Minstrel Inspirations

General goings on in the 1966 Batman World

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Jimmy L. 66
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Minstrel Inspirations

Post by Jimmy L. 66 »

This week on the Video Bat-Chat we watched "The Minstrel's Shakedown" and "Barbecued Batman" and I discovered a possoble reason that Van Johnson's villian was based on A medieval minstrel. A few years earlier, in 1957, Van starred in a tv movie by the name of "The Pied Piper Of Hamlin". a couple of pics sort of confirms that this might have been in Dozier's mind when he called Johnson and said "Wanna do Batman?"
What do you think Chums
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Ben Bentley
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Re: Minstrel Inspirations

Post by Ben Bentley »

I was totally dumbfounded when you brought this up during VBC, not knowing too much about Van Johnson's credits outside of his latter TV appearances (i.e. The Loveboat) I honestly couldn't believe how on the nose the field of reference for Dozier/Horwitz was when it came to casting him as The Minstrel. As I said during the video chat, it's such a "Dozier" decision to hinge this character's schtick on a role Johnson played a decade prior. Holy finger on the pop-cultural-pulse! :roll:

Upon a little more research, it seems the movie was re-released theatrically in 1966 despite originally being a TV movie airing on NBC. It apparently continued to enjoy synidcated re-run success well into the 1960's, benefitting from a fortuitous decision in 1957 to shoot the film in Living Color. So perhaps my initial assessment and sarcasm towards Dozier's finger on the pulse was potentially unfounded as it sounds plausible that people were still seeing Van Johnson as the Pied Piper fairly regularly. But then again, it's one thing for people to acknowledge the gag, but it's another thing entirely for the audience to respond positively... Afterall, we didn't get another Minstrel outing, just sayin'

For those interested, "The Pied Piper of Hamelin" is available for free as with the Amazon Prime subscription.

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dell
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Re: Minstrel Inspirations

Post by dell »

One thing I was going to bring up, but the conversation went a different direction before I could mention it, was the thing about how the women (Aunt Harriet specifically) found the Minstrel so "charming". OK, Van Johnson was a nice looking guy, but no heartthrob at that point. Was this put in by the writer mainly for the storyline or was it added for Van Johnson's ego?
dell
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Ben Bentley
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Re: Minstrel Inspirations

Post by Ben Bentley »

dell wrote: Sat Oct 17, 2020 7:58 am One thing I was going to bring up, but the conversation went a different direction before I could mention it, was the thing about how the women (Aunt Harriet specifically) found the Minstrel so "charming". OK, Van Johnson was a nice looking guy, but no heartthrob at that point. Was this put in by the writer mainly for the storyline or was it added for Van Johnson's ego?
I can't day definitively but my take has always been that it was par for the course within the traditional Charming/Troubador stereotype. There is a line in the first episode to the effect of Minstrel has the ladies swooning and the men quaking in their boots...which reminds me I still need to dig through my storage boxes and pull my copy of th script for this episode out and look into the line that I thought Adam flubbed and see if we can also get some insight on the Amanda/Octavia front.
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Dan E Kool
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Re: Minstrel Inspirations

Post by Dan E Kool »

Jimmy L. 66 wrote: Fri Oct 16, 2020 4:37 pm A few years earlier, in 1957...
"A few years." :D We know we're getting old when a decade becomes a few years ago.
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High C
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Re: Minstrel Inspirations

Post by High C »

Great find, Jimmy. Well-done.
'I thought Siren was perfect for Joan.'--Stanley Ralph Ross, writer of 'The Wail of the Siren'

My hobbies include gazing at the Siren and doing her bidding, evil or otherwise.

'She had a devastating, hypnotic effect on all the men.'--A schoolmate describing Joan Collins at age 17
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