Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Origin of the Bat

Sunday evening I took the kids to go see The Dark Knight Rises, but only after spending the afternoon trying to convince them that the movie had been sold out for the day, and that we were in fact, headed out to go watch Tyler Perry's newest Madea movie. It was funny, but when the younger kids started to cry I only kept the charade up for like fifteen more minutes.

One of life's greatest pleasures is having kids, raising them and providing for them, and occasionally really screwing with them. To be perfectly fair, once a year, my own parents used to co-conspire with one of my uncles (my favorite uncle, Robert) to pull variations of a prank involving locking me and my cousins in the basement level of this sprawling 200 year-old manor owned by my great aunt Abbey, and then strategically placing shredded clothes covered with fake blood, large soup bones festooned with strips of meat, and in one case not long after my 11th birthday, a large bloody axe that had been buried into a sheet of drywall, with more blood splattered in a corona pattern around the point of impact. I'm seriously not making that shit up, they used to do that, and I love them for it, all of them, so very very much.

I went off on a bit of a tangent there, but my .point was that the kids got to see the Batman movie, and all was forgiven. My thoughts on the movie...

...Are completely irrelevant. I dug it, I considered it money well spent, I'll watch it again soon. If you need more of an endorsement than that, either you're not that much of a fan of the franchise or perhaps you're one of those types that pay really close attention to minutiae, and you'll probably walk out of this unhappy, as you do for so many, many things. I'm going to shut up about TDKR now, before I piss off everybody, and focus on what I'd originally wanted to write about this week, and that was an attempt to give the original on-screen Batman his due.

No, I meant the original Batman, lets try this again...

Well, we're getting close, but not quite there yet. The original Batman serials came out in 1943, and the character of Bruce Wayne was played by a guy named Lewis Wilson, the unsung hero of the Batman Film Legacy.

Now, to be perfectly fair, while the cape and cowl get-up depicted in the original series could perhaps be best described as "slightly adorable," these early serials were relatively straightforward for their time.

In the original series, Batman was more government contractor than vigilante, and his primary task was to locate, close with, and destroy a nefarious mad scientist by the name of Dr Daka.

Not exactly as terror-inducing as Bane or The Joker, but remember who we were sending up against him

Yeah, so at least they were an even match on paper. As you can see, Robin was also in the earliest film version, as was Alfred. Interestingly enough, there was no Batmobile. Instead, Alfred usually chauffeured the dynamic duo to the scene of the crime in a black Cadillac. We can only hope he dropped them off a block or so away, quiet-like, so they could, you know, make like a dramatic entrance or something.

So, if you're interested in checking all this out, here's a link to the original Batman

It ain't bad, there's like mad scientists, mind-control rays, zombies, casual racism (the serials came out right after Pearl Harbor, so there were a couple of references to the "Yellow Peril" - nothing we wouldn't forgive Walt Kowalski for, and he didn't even have a costume), and a crocodile pit. Spoiler alert: somebody does fall into the crocodile pit, and is naturally therefore eaten by the aforementioned crocodiles.

Anyway, that's all for now. Happy Sunday, Will

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