Warner Brothers turns 100: Inside the secret film-lovers vault most people will never see

Opinion: Sometimes, when you've been worshipping at the altar of cinema for long enough, wishes can come true. 

When I was told I would be granted entry into the hallowed halls of the Warner Bros Film Archive in Hollywood, I wondered: Could this really be happening to me? Was this a glitch in The Matrix or was this real? 

Turns out, it was a bit of both. Within minutes of my arrival I was holding in my shaky little hands Neo's actual costume, last inhabited by Keanu Reeves on the 1999 set of The Matrix. Then Trinity's iconic black, skin tight suit.

In the real world, Warner Brothers is now Warner Bros. Discovery, which owns Newshub - quite something to get my head around after having watched countless Warner Brothers movies since I was just a wee child.

Would I like to hold the lightning gun that murderous traitor Cypher killed Dozer with in the Nebuchadnezzar? Yes, I would - again, is this really happening?

I unzipped another costume bag. The label read: "THE DARK KNIGHT: Heath Ledger as Joker". From inside I carefully pulled out the long woollen purple coat, the green waistcoat, heavy with history and heartache, the posthumous Oscar for the Joker Heath Ledger gifted us.

In a daze, I walked around the corner for some deep breathing and to try and pull myself together. But there I stood, rooted to the spot, staring. In front of me, a car-yard's worth of Batmobiles from the Warner Bros Batman movies parked up casually minding their own bat-business.

Christian Bale's Tumbler from The Dark Knight (does it come in black? Turns out yes it does), Batfleck's Knightcrawler from Justice League, Pattinson's grunty grungy musclemobile from The Batman

Kate Rodger, smiling, with a Joker suit.
Kate Rodger getting the chance to unveil Heath Ledger's Joker costume. Photo credit: AM

I took a quick look over my shoulder, wondering if anyone would mind if I clambered behind the wheel of a Batmobile. No one did and it was just as unbelievably awesome as any Batman fan could imagine. I couldn't find the keys, which is probably just as well.

"There's a difference between knowing the path, and walking the path" - Morpheus, The Matrix

Rack upon rack stacked high to the ceiling, 100 years of original wardrobe and props from Warner Bros films and TV shows, carefully lovingly wrapped, labelled and archived. A century's worth of Hollywood history.

I was surrounded by costumes from Casablanca to My Fair Lady, from Titanic to Superman and The Dark Knight Rises to The Departed. There were props from Mad Max: Fury Road to Interstellar, from Dirty Harry to When Harry Met Sally, from Friends to E.R.

Was Gandalf's walking stick propped up in the corner? Was the One Ring to rule them all hidden away on a shelf? Was Harry Potter's Golden Snitch stored safely away in a crate somewhere?

One thing was for sure: I was not in Kansas anymore.

"The stuff that dreams are made of" - Sam, The Maltese Falcon

I couldn't argue with Bogart, this really was the stuff that dreams are made of. My teeny tiny mind was officially blown.

While I could have quite happily pitched a tent and stayed the night, I was gently nudged towards the exit - but not before something caught my eye, a glimpse of something blue, something red. 

I pushed back a heavy steel door and stumbled into a room, a super-room, with wall-to-wall superheroes! Costume-clad mannequins surrounded me, starting with Christopher Reeves' original Superman suit from the first Superman movie ever made. Next to that was Henry Cavill's Superman suit. To my left, Momoa's Aquaman, Gadot's Wonder Woman, The Flash and Harley Quinn.

A row of Superman suits in the Warner Bros Film Archive.
A row of Superman suits in the Warner Bros Film Archive. Photo credit: Newshub

And if this really was a super-room - a DC Super-Room - then surely there had to be a Batcave?

There was a Batcave. 

Inside I got to touch the suits of Tim Burton's Batman, Joel Schumacher's Batman, Zack Snyder's Batman, Chris Nolan's Batman, Matt Reeves' Batman; they were all here. Even Penguin's penguins.

From the Batcave, I was catapulted back out into the night after a day I will never forget - I left feeling like the luckiest little film gremlin alive.

Kate Rodger is Newshub's broadcast entertainment editor.