(NECN: Jack Thurston, Montpelier, Vt.) - The Kellogg-Hubbard Library in downtown Montpelier, Vt. was busy Monday, but patrons stayed as quiet as possible as they browsed and read. So why, then, would the explosions in the next big Hollywood blockbuster be so appreciated in this quiet place? "Over the years, we've received over $10,000 in royalties," said Rachel Senechal, the library's program and development coordinator.
The library cashes in on some of the Batman films, through earnings by Vermont's senior United States Senator and occasional actor, Patrick Leahy. The lifelong Batman fan has lent his voice to animated characters, written introductions to books, and had a brush on-film with the Joker, that dangerous super-villain from 2008's "The Dark Knight."
Now, Leahy is about to make another cameo in "The Dark Knight Rises," opening Friday. "With this one, there's a bit of danger," Leahy said. "But nowhere near what I faced with the Joker!"
The relationship started, the democrat recalled, when he caught a minor error in a Batman publication. The comic book world then learned of Senator Leahy's love for "The Caped Crusader." For his latest cameo, Leahy spent one weekend on the film set playing a powerful businessman with a small speaking part. Asked in jest if he'd give up his day job for acting, Leahy chuckled, "No, and I'm not giving up D.C. for D.C. Comics, either!"
In addition to the royalties, Leahy helped raise tens of thousands of additional dollars at a preview screening of "The Dark Knight Rises" Sunday night in Williston, Vt. The cash raised will be split between the Kellogg-Hubbard Library and the ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center, on Burlington's waterfront. "'The Dark Knight Rises' for ECHO, that's what I like to say," said ECHO spokeswoman Gerianne Smart. "This has been a tremendous opportunity for us."
Whether it's learning about the ecology of Lake Champlain or discovering a love of reading, it seems clear the next generation of Vermonters will benefit from Batman's biggest fan in the U.S. Senate. "He is definitely our superhero," Senechal said of Leahy.