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Dec 282016

Many of us remember the classic Batman TV show from the 60s. But with all those darker edgier versions of Batman over the years, I never thought I’d see the day when the campy style of the franchise would make a comeback, like in the straight to DVD animated release, Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders.

Adam West, Burt Ward, and Julie Newmar reprise their roles as Batman, Robin, and Catwoman. Joker, Penguin, Riddler, Alfred, and Commissioner Gordon are also featured. It’s so amazing that even though the original actors from the TV series have all passed on; the voice talents in this movie sound a lot like them from the Joker’s laugh to the Riddler’s maniacal giggle.

I met Adam West at FX Convention in 2008.

What’s also amazing is that characters like Chief O’Hara, Warden Crichton, and Dick Grayson’s aunt Harriet Cooper also appear, since they were never featured in any other version of Batman.

Even the fight scenes contain the same level of excitement as the TV series, words and all. Not to mention, the perils the caped crusaders end up in have the same thrills. The only difference is that there is no narrator. In a way, that’s a good thing.

Here’s another cool tidbit. During a fight scene, Batman gets hit in the head and temporarily sees three cat women, each one different. Now that’s funny, since three different actresses played Catwoman over the series run.

As for the story line, Catwoman uses a potion to turn Batman evil. During the process, Batman acts more brutal and edgier, which is a shock to everyone, including the villains. In any other version of Batman, that’s normal. Heck, in Superman vs. Batman, he goes as far as using a bat shaped branding iron to leave his mark on the criminals he defeats. It certainly makes you think.

In addition, Batman uses a replica ray to clone himself many times as a means to take over Gotham City. Robin comes up with an idea to stop Batman by sending other villains after him by breaking them out of jail. (Remember that there was no Arkham Asylum in the old version of Batman.) They include Mad Hatter, Mr. Freeze, Egg Head, King Tut, Bookworm, Louie the Lilac, the Siren, the Minstrel, the Archer, the Clock King, Shame, Black Widow, Sandman, and False Face. Even though these are only cameo appearances, it’s nice to see these retro villains make a comeback.

This was an excellent movie containing all the charm of the classic Batman series, as well as the authentic animation. If you’re highly familiar with the old version, it’s very easy to catch on to the nostalgia it contains, including how female villains like Catwoman never get punched out like the other criminals.

Nov 042009

“Holy retro, Batman”. The classic superhero has had many versions of movies and TV series and is still making more. Batman (1966-1968) was the first version I’ve seen, which stars Adam West and Burt Ward as the dynamic duo. Unlike many superheroes, Batman and Robin are well-respected by everyone, especially by the police department because they are always so reliable.

What makes the franchise so memorable to me are the colorful villains. The Joker (Caesar Romero) is a clown, the Penguin (Burgess Meredith) has different umbrellas and wears a purple top hat, the Riddler (Frank Gorshin) has green tights and leaves riddles, and so on.

The villains’ henchmen sometimes have names that stick out. For example, Catwoman (Julie Newmar) once had henchmen named Eenie, Meanie, Mynie, and Moe. In another episode, the Joker had henchmen named after the planets of the solar system while committing zodiac related crimes. That’s pretty clever. There were many other colorful villains as well. Unfortunately, villains like Two-Face, Poison Ivy, Scarecrow, and Harley Quinn were not among them. So I didn’t know about those characters until later on when I saw Batman the Animated Series.

My favorite parts in the series are the fight scenes, where words pop up to express the action. The violence level is very minimal. It’s not much different than on Get Smart, but I still think it works just as well. That gives the show a real comic book style image.

In 1966, there was Batman – The Movie (Special Edition) based on the series, which featured all of the same actors, except for Catwoman who was played by Lee Meriwether. Then again, Julie Newmar and Eartha Kitt also played Catwoman. That used to confuse me, but who keeps track.

I met Adam West at FX Convention 2008. As much as I enjoyed this series, I thought it would be nice to meet the legendary star. Unfortunately, it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. First off, Adam West charges $50 for his autograph. Normally an autograph is worth $20 or $25. Instead, my sister took my picture with him, which cost me $20. The first attempt, Adam West didn’t smile at all. She tried again while asking him to smile and Mr. West was all, “Oh, god.”  As you can see here, this was his best attempt. I wasn’t disappointed because it was still good to have met him.

Adam West and me

At the different conventions, I heard from other people that it wasn’t the first time Adam West was like this, but that’s not gonna stop me from enjoying this classic series, uh-uh. In fact, I still recognize the bronze statue, which is actually a switch to open the secret passage to the Bat Cave. It used to be in the convention programs all the time.