1. Commissioner calling Batman with the bat signal.
2. Batman reporting to the commissioner's office.
3. Batman pulling a blowtorch, and later an oxygen breather from his utility belt.
4. The "X90 Explosive" box being labeled. Now, that was funny. Oh yeah,the box was obviously empty and these gangsters are fighting over it, with the ridiculous label on it.
5. Batman telling the Commissioner what to do... "...you must guard every place diamonds are kept even if you have to use special police." (It went something like that)
I don't recall any of that being in Batman '43. I suspect William Dozier may have watched Batman 1949 when he was researching the show. The utility belt and labels on everything comedy are just too similar to be a coincidence IMHO.
The serials are great!
That cool Batman logo at the beginning of each episode of Batman 1943 looks familiar every time I watch the TV show! Of course, it was used in the comics, as well.
I think it's interesting that little things from the serials show up in the TV show, and a ton of visuals and scenes from the show appeared in Tim Burton's Batman '89 and the Nolan trilogy. (Colored smoke that knocks people out, Archer owing money at the crowd, escaping vertically through a dark tunnel, catwoman running on a rooftop, etc. etc.)
The '43 serial was responsible for influencing the comics of the time-- Alfred was introduced just prior to the serial in Batman #16 but he was a heavy set character. When the serial came along, William Austin's portrayal of Alfred as a sort of third member of the team and an amateur detective was adapted to the comics--and the comic Alfred was sent away to a fat farm to return slim and sporting the same mustache as Austin.
The '43 serial also introduced the concept of The Bat's Cave-- until that time Batman operated out of a trunk or a barn in the comics.
The '49 serial was aimed at a younger audience, by that time serials were no longer seen as for grown ups and were regulated to Saturday Matinees-- the lack of depth of character and the sometimes ridiculous situations rival the third season of the West show. In '43 Batman/Bruce shows a concern for girlfriend Linda Page, Linda shows real emotional range as she becomes distraught over the treatment of Batman and her Uncle Warren. In the '49 serial there is no emotion between characters. Batman leaves Vicki Vale tied up in a car. Vicki outright asks Batman if Bruce Wayne knows he's driving his car-- Batman's response; "Of Course". When Vicki suffers the loss of a family member she has no reaction whatsoever.
Batman's delivery of lines is stilted and wooden, and Johnny Duncan was a terrible actor.
Electrified door knobs in an office building, radioactive money that bursts into flame at the first hint of air delivered to a cardboard box warehouse, and the lack of any policemen besides Commissioner Gordon make the '49 serial a tough watch for me. I did really enjoy the Rifftrax take on it they did (very much like MST3K) however, and as I've said-- the '43 was directed by Lambert Hillyer who had done DRACULA'S DAUGHTER a few years earlier and brings some of that film noirish menace to Batman, while Spencer Bennett directed BATMAN AND ROBIN much like Ed Wood was behind the camera.
Yes, '43 was more serious. I forgot about the electrified tire iron, radioactive money, and the kinda humorous line from Bruce Wayne, " ..Jimmy must have put on the batman costume, got into a fight, and fell to his death. ...oh well, nothing we can do for him now." He may as well have taken a bite out of an apple right after delivering that line! "Oh well, nothing we can do for him now...lets get some breakfast." Ha ha! Not too upset over poor Jimmy!
Yes, '49 was more juvenile...I always get a kick out of it. Especially the last 3 episodes. The mystery of the identity of the Wizard was fun! Watch the last 2 or 3 shows, preferably with the kids or grandkids, and you will not be able to help enjoying it!
I guess I've become a huge '49 fan. I even corresponded with Johnny Duncan via email a few years back.
I hope this helps somewhat as to why the 1st serial is and was much better received by the public.....besides by 49, there was a little device that was starting to show promise to energize the home.....TELEVISION! The serials had pretty much had their day by the end of the War and a LOT of Technologies benefited fro th war years, T.V. included.
Feel free to comment, my Friends,
We were sort of pen pals via email a while back. He was very nice. I would've liked to ask him a few more questions. I thought it was interesting that he didn't even know about Batman 1943 until years after he made Batman and Robin 1949.
RIP Johnny Duncan
At least, Frenchy, He wasn't cut out of life early like Doug Croft was . Doug was taken WAY too soon .
Speaking of the late John Duncan, consider this: By playing Robin at the age He did, He set the precedent for Chris O'Donnell .......think about it!
That's it for me tonight!!!! To quote Svengoolie:, "GOOD NITE EVERYBODY!!!!!!" And the choir answers:" So long Screwie!!!! See Ya in St. Louie "
I Go out on a limb here because we now have comics historian Mark Waid among us, but my understanding is in 1943 many comics readers were adults. Servicemen alone accounted for PX sales in the millions. After the war, comics started to decline sales wise and it was by the 50s that they fell to a mostly juvenile audience. Comics were a direct result of pulp magazines which had a mostly all adult readership offering outrageous adventures, horror and mystery stories for a dime, comics followed suit. When you read a Batman comic from the early 40s for example they are so much more advanced story wise, while still offering cheap entertainment.
Serials were similar in this trend, 30s and pre 1945 they were aimed at adults with kids brought along, but after the war they quickly became strictly kiddie entertainment.
Thanks for the save!.
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