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Batman Serials

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Bryan Ri, Mar 25, 2004.

  1. Bryan Ri

    Bryan Ri Well-Known Member

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    Any word on the Batman Serials from the 30's and 40's being released on DVD? Of have they been already?


    Bryan
     
  2. Russell G

    Russell G Fake Shemp
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    I'd love to get these too. I think I read somewhere that the guy who has the rights/negatives to these is being stingy with them, but I could have that confused with a different serial (Superman?)
     
  3. Bill Williams

    Bill Williams Well-Known Member

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    I remember about a year after the first "Batman" film came out in theaters, I came across the second serial, "Batman and Robin", on two VHS tapes from GoodTimes Home Video. Some time after that, the very first serial, dubbed "Batman: The Serial", was released also from GoodTimes Home Video. Both serials were recorded in LP format from really grainy prints, and the end result was mediocre at best.

    Since the WB and DC Comics owns the Batman property, I don't know why they haven't gone into their archives yet and released these two serials on DVD. They should.
     
  4. Richard Carnahan

    Richard Carnahan Well-Known Member

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    I have those Goodtimes VHS tapes, too. Not only are they recorded in LP but the soundtrack of the original World War Two-era serial has been rather clumsily rendered politically correct. I'd like to see it uncut.
     
  5. Larry House

    Larry House Well-Known Member

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    At one point I believe one of the Batman serials was owned by Sony or at least was released on home video by them ... one of the villians was a sterotypical Japanese; all of the references to the character being Japanese were changed. If Goodtimes is releasing this, it sounds as if the serials are in the public domain ... could this be the case? I would think that WB owns the character (don't they?) and could assert copyright ownership based on that ...
     
  6. Jerome Grate

    Jerome Grate Well-Known Member

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    There was a Batman Serial from the 30s and 40s like Superman?
     
  7. Bill Williams

    Bill Williams Well-Known Member

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    The first "Batman" serial came out around 1942 and was an extremely low-budget affair. How low-budget, you ask? The Batmobile was nothing more than a gray sedan! In this very el cheapo serial, Batman and Robin attempted to thwart the plans of a Japanese scientist (played by J. Carroll Naish). I forget at the moment who played Batman and Robin.

    The second "Batman" serial, entitled "Batman and Robin", came out in 1948 and featured Robert Duncan and John Lowery in the title roles. This one was more professionally produced, as it was handled by Sam Katzman. (Joel Schumacher and that shlockmeister of scribe, Akiva Goldsman, should have screened this serial to see how to get their "Batman and Robin" right!)

    Bob Kane, Batman's creator, served as a consultant on both serials. He talked about the development of the serials in his entertaining autobiography, "Batman and Me".

    I don't know if Sony had the video rights to the serials or not, all I know is what came out from GoodTimes Home Video. This leads me to believe that the serials are very likely in the public domain.
     
  8. Dave H

    Dave H Well-Known Member

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    I would love to have these. I have caught a few of them on cable in the past and they are great to watch.

    How many did they make and how long was each one?
     
  9. Richard Carnahan

    Richard Carnahan Well-Known Member

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    I checked my Batman tapes and they carry a copyright by Columbia Pictures, with renewal. Goodtimes isn't strictly a public domain outfit.
     
  10. Steve Phillips

    Steve Phillips Well-Known Member

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    Definitely not in public domain, but owned by Columbia.

    Goodtimes licensed a number of older films from Columbia back in the day for VHS release.

    As stated above, the original serial was altered and edited to remove things that weren't considered PC, and the second serial was also slightly truncated by Goodtimes.

    Columbia later released the second serial on VHS themselves in an SP version which was intact, I think.

    I've got the first serial in the original unaltered form and it isn't anything that needs to be hidden from the public. They could easily put a little featurette on there which could comment on the times in which it was made and how things have changed. But they won't.....
     
  11. Shawn_KE

    Shawn_KE Well-Known Member

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    I was wondering about these myself, I came across my Batman & Robin serial the other day and remembered how much fun they were. The Wizard was the badguy. Lots of goofs, flubs and stock footage used hehe.

    Also have the Captain America one as well.


    I would love to see these on DVD.
     
  12. Neil S. Bulk

    Neil S. Bulk Well-Known Member

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    AMC aired these several years ago. I still have the tapes. As far as I can remember, it was uncensored.

    Neil
     
  13. Bryan Ri

    Bryan Ri Well-Known Member

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    I have both serials stashed away on VHS somewhere; the picture quality on the first one was awful, but if I remember correctly 'Batman and Robin' wasn't too bad at all. Even if this was a barebones release, maybe a featurette on the disc, it would still do alright I think.


    Bryan
     
  14. Shawn_KE

    Shawn_KE Well-Known Member

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    Anyone else picking this up today?
     
  15. John Sparks

    John Sparks Well-Known Member

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    When to Best Buy and they want $22.99...I think that's MSRP. [​IMG] Well, Deep Discount for me.
     
  16. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Well-Known Member
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    MSRP is $29.95. Deep Discount DVD has it for $22.06.

    Regards,
     
  17. Shawn_KE

    Shawn_KE Well-Known Member

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    Yup, going to BB and getting it today is worth the extra buck.
     
  18. Bryan Ri

    Bryan Ri Well-Known Member

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    Let us know what you think when you have a sec!
     
  19. LaurenceGarvey

    LaurenceGarvey Well-Known Member

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    BATMAN AND ROBIN is terrific. I love the serial, cheesy as it is, and the new DVD looks and sounds great.

    BATMAN was released in 1943, and changes to the comics were made as a result (it featured "The Bat's Cave" prominently, and had a tall, think Alfred rather than the chubby short guy in the comics prior to that time). Contrary to what is written above, the budget for BATMAN is no lower than other serials at the time. It's extremely unpleasant in its rampant anti-Japanese slurs, though.

    In 1948, Columbia released the serial SUPERMAN (with Kirk Alyn) and it was such a hit that they immediately commissioned a sequel to BATMAN, which was BATMAN AND ROBIN. (A sequel to SUPERMAN, called ATOM MAN VS. SUPERMAN, followed in 1950).
     
  20. Jeffrey Nelson

    Jeffrey Nelson Well-Known Member

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    Can the 1943 Batman serial be gotten uncensored? I read somewhere a long time ago that it was changed to remove the racial slurs...
     

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