The Batman Serials, Hugh Hefner and the TV Show Connection

General goings on in the 1966 Batman World

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svl
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Re: The Batman Serials, Hugh Hefner and the TV Show Connection

Post by svl » Sat Feb 20, 2016 2:22 pm

A little trivia- in the last pic in Andy's original post (the Peacock Art Theatre shot), the fellow portraying Batman is Roy Frumkes. Roy went on to create the documentary "Document Of The Dead", chronicling George Romero's epic zombie film "Dawn Of The Dead". Roy also scripted the films "The Substitute" and the classic gorefest "Street Trash", and today is a professor at the School Of Visual Arts in NY...

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Larry A.
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Re: The Batman Serials, Hugh Hefner and the TV Show Connection

Post by Larry A. » Sat Feb 20, 2016 2:43 pm

I was just reading that on another website. It had the story wherein Roy was riding around Campus on a motorcycle promoting AEWBAR and his cape got stuck in the rear wheel........OOOOOPPPPSSSS!!!!!

Cheers,
Larry

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Frenchy1939
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Re: The Batman Serials, Hugh Hefner and the TV Show Connection

Post by Frenchy1939 » Sat Feb 20, 2016 10:06 pm

I am a fan of the 1949 serial and thought I'd throw out some observations. Even though "An Evening with Batman and Robin" (1943) was shown right before the TV show, I noted a bunch of influences on the TV show from the '49 serial. I consider the '49 serial to be kind of a pilot for the TV show. Here's what I noticed:

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!

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Re: The Batman Serials, Hugh Hefner and the TV Show Connection

Post by CADA » Sat Feb 20, 2016 10:18 pm

Hey Frenchy1939 i agree that's what i think also :D

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Frenchy1939
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Re: The Batman Serials, Hugh Hefner and the TV Show Connection

Post by Frenchy1939 » Sun Feb 21, 2016 4:29 am

Oh yeah, I must acknowledge the wall of knives Dr. Daka used in Batman '43 obviously influenced "The Purrrfect Crime" episodes.

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.)

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AndyFish
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Re: The Batman Serials, Hugh Hefner and the TV Show Connection

Post by AndyFish » Sun Feb 21, 2016 7:39 am

The '43 serial ignored Commissioner Gordon in favor of Captain Arnold-- in the comics of the time Batman was by 1943 a deputized policeman and friend of Gordon, but he'd only been around for four years and in the earlier years he was an outlaw hunted by the police. I think they decided the outsider aspect and the relationship with Captain Arnold provided a bit of comedy relief--during the serial Arnold refers to Batman both as a wanted vigilante and one of his best men, when he captures him at the end he plans to unmask him.

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.

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Frenchy1939
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Re: The Batman Serials, Hugh Hefner and the TV Show Connection

Post by Frenchy1939 » Sun Feb 21, 2016 11:11 am

Interesting info. ,Andy. Thanks!

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.

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Re: The Batman Serials, Hugh Hefner and the TV Show Connection

Post by CADA » Sun Feb 21, 2016 7:07 pm

I Prefer the 1949 one i like Robert Lowery and Johnny Duncan more as Batman and Robin the Serial just feels more like a Batman film then the 1943 i can still remember back in 1989 i was 4 years old i saw the tv series the serial the 1989 film i was hooked ever since then i been a batman fan. Its funny cause i remember my cousin and my friend had the 1943 serial i might have been maybe 2-3 chapter it wasn't until 2001-2002 when i bought the vhs tapes from ebay to finally see it and i love the 1943 one also am a fan more of the 49 one but am not going to knock the 1943 one because it is still a great serial it help introduced the batcave the way alfred looks now the grandfather clock :D

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Larry A.
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Re: The Batman Serials, Hugh Hefner and the TV Show Connection

Post by Larry A. » Sun Feb 21, 2016 9:48 pm

Well, I finally got to see the 49 serial today. A friend came over and He had a copy of it, so I popped popcorn and We had Popcorn and a few potent potables, aka Adult Beverages. It's amazing how funny the 49 serial became. We then watched the 43 Serial that even, shall we say, slightly altered by the Beverages, the 43 Serial was better than the 49 serial IMHO. I ABSOLUTELY MUST agree with Andy Fish on this, The "Commish" was not well acted in my opinion. Captain Arnold in the 43 Serial was better by far. Andy's right about the fact that Batman had only been introduced in the comics 4 years earlier and had by then become a deputy of the Law etc in the comics. But what We, as a group, tend to forget is that only KIDS read the comics, where as Adults and families tended to go to the serials in 43. ( Thanks Dad + Grandpa M for that info, R.I.P.) As such, Bat Man was not as familiar to the Paying Adults as He was to the comic book reading kids. It probably ran something like: Hey Dad, Mom, can We go to the movies? Batman has a movie serial on!" Dad:, "What's a Bat-man?" "You'll See Dad and Mom"? ( The more things change....) My point is that Mom +Dad would NOT have known about Commissioner Gordon, the Batmobile etc. Dad + Mom would have laughed at the comedy of Captain Arnold, for example, Mom, ditto.
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,

Cheers,
Larry

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Frenchy1939
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Re: The Batman Serials, Hugh Hefner and the TV Show Connection

Post by Frenchy1939 » Sun Feb 21, 2016 10:13 pm

I like both serials. They're both fun to watch. I just did a quick Google search for this Johnny Duncan interview, http://www.grouchoreviews.com/interviews/63 and in finding it, am saddened to hear he just died.

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

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Larry A.
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Re: The Batman Serials, Hugh Hefner and the TV Show Connection

Post by Larry A. » Sun Feb 21, 2016 11:00 pm

Amen to that! At least He had a great long life, whether You preferred him to Doug Croft or not.
At least, Frenchy, He wasn't cut out of life early like Doug Croft was :cry: . Doug was taken WAY too soon :cry: .
Speaking of the late John Duncan, consider this: By playing Robin at the age He did, He set the precedent for Chris O'Donnell :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: .......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 :!: :!: :!: :!: :!: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: "
Larry

CADA
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Re: The Batman Serials, Hugh Hefner and the TV Show Connection

Post by CADA » Sun Feb 21, 2016 11:32 pm

I know what you mean Frenchy1939 i was sadden too about johnny Duncan passing i had talk to his wife 6 days before he passed cause i was going to send him more stuff to sign i had talked to him in the passed also the first thing i remember asking him was did he have the costume from the serial lol lol lol he always took time to write to me i remember asking him if he could please write a book which he did god bless him he lived a long life its sad because Jane Adams who play Vicki Vale died in 2014 he was the last actor from the Serial Alive. I tryed really hard to have shout factory get the right's to both serial's so they could be release on blu-ray completely remastered hd picture sound plus have the original Trailers deleted footage based on what johnny duncan said there's a shot of him and lowery on the rooftop running to get down to go to the batmobile plus have a doc on both serials. Have the different version's of the 43 serial and have johnny duncan being interview on it i offered to pay half if not all the money to have it get done and they said they wouldn't be able to get the rights which i found hard to believe because they got the rights to a lot of stuff like halloween and so on but that's that P.s he said there was 6 costume total for him and lowery i wonder what happen to those costume's also does anybody know if he was really offered the role of Robin for the Tv Series.

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AndyFish
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Re: The Batman Serials, Hugh Hefner and the TV Show Connection

Post by AndyFish » Mon Feb 22, 2016 8:35 am

Larry
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.

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Larry A.
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Re: The Batman Serials, Hugh Hefner and the TV Show Connection

Post by Larry A. » Mon Feb 22, 2016 9:37 am

By Golly, Andy, You're right!! Your comment reminded me of my late Uncle talking about reading them during the war. What I was thinking was that the Adults that were still at home, not the G. I.s.
Thanks for the save!.
Larry

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BatBrain
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Re: The Batman Serials, Hugh Hefner and the TV Show Connection

Post by BatBrain » Tue Feb 23, 2016 4:30 pm

I am very surprised that no one has mentioned this at all yet. Yesterday, I decided to pop the Bonus Features disc of the Batman Series into my DVD player, and I watched the 45 minute featurette Bats of the Round Table. Someone asked Adam about the batpoles being introduced through the TV series. Adam then said that executive producer Bill Dozier got the idea from Hugh Hefner, as he had poles in the Playboy mansion which go from one floor to another. So that is another connection of Hugh Hefner to Batman! :)

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