Batman Serial (1943 & 1949)

Looking at my DVD collection, I notice that I have two DVDs Batman Serial 1943 & 1949.
From Adam West to Robert Patterson we’ve talk alot about those great actors. But what about the first two actors who played Batman & Robin? If @HubCityQuestion did a trivia questions on the 2 Batman Serial, would you know the answer?
Say I just now notice the first Serial will turn 80 later this year! While Superman was first in animation and on radio, think Batman was the first in live action!

The actors in 1943…
Batman: Lewis Wilson
Robin: Douglas Croft
Alfred: William Austin

Actors in 1949…
Batman: Robert Lowery
Robin: Johnny Duncan
Vicki Vale: Jane Adams
Commissioner Gordon: Lyle Talbot

Here’s The Plan
Both Serial has 15 chapters, so that would make 30 chapters, I plan to watch 1 chapter per day, and talk about it here.
My hope is I hope it’ll get you interested in the history of these old Serial.
The first Serial The Batman took place during World War 2, sorry to say the villain in this first Serial is Japanese. At the time both America and Japan were enemies til 1945.
I’m thankful that we’re all friends now. So I hope you’ll enjoy this tribute to the two Batman Serial. :slightly_smiling_face:


Me and my brother find amusement in the costumes used. They were good for the time but ridiculous for today’s standards. There will be plenty of inaccuracies, but I still watch it sometimes.

Robin drives the Batmobile in the intro, Bruce lives in the suburbs, etc.


The Batman (1943)

Chapter 1: The Electrical Brain
Well I finish watching the first chapter, it was interesting to see Sony pictures own these serial, which is probably why we’ve never saw it on DC Universe at the time when they had videos.
Anyway the intro music with Batman symbol reminded me of the 1931 Dracula film.
We first see Batman in the Batcave sitting at his desk looking bored as he waits for Robin, then the action begins.
We see Batman & Robin fighting crimes, the use regular car with Robin as a driver.
Batman uses the police phone to let them know where to find the criminals who are captured.
It’s interesting that Batman leave his bat symbol mark on the criminal’s forehead.
Then we see Our heroes driving away taking their mask on with a smile.
Later we see Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson hanging out with Linda Page who is Bruce’s Girlfriend, she was excited that her uncle is being released from prison.
As her Uncle was being released, he was kidnapped by two men who work for Dr. Tito Daka, who can control mind and have a powerful ray gun!
Later we see more action with Batman fighting Linda Page’s uncle who was under mind control, after being told to jump off the roof by Dr. Daka, the other badguys threw Batman off the Roof!

Stay tune for Chapter 2, here at your local theater!

I have to say it was a good chapter, there were some few good special effect, and some not too good.
The costume that Batman and Robin wears aren’t perfect, but they really did try to may it look good, my only question would be is why does Batman look so bored in the beginning? Think they could’ve done something like writing on a paper or read a newspaper, nope he sit at his desk wondering when this scene going to end.
I would give this chapter 3 out of five stars, it had a good start. :slightly_smiling_face:


I never finished it, and I need too, being a history buff and all. But I never started the 1949 one. I will say Dr. Daka hardly sounds Japanese and sounds more like…Peter Lorre, lol :sweat_smile:

I think it’s in Chapter 2 but when Alfred is sitting, reading, just relaxing. Batman and Robin come in with that laser ray and shoot the lamp next to him, scaring the crap out of him. And they find it hilarious. NOT COOL DUDE! TOTAL. DICK. MOVE.


Chapter 2: The Bat’s Cave
Batman survive the fall and landed on the window washer catwalk. He went back on the roof to help Robin to finish the fight!
They took one of the henchman back to the Batcave to interrogate him. The henchman was really nervous when there’s bat’s flying around in the cave.
And after that @SkylerSneathen got the next scene correct! Only it was Bruce who shoot the ray at the vase to scare Alfred who was reading. :slightly_smiling_face:
Anyway Batman and Robin drop the henchman at the police headquarters.
Dr. Tito Daka is furious that one of his men was captured and decided to set a trap for Linda Page.
Page gets a phone call thinking it was her uncle, and tells her to meet at Parrot cafe.
She called Bruce about the phone call.
Later at the Cafe, Linda got a phone call, Dick followed her to the phone booth and left as she was being kidnapped! Bruce scolded Dick for leaving her and tell him to check on her, and when he did, she was gone!
Bruce and Dick later disguise themselves to investigate the old hotel.
Bruce soon see one of the henchman walking up into a room.
Soon as Batman and Robin, they climb way up to the window as the henchmen trys to get information from Linda Page, while half knockout, she said she doesn’t know anything.
And Batman and Robin came to her rescue and fighting the henchmen.
As Batman grab Linda, Robin climb out the window and as he got to the ground, Batman was walking on electric wire carrying Linda Page. As he was walking slowly on the wire to hold his balance, one of the henchman see Batman and started a electric spark which made it goes towards Batman, soon enough it made Batman lose his balance and fall with Linda Page!

Stay Tune For Chapter 3, here at your local theater!

I really enjoy this chapter more then a first chapter. It’s great to see a tough side of Batman, a few special effect were good, the chapter really ended without warning without a scene for chapter 3 on my dvd, which is nice. I would agree with you @SkylerSneathen, that wasn’t nice of Bruce and Dick to scare Alfred.
I’d give this Chapter four out of five stars. Looking forward to watching Chapter 3 tomorrow. :slightly_smiling_face:


A lot to talk about before we even get to Chapter 1…

The serial was originally going to feature the Joker as the villain, and they’d already constructed the underground carnival set when they changed their minds. It was quicker and cheaper to completely rewrite a 15-chapter serial than it was to let that set go to waste. So the serial’s villain winds up hiding along the route of a Japanese Cave of Horrors ride. Of course, Americans don’t actually rush to see carnivals featuring an enemy the US is at war with (who can forget the failure of the spooky Osama Bin Laden ride at Disneyland :smiley:).

Once they discarded the Joker as the villain, they chose one of the few foreign menaces to be found in Batman comics - Doctor Deker, whose only appearance was Detective Comics 55, and used a dome-like mind control machine that lowered over the victim’s head.

But then they decided they didn’t want a European villain, they wanted a Japanese villain. And then, probably when they were about done filming, they decided they needed to really curse everything about the Japanese, with the result that the post-production narration and final chapter really load up on racial slurs. By the 1960’s, the overt bigotry in the serial made it ripe for ridicule, and the serial was shown for laughs at college campuses

Elements the 1943 serial gave us:

  1. Alfred had just debuted within the last year, as a portly guy with a working class accent. The comics abruptly slimmed him down to match the actor playing him in the serial. The serial Alfred had an upper class accent, but was no more useful than the prior version, and lacked any trace of manliness.

  2. Bat’s cave: The comics were more than happy to add a cave for our hero when the serial introduced one.

Elements they decided against bringing over from the serial;

  1. the Bat sticker left on the forehead of crooks Batman captures. Since comics Batman of 1943 could just walk up to the police and hand the villain over, there wasn’t much need for Batman to mark his captures.
  2. Batman’s status as a government agent didn’t pop up in the comics.

Maybe not a federal government agent, but he was deputized as a man of the law, with a platinum badge and all.


In most serials, you don’t need to fret over a supporting character in the villain’s clutches. But Uncle Martin is just seriously screwed - captured at the beginning in Chapter one and put in Daka’s creepy dungeon. Even though Uncle Martin is not someone we’re anxious to follow, there’s a grim fascination in witnessing his fate play out.

The relatively-elderly newspaperboy who makes a brief appearane in Chapter 1 is apparently Bob Kane. Kane makes no reference to this in his autobiography, though there’s some evidence his recollection of the serials was all that sharp.

The banter between Bruce, Linda and Dick in their first scene is good, with Dick griping about Bruce’s playboy personna. Unfortunately, we don’t get too much of this in future chapters, with plot crowding out much in the way of characterization.


These serials are goofy and charming in the best way. Always a good time to be had with either of them.