DVD Review: Batman: The Television Series (The Second Season, Part One)

Batmania ruled 1966. The series changed television when it made camp cool. Batman hit the air as a mid-season replacement on January 12, 1966. It became a major hit attracting an audience of kids and adults who enjoyed the comic book action. Even when the show went off for the summer, Batmania hit the movie theaters with a feature film. The start of the second season, Batman was a massive phenomenon. Big stars were begging the producers to either have cameos or play a super villain. Batman: The Television Series – The Second Season, Part One contains the first 30 episodes.

The season kicks off with Art Carney (The Honeymooners) played the Archer on “Shoot A Crooked Arrow/Walk the Straight and Narrow.” The Archer is out to steal millionaire Bruce Wayne’s money so he can give it to the poor – after he takes his fees. While Batman (Adam West) likes to help the poor, he’d prefer to not give away all his money. Batman fears that one of Bruce Wayne’s employees is running an inside job with the Archer to get the loot. “Hot Off the Griddle/The Cat and the Fiddle” brings us the eternal beauty that is Julie Newmar as Catwoman. Julie is the reason to rejoice in the new transfers struck for the DVD/Blu-ray releases. This time Catwoman has her claws aimed at pouncing on a pair of rare violins. “The Minstrel’s Shakedown/Barbecued Batman?” brings the evil singing “Minstrel (Van Johnson) to Gotham City. He’s out to destroy the stock market. “The Spell of Tut/Tut’s Case Is Shut” shakes up the town with the history professor who gets bonked on his head to become Egypt’s biggest crook King Tut (The Silencers‘ Victor Buono). He has found an amazing ancient potion.

“The Greatest Mother of them All/Ma Parker” has Shelley Winters playing Ma Parker who isn’t quite Ma Barker. Her family is a bunch of hillbilly criminals. Oddly enough Shelley will play Ma Barker in a Roger Corman’s “Bloody Mama.” “The Clock King’s Crazy Crimes/The Clock King Gets Crowned” is our first analog criminal. Walter Slezak is the man who wants to steal time pieces. Vincent Price pulls on the baldcap to play Egghead in “An Egg Grows in Gotham/The Yegg Foes in Gotham.” Egghead takes over Gotham City when he finds a crazy loophole in the city’s founding document. Few things can top the arrival of Liberace in “The Devil’s Fingers/The Dead Ringers.” The pianist shows his true color as a criminal mastermind. This is just so Liberace. “Hizzonner The Penguin/Dizzoner the Penguin” puts the aquatic bird foe (Burgess Meredith) wants to run for office. Who would vote for a known criminal? Sadly Penguin didn’t have a 24 Hour News Channel to prove he was set up by political enemies. “Green Ice/Deep Freeze” turns serious director Otto Preminger into Mr. Freeze. He turns Batman and Robin into human ice cubes.

“The Impractical Joker/The Joker’s Provokers” should be noted for wrapping up on the night I was born. It’s good to be born under the sign of Cesar Romero. “Marsha, Queen of Diamonds/Marsha’s Scheme of Diamonds” dazzles with Carolyn Jones (Addams Family) lusting for the Batdiamond. Can Batman really part with this jewel? Her big plan is to marry Batman and get the rock in the divorce settlement. “Come Back, Shame/It’s How You Play the Game” puts a 10 gallon hat on Cliff Robertson with a character that’s not from Shane. The cowardly cowboy wants to build a hotrod that will out race the Batmobile. “The Penguin’s Nest/The Bird’s Last Jest” has Penguin open the most ritzy restaurant in Gotham City. Batman has ponder if the wicked waterfowl is out to kill people with cuisine. “The Cat’s Meow/The Bat’s Kow Tow” is more Julie Newmar as Catwoman. She’s out to steal the voices of Chad and Jeremy. They were a real British Invasion Act. This had to be the peak of their careers. They got to be touched by Julie Newmar. She wants to steal their voices. She can have mine.

It’s rare that 30 episodes is merely a half season. The dark secret of Batman was that it was an hour long action show that was split into two thirty-minute episodes. This was a wise move since it doubled the episodes when it came to syndication action. This is a half season boxset that will keep you entertained like a full season.

Batman was in the pantheon of great shows. Even after nearly 50 years, there’s a joyfulness to the camp and pop on the screen. Even the new generation of kids can get sucked into the colorful weirdness. The show is about Batman and Robin. But Julie Newmar is a goddess in her Catwoman outfit and deserves to be worshiped. She’s twice as alluring in these fresh transfers.

The video is 1.33:1 full frame. The transfers even on DVD bring out the visual pop in the comic book world. The audio is Dolby Digital mono. The mix gets the Pows in the punch mix. The episodes are subtitled for those who want to read the comic book dialogue.

No bonus features.

Batman: The Television Series – The Second Season, Part One contains the glory of Batmania. The true joy comes from more episodes of Julie Newmar as Catwoman.

Warner Home Video presents Batman: The Television Series – The Second Season, Part One. Starring: Adam West, Burt Ward, Alan Napier, Neil Hamilton, Stafford Repp and Madge Blake. Boxset Contents: 30 episodes on 4 DVDs. Rated: Unrated. Released: February 10, 2015.


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