Batman (1966)PG


The Adam West version. If you’re anywhere near my age, you’ve probably seen this, so why say anything. It’s still funny.

Batman: “Robin, listen to these riddles. See if you interpret them as I do. One: What has yellow skin, and writes?”

Robin: “A ball-point banana.”

Batman: “Right. Two: What people are always in a hurry?”

Robin: “Rushing people... Russians!”

Batman: “Right again. Now what would you say they mean?”

Robin: “Banana... Russian... I’ve got it! Someone Russian is going to slip on a banana peel and break their neck!”

Batman: “Precisely, Robin; the only possible meaning.”

If you haven’t seen it, or the TV show it spun off from... well, I’ll just mention that as a child, I pretty much saw it as a completely straight adaptation, not realizing at all how much intentional comedy was in the mix. Though you see the campiness, it never overtly acknowledged that it was going for humor, rather than family-friendly action/adventure. The humor is a bit more overt in the movie, I’d say.

This film has some historical importance for the genre. It was the first return of superheroes to the big screen since the death of the theatrical serial format. (This probably also makes it the first to be in color and to use the modern 1.85 aspect ratio.) And it’s probably because of this film, along with Barbarella maybe, that Hollywood people for the next 30 years remained convinced that the way to make a hit comic book movie was to camp it up. (It was definitely the camp factor that made a surprise hit out of the TV show.) But the Golden Age of Camp ended around 1975, culminating with Rocky Horror (which, along with Pink Flamingos, just could not be topped), and nothing campy since then has really been a hit.