TO THE BATPOLES #124: Penguinalysis: How would '60s comics fans have seen Meredith?

General goings on in the 1966 Batman World

Moderators: Scott Sebring, Ben Bentley

Post Reply
User avatar
bat-rss
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Apr 05, 2015 5:27 am

TO THE BATPOLES #124: Penguinalysis: How would '60s comics fans have seen Meredith?

Post by bat-rss » Thu Nov 28, 2019 6:47 am

Image

How might a longtime Batman comics reader in 1966 have reacted to Burgess Meredith's portrayal of the Penguin? That's the question our friend Kyle hit on a few months ago, and in this episode he joins us to read pre-'66 Batman comics to compare how similar Meredith's Penguin was to the character in stories by Bob Kane, Bill Finger, Sheldon Moldoff, France Herron, and the like. How similar are the two versions, and where are they different?

http://tothebatpoles.libsyn.com/124-pen ... n-meredith

User avatar
kyle
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon May 27, 2019 10:42 am

Re: TO THE BATPOLES #124: Penguinalysis: How would '60s comics fans have seen Meredith?

Post by kyle » Thu Nov 28, 2019 8:57 pm

I wanted to post these seven snips of Penguin appearances from comics 1941 thru 1965.

Penguin's first appearance - 1941
Image

Penguin - 1942
Image

Penguin - 1943
Image

Penguin - 1945
Image

Penguin - 1946
Image

Penguin - 1951
Image

Penguin - 1965
Image

User avatar
Jim Akin
Posts: 0
Joined: Tue Sep 18, 2012 8:24 pm

Re: TO THE BATPOLES #124: Penguinalysis: How would '60s comics fans have seen Meredith?

Post by Jim Akin » Wed Dec 04, 2019 5:42 am

Who's the green-faced guy in the 1942 panel?

User avatar
BATWINGED HORNET
Posts: 0
Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2012 5:32 am

Re: TO THE BATPOLES #124: Penguinalysis: How would '60s comics fans have seen Meredith?

Post by BATWINGED HORNET » Wed Dec 04, 2019 5:47 pm

Interesting show, guys.

I think Meredith's Penguin was an upgrade from the comic version, as his motives, along with Meredith's range as a performer gave the Penguin a very manipulative edge, arguably a more sinister personality, especially in his early arcs. I never bought his Golden Age version as a major villain, but more of one of those annoying, pest-like characters so common in Golden Age comics.

If anything, TV Penguin elevated the character's pop cultural status to the point where he would become a villain adapted almost as much as the Joker in nearly every live action and animated production starting with Filmaton 1n '68. Although each adapted version was not a carbon copy of Meredith (especially Danny DeVito's interpretation), there's always a trace of the '66 villain's arrogant, scheming personality that was simply not to be found pre-Silver Age.
Beneath Wayne Manor

User avatar
Jim Akin
Posts: 0
Joined: Tue Sep 18, 2012 8:24 pm

Re: TO THE BATPOLES #124: Penguinalysis: How would '60s comics fans have seen Meredith?

Post by Jim Akin » Thu Dec 05, 2019 7:16 am

Another fun installment. Thanks to Tim, Paul and Kyle.

Regarding Dozier and Semple's use of vintage comics in addition to contemporary ones as the basis for TV episodes, at least part of the story lies in Batman #176 (December 1965), an all-reprint issue focused on costumed supervillains. It included "The Joker's Utility Belt" (originally published in 1952), "The Ice Crimes of Mr. Zero" (the 1959 story that inspired Mr. Freeze), and stories featuring Penguin and Catwoman (among others).

That issue and other comics that inspired TV stories are discussed at greater Iength in this board thread: Another comic story that's the basis of a Batman 66 episode.

As to Penguin's comics gimmick of using trained birds to commit crimes, there's no doubt that'd be tough to make work in live action. Catwoman had a similar habit of using kitties (and bigger cats) in her heists. They kept a little of that in her initial TV appearance (the lady or the tiger bit, Robin over the tiger cage) but ditched it in her later adventures.

One other thing worth mentioning: Supposedly the character of The Penguin was inspired by the advertising mascot for Kool cigarettes:

Image

Check out this YouTube clip of the mascot character's animated debut.

User avatar
bat-rss
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Apr 05, 2015 5:27 am

Re: TO THE BATPOLES #124: Penguinalysis: How would '60s comics fans have seen Meredith?

Post by bat-rss » Thu Dec 05, 2019 9:13 pm

Jim Akin wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 7:16 am
One other thing worth mentioning: Supposedly the character of The Penguin was inspired by the advertising mascot for Kool cigarettes
Right, that was something I had meant to bring up in the podcast but didn't get to it. Wikipedia says that that was Bob Kane's explanation, but "Co-creator Bill Finger thought that the image of high-society gentlemen in tuxedos was reminiscent of emperor penguins." Not necessarily mutually exclusive explanations....

User avatar
kyle
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon May 27, 2019 10:42 am

Re: TO THE BATPOLES #124: Penguinalysis: How would '60s comics fans have seen Meredith?

Post by kyle » Sun Dec 08, 2019 8:46 am

Who's the green-faced guy in the 1942 panel?
The green guy is Joe Crow. In Batman 11 (1942), Penguin teamed with Joe Crow, Buzzard Benny, and Canary in a "honest casino" story.

ImageCrow-Buzzard-Canary-BM11

User avatar
High C
Posts: 0
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2012 8:01 am

Re: TO THE BATPOLES #124: Penguinalysis: How would '60s comics fans have seen Meredith?

Post by High C » Sun Dec 08, 2019 10:32 am

Terrific show. I learned a lot I did not know about Penguin and the Bat-comics in general. Great idea by Kyle.
Jim Akin wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 7:16 am


One other thing worth mentioning: Supposedly the character of The Penguin was inspired by the advertising mascot for Kool cigarettes:
I have to admit, being totally serious, as a childhood asthmatic, I was scared by Penguin smoking incessantly. It wasn't until later I learned most of the actors were doing it IRL, especially Gorshin, unfortunately.
'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

User avatar
Scott Sebring
Site Admin
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2012 5:50 pm

Re: TO THE BATPOLES #124: Penguinalysis: How would '60s comics fans have seen Meredith?

Post by Scott Sebring » Mon Dec 09, 2019 8:18 am

Always entertaining.
ImageImage

User avatar
gothosmansion
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Aug 25, 2013 11:36 am

Re: TO THE BATPOLES #124: Penguinalysis: How would '60s comics fans have seen Meredith?

Post by gothosmansion » Mon Dec 09, 2019 2:12 pm

Hey, guys, if this was the issue you were mentioning as Penguin's 1st Silver Age appearance, it is reprinted in Batman in the 60s in addition to the Arkham Penguin book. Each book in the Arkham series spotlights a single villain and there are several volumes.

http://www.mikesamazingworld.com/mikes/ ... micid=3682

I want to go at your analysis from the opposite, mirror direction. I first discovered Batman and his rogues watching reruns of the 1960s show in 1976, Penguin was the villain I found closest to his TV show image. That would have been in a David V. Reed two-parter in Batman 287-288. Admittedly, Reed's was the most light-hearted Batman of the Bronze Age. I also can see Englehart's Malay Penguin working as a TV show episode.

Next to Penguin, in the bronze age, I found Joker to be closest to his TV counterpart. While the Joker in the comics was certainly more murderous, in my two favorite bronze age issues, the Joker makes fish have his face and in the other one he straps his enemies to giant rocket candles on his birthday cake. The difference : in the comics everyone thinks these are crazy plots that don't make any sense. As Batman said, "The Joker's insane schemes make sense to him alone." On the TV show, every Gotham City citizen would have thought his plots made perfect sense.

The villain who was the most different was Riddler. I didn't like how much more calm and subdued he was in the comics after being wowed by Frank Gorshin's manic performance. The Riddler on Power Records Batman story was more Gorshin.

The "Four Birds of a Feather" Batman story from Batman 11 was later adapted into a Whitman Giant Comics to Color. I don't know why Whitman did a new adaptation and didn't just reprint actual comic book stories.

https://www.amazon.com/Batman-Robin-Bat ... B001KTQTJG

User avatar
Jim Akin
Posts: 0
Joined: Tue Sep 18, 2012 8:24 pm

Re: TO THE BATPOLES #124: Penguinalysis: How would '60s comics fans have seen Meredith?

Post by Jim Akin » Tue Dec 10, 2019 6:37 am

kyle wrote:
Sun Dec 08, 2019 8:46 am
The green guy is Joe Crow.
Thank you for the info!

User avatar
kyle
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon May 27, 2019 10:42 am

Re: TO THE BATPOLES #124: Penguinalysis: How would '60s comics fans have seen Meredith?

Post by kyle » Wed Dec 11, 2019 8:56 am

I want to go at your analysis from the opposite, mirror direction. I first discovered Batman and his rogues watching reruns of the 1960s show in 1976,
The villain who was the most different was Riddler.
Great thought. The TV show certainly had it's influence on the characters and Riddler is a great example.

Post Reply