Saturday, December 5, 2009

Filmation Batman

I was recently given on loan a copy of Filmation's 1977 masterpiece "The New Adventures of Batman" which for some odd reason I'd not really seen before. I mean, I knew it existed and specifically recall watching one episode as a kid at my grandmother's house. But considering my super-hero fanaticism at an early age, it's odd I didn't follow it. Perhaps it was on too late in the morning.

It's really pretty awful. They spent extra money on fancy use of a mutliplane camera, and many of their stock backgrounds are quite nice. However, the stock animation used repeatedly, even when it didn't make sense (e.g. Batgirl running looking over her shoulder, frightened, even when nothing is chasing her) is tough to watch.

The writing is bad but also funny. There's actually sexual inuendo between not Batman and Robin—but Bruce and Dick. Maybe Dick's name doesn't help, and neither do their matching leisure jumpsuits or gym outfits as they play video games or with their toy race track. Or maybe I have a dirty mind.

The character design and characterization (noted above) further mystifies with with District Attorney Barbara Gordon always deferring to her father, the Police Comissioner Gordon who has NO idea she's Batgirl. The villains are mostly voiced by the same actor, except Catwoman who is voice by the same actress who voices Batgirl.

And of course there's Bat-Mite. With his catchphrase "All I wanted to do is help!" whenever he gets in the way, he annoyingly pops in, does nothing (despite his powers) and then pops out. He may have been the reason I didn't watch as a kid. He made the show too juvenile for 7 year old me.

Funny because these days I love Bat-Mite—rather, the comic book version who idolized and tested Batman's abilities rather than bungling a case.

Here's my version of the Filmation Batman Family cast!


Matt28800 said...


What cracks me up is that Batgirl is voiced by none other then FILMATION Star Melendy Britt, who voiced SHE-RA: Princess of Power

(side note: would love to see your take on he-man and she-ra)

Also an interesting note, the voice actor who plays The Joker/Commissioner Gordon/Mr. Freeze etc. is none other then Lennie Weinrib who played Hunk in VOLTRON, and Also SCRAPPY-Doo in the later Scooby-Doo shows.

Anonymous said...

I kind of remember this show. I used to have favorite shows as a kid, but honestly, I can't remember very much, other then really loving a show. I loved the muppet show, but honestly, can't remember anything specific, like acts or bits or whatever. Weird.

Hans Christian Vang said...

Every single Filmation production is a true american classic.

Filmation means more to me than Disney ever could. Than Hanna Barbera ever could. Than MY OWN little studio ever could.

Little things like stock animation that they would change to fit the situation, stock backgrounds, etc. are all things I look up to immensely, production methods I admire like no other. Why? Those methods guaranteed work for an entire studio of AMERICAN animators, layouters, colorists, writers, directors, inkers, and so on.

That is more than honorable. It's legendary. Nobody cares anymore, they just farm out their stuff to the koreans or the japanese, no eye on quality or control. Nobody cares, it's all about money. Filmation actually stood for something.

Dont diss Filmation because you're seeing flashier animation on TV today. If they were still in business, their animation would also be flashier, that's obvious... the computer has made it possible for anyone to have an animation studio, etc. so in my opinion todays animation has nothing at all on the crappiest of Filmation productions. Nothing.

What they did back then was true art. Today, it's entertainment.

Filmation was, and will always be, the true king of television animation. Filmation will never die, Lou's legacy will forever continue and their wonderful, groundbreaking productions will forever inspire new animators and writers, and they will forever entertain children across the world.

Dont diss them for cutting costs so they could keep american animators with paychecks to feed their families with. That stuff breaks my heart everytime I hear some kid talk down about 'em.

Dene said...

I own this DVD, too, Tim -- and I agree - the writing was pretty bad. And the addition of Bat-Mite did make it kinda more for littler kids.

I'm a big Batgirl fan, so I'm glad Babs was a big part of the Dynamic Duo's adventures.

I liked the new characters created for the show - 'Sweet Tooth' was silly - but hilarious.

The 'background' music is the same as the music Filmation used for their animated "Star Trek" series, too.

*I've always remembered the weird laugh/sound effect that they used for The Joker's hyenas-!?! Even all this time it brings back memories.

All in all, in spite of how silly it is, it's fun owning these on dvd.

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