For Christmas my parents bought me a DVD called Gotham City Serials. This DVD contains the Batman serials from 1943 and 1949. I like the old serials from the thirties and forties and was excited to give this a view. This is Batman on the big screen just 4 years after he was created and its pretty cool to see a comic book adventure that was on the big screen before special effects were wildly used.
One thought I had when I was watching this was that the guy who played Robin kind of looks like David Faustino who played Bud in Married With Children. Pretty neat shot of Batman in his batcave. To bad they couldn’t afford a batmobile for this one, I guess you can’t have it all even when you’re a millionaire. Batman looks like he is wishing there was a computer in his cave and he is sad that Bruce Wayne’s millions couldn’t buy him one.
One thing to consider in this first serial was that it took place during World War 2 so I thought it was interesting when we see a shot of Little Tokyo and the narrator says it has been a ghost town since a wise government rounded up the shifty eyed japs. After this we find out that the main villain in the serial is supposedly a man of Asian descent named Doctor Daka and is working directly for the ruler of Japan and is going to bring down the democratic evil of the United States.
He looks a little more like a white guy under heavy make-up that is really overacting but he still makes for a good bad guy. I’m thinking kids from this time probably would look at this guy as what the Japanese really looked like. This episode is big on propaganda against the Japanese and what else would you expect during the war. I’m wondering what’s in the cigar that Dr. Daka is smoking because he acts like he is on another planet.
We also find out quickly that it isn’t wise to say to no to Dr. Daka because he turns men into zombies. Not the flesh-eating kind but the mind controlled kind. The Doctor also has a death ray at his disposal along with a creepy mustache and even creepier eye lashes.
Batman wasn’t in this episode too much and when he shows up with Robin towards the end they get their butts kicked pretty bad. Maybe in the first four years of the comic they didn’t learn to fight well. Anyway this episode was pretty entertaining to watch and it was fun to see what people were seeing at the theaters over 70 years ago. I kind of wonder when kids originally saw this were they excited by the action or did they see it as corny. I guess we will never know. If your interested in seeing this the whole serial is on you tube and episode 1 is below, let me know what you think.