cool and yes, he was very cute. Okay fine.’ “So Paul kept bringing him back. I didn’t make much of a fuss and then one thing led to another and he was a really popular character.”
The rest is history! It’s surprising that this character has grown so much in popularity over the years. When the character was first conceived, the creators had no idea that it could have a live-action treatment or influence on DC fandom.