"Not you! Shreck!"
―The Organ Grinder to the Mayor[src]

The Organ Grinder was a thug who worked for the Penguin, as ringleader of the Red Triangle Circus Gang. He was always seen with his trained circus monkey, which carried out various criminal activities with him.


The Organ Grinder seemed to be a high ranking member of the Red Triangle Circus, possibly the owner. He later became the Penguin's right-hand man and field leader of the circus gang. He was known for his hand-cranked street organ which contained a hidden mini-gatling gun.

Lighting of the Tree Ceremony

He was first seen in the during the attack on the Lighting of the Tree in Gotham Plaza, destroying the lights and ordainments on the tree with his gatling gun organ and generally wreaking havoc on bystanders. He announced to the Mayor that they had not come for him, but Max Shreck. He later witnessed the Penguin force Shreck into a political alliance at the Arctic World pavilion in the Old Zoo

Assault on Gotham City

He took part in the assault on random storefronts, looting and creating chaos after Penguin's mayoral bid.

Tampering with the Batmobile

The Organ Grinder created Batmobile blueprints based on conjecture after studying the vehicle, as Penguin was keen to turn it into a bomb and kill Batman. Later he was seen in the Cobblepot Office Building constructing missile launchers with the Snake Woman, Poodle Lady and the Thin Clown. During this, Catwoman infiltrated the top of the building and asked to have a meeting with Penguin. When Oswald returned he announced her to him, having made herself at home on his bed while they worked. The Organ Grinder pointed towards his blueprints with pride as she proposed the idea of framing Batman rather than simply murdering him. He later oversaw the tampering of the Batmobile during the Relighting of the Tree Ceremony.

Kidnapping blue-chip children

Later, the Organ Grinder was tasked with driving the animal wagon train, ensuring that the first-born sons of Gotham could be kidnapped in a horrifying, undignified manner through the streets. As he barked orders and waited he was frightened by Batman's silhouette, striking a pose as lightning struck. He was then grabbed upward and pulled on top of the train cab, presumably to be interrogated on the Penguin's whereabouts. Persuaded by the Dark Knight himself, the Organ Grinder told him everything. After being left for police, Batman gave a special note to his monkey, to be delivered to the Penguin.

Whereas Organ Grinder is arrested by Batman, his monkey returns to the Penguin and escapes before Penguin's lair destruction.


Video games

Behind the Scenes

Vincent Schiavelli was cast in the part after being handpicked by longtime friend Danny DeVito, similar to the casting of Tracey Walter as Jack Nicholson's right hand man in the first film.

Deleted scene

During the montage of criminal acts after the Ratty Poodle drops a grenade, a scene was shot featuring Organ Grinder, shown hacking a NatIonal Bank of Gotham ATM while the monkey collected the cash the machine was spitting out on the ground.

In Other Media

  • The Organ Grinder was the sixth boss in the Super Nintendo video game adaptation of Batman Returns. His monkey was also seen in the game, but was only a spectator.
  • The Organ Grinder was also the boss of stage 4-3 of NES game, Batman Returns.




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