ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Batman Serial 1943

Updated on November 5, 2012
Batman 1943 Serial DVD Cover
Batman 1943 Serial DVD Cover

This is not your comic book Batman. It was the first DC Superhero to get his own serial but due to strict regulations on serials at the time and being produced during World War 2 there are a lot of changes. Bruce Wayne is still a rich lazy millionaire but Batman is not a vigilante. He is working for the FBI to help battle the evil Axis Powers. Rather than fight his famous villains, his enemy is Dr. Tito Daka, a Japanese spy. Warning, this film has a lot of racist elements because of the time in which it was written. Irish actor J. Carrol Naish played Dr. Daka and used a very stereotypical Japanese accent. When first introducing the location of the villain's lair the voice over describes Little Tokyo being empty by saying, "Since a wise government rounded up the shifty eyed japs." Holy Political Incorrectness Batman! Be prepared for this because I was not and it took me a few episodes to get back into the film. Batman will call the police to arrest criminals after dealing with them but does not work directly with them. There is no bat signal and no Commissioner Gordon. Instead they have a Captain Arnold.

Unlike the Batman and Robin serial from 1949, this film did not survive as well. The lighting is terrible and a lot of the faces are drowned out, several places had spots or lines appear on the film, and sound will cut out periodically. This film was almost 70 years old by the time it was brought back to life, so it is still amazing how well they were able to restore it.

In my opinion, this was not as good as the 1949 serial Batman and Robin. A lot of the elements were the same like Robin protecting Batman's identity by shining a bat signal through a window or using a trap door to survive a building explosion. They even have the exact same footage of Batman falling from a building. It seemed like almost every episode ended with Batman falling to his death. It got a little repetitive. Dr. Daka did have an alligator pit, which was fantastic! The films budge was low, even for the time. They cut all but 4 actors from the credits to save money and made no attempt at having a Batmobile.

Lewis Wilson as Batman: Promotional Photo
Lewis Wilson as Batman: Promotional Photo

Batman / Bruce Wayne

Lewis Wilson was only 23 years old when he took on the role of Batman, which is closer to the age most Robins are cast. He had three distinct characters during the course of the film. He played a very stoic Batman, a lazy jokester Bruce Wayne, and pretended to be an old time mobster called Chuck White. I did not like his portrayal of Bruce Wayne but admired his versatility as an actor.

As the Dark Knight he was not a very good fighter. He got beat up and captured a lot by simple henchmen. Batman may have been given his gliding wings because of this film. Most of the time the Caped Crusader was getting thrown off some high structure. Once they actually showed a dummy hit the ground. It was so comical that I laughed out loud.

The costume looks a lot better than the 1949 version but still leaves a lot to be desired. Being made of a thick fabric it looked a bit bulky and was not very flattering to his physique. At least this one actually fit the actor playing Batman. The fabric mask keeps riding up and doesn't do a great job hiding his secret identity. The utility belt was my favorite part of the costume. It was solid, looked like the comic, and most importantly gave the illusion that it could hold Batman's arsenal of utilities.

Douglas Croft as Robin
Douglas Croft as Robin

Robin / Dick Grayson

Douglas Croft may be one of the best live action versions of Robin to ever come to the screen. For once the Boy Wonder was played by a teenager. Sadly he would pass away of unknown causes at the age of 37.

Robin got hit on the head a lot. He must have a lot of concussions. However, he also did his share of POW, BANG and Smack to the bad guys. Robin may have been knocked unconscious more than Batman but he saved Batman just as many times if not more. They lived up to their name as the Dynamic Duo. He also took on the role of being the voice of reason to Bruce Wayne's personal life instead of Alfred.

For a 1940s costume they did a wonderful job of bringing the comic character to life. They stuck to the comic design without making him look ridiculous.

William Austin as Alfred
William Austin as Alfred

Alfred

Poor Alfred, the actors playing him in the serials never makes it into the credits. However, William Austin did have a lasting effect on the Batman comics. When Alfred first appeared as Bruce Wayne's butler he was fat and clean-shaven. After this film was made, comic book Alfred went to a spa to lose some weight and grew his classic mustache. From that point on he has resembled William Austin's character. That is where the similarities end. In the film he is very involved in helping Batman by donning various disguises but his character is a bumbling fool and is used as the comic relief.

Shirley Patterson as Linda Page
Shirley Patterson as Linda Page

Linda Page

Shirley Patterson took on the role of Linda Page. This is one of the few comic characters to make it into the film. I doubt many current Batman fans remember Linda Page. When we think of Bruce Wayne's love interest Selina Kyle and maybe Vicki Vale come to mind. Linda was Batman's romantic partner in the comic books from 1941 to 1946. She occasionally appears in flashbacks but her time in modern comics has passed.

Batman 1943 Serial Gadget
Batman 1943 Serial Gadget

Batcave / Gadgets

With the exception of the cave walls there were not a lot of things worthy of having the word bat put in front of them.

The Batcave was a simple design and did not look much different from the villain's hideout. Besides some bars, it consisted of a presidential oak desk and three office chairs. They did project a lot of bat shadows flying around and in one instance batman uses them to interrogate a villain.

The detective's lab was in the mansion and did not require the use of the Batcave. It looked like something that might come from a My First Chemistry Kit.

Gadgets were practically non-existent. They used standard rope to climb walls and at the beginning Batman pulls something out to pick the lock on a police phone box. He uses the phone to have the police arrest the criminal he and Robin have just captured. He does put some batstickers on their foreheads so the police know who is responsible for apprehending these criminals.

This photo of Batman in his Batcave demonstrates the lighting issues.
This photo of Batman in his Batcave demonstrates the lighting issues.
Original Batman 1943 Serial Movie Poster
Original Batman 1943 Serial Movie Poster

Re-Re-Releases

It was release again in 1965 with the title "An Evening With Batman and Robin" It was the exact same film but all the episodes were played back to back. Each of the 2 DVD disc were 2 hours 10 minutes, which means that was over 4 hours of screen time. Lord of the Rings wasn't so long after all.

The original home video release removed the racial slurs but they were put back in for the DVD so that it would be exactly the same as its original theatrical showing in 1943.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Geekdom profile imageAUTHOR

      Geekdom 

      5 years ago

      Yup, this and the 1949 version were way before Tim Burton's movie or the Adam West T.V. show.

    • profile image

      Charlie 

      5 years ago

      I had no idea this film was out there.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)