Sad news yesterday about a real super hero. If you read my blog recently you may have seen the one about a visit to the library from Batman and his Batmobile. This was the guy. In addition to appearing at libraries and car shows he spent a lot of his time and money visiting sick children. He had a charity to help them and really promoted it. He made his money early and put together his love of Batman and children to really help others. He did great work and was respected and liked for it. I had a chance to witness him at the library I work at last month. He stood there in full Batman costume in the heat greeting kids with a smile, getting tons of pictures taken, answering every questions under the sun and the whole he was obviously enjoying what he was doing. A real loss.
Batman visited my place of work the other day and he brought his Batmobile with him. This year’s summer reading theme is super heroes so he tied right in with my theme. We had over 1,300 people come to the library that day which is well over three times what we would get on a regular Saturday in the summer. It was the biggest crowd I have seen at a library event in my 15 plus years of working for the system. It was chaos, but very cool. Here are some Batmobile pics and a link to a video done by the local paper.
1943,1949 and 2014 for the DVD
Purchased at Wal-mart for $5 back in the fall.
This is the 1943 Batman and the 1949 Batman and Robin serial. Both are 15 chapters each and the set runs a whopping 524 minutes. Batman was made of course while WW2 was going on so not so surprisingly the villain is supposed to be Japanese. There are racist ideas by today’s standards. Like many serials of the day our heroes seem to face every type of peril you can think of along the way. This Batman wasn’t the butt-kicker we are used to in more recent films, hey he was a dude in a suit lighten up. Robin in this one is more boy than wonder.
Batman and Robin features different actors. We get the Wizard as a villain. In many ways this film feels like plenty of other serials from the time with typical traps and action. Then again the Batman comic at the time was more about our heroes fighting more common villains than super ones. The acting and action are better in this one. Still no Batmobile though although their car is an upgrade from the one used in the first serial.
The negatives-It’s a Mill Creek release and these are from the 40’s so of course the quality isn’t spectacular, but it’s good enough. Given the time it was made and the length there are slow moments in these films. If you only know Batman from the last couple of decades then these versions may not be what you are looking for.
The positives-It’s a lot of material for a low price. When these serials first came out individually years back they were certainly more than $5 a piece. In comparison with other serials of the time I’d say the first one is towards the middle but the second one would be closer to the top. I was glad to finally see these versions of Batman.
Was it worth the price? That much Batman for five bucks? Yes, it’s definitely worth the price.
Back as far as 1981 it was announced that Warner Brothers would be doing a Batman movie. I remember reading the announcement in Starlog back then and was very excited. However over the next few years the film seemed to be changing writers and directors frequently and it was looking like it might not happen. Tim Burton was hired as the director in 1986 which was surprising as he was still a relative unknown. However in 1988 Beetlejuice became a hit and it was only then the Batman project was green lighted with Burton at the helm. They needed a real action hero to play Batman so they hired Beetlejuice himself Michael Keaton. Wait, what the? Burton pushed for him and he was cast, but many Batman fans were skeptical. In the summer 1989 it came out and it was huge hit. The film drew more on the darker image of Batman that come up in the late 1980’s in his comics. They took liberties, the film had a fair of humor, lots of action and great visuals for the time. It spawned several sequels, influence the 1992 cartoon as well as I dare say had an impact on the oh too short lived 1990 The Flash TV series. Batman still holds well today 25 plus years later. Oh, yeah and here’s a list for you.
1-Everyone should be scared of a masked bat dude.
2-The crooked cop is always the scruffiest guy in the bunch.
3-Don’t fool around with the mob leader’s woman.
4-If you are a superhero you have to try and talk deep and scary. Go ahead and try it.
5-Smilex isn’t as pleasant as it sounds.
6-Never trust a psycho who is giving away money, it’s a trap.
7-Parades aren’t always a good thing, sometime they can bring gaseus death.
8-A state of the art flying machine can be brought down by a hand gun with a long barrell.
9-Fighting in an old church bell tower is dangerous…if you are a bad guy.
10-Big time super villains can actually die.