In this series, Batman, Robin and Batgirl battle various villians in Gotham City. Complicating things however is the presence of Batmite, a other-dimensional imp who considers himself the biggest fan of Batman and insists on helping him, regardless of whether Batman wants it or not.Written by
Kenneth Chisholm <firstname.lastname@example.org>
A Kinder, Gentler and More Child Friendly version of Gotham City.
MUCH IN THE same manner as had occurred with the two Columbia Pictures' Serials in the 1940's, the two BATMAN animated series for CBS TV sported complete makeovers in cast, Whereas the New Adventures was done having both Adam West and Burt Ward as Batman & Robin, the older (1968-69) run featured Olin Soule and Casey Kasem in the parts.*
THERE WAS OBVIOUSLY a lot of study done by the production of all of the previous productions; as well as an in depth re-examination of the comics pages, before the NEW ADVENTURES was kicked-off. This was being tailored to the Saturday morning Cartoon crowd and as such, has a decidedly Juvenile bent to it.
THE HANDLING OF the Batman Rogues Gallery was done in such a manner so as to avoid any potential criticism from any crusading parents groups or other arbiters of the public morality and welfare of the children.** So, we saw elements such as: The Joker's having black hair with only a streak of its original green. Joker also was given a pet Laughing Hyena. The Penguin also was affected, as he was not shown with his customary cigarette holder and favourite king-sized brand. (We were wondering, would they be KOOLS? Get it, Schultz? KOOLS had a penguin as their trade mark!)
AS SOMEWHAT OF a concession to the need for comic relief, the production resurrected an impish character from the past. BAT-MITE was an extra-dimensional Batman fan; whose one passion in life was to emulate the works of the Caped Crusader, even to the point of messing up a case. He would magically appear and then just as quickly disappear at story's conclusion..
THE CHARACTER FOUND new life in the cartoon series after having been set aside with many other on-going elements of the BATMAN Comics feature with the coming of the "New Look" in 1964.*** The Batmite character was a sort of carbon-copy knockoff of SUPERMAN'S long standing rivalry with enemy, MR. MXYZPTLK.
AS FOR THE general impression of the series itself, it is favourable. Having recently screened it with Grandsons, Jack and Patrick, we can honestly say that our opinion is one of recent viewing and not only made of bits and pieces of our ever diminishing memory.
WE FOUND THAT the stories presented were fast paced, thoughtful and totally appropriate for the small-fry crowd. The visuals were always bright and interesting. The usually rather brief scenes were linked with a brief snippet of the musical score accompanied with appropriate Bat-visuals.
AT TIME OF the original telecasts, little did we know of the multitude of BATMAN animations that would follow. We're not sure of how many there've been. But we do know that they'd keep a reviewer busy at his keyboard all Winter long!
NOTE: * The two Columbia Serials were quite different. BATMAN (1943) starred Lewis Wilson & Douglas Croft as the Dynamic duo. THE NEW ADVENTURES OF BATMAN & ROBIN gave us Robert Lowery & Johnny Duncan I the roles and introduced Commissioner Gordon to the screen in the person of Lyle Talbot.
NOTE: ** As an example, we point to the sudden halting of Hanna-Barbera's highly successful production, THE FANTSASTIC FOUR (1967). This was due to fears that children shouldn't be exposed to the flaming body of Johnny Storm, "The Human Torch." A later FANTASTIC FOUR series replaced The Torch with Herbie, a sort of R2-D2 like robot.
NOTE:*** Slumping sales prompted the change as long time Batman Editor, Jack Schiff, was replaced with Julius Schwartz. We've heard stories around Comics Fandom that Jack had wanted to do more of those great Batman vs the Underworld stories; but the publishers wanted more elements that made up the SUPERMAN Feature. Commonly known as the "Superman Family", it featured the likes of Krypto(Super-dog), Streaky (Supergirl's Super-cat) and all of the Superman supporting cast on the Daily Planet, etc.
With characters such as Batmite, the formula didn't work here. In the end the "New Look" went back to stories where Batman was at war with the criminal element; which was what Editor Schiff argued for in the first place. Go figure!!
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