Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The 1970s Batman Cartoon Is Amazing

My perception of Batman will forever and always be colored by the fact that my first exposure to him was the TV show from the 1960s. There's also the little fact that THE NEW ADVENTURES OF BATMAN debuted at exactly the right time for me to watch it constantly and absorb it into my DNA. That particular incarnation of Bats came out in 1977, and is notable for having Adam West and Burt Ward provide voices to the characters they brought to life in the prior decade. It should also be notable for being bonkers.

I dutifully bought the DVDs when they came out several years ago, and rewatching the show through adults eyes experience. I remember one episode that made me laugh out loud, but I don't think that was the desired effect. The premise was not too far out there for a superhero show - 1) scientist is capturing ships in the middle of the ocean; 2) each ship carries a piece of a device that, when assembled, will allow said scientist to rule the world; 3) Batman and friends must stop the fiendish scheme. Even the obligatory mid-1970s shark isn't too far-fetched considering the basic plot.

However, I'm not sure there is any way to explain how CB jargon not only finds it way into the story, but plays a pivotal role. Adam West and Burt Ward spouting off such lingo is priceless. And then...then, there are the electric eels.

Batman is doing his diving thing when the scientist unleashes two electric eels to take care of the Caped Crusader. When our hero espies them, he radios Robin that he needs to find the Transatlantic Telephone Cable. Robin's reaction, much like that of everyone in the audience, is, "What good will that do?"

Batman's reply? "The cable is DC! The eels are AC!" And then he says he'll "reverse [their] polarity!" Which he then does, shorting out the electric eels.

I can't decide if this solution is ingenious or insane. Possibly, it is both. I can't even tell you if it has even the barest hint of science behind it. I trust anyone that cares will look this up for me.

Of course, coming on the heels of the episode where the villain's WHOLE PLAN was to blackmail Gotham City by turning its water supply into chocolate syrup, this one at least had the air of vague plausibility.

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