Holy Cash Cow, Batman! Batman ’66 the Comic, The Toys, The Franchise…and now the Movie!
Which came first, Robin? The revisit or the reboot? What peril faces The Caped Crusader and The Boy Wonder fifty years after the debut of the Batman television series? Of course, reuniting the original cast would be impossible, but somehow Adam West, Burt Ward and Catwoman Julie Newmar are able to return to the booths to voice their famous characters.
These cherished after-school versions of The Not-So-Dark-Knight (West) in satin gloves and his ward (Ward) are revisited in Warner Animation’s Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders.
I’m on record in these very pages of being a huge DC Animation fan, with only a few misses over these past few years. My favorite stories are when they take risks. This one, was risky for a number of reasons but truly I think they pulled it off once again.
Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders in animated form allows for bigger set pieces than the original live-action show, though on the same theme. Also, a space-race space-fight against Batman’s Rogues would have been nearly impossible to film 50 years ago on budget. Also of note is the Giant Oven from the frozen dinner factory, back when TV dinners were served *gasp* on aluminum trays! The only microwaves would be found in science fiction guns back then.
This movie is really a trip down memory lane with West and Ward’s voices no worse for wear (though, adjust your cowl’s Bat-antennae for the natural lower pitches that may come with men of a certain age).
Newmar shines as well, flirting the Batusi with Bruce as she laps at a saucer of milk.
While there are Bat-gadgets, Bat-phones, Alfred (Steven Weber) and Aunt Harriet (Lynne Marie Stewart) this isn’t merely a re-tread of an old episode.
Batman takes a Bizarro Bad Bat-turn and the Dynamic Duo are forced to face off against each other! To save Batman from himself and an army of Bat-clones, Robin and Catwoman enlist the help of the Baddies Shane, Louie The Lilac and Mr. Freeze by springing them from Gotham State Penitentiary.
More classic villains like King Tut, Egghead and my personal favorite, the magnifying glass wearing Bookworm take on the army of Bat-clones on the set of Ed Sullivan Show takeoff “Gotham Palace”.
Will this be the crowning of the cloned Caped Crusaders as Kings? Or will this be the reign of the resourceful Robin?
Chief O’Hara (Thomas Lennon) and Commissioner Gordon (Jim Ward) play out the scenario at the end of course, so we will be looking forward to another chapter in this universe.
This is a super fun, campy action movie with over the top dialogue and a fun trip down memory lane with faces we never thought we’d see again on TV (although animation still can’t replicate Cesar Romero’s painted over mustache just yet)! This will be a great surprise gift for kids of all ages this year.
DC has us trained with great Batman ’66 comics from Jeff Parker, Harlan Ellison, Kevin Smith, Ralph Garman and more. Next up in the animated series, William Shatner comes to Batman finally playing Harvey Dent/Two-Face in a tale based somewhat on a lost tale by Ellison that was to introduce Dent to the television audience!
Tune in next week same Bat…aww, forget it.