Bruce Wayne and his ward Dick Grayson become the dynamic duo Batman and Robin as they see the bat signal flash in the sky. Together, they help protect Gothem City from villains such as the Joker, Penguin, and Riddler. Written by
Jon Kallis <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The Batman/Superman Hour, and its various incarnations filled many a Saturday morning for children of the late 60's and early 70's. This was the second animated incarnation of Superman and the first for Batman. Superman was a pale shadow of the Fleischer cartoons, but a decent adventure show for Saturday mornings. It featured voice work from Bud Collyer and Joan Alexander, the voices from the Fleischer cartoons and Superman radio show. Batman featured Olan Soule and Kasey Kasem, who would voice the Dynamic Duo in the various versions of the Super Friends. Ted Knight provided the voice of the narrator and various Batman villains.
The studio producing the show was Filmation, who tended to be more low budget than rivals at Hanna-Barbera. As such, stock footage was reused across the series. However, the models were generally good and the plots were often inventive. The heroes were allowed to lay their hands on the villains and the series was quite violent, compared to shows from the 70's onward. This allowed for greater jeopardy and a closer connection to the comics.
I haven't see Superman in quite a while, but Batman was a fairly decent show, especially compared to the more lackluster New Adventures of Batman. These episodes were fast paced and made good use of the villains. Soule and Kasem weren't as good as West and Ward, but the show was more fun.
This series has two unique distinctions. One, Filmation also produced animated Superman and Batman segments for Sesame Street, in their earliest days. The second was the ire raised by the series with parental watchdog groups (who did more watchdogging than parenting). They placed pressure on the networks to reduce the level of violence in cartoons. As such, series made after this show were forced to tone down the violence and provide more educational material. this led to the rather bland Super Friends shows, and other watered down cartoons. it also caused both Filmation and Hanna-Barbera to focus more on comedy, rather than adventure. When they swung back to adventure shows, there were pale shadows of their earlier efforts and tended to be overwhelmed by comedic elements.
The Superman cartoons have been released on DVD (without the Superboy segments, due to ongoing legal issues with the estate of Jerry Siegel) but Batman has not. Warner Home Video has stated they are interested in releasing more DC related material, so here's hoping that Batman will soon see the light of day. Aside from the live action series (which has more hurdles in front of it than an Olympic race), this is the only Batman series not available on home video.
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