Showing posts with label Batman. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Batman. Show all posts

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Batman the Escape Artist


I watched Batman with Adam West growing up. Now everyone refers to it as Batman66, because it came out in 1966. I saw every episode there ever was, but I saw them as a kid. Imagine my surprise to come upon THIS episode called, "Zelda the Great". It starred Anne Baxter as Zelda the Great. She was a criminal, but also an illusionist and escape artist. Hanging in her secret warehouse was this huge poster (see above) which reads at the bottom, "EVEN GREATER THAN HOUDINI". 

Houdini is mentioned in the episode as well. And this interesting line is said, "and you know Batman, he's the greatest escape artist alive!"  Pretty cool stuff. Below is the contraption that is built as Zelda's new show piece. Except there is one problem. Neither Zelda nor the builder know how to open the device. So they set a trap for Batman and Robin.  They trap Batman and Robin and then watch closely on how Batman escapes. That will then reveal to Zelda HOW to escape!!!! Holy Houdini Batman!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

An Interesting Connection between Batman and Magic

Batman was a comic book character created by Bob Kane. He has grown and expanded over the years to near mythic proportions. The Batman movies, from the first Michael Keaton version to the latest Christian Bale version gross millions and millions of dollars.

Batman had an origin and it wasn't with a rich kid who witnesses the death of his parents by a street criminal. No, Batman came from somewhere else. Bob Kane, in his autobiography, "Batman & Me" lists three direct inspirations. One was a sketch made by Leonardo DaVinci of a flying machine that looked like a bat. The next was The Mark of Zorro movie starring Douglas Fairbanks Sr.  And the third was a very interesting movie called "The Bat Whispers" and here is the connection to magic.

You see "The Bat Whispers" which was made in 1930, starred actor/magician Chester Morris. This movie was seen by a 14 year old Robert Kane and made such an impression on the young man that years later he would base part of the design of Batman's costume from the BAT character in the movie.
Chester Morris played a dual role, as a detective and the also as the BAT. Though in the movie, the BAT was a criminal. But Chester Morris's portrayal was indeed one of the main inspirations for Bob Kane's creation of The Batman.

Another interesting element from that movie, also became a prominent part of the world of Batman and that is the Bat Signal. In the movie The Bat Whispers, the signal was actually a sign that someone was to be killed by The Bat. But of course, in the world of Batman, the signal alerts the Caped Crusader that his services are needed!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Dark Knight and Houdini

Let me state for the record, it's doubtful I would ever have been interested in Houdini if it had not been for Batman. And, for me, there is only one Batman and that is Adam West. Sure Michael Keaton was pretty good, Christian Bale offers some unique twists to the character, but Adam West was the man.

When you're a kid, the 60s TV series BATMAN is not campy. It's cool! It's got action, it's got super heroes, it's got villians, it has it all. It's not until you're an adult that you see how campy the show is and frankly it's like a gift within a gift. It was an awesome show as a kid and it's a hilarious show as an adult!

Often the episodes ended in a cliff hanger with Batman & Robin in some sort of diabolical trap in which they had to escape from. When I saw the Tony Curtis Movie on Houdini for the first time, I only saw the scene with Houdini under the ice of Lake Michigan. It totally reminded me of an episode of BATMAN. Here was someone trying to escape. I had no idea Houdini did it first!

I've heard that Bob Kane was a fan of Houdini. I can tell you this, IF Batman were a real character, I can guarantee HE would be a devotee of Houdini as well. Houdini after-all made the escape act popular, he even wrote books on handcuff escapes and escapes in general. On top of that he wrote a book called "The Right Way To Do Wrong" which surely would have been in the Batcave Library, or at least in stately Wayne Manor's Library! And he'd probably have to go to Houdini's craftsman to have the Batcuffs made.

Perhaps instead of the bust of William Shakespeare, the creators should have put Houdini's bust there. I mean, come on, it makes more sense to hide a button to a secret panel inside the bust of the world's most famous magician MORE than it does to hide it inside the bust of Shakespeare!