KAPOW! New animated 1960s-era Batman film is on its way

The colourfully OTT iterations of Batman and Robin return in the upcoming Return of the Caped Crusaders (image via EW (c) Warner Bros.)
The colourfully OTT iterations of Batman and Robin return in the upcoming Return of the Caped Crusaders (image via EW (c) Warner Bros.)



Holy past and present colliding Batman!

Let’s face it – if you grew up in the ‘60s or ‘70s, the odds of watching some pretty quirky TV programs were pretty high.

And so it was that as young boy growing in the 1970s one of the programs that had me running to switch the TV on after school was Batman (1966-1968), a decidedly non-Christoper Nolan take on the brooding caped crusader played by Adam West and his sidekick, Robin (Burt Ward).

It was colourful, loud, gloriously cartoonish, a program that, in the words of Glen Weldon and Michael Kantor who wrote Superheroes!: Capes cowls and the creation of comic book culture, was “known for its camp style, upbeat theme music and relatively simplistic youth-aimed moral lessons, including championing the importance of using seat belts, doing homework, eating vegetables and drinking milk.”(pp 162-163)




The thing was it endlessly entertaining.

The baddies were bad of course but not so bad they sacred you too much, Batman and Robin were noble and upright and worthy of respect (even if a little bit too cloyingly earnest for my taste; yes even as a kid) and the sensibility was giddily over the top, with visuals so effervescently bright you sometimes needed sunglasses to watch the show.

Sure, it wasn’t high class drama but it was fun and now it’s back in the form of Return of the Caped Crusaders, with Adam West, Burt Ward and Julie Newmar as Catwoman.

And apparently a lot of other characters will be along for the ride, although no word, according to Bleeding Cool, on who will voice the narrator who always seemed every bit as excited as the “BIFFs!” and “POWs!” that regularly filled the screen during the comically-stylised fight scenes.

“Julie Newmar will also be back to reprise her role as Catwoman — though the Batman ’66 series always credited her as “The Catwoman” — and according to Batman, the Joker, Riddler and Penguin are along for the ride as well.

“But one thing I wonder — will the excited narrator also return? In the original series, he was voiced by the show’s executive producer William Dozier and voice actors like Billy West and Maurice LaMarche can do pretty good impressions of his breathless recaps.”

The fact that we have more instalments of Batman in animated form (which makes sense since the actors are not the youngsters they were in the ’60s), with the original actors providing the voices, is a joy.

Recreating a long gone TV show doesn’t always work but I’m more than a little excited that the trailer gives every indication that this new iteration of the show perfectly captures the look, feel and tone of a show that provided many hours of over-the-top amusement in my childhood.

And stands to do the same for a whole new generation of viewers.


Return of the Caped Crusaders is available October 11 for Digital HD and November 1 for Blu-Ray in USA; Australia dates to be advised.

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