Was THE GREEN HORNET a Better Show than BATMAN?

General goings on in the 1966 Batman World

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AndyFish
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Was THE GREEN HORNET a Better Show than BATMAN?

Post by AndyFish » Thu Jul 26, 2018 4:35 am

Before you type your outrage hear me out.
I've recently been watching THE GREEN HORNET as I work on my latest deadline and it's a pretty snazzy show. The jazz soundtrack, Bruce Lee, Van Williams is good as the lead etc. The Black Beauty gives the Batmobile a run for its money.

So is it a better show?

It's certainly different and proof that Dozier COULD have done Batman straight. As much as I love the best episodes of BATMAN the sillier ones still make me cringe.

Personally, I think BATMAN is a better show but simply because Batman is a better character than The Green Hornet. Yes, I know GH was created before Batman and much of his lore was appropriated by Bob Kane and company when they were developing Batman-- but Kane and Co stole from the best. They took what worked from Zorro, GH and most importantly Dick Tracy in coming up with a Rogues Gallery that made there be a need for Batman.

I think if they'd done Batman straight and had him take on gangsters it would have been fun to watch for a couple of episodes but it would have gotten tired fast. Had they done it straight with the villains you just might have had a better show.

I've often dismissed THE GREEN HORNET as being a little on the boring side, and the lack of any real villains doesn't help it-- but its a good show and in many ways its done more "right" than Batman was.

If you have copies of the show I'd suggest watching them again if you've not done so in a while before you offer your opinion, it was certainly better than I remembered it.

elmrgraham
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Re: Was THE GREEN HORNET a Better Show than BATMAN?

Post by elmrgraham » Thu Jul 26, 2018 4:48 am

The Green Hornet was a good show,but to me,Batman is a better one.

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Therin of Andor
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Re: Was THE GREEN HORNET a Better Show than BATMAN?

Post by Therin of Andor » Thu Jul 26, 2018 6:03 am

I haven't seen too many episodes of GH. Based on the "Batman" tie-in episodes, I was expecting a very different show and was surprised it was played straight with no colourful villains. I am afraid the regular GH series doesn't intrigue too much, whereas I tend to like all of "Batman" and even the most gangstery episodes of "Adventures of Superman".
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SprangFan
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Re: Was THE GREEN HORNET a Better Show than BATMAN?

Post by SprangFan » Thu Jul 26, 2018 6:15 am

I appreciate the more serious take, as well, but it's not better than Batman, IMHO.

GH has good music, but not as good as Batman. It's colorful, but not as colorful as Batman. It's fun, but not as fun as Batman. For me, there's a real sense of "budget" or smallness to GH that makes it a sort of "Poor Man's Batman." I'm not saying it was produced more cheaply -- I have no idea -- I'm just saying it looks like it was. "Batman" benefits greatly from the very expensive Batcave set -- and to a lesser extent the Manor, Gordon's office, etc -- which could be re-used for the duration of the series, even into the cash-strapped 3rd season. Plus, the 'mobile, 'cyle, 'copter, boat, etc. His world just seems bigger, more real and flashier. Even when sets and props on "Batman" look flimsy and cheap, it sort of fits into the "comic book" atmosphere of the proceedings.

I also confess to never totally embracing the premise of Green Hornet, which in fairness goes all the way back to radio days and isn't the fault of the TV show. The whole "hero who pretends he's a villain" conceit is just unnecessarily complicated and cumbersome in my opinion and over the long haul would have been impossible for Reid to keep up.

If there had been no "Batman," I'd probably have loved GH more. There are all the things I liked as a kid: masks, the cool car, the gadgets, that groovy spinning thingee that switched the cars, the secret entrance, etc. But coming after Batman -- which did all the same things only on a grander scale and in a much more ostentatious, showy fashion -- it all comes off as comparatively reserved and tentative, if you follow.

I still enjoy it though: Van and Bruce are awesome and the outfits still look as sharp today as 50 years ago. And having recently listened to some episodes of the radio show, it's about 10 thousand times more entertaining than those were.
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dell
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Re: Was THE GREEN HORNET a Better Show than BATMAN?

Post by dell » Thu Jul 26, 2018 9:23 am

GH was a good show, but had a different style than Batman so a straight comparison is difficult for me.

Honestly, I can watch most Batman episodes again and again, but have little desire to watch GH episodes more than once unless it has been a long time since I saw that episode.
dell

Jthree
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Re: Was THE GREEN HORNET a Better Show than BATMAN?

Post by Jthree » Thu Jul 26, 2018 9:48 am

Still think it should come out on DVD. Really.

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Batman65
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Re: Was THE GREEN HORNET a Better Show than BATMAN?

Post by Batman65 » Thu Jul 26, 2018 1:40 pm

I echo most of the sediments here so far, it was ok, but to me, Batman was and always be better (minus the silliness of the 3rd season). It certainly was more fun. I’m sorry Andy, but I respectfully disagree, the batmobile was and always will be the best tv car ever..hands down, in fact, I remember watching something on tv about 2 or 3 years ago when they ranked all of the television cars and the batmobile, of course got the most votes. To me, Black Beauty was boring compared to the sleek look of the batmobile. Just my opinion of course.

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John Mack
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Re: Was THE GREEN HORNET a Better Show than BATMAN?

Post by John Mack » Thu Jul 26, 2018 2:38 pm

Not better, just different. It depends what mood I'm in whether to watch GH or Bats.
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maniac cop 5
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Re: Was THE GREEN HORNET a Better Show than BATMAN?

Post by maniac cop 5 » Thu Jul 26, 2018 4:07 pm

I echo John Mack's words. For me it just depends what mood I'm in.
As a child hands down Batman was better but as I grew older I began to appreciate the GH more.
GH suffered from it's 30 minute time which left no time for plot, much less character development.
I like GH as much as I do Batman, just in a different way. I feel the same way about Tarzan.

maniac cop 5
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Re: Was THE GREEN HORNET a Better Show than BATMAN?

Post by maniac cop 5 » Thu Jul 26, 2018 4:10 pm

One more thing which to me gives Batman the edge. As far as characters go Batman (not specifically 66 Bats) can work in any time period whereas GH and Tarzan are definitely period pieces and don't seem to translate well into modern times. I still love them all!

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SprangFan
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Re: Was THE GREEN HORNET a Better Show than BATMAN?

Post by SprangFan » Thu Jul 26, 2018 5:16 pm

Well, if we're going to bring Tarzan into this...

I love Tarzan, in multiple flavors. I don't think it "only works as a period piece" if you keep the action in the jungle and base the plots around lost civilizations. Then it doesn't matter what year it is in the outside world. Fashions and auto styles don't matter much when you wear a loincloth and commute by vine. ;)
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maniac cop 5
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Re: Was THE GREEN HORNET a Better Show than BATMAN?

Post by maniac cop 5 » Thu Jul 26, 2018 7:38 pm

All well and good until someone drives up into your lost civilization in an SUV with a cell phone. LOL!

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Dr.Brainwave
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Re: Was THE GREEN HORNET a Better Show than BATMAN?

Post by Dr.Brainwave » Thu Jul 26, 2018 10:01 pm

In my opinion, it was a really good companion to Batman in the fact that it was a straight take instead of the tongue in cheek nature of our caped crusader. I need to really watch through them all. I never have probably seen all the episodes.
Adam West is a legend!

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johndeblasi
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Re: Was THE GREEN HORNET a Better Show than BATMAN?

Post by johndeblasi » Fri Jul 27, 2018 7:11 am

I have all the episodes and have seen all of the several times and while Batman is still number one on my list for many reasons the Green Hornet is a very close number two. With it being obviously different from Batman, still! the theme that wild Al Hirt piece, the opening, the gadgets, that car!!! and of course Bruce Lee, who could take their eyes off his skill! I don't mind the thugs over some outlandish criminals. I don't think it would have worked campy. One of the problems was it should have been an hour long. Half hour was to tight to get it all in. I guess that is why some were two-parters. To bad it didn't at least get a second season. Just my opinion.

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High C
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Re: Was THE GREEN HORNET a Better Show than BATMAN?

Post by High C » Fri Jul 27, 2018 9:36 am

AndyFish wrote:
Thu Jul 26, 2018 4:35 am
I think if they'd done Batman straight and had him take on gangsters it would have been fun to watch for a couple of episodes but it would have gotten tired fast. Had they done it straight with the villains you just might have had a better show.

I've often dismissed THE GREEN HORNET as being a little on the boring side, and the lack of any real villains doesn't help it-- but its a good show and in many ways its done more "right" than Batman was.
This is a fascinating question, and I think you hit on two key points here.

First of all, perhaps this is tangential, but I've always believed BATMAN the show might have had a slightly longer shelf life if they had mixed in a 'run-of-the-mill' gangster-type criminal once in awhile (maybe every 5 or 6 arcs) to keep the concept of costumed villains from getting as stale as it eventually did. IMO, it would have made for an interesting contrast.

As to the second point I'm highlighting, I think GREEN HORNET had the opposite problem--a lot of boring gangster villains, and there was no charismatic recurring foe for GH and Kato.

On the To The Batpoles podcast, they once did an ep on the GH show itself prior to diving into the Batman crossover. Their guest, Ken Holtzhouser, noted there was somewhat of a tug-of-war between Dozier and GH creator George Trendle over the direction of the show. Indeed, if you look at the list of Dozier's correspondence, there are plenty of letters and memos to Trendle, who was in his early 80s at the time.

It seems Dozier finally won out as the ratings flattened, and that's why we later saw stuff like the two-part Invasion From Outer Space, which, to me, is as '66 Batmanny' as the show ever got. It even included a previous Batman henchwoman, Linda Scott.

I'm not saying that arc was good, but it was more like Dozier's most famous show at the time.
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