Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Batman: The Not-So Dark Knight

Been a lot of buzz this week about the release of The Dark Knight on DVD and it's bound to be a top seller for Christmas. I have to admit, I still haven't seen it. My boys saw it when it first came out and loved it. In fact they're hoping one of them gets the DVD for Christmas. I've liked some of the Batman movies over the years, and I'm sure I'll love The Dark Knight, but there is still something about the old sixties TV series. Nostalgia is a rather potent force. The one thing that boggles my mind is that while many TV series are huge sellers on DVD, the old Batman series has yet to be released. I'm assuming there must be some sort of lawsuit or legal restriction, because I've looked high and low and can't find it. 

So if you missed out on the classic series, here's a classic scene. The Dark Knight has nothing on THIS Caped Crusader! 


Jeremy Bentley said...

I know the Batman TV show was fun and campy, but the original storyline for Batman in comics was one that has more of a feel of today's movie Batman. I hear a lot of people complaining (not saying YOU are one of them, Ken - this just sparks an issue that I have) that the new Batman movies are nothing like the TV show, to which I respond, "Well, the Batman TV show was based on the later generation of Batman comics that was created to sell more issues and go with the lighthearted pro-American feel they were trying to promote during the War."

The character Robin was added to Batman comics later, against one of the co-creator's (Bob Kane's) wishes to keep Batman as a dark solo vigilante. It met with a bigger boom of financial success for the comic, so every comic character after that needed to have some sort of goofy or childlike sidekick.

Of course, a lot of the people who complain about the Batman movies not "staying true" to the TV series are the same idiots who complain about seeing the Incredible Hulk in the movies that is a massive muscle-ripped behemoth that can jump great distances. A familiar response I have heard from this camp is "The Hulk never looked like that, or jumped huge distances in the TV Show. Lou Ferrigno never looked like that."

So, I agree that both television shows are fun, as I grew up with Batman on TV in syndication, and watched the Hulk faithfully when it aired (and I am not saying that the Hulk show was lighthearted and fun - it actually stayed pretty true to the comics - they just didn't have the special effects technology to make the Hulk look the same, and do everything he could do, in the book). I loved those shows and would definitely get some Batman for nostalgia's sake whenever they decide to DVD-release it. Let's not forget, Batman believers, that the comic is definitely getting its just desserts in today's films.

Jeremy Bentley said...

You gotta love Adam West wearing bermuda shorts over his costume, though. That is priceless.

Ken said...

In complete agreement with you here. And if you want, I could even give you a history lesson on the RADIO version of Batman, which was rather interesting. I do like the darker stuff in the movies. But also gotta love the camp of the TV series.

And of course you've outed yourself as a serious comics geek.

Jeremy Bentley said...

Yeah! I would love to hear a radio history of Batman. Hook me up, Unca Ken!

Ken said...

Radio History of Batman - short version. The folks at DC Comics were contemplating giving Batman his own radio series, so in 1945 they introduced Batman and Robin as characters on the daily Superman radio serial on the Mutual Radio Network. The initial story line had Batman and Superman teaming up to save Lois Lane. I think Jimmy Olsen and Dick Grayson (Robin) were friends or something. From time to time the "dynamic duo" would appear on the program, but never really got a show of their own. I actually have a boxed set of the CDs of these shows. Nothing spectacular, but interesting for their historical value.
Fast forward about five decades and the BBC did a cool radio series much truer to the "Dark Knight" of the comics. I thought I had CDs of that but can't seem to find them. But I DO have CDs of a BBC Spiderman series, with music done by Brian May of Queen.
And finally, I also have a radio version of The Fantastic Four from 2000, but I don't remember where it aired.

That enough for ya?

Jeremy Bentley said...


I would LOVE to have copies of those radio series that you have on CD. Every one haha. And I am serious. Think you could hook a father up?

Ken said...

if you are good, Santa might put them under your tree...

JeffRumm said...

If you haven't seen the the Adam West Batman movie dvd, I highly recommend it. The commentary track with West and Burt Ward is classic, almost as good as entertaining as the movie.

For me it is best to separate these Batman movies completely, and let each succeed or fail on its own merits. If there is a new director or actor playing the caped crusader, then it's a whole new batman to me.