You can’t beat the original. That’s the general rule isn’t it? It’s certainly never been truer than with Batman- his TV incarnations anyway. Strictly speaking the comic came first of course, but our favourite Dynamic Duo are undoubtedly better in 3D running, fighting and shouting ‘Holy flypaper Batman!’
So Batman hit our screens in 1966, with a series starring Adam West as The Caped Crusader and Burt Ward as Robin coming up against enemies including The Penguin, Catwoman and The Riddler.
And all these years later it has not been bettered, not by Val Kilmer, not even by Christian Bale. Because nothing can recreate the camp magic of early Batman. Something ITV4 have obviously realised as they have been showing it regularly, much to my delight.
It wasn’t for nothing that I would borrow the Batman from the video shop every single week as a child.
The shiny, lycra costumes (which Batman himself freely admits during one episode are based around a leotard) and the amazing comedy fights more than made up for the fact that he’s a bit of a pathetic superhero. That really doesn’t matter. What better way to create the illusion that you are hard than to have the words ‘POW!’ ‘SOCK!’ ‘BIFF!’ pop up, convincing people that your gentle shove has indeed propelled a muscle-bound henchman right across the room?
It’s not just the hilariously lame fight scenes that are so endearing but also some of the ingenious storylines and dialogue.
Such gems include the way in which Alfred deals with Batman and Robin being made into flat cardboard cut-outs after being blasted with a ray gun. By popping them into the ‘Three Dimensional Bat Restorer’, handily located in the Bat Cave. Well duh?!
Equally handy is arch villain Minerva’s ‘Deepest Secret Extractor’ and Batman’s ‘Steam Neutralising Bat Pellets’ which conveniently saved him and Robin’s bacon when they were being boiled in a steamer. It’s amazing what you can fit into a Utility Belt.
Sparkling dialogue is also aplenty. Robin’s regular utterances of ‘Holy *insert random noun here*Batman’ are his catchphrase, my favourites being ‘Holy refillable prescriptions Batman’ and ‘Holy bargain basements Batman’ exclaimed with gay abandon.
But my favourite conversation between the pair went like this. Robin: Batgirl looks very pretty when she’s asleep. Batman: I thought you’d notice this soon Robin. It signals the first oncoming thrust of manhood, old chum.
Beat THAT if you can.
* Watch retro Batman on ITV4, weekdays at 3:50pm