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

General goings on in the 1966 Batman World

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

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

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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

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kyle
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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
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Penguin - 1942
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Penguin - 1943
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Penguin - 1945
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Penguin - 1946
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Penguin - 1951
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Penguin - 1965
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Jim Akin
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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?

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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

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Jim Akin
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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:

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

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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....

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