TO THE BATPOLES #128: Roast Godzilla

General goings on in the 1966 Batman World

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bat-rss
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TO THE BATPOLES #128: Roast Godzilla

Post by bat-rss »

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This time, a double-header!

First, we finish what we started by discussing Legends of the Superheroes: The Roast. Was it a great achievement by West and Ward? (Um…) Was Frank Gorshin probably better off for having skipped it? Was the inclusion of Ghetto Man racist? Is it really a roast at all? Is it, you know, funny at any point? We discuss all these questions, the big and small names that appeared in the credits, and more.

Then, we talk to Eric Elliott, who's in charge of a project to turn a 1960s treatment for an unrealized Batman Meets Godzilla movie into an online comic!

Plus Toma Lazarov's dubstep version of the Batman theme, and your response to our discussion of Minerva, Mayhem, and Millionaires!

https://tothebatpoles.libsyn.com/128-roast-godzilla

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Lord Death Man
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Re: TO THE BATPOLES #128: Roast Godzilla

Post by Lord Death Man »

I'm looking forward to this. Not so much the roast, unless Goji is the one doing the 'roasting'. Gives 'Barbecued Batman' a whole new angle :)
He flies and fights-BATMAN!
Purity and virtue-BATMAN!
Cowards run away!
Batman saves the day!
Also, Boy Wonder Robin.
Batman and Robin-caped crusaders at night!
BIFF! POW! BAM! BATMAN!

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Lord Death Man
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Re: TO THE BATPOLES #128: Roast Godzilla

Post by Lord Death Man »

No wonder Batman was so upset, Robin should have been more careful parking his baby
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He flies and fights-BATMAN!
Purity and virtue-BATMAN!
Cowards run away!
Batman saves the day!
Also, Boy Wonder Robin.
Batman and Robin-caped crusaders at night!
BIFF! POW! BAM! BATMAN!

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Dr. Shimel
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Re: TO THE BATPOLES #128: Roast Godzilla

Post by Dr. Shimel »

In regard to the mailbag segment, the mention of Zsa Zsa's ubiquitous presence on seemingly every talk show reminded me that she had been unofficially banned from Mike Douglas' show for a few years following this notorious on-air incident from May 1966 (from a March 1967 article):
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gothosmansion
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Re: TO THE BATPOLES #128: Roast Godzilla

Post by gothosmansion »

Considering what a turkey of a show the roast was, I'm sure there is a roast turkey joke somewhere, but I can't think of one....at least that wouldn't be as bad as some of the jokes in the show.

Even though I suffered through the first show, I tuned in for more punishment by watching the roast. Sometimes, devoted Batman fandom can be a bad thing. If there had been a third episode, maybe Hanna Barbara would have adapted that awful comic where the DC heroes played the DC villains in a baseball game? It was the third or fourth comic I read and even at five I thought it was stupid. That comic was the worst Batman thing I had ever experienced, until I saw the two Legends of the Super Heroes shows.

Unlike Peanut Butter and Chocolate, I always thought of Batman and Godzilla as maybe Peanut Butter and Watermelon, two great tastes that wouldn't taste great together. I am curious to see how the comic turns out and I think I'll be able to enjoy it. Gorilla Boss of Gotham City was one of the earliest Batman stories I read. In that one, Batman takes on a mobster who has had his brain transplanted in a giant gorilla. At five, I really loved it. Anyone else have the jigsaw puzzle where Superman and Batman were facing a giant dinosaur?

Since Eric Elliott mentioned he grew up in South Alabama, I wonder if he got WTCG, which later turned to WTBS. I grew up in the Birmingham TV market, and we got TCG/TBS out of Atlanta. It often aired Godzilla movies on Saturday morning, right after Georgia Championship Wrestling. (Pronunciation guide : rasslin') There was a UHF station out of Birmingham, which Eric probably didn't get in South Alabama, that had a late night movie called "Night Moves" and used the Bob Seger song. When most people think of that song, they probably think of getting Heavy in a Chevy, but nerdy old Gothosmansion thinks of Godzilla movies, Elvis movies and 70s drive-in horror flicks....and that commercial for Lynn's Den (a Gentleman's Club) they always showed. That Lynn's Den commercial was scarier than any of the horror movies.

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BATWINGED HORNET
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Re: TO THE BATPOLES #128: Roast Godzilla

Post by BATWINGED HORNET »

I will start by saying Gorshin did not miss a thing. In fact, he did not take a hit to his dignity like others who starred

Ghetto Man. There's no excuse for that.

Now, i'm sure some have tired to defend Hanna-Barbera by bringing up the diversity characters (Black Vulcan, Apache Chief, El Dorado, et al.) added to the late 70s Super Friends cartoons, but the studio had a terrible record in its representation of racial minority characters. Just a few years earlier, they produced the horrid Harlem Globetrotters cartoon (CBS, 1970-72), where voice actors (including some black character actors such as Scatman Crothers, and Jack Benny sidekick Eddie "Rochester" Anderson) provided some of the most stereotypical voices that did not sound like the real life basketball players.

Then, there was The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan cartoon (CBS, 1972), where the idea of Chinese stereotypes that were last in vogue in 1944 seemed like a winner.

That's Hanna-Barbera in the 70s, and explains the use of a "Ghetto Man" character--that, and they were likely sniffing the then-thankfully fading fumes of Jimmy Walker's "J.J. Evans" caricature from Good Times (CBS, 1974-79), which had been routinely blasted for selling a terribly stereotyped character to millions of Americans.

To have a black character named "Ghetto Man" strongly implies the writers and producers believed a ghetto was the "natural" environment of / represented black people (shows how much they did not know black people on any intimate level at all), or that's he way the producers wanted to see black people: as a jiving clown who would have been more at home in a short subject from 1930.

I guess in the writer's room at H-B, someone thought American kids would find that oh so hilarious. Did they think black kids would laugh, too?
Beneath Wayne Manor

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P “Junior Batman” Y
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Re: TO THE BATPOLES #128: Roast Godzilla

Post by P “Junior Batman” Y »

BWH,

I take your point about the offensiveness of Ghetto Man, including but not limited to the reasons you bring up here. But I think it's also important to take into account the terribly fine line that African American performers have had to walk when playing roles whites have written "for them" since the origins of film and broadcasting: resist the role using the performance itself, while simultaneously fitting white expectations well enough to continue to earn one's living as a performer. Morgan Freeman has gone on the record about his dissatisfaction with the Hoke character (whose main function is to "make" Miss Daisy a better, less racist person, not to be a fully rounded character himself) and how he pushed against its racializing narrowness with his performance choices (gesture, body carriage, significant pauses, facial expression, vocal performance). Brad Sanders may be hamstrung by the material he's given to spout as Ghetto Man, but he somehow still does a pretty good job of making himself sound like the only enlightened hero in the room.

As for the ghetto stereotype, yes, it's a stereotype, and like all stereotypes it callously paints an entire group with the same brush, but ghettoization was, and still is, a fact of life for hundreds of thousands of African Americans of all classes; the on-the-books residential segregation that made the Watts neighborhood in LA County such a tinderbox in the mid-sixties was hardly a thing of the past by 1979, made worse by the outrageous rents African Americans living in segregated urban neighborhoods were forced to pay by gouging landlords because they couldn’t find living space anywhere else—they'd been "zoned out" of living in neighborhoods where they would have chosen to reside. Whatever its intent, calling the character "Ghetto Man" admits an ugly reality that was (and is) a crucial aspect of the history of residential racism in America--and the pleasure Sanders seems to take in dissing the white-bread heroes he's there to entertain manages, in turn, to shed a little more light on that reality. IMO, anyway.

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bat-rss
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Re: TO THE BATPOLES #128: Roast Godzilla

Post by bat-rss »

Just realized we goofed on who sent us the links to the Noblemania site. Eric did send other articles, but thanks should go to JB ANDERTON for pointing us to Noblemania! Thanks, JB!

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P “Junior Batman” Y
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Re: TO THE BATPOLES #128: Roast Godzilla

Post by P “Junior Batman” Y »

Thanks for catching that, Tim!

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BATWINGED HORNET
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Re: TO THE BATPOLES #128: Roast Godzilla

Post by BATWINGED HORNET »

P “Junior Batman” Y wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 4:15 pm
BWH,

I take your point about the offensiveness of Ghetto Man, including but not limited to the reasons you bring up here. But I think it's also important to take into account the terribly fine line that African American performers have had to walk when playing roles whites have written "for them" since the origins of film and broadcasting: resist the role using the performance itself, while simultaneously fitting white expectations well enough to continue to earn one's living as a performer. Morgan Freeman has gone on the record about his dissatisfaction with the Hoke character (whose main function is to "make" Miss Daisy a better, less racist person, not to be a fully rounded character himself) and how he pushed against its racializing narrowness with his performance choices (gesture, body carriage, significant pauses, facial expression, vocal performance). Brad Sanders may be hamstrung by the material he's given to spout as Ghetto Man, but he somehow still does a pretty good job of making himself sound like the only enlightened hero in the room.
But he was "Ghetto Man"--out of the gates he (and Hanna-Barbera) sold a terrible racial stereotype other performers at the time--such as John Amos (see the reasons he had problems on and was fired from Good Times), George Stafford Brown (The Rookies), Terry Carter (McCloud & Battlestar Galactica), Herb Jefferson, Jr. (Battlestar Galactica), or Tim Reid (WKRP in Cincinnati) would not accept, even in their pre-fame days.

Think about it: "Ghetto Man" was post-Roots.

Sanders roasting others was just another stereotype of the "jive" black character "getting over on" others, yet he's entered and exited the show with not an ounce of self-respect. This is what was sold to audiences at the end of an undeniably progressive decade in entertainment.
As for the ghetto stereotype, yes, it's a stereotype, and like all stereotypes it callously paints an entire group with the same brush, but ghettoization was, and still is, a fact of life for hundreds of thousands of African Americans of all classes; the on-the-books residential segregation that made the Watts neighborhood in LA County such a tinderbox in the mid-sixties was hardly a thing of the past by 1979
Poor neighborhoods existed, but film and TV producers of the ilk behind Legends were not concerned with fact: that all black Americans were not living in or could relate to a ghetto. It did not matter, as they zeroed in on a longtime stereotype to be their one black character. That speaks volumes.

It did not register that they could have just as easily had Sanders as a cartoon-based superhero who just so happened to take shots at his fellow heroes. Hanna-Barbera could not use DC's Black Lightning, hence the reason they created Black Vulcan for the Super Friends, so why not use a character already familiar to kids?

"Ghetto Man" provided social commentary...only it ended up focusing on the producers and the worldview they held, which was more at home in 1929 than 1979.
Beneath Wayne Manor

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