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Western Animation / Batfink

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Batfink was created by Hal Seeger and is a parody of Batman and The Green Hornet, two shows which premiered a year earlier. Each episode consists of a five-minute short and the series had exactly 100 episodes.

Each episode follows the exploits of Batfink, an anthropomorphic superpowered bat with metallic wings and his bumbling human sidekick, the Capable Karate, as they protect their home city and battle various supervillains. Most episodes, it's their arch-nemesis, resident Mad Scientist Hugo A-Go-Go and his wacky schemes for world domination, while other episodes featured numerous others who were usually one-shots.

The show first aired in September 1967, but reruns were shown on the Nickelodeon show Weinerville in the 1990s, and on CBBC from 2004 to 2008 as segments on Dick & Dom in da Bungalow.

Batfink provides examples of:

  • Affectionate Parody: Of 60's superhero shows and films, specifically of Batman and The Green Hornet. Amusing since the show started the same year both shows aired. The show mercilessly lampshades everything!
  • Baddie Flattery: Curly the Cannonball was excessively worshipful of Batfink, apparently due to Batfink being his hero before he [Curly] turned into a two-bit villain.
  • Big Bad: Batfink's main adversary, Hugo A-Go-Go, seems to fill this role, although different episodes may have a different villain.
  • Bullet Hole Spelling: The opening sequence has the titular character's name being spelled out by bullets that ricochet off Batfink's steel wings and into a wall.
  • Bumbling Sidekick: Batfink's sidekick, Karate, seems to fill this role by being clumsy and often getting Batfink into inescapable situations but at least he knows karate. Also he is often the source of the Deus ex Machina found within the show.
  • Casting Gag: The parody became very meta in the Latin American Spanish dubbing, because the voice actor dubbing Batfink (Guillermo Romano) was the same actor dubbing Adam West in Batman and, in a roundabout way, Super Friends.
  • Catchphrase: "My supersonic sonar radar will help me" and "Your bullets cannot harm me; my wings are like a shield of steel!". Also "Well done, Karate!" whenever Batfink's sidekick pulls a Big Damn Heroes moment. They lampshaded it in Hugo's Hoke, when Hugo's Hate Plague prompts The Capable Karate to sarcastically ask, "Why don't you get some new dialogue?", and in later episodes, they'd play with the phrases (e.g., "Your magnetism cannot harm me; my wings are like a shield of de-magnatized steel!")
  • Cool Car: Batfink rides in a customized pink Volkswagen Beetle-like car called the "Battillac" (rhymes with "Cadillac"), that is outfitted with a sun roof and lots of barriers and shields. All "thermonuclear plutonium" ones.
  • Dating Catwoman: One episode introduced Judy Jitsu, a super-villainous love interest for Karate.
  • Deus ex Machina: Every episode involves Batfink coming to a situation where it seems he cannot escape. However, at this point, the action would freeze and the narrator would ironically ask dramatically whether Batfink would survive. Then Batfink would survive this seemingly inescapable situation almost always via something improbable or out of context. In one occasion it was the narrator buying time for Batfink with his narration.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Karate originally spoke with a rather stereotypical Asian Speekee Engrish accent in the first few episodes, before it was swapped for a more nasally New York-sounding accent. His voice actor, Len Maxwell said this was inspired by Don Adams and his character of Maxwell Smart from Get Smart, which was also popular at the time. He was also drawn with stereotypical Asian Buck Teeth that were later removed.
  • Evil Plan: Regardless of the villain, the devious plot usually boiled down to 'make money and kill Batfink'.
  • Family Honor: Parodied in “Stupidman”, where the Chief refuses to go after the eponymous villain, due to them being brothers-in-law.
  • Fantastic Science: The Battilac is outfitted with a sun roof and lots of barriers and shields. In this way, when the car falls into a valley or gets shocked by a sound wave, it remains intact. Then, Batfink says something like, "It's a good thing the Battillac is equipped with a thermo-nuclear plutonium insulated blast shield!" and Karate says, "It's also good it was a small bomb." Also, it is revealed that Batfink obtained his superpowers after being born in an abandoned plutonium mine.
  • Mad Scientist: Hugo A-Go-Go, 'the maddest scientist of them all'.
  • Nigh-Invulnerable: "A missile that can find him he will never feel; he'll use his wings for protection. They're a shield of steel!"
  • Parody: The show is a parody of Batman and The Green Hornet, two shows which premiered the same year as Batfink.
  • Police Are Useless: Subverted. The police usually try to fight the villain first, but when that fails, the Chief will summon Batfink and Karate to deal with the villain, after which they will arrest on defeat.
  • Stock Footage: Batfink reuses a lot of the same footage e.g. the intro to the initial briefings by the Chief (the TV screen hotline buzzing into life), Batfink and Karate getting into the Battillac, the Battillac going round mountain bends, the Battillac going over a bridge, Batfink's radar and others.
  • Status Quo Is God: Like in most older action cartoons, the villains are always arrested and go to jail at the end of an episode, but are out again as soon as another script calls for them to oppose Batfink. Especially Archenemy Hugo a Go-Go.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: Happens frequently between Hugo and Karate.
  • Strictly Formula: The episodes tend to play out much the same way no matter what. A crook with a weird name steals something, the police chief calls Batfink on his TV, Batfink rides out in the Batillac, "My supersonic sonar radar will help me!" to find the villain, "Your weapons cannot harm me! My wings are like a shield of steel!", the villain finds a loophole that lets them knock out Batfink and put him in a deathtrap, time stops when the narrator asks if this is really the end of Batfink, it turns out it isn't, the villain goes to jail, there's a wrap-up joke or two in the police chief's office.
  • Super Drowning Skills: Swimming's difficult when you've got a pair of giant steel wings permanently attached to your back.
  • Villain of the Week: Most episodes involve a villain who is introduced in that episode and is also beaten in the same episode. However, this is not true for the Hugo A-Go-Go episodes and the episode "Tough Macduff", where a number of Batfink's foes are gathered all together against him.
  • Wing Shield: Batfink’s main form of defense consists covering his body with one of his wings. He'll make sure the baddies know that they are Immune to Bullets.
  • Once an Episode: Batfink saying: "Your bullets cannot harm me! My wings are like a shield of steel!".
  • Written Sound Effect: Batfink's Supersonic Sonar Radar seems to be basically the word "BEEP".
  • Wunza Plot: Batfink (heroic bat with steel wings) and Karate (bumbling karate guy) work together to fight crime.