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Film / Batman and Robin Serial

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No, not that Batman & Robin.

The sequel to Batman's film debut, the 1943 movie The Batman, Batman and Robin was released in 1949 by Columbia Pictures and served as a sequel serial, consisting of fifteen chapters in a similar way as the original. Robert Lowery played Batman, while Johnny Duncan played Robin. Supporting players included Jane Adams as Vicki Vale and veteran character actor Lyle Talbot as Commissioner Gordon.

The plot dealt with the duo facing off against the Wizard, a hooded villain whose identity remains a mystery throughout the serial until the end. The serial covers their adventures in attempting to thwart the Wizard's nefarious deeds.

See also The Batman for the original Batman film. This along with the film serial before it also inspired the 1960s TV series.


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The Batman and Robin serial provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Artistic License – Physics: Remote control does not control any electronic device in a 50 mile radius, let alone machines that haven't been equipped to be remote controlled.
  • Canon Immigrant: Vicki Vale's brother Jimmy.
  • Character Shilling: Batman and Robin have been called a lot of things — "glamorous" is seldom one of them.
  • Death by Secret Identity: Vicki Vale's brother Jimmy finds out Batman is Bruce Wayne. Guess who doesn't survive to the end of the episode?
  • His Name Is...: The Wizard chokes Barry Brown to unconsciousness before he can reveal his identity on-air. Unlike many examples, Brown recovers, albeit too late to do much.
  • Hypnotic Eyes: The Wizard, courtesy of cheap flashing LEDs.
  • Informed Attribute: Bruce being referred to as a "wealthy playboy", despite Wayne Manor being shown as a six-room single-floor house in the suburbs, not a mansionnote , and the Batmobile an affordable mid-market convertible; the only indication that he has much money at all is Alfred puttering around the house. (Prof. Hammil, by comparison, has not only a valet, but an absolutely gigantic estate and a sprawling, elegantly appointed home with its own secret passage, but it's never once commented upon.)
    • Similarly, the narration refers to Batman and Robin as "glamorous figures that vanish as suddenly as they appear" — while they're stumbling very conspicuously out of their Mercury in costumes best suited for kids' party entertainers.
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  • Non-Indicative Title:
    • Episodes "Robin's Wild Ride" and "Robin Rescues Batman" are bald-faced lies. Robin never has a wild ride,note  and he certainly doesn't rescue Batman at any point in the episode. "Target—Robin!" implies the Wizard hasn't targeted Robin until this episode. He's always targeted the dynamic duo. The reason for this is that the episode titles were written far in advance of the actual scripts, to entice theater owners into exhibiting the series. The screenwriters paid little attention to the episode titles when they were doing the actual writing.
    • Averted, of sorts, with The Wizard. The name does not come from a magical wizard like Merlin, but it's actually a reference to Thomas Edison, "The Wizard of Menlo Park."
  • Off-the-Shelf FX: The Wizard's "hypnotic eyes" are tiny flashing lightbulbs.
  • Plot Twist: The series had been hinting strongly that the wheelchair-ridden Professor, who used some device to make himself walk normally, was the Wizard. It was his valet's twin brother instead.
  • Rich Idiot with No Day Job: Again, Bruce's cover, but in this series, it's played as constantly being exhausted and disinterested.
  • Spoiler Title: Episode 15, "Batman Victorious." Subverted in that the episode still manages to have a Plot Twist.
  • Thememobile: Like the first serial, the budget didn't allow for a separate Batmobile, so Batman and Robin drive around in Bruce Wayne's Mercury. Lampshaded when Vicki Vale asks Batman if Bruce Wayne knows that Batman is using his car.
  • Traintop Battle: It wouldn't be an action-adventure serial of any kind without one.

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