Franchises of All Time
The Batman Films
Batman (1943) - serial
Batman and Robin (1949) - serial
Batman, The Movie (1966)
Batman (1989) | Batman Returns (1992) | Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993) | Batman Forever (1995)
Batman & Robin (1997) | Batman Begins (2005) | The Dark Knight (2008) | The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
Batman (1943) - serial | Batman and Robin (1949) - serial | Batman, The Movie (1966) | Catwoman (2004)
Batman (1943) - 15 chapter serial
This low-budget, 15-part weekly serial from Columbia Pictures was, as the opening credits stated: "Based on the Batman comic magazine feature appearing in detective comics and Batman magazines, Created by Bob Kane." Each one ended with a cliff-hanger, which was repeated at the beginning of the next week's episode. The introductory episode was about 26-27 minutes long, while the others were shorter. Batman was the first DC Comics character to have his own serial.
The fifteen serial chapter titles, in order were: "The Electrical Brain," "The Bat's Cave," "The Mark of the Zombies," "Slaves of the Rising Sun," "The Living Corpse," "Poison Peril," "The Phoney Doctor," "Lured by Radium," "The Sign of the Sphinx," "Flying Spies," "Nipponese Trap," "Embers of Evil," "Eight Steps Down," "The Executioner Strikes," "The Doom of the Rising Sun." When the serial was revived in the mid-1960s, it was retitled: "An Evening With Batman and Robin" - with all episodes played straight-through from beginning to end.
Lewis Wilson starred as smug playboy Bruce Wayne with alias superhero Batman, "America's No. 1 crime fighter," and Douglas Croft as his "young two-fisted assistant" Robin/Richard "Dick" Grayson - they were a crime-fighting duo. Shirley Patterson played the part of secretary Linda Page, Bruce's girlfriend who often necessitated rescue. There was no Batmobile in both 1940s serials, although this series introduced butler Alfred Pennyworth (William Austin).
The series was set during wartime, with J. Carrol Naish playing the role of a diabolical, shifty-eyed Japanese criminal mastermind who was named Dr. Tito Daka (aka Prince Daka). He possessed a "new secret weapon" - a destructive radium-powered death ray that could crumble a concrete wall into rubble. He was also noted as a mad scientist who could turn his enemies into electronically-controlled zombies, and he possessed an alligator pit beneath a trapdoor in his living room. His hideout was located behind the Cave of Horrors carnival ride in Little Tokyo.
The first of the serials, "The Electrical Brain," began with a long voice-over narration: "High atop one of the hills which ring the teaming metropolis of Gotham City, a large house rears its bulk against the dark sky. Outwardly, there's nothing to distinguish this house from many others, but deep in the cavernous basements of this house in a chamber hewn from the living rock of the mountain, is the strange, dimly lighted, mysteriously-secret Bat's Cave - hidden headquarters of America's #1 crimefighter, Batman! Yes, Batman, clad in the somber costume which has struck terror to the heart of many of swaggering denizen of the Underworld. Batman, who even now is pondering plans of a new assault against the forces of crime, a crushing blow against evil, in which he will have the valuable aid of his young, two-fisted assistant, Robin, the Boy Wonder. They represent American youth who love their country and are glad to fight for it, wherever crime raises its ugly head to strike with the venom of a maddened rattlesnake. Batman and Robin strike also, and in this very hour when the Axis criminals are spreading their evil over the world, even within our own land, Batman and Robin stand ready to fight them to the death."
Batman and Robin
Dr. Tito Daka
(J. Carrol Naish)
Batman and Robin (1949) - 15 chapter serial
This second version of the Batman/Robin superhero saga, a 15-part weekly serial from Columbia Pictures, was described in the opening credits as: "Based on the Batman Comic Feature appearing in Detective Comics and Batman Magazines, Created by Bob Kane." The first episode was about 26-27 minutes long, while the rest were about 17 minutes each. Every chapter (except the last) ended with a cliff-hanger, which was repeated at the beginning of the next week's episode.
The serialized film opened with voice-over narration: "Crime, stalking our city by night and day, is on the increase. Our undermanned police force is helpless to cope with the situation, but they have an ally - Batman - who with the faithful Robin, wages unending war against all criminals!"
Robert Lowery (looking like Tarzan's Johnny Weissmuller) starred as Batman/Bruce Wayne ("a wealthy playboy"), who lived in the Wayne residence (with the Batcave below) located in the suburbs of Gotham City. John Duncan starred as Robin/Dick Grayson, and the duo were "famed crusaders for law and order." Jane Adams starred as matronly-looking reporter-love interest Vicki Vale. The film marked the first appearance of Police Commissioner Gordon (Lyle Talbot), the first use of the Batsignal (a spotlight kept inside the police office), and the second appearance of the Wayne butler Alfred Pennyworth (Eric Wilton).
The villain was a dark, black-hooded character known as "The Wizard," whose rock cave lair on a remote island was only accessible by remote-controlled submarine. He was in possession of a dangerous, diamond-powered remote control machine (that could control moving vehicles and also functioned as a death ray). In the last episode, the Wizard's identity was revealed after a lot of red herrings were produced - he was the twin brother of Carter (both played by Leonard Penn), the RC machine inventor Professor Hammil's (William Fawcett) manservant who pushed his wheelchair.
The fifteen serial chapter titles, in order were: "Batman Takes Over," "Tunnel of Terror," "Robin's Wild Ride," "Batman Trapped!," "Robin Rescues Batman!," "Target - Robin!," "The Fatal Blast," "Robin Meets the Wizard!," "The Wizard Strikes Back!," "Batman's Last Chance!," "Robin's Ruse," "Robin Rides the Wind," "The Wizard's Challenge," "Batman vs. Wizard!," and "Batman Victorious."
Batman and Robin
in the Batcave
Batman and Robin in Action
Film Plot Summary
A campy, zany, silly, and comical film, spun-off from the 1966-68 TV show, with cheap special effects and tongue-in-cheek humor, starring Adam West as Gotham City's caped crusader Bruce Wayne and Burt Ward as the Boy Wonder Robin (aka Dick Grayson), along with a host of villains: the white-faced Joker (Cesar Romero), the quacking Penguin (Burgess Meredith) with a plan to eliminate the top world UN leaders using a dehydrating device called the Dehydration Ray which can reduce humans to dust, the puzzling Riddler (Frank Gorshin), and the alluring Catwoman (Lee Meriwether), united together against Batman as the United Underworld.
With trademark exclamations displayed on the screen, such as "Splat!", "POW!", and "Ouch!"
Robin (Dick Grayson)
& Batman (Adam West)
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