Throwback Thursday: The Phantom [Film- 1996]

Background:  The Phantom is a long-running American adventure comic strip, first published by Lee Falk, in February 1936. The principal character, the Phantom, is a fictional costumed crimefighter who operates from the fictional African country of Bangalla.  […]  Unlike many fictional costumed heroes, the Phantom does not have any superpowers but relies mainly on his strength, intelligence, and fearsome reputation of being an immortal ghost to defeat his foes. He has a trained wolf, Devil, and a horse named Hero. […]  DC Comics published a Phantom comic book from 1988 to 1990. The subsequent series, written by Mark Verheiden and drawn by Luke McDonnell, lasted 13 issues (March 1989 – March 1990). It depicted the Phantom fighting such issues as racism, toxic dumping, hunger, and modern-day piracy. In 1987, Marvel Comics published a four-issue miniseries based on the Defenders of the Earth TV series, written by Stan Lee. Marvel later released a four-part miniseries (May–August 1995), pencilled by Spider-Man co-creator Steve Ditko, based on the Phantom 2040 TV series. One issue featured a pin-up by the original two Spider-Man signature artists, Ditko and John Romita, Sr.  The Phantom was the first fictional hero to wear the skintight costume that has became a hallmark of comic-book superheroes, and was also the first shown wearing a mask with no visible pupils, another superhero standard.

Last night, John suggested watching The Phantom as our final movie of the night.  We often put a movie on, turn the screen off and it acts as an “Imagination Theatre 2.0” (I can’t fall asleep without background noise).  I thought I hadn’t seen it yet, so I was happy with the suggestion.  As soon as I put it on, the opening scenes made it seem very familiar.  It continued to keep my interest when I saw that it was Billy Zane and “that guy from Sex & the City”.  From that point on, I had to force myself to turn off the screen and go to bed.


The Phantom, descendent of a line of African superheroes, travels to New York City to thwart a wealthy criminal genius from obtaining three magic skulls which would give him the secret to ultimate power.

Naturally, I woke up and had to start it from the beginning and  I saw even more actors that were pleasant surprises.  No, it is far from a great film but… look at the actors!

Which actors and what have they been up to since?  Here you go:

Billy Zane


Ahhh, Billy.  Zane has the main role in this film, Kit Walker/ The Phantom.  First thing that comes to mind is Titanic (I am obsessed with everything Titanic related, don’t judge me).  That was the first film I remember featuring Zane ( I was 7, give me a break).  The second thing that comes to mind is Zoolander.  Although he’s in it for a short amount of time, I still laugh every time I think of him saying “It’s a walk off, it’s a walk off”.  Here’s the scene leading up to it:

Since then, Zane has done numerous things like Boston Public, Charmed, Samantha Who?, The Deep End, Robot Chicken and several other movies.

Kristy Swanson


After The Phantom, in which she played Diana (she gets to marry Phantom in the comics… sigh) – Swanson took part in Early Edition, Grapevine,  One Tree Hill, Psych and many of us would recognize her as Christie Boner in Dude, Where’s My Car?

Treat Williams


I couldn’t believe it when I saw Williams starring in this film, let alone the villain!  It brought flashbacks of when I used to watch Everwood and he was the lovable Dr. Brown.  Seeing him as the antagonist was quite a shock to my system.  Williams also starred in The Deep End of the Ocean, Brothers & Sisters, Heartland, 127 Hours, White Collar, Chicago Fire and American Odyssey.

Catherine Zeta-Jones


We all know of Catherine Zeta-Jones, but The Phantom was one of her first films.  After this, she was in several things like The Haunting, America’s Sweethearts, Chicago, Traffic, The Mask of Zorro and most recently, RED 2.  She has definitely proved that she is more than “the wife of Michael Douglas”.

James Remar


James Remar, or as I recognized him, “that guy from Sex & the City” (Richard to be precise).  Of course, he is famous for many more roles, such as Harry Morgan in Dexter, Jimmy Evans in Grey’s Anatomy and starring in Django Unchained, X-Men First Class, RED, The Legend of Korra and State of affairs.

Did you enjoy The Phantom?

When was the last time you watched it?  Do you have any recommendations?



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