|Index||5 reviews in total|
I managed to miss this 1969 series as a child, but I recently watched 20+ episodes (some titled BATMAN, some BATMAN AND ROBIN)taped off of Cartoon Network a number of years ago. Like most Filmation product of the era, the animation is limited, but the pace is fast-moving and the supporting voice actors over-play the roles as if in an old serial or melodrama, so the limited technique does not become a problem, and certainly would not have been a problem for the juvenile audience at which this show was aimed. The template for the show was the 1960s BATMAN TV show, and Olan Soule and Casey Kasem bring interpretations to the characters of Batman and Robin that are similar to those of Adam West and Burt Ward (although camp was not a concept grasped by most seven-year-old youngsters in 1969, so Soule and Kasem rein in the hokum somewhat). The children's versions of the various villains--Joker, Penguin, Mr. Freeze, etc.--are fun and colorfully acted by the voice talent. Also, isn't that Ted Knight narrating these? If you need a break from the recent dark,expressionistic interpretations of Batman--even in animated form--this simple, entertaining children's show should do the trick. Don't know if these are in print or presently being aired, but an internet search should turn up some episodes for you...
Like I said with the Superman/Aquaman Adventure Hour, I would have
loved to have been around when this series originally aired on CBS
Saturday mornings. However, it was on a few years before my time. My
first exposure to these Batman cartoons was on the Bozo show along with
Superman and Superboy when I was around 11 to 12 years old. These
cartoons were awesome despite the limited animation. I'd actually seen
the 1977 Batman series first when I was about 5 or 6 years old. So I
knew I was going to enjoy these shows since the character designs for
Batman, Robin, and Batgirl as well as their alter egos in addition to
the Joker and Penguin were all the same in both series. Catwoman was
wearing her costume in the comics of the time period. The only screw up
they did was making Commissioner Gordon look younger with brown hair
and a clean shaven face as opposed to his comic book appearance.
I was mighty surprised to hear the voices of Olan Soule and Casey Kasem as Batman and Robin since I heard them on the SuperFriends, but I felt they were the second best voice overs for the roles compared to Adam West and Burt Ward. The Batman cartoons reminded me of the live action TV series only without the camp and the Dynamic Duo used their detective skills much more. Ted Knight used a lighter pitched voice as the narrator as opposed to the Ted Baxter voice he used on Superboy and Aquaman. Knight also voiced over Alfred, Commissioner Gordon, and the male villains. Jane Webb was good as Batgirl, but I hated that screechy witchy voice she used for Catwoman. From what I once saw, they would always air a 2 part episode first and then a 6 minute complete story. The one thing that made this Batman series better than the 1977 series were the inclusions of Alfred, Chief O Hara, and the Riddler. Sadly, their attempts to do Scarecrow and the Mad Hatter really bombed. And Simon the Pieman was nothing but a sick joke. At least we get to see Batman and Robin as well as Batgirl fight with their fists. Something that the parent groups and BS&P would outlaw in cartoons in the 70's, which would make Batman and Robin into gadget heroes in that decade.
As for Superman and Superboy, the one thing I noticed about these particular shows, is that the animation style had changed and they were animating Superman in the same style they were with Batman. In addition, the Superman episodes became 2 parter episodes as well while Superboy contained fully 6 minute shows in the new animation style.
I only wish that Filmation could have put Superman and Batman and Robin together in one show doing a World's Finest story. My final evaluation is this. WB needs to release the Batman, Superman, Superboy, Aquaman, and the DC Heroes cartoons on DVD. Don't leave them out.
This is one of my all time favorite cartoon shows. The two elements that made up the show had plenty of action and just enough violence to keep you interested. And even though it was violent, I still turned out to be a normal adult and not a psychotic killer. Too bad that parents groups thought that it was too violent, or my generation would have been spared such shows as Shazam, Isis and Super Friends.
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
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.
Of course, I'm a kid at heart. I remember the '60s. That's when cartoons had the power to convey action. Unlike today's watered down, politically correct wannabes. Batman and Superman teamed up. Not in the same cartoon, of course, they had their own cartoons and their own stories. Not everybody knows this, but Superman and Lex Luthor, Superman's nemesis here on Earth, were once friends. What happened? Well, when they were in high school, Superman, (a.k.a., Clark Kent), blew out a fire in Lex Luthor's hair, causing him to go bald and insane. As for Batman, he and Robin, fought the Joker and other villains in Gotham City.
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