Batman and Robin (1949)

Article #1486 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 4-9-2005
Posting Date: 9-6-2005
Directed by Spencer Gordon Bennet
Featuring Robert Lowery, Johnny Duncan, Jane Adams

Batman and Robin do battle against a master criminal called the Wizard.

This Columbia serial tends to be sneered at, but I have to admit to a certain fondness for this one. This is partially due to the fact that the characters are familiar enough to me that I can sort them out; Batman, Robin, Commisioner Gordon and Alfred the Butler were all known to me from the TV series of the sixties. Granted, I wish they had gotten one of the well-known villains rather than the relatively lame ‘The Wizard’ that appears here, but I must admit that I’m not really surprised. I also like that there is a sense of humor that pops up on occasion here; usually, humor is a rarity in serials (unless there is a stock comic relief character). Still, there are problems. The costumes are poorly done, especially Batman’s mask. Robin, the Man Wonder (sorry, I just can’t call him “The Boy Wonder” here) was played by 26-year-old Johnny Duncan, who looks even older; he would later appear in PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE with his fellow BATMAN AND ROBIN actor, Lyle Talbot (here playing Commissioner Gordon). The cliffhangers and their resolutions are particularly lame here as well. I don’t think Batman and Robin should be storing their costumes in a file cabinet, and I still can’t get used to them driving around in these old cars. And there are still people referring to him as “THE Batman” rather than just “Batman”. Lot’s of gadgetry put this one firmly in the realm of science fiction as well.


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