Thursday, 23 September 2010

Same Bat time, Same Bat channel!!

No use, Joker! I knew you'd employ your sneezing powder, so I took an Anti-Allergy Pill! Instead of a SNEEZE, I've caught YOU, COLD! - Batman

The opposite of a girl is a boy! - Robin

Hahahahahaha...I just can't stop laughing.

In spite of the suave Christian Bale in  'The Dark Knight', or the immensely talented Jack Nicholson and  Heath Ledger as the 'Joker', the undeniable fact remains,  for me at least,  that the Batman 1960's TV series is the most enjoyable.  What stated off as a comic book couldn't have taken on a better shape. The shows biggest assets according to me are its dialogues,  then its characters and last, but not the least, the many complex gadgets and theories which, from a 60's perspective, were absolutely incredible. Some even seemed stupid initially, but the more episodes I saw, the more they seemed to grow on me.

Adam West(Batman) with his baritone voice and great physique, and Burt Ward(Robin) the still vulnerable teenager, are a perfect crime fighting pair. Far removed from their alter egos millionaire Bruce Wayne and his ward Dick Grayson, with the latter having to take piano lessons and have milk and cookies when not involved in any dangerous escapades :). Better known as  'The Dynamic Duo', they have their own moments of glory and peril, their sound wits and knowledge proving them superior to any adversary who comes their way. The chemistry between the two is amazing, and Batman never forgets to correct Robin and teach him manners, if  he  displays any  hot-headed or incorrect behaviour, even though it may be  trivial, thus underlying the message to young viewers. The following is a classic example:

Robin: "You can't get away from Batman that easy!"
Batman: "Easily."
Robin: "Easily."
Batman: "Good grammar is essential, Robin."
Robin: "Thank you."
Batman: "You're welcome."

Robin's pet phrase is "Holy" and ending with "...Batman!" and a whole series of these quotes has become popular like this one: 
Robin: "Holy molars! Am I ever glad I take good care of my teeth!" 
Batman: "True. You owe your life to dental hygiene."

Alfred their English butler plays his own crucial role of confidante and assistant, sometimes even giving Batman a piece of his mind.  He's the quiet unassuming kinds, who even dons on guises to help his crime fighting master in the most perilous situations. He is even stuffed inside a giant pie by one of Batman's arch enemies,  the Penguin. Among several of his duties are 'dusting the Batmobile',  'checking the Atomic reactor' and 'answering the Batphone'.

One of the cutest and lovable characters is Aunt Harriet Cooper, who is Dick's (Robin's) aunt. She cannot understand why Bruce and Dick are always so busy having their discussions and lessons in the library. She has many a  time been taken hostage by villains, being kidnapped or held at gunpoint, immediately resulting in a fit in which she comfortably drops down unconscious on a  couch and never hits the floor.

At the beginning of each episode, when the Police Commissioner Gordon and Chief O'Hara discover some felony in Gotham City, they have a discourse by which they always arrive at a single conclusion: 'Only one man can handle this crisis, and he is Batman'. So they pick up the red Batphone(which reminds me of a flaming tandoori chicken because of its red colour and transparent glass cover), and dial Batman. What the role of the police is, cannot be fathomed.

Arrive villains - complete  with theme-based hideouts and colourful gases to render people unconscious. They hardly kill people, but steal valuables and demand lots of ransom. I like particular actors whose names I've put in braces.
Notable villains included:
RIDDLER(Frank Gorshin) - Green leotard with question mark on chest, always poses riddles for the Dynamic Duo leading to   his crime. Awesome fiendish giggle.
JOKER (Cesar Romero) - the red-lipped and face-painted criminal, who makes a crime out of minor pranks.
PENGUIN (Burgess Meredith) - says 'Quack, Quack' and deals in umbrellas to hide his weapons of crime, Dressed in black and purple tailcoat, penguin theme restaurant owner as well. 
CATWOMAN(Julie Newmar) - the nimble and beautiful woman with a 'catty' mind for mischief, her gang members are called 'kittens' . She and Batman seem to develop a soft corner for each other, and Robin remarks 'Holy mush!'.
EGGHEAD (Vincent Price) - even the furniture in his hideout is shaped like eggs, and he eats eggs only from a particular farm, which eventually lead the Dynamic Duo on to him. Egg-straordinary!
MR. FREEZE - he cannot survive above -50 degrees centigrade, owing to an erroneous chemical reaction he conducted, and freezes over objects and people.

Each of the villains manages to get hold of Batman and Robin once in a while, and employs very complicated contraptions to take them to their death. They always manage to escape, sometimes with a little help from Alfred. You sometimes wonder why the villains don't ever kill them instantly, but ultimately are grateful for that.  Some of the gadgets employed to eradicate the duo include a giant hourglass, a Chinese water torment apparatus, a printing press, a candle maker, instant freeze, an ice-candy maker and an electric chair.

Thanks to his utility belt, which houses several miniature gadgets like the Batshield and Batterang,  Batman manages to get himself and Robin out of any life-threatening predicament. Some cunning villains realise this, and then it comes down to common sense alone. The Batcave, the duo's hideout and research lab, houses the Batmobile,  Batbike,  Batcomputer,  an atomic power generator, a giant city map where any location could be traced( speak about Google Maps) , a Bat-analyser(this could detect all the properties of any fabric, paper or metal and provide details (advanced X-ray scanner :)), and several other paraphernalia critical to the duo's activities.  It is most amusing to see Bruce and Dick slide down the Batpoles and emerge dressed as Batman and Robin, whilst you are left wondering how they could don the cowls, the tights and not to mention the underpants, all while on a ride down the!  Another very interesting observation I have is that everything is so properly labelled, even one with "Secret fridge, do not open" :). When Batman and Robin leave the Batmobile unattended,  they replace the 'Ignition' label on a button which fires shots/flares so that they cannot help but be noticed stealing the vehicle.

Batman and Robin have no superpowers, they make use of intellect, detective skills, science and technology, wealth, physical prowess, an indomitable will and intimidation in their continuous war on crime. But at times, they exhibit nothing short of the good old superhero style, when they work out that shouting at a particular frequency can shatter their sound trap, or work out which of 2000 hair-salons in the city is Catwoman's hideout by the sound of 3 hair-dryers in the background. Batman is also a mathematical genius, and even calculates bullets being fired on them by several machine guns at a time. Robin is left open-mouthed in admiration.

They are friendly denizens, and as they climb up the Batrope( horizontal screen inclined shot) to reach their enemies, they even stop by to chat with the people of the city. They also grace parties, with Batman performing a jig or two in some episodes which was hilarious, to say the least. It had me in splits. The narration by William Dozier(producer) is rhymed, and parodied the breathless narration style, ending many of the cliffhanger episodes by intoning"Tune in tomorrow — same Bat-time, same Bat-channel!"

In the end, it is not the precision of the gadgets or every calculation that matters in the crime-solving job, it is the faith. And this larger-than-life series makes you do just that, believe.
Come on, Robin, to the Bat Cave! There's not a moment to lose! 

P.S: If after reading this, you get the inclination to watch, let me know.


  1. nice..n how did u forget the ..BOOM..KA-POW..WOOSH effects in word bubbles simply pasted on the film;);)wasnt that hilarious as well? im amazed at how much you remember of the series..although, i rate the movies higher anyday..u knw the best part abt batman and why i think it connects with everyone? hes after all no super hero, and has a dark side to matter how much we clamour for superheroes we always knw that we have a bleak chance in getting them powers..batman, oh yeah, why not? a masked vigilante, thats what we dream of becoming..somebodys worst nightmare!!!

  2. Subhro...u r right I missed those so true about the common man's aspiration to be a superhero...

  3. I do want to watch the whole series now