Next to the classic Batman series from the 60s, the first version of Batman that I even saw was Adventures of Batman (1968-1969). This animated series is different than other versions with its one-dimensional characters, mediocre story lines, and different style of pacing.
For instance, I remember when I first saw this animated series I expected the crime fighting action to be exciting like on the live action 60s Batman series, but it’s not. However, Batman and Robin use puns while they fight.
Each half-hour show contains two episodes, but set apart differently as though one of the episodes is a two-parter. What really makes it confusing is that the episode titles appear at random times, so that makes it hard to tell where one episode ends and the next one begins. Now that the DVD set is out, it’s so much easier to tell.
What really gives this series a retro feel are the villains. Joker, Penguin, Catwoman, Mr. Freeze, Mad Hatter, and Scarecrow are featured. It isn’t until the later versions of Batman when their backgrounds are revealed, but looking back at these really puts things in perspective on how times were so much simpler when it came to superhero cartoons.
I especially want to point out that Catwoman’s costume is pretty bland compared to other versions. It’s like she just put on a mask on and that’s it. Where’s the creativity?
Speaking of villains, if you thought the 60s live action Batman series had unique enemies, The Adventures of Batman also includes who I think is the most annoying villain in the Batman franchise, and that’s Simon the Pie Man. Sure he’s creative with pastry puns and pie related weapons, but whenever he gives orders to his henchmen, he says, “Simon says.” Is that really necessary?
Overall, this version of Batman was a good one for its time. Since many of the current Batman features are so much darker, The Adventures of Batman certainly brings a more innocent balance to the franchise, which is what makes it a favorite of mine.