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Old July 23 2014, 02:22 AM   #601
Christopher
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Re: FLASH series being developed for The CW

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Makes you appreciate how ingrained key elements of the Batman's mythos are in our popular culture today, that back then when the character was so young, the makers of the radio show would do such bizarrely off-key version of the character. Adam West's campy portrayal gets a lot of flak, but it was true to how Batman had been depicted for most of his going-on-three-decades of existence at the time.
Well, we're talking post-WWII, so Batman was pretty well-established by then. At the very least, he'd been clearly defined by then as a hero who had a ton of gadgets and equipment, but radio Batman didn't use any. I mean, right after the sneeze incident, they fled the bad guy's mansion and then tried to sneak back in through the pitch-dark cellar, and Batman struck a match so they could see. He didn't even have a lousy flashlight. Jimmy Olsen had a flashlight, a "fountain pen flashlight" that he used in several storylines, but Batman just had a freaking box of matches. Oh, and then the match burned Batman's fingers because he didn't wear gloves.

In the story I'm up to today, Batman and Robin were trying to rescue Perry White from a Peter Lorre-esque racketeer's yacht, and after they got their hands on Perry, they retreated -- into the same cabin where he'd been imprisoned. Which accomplished nothing beyond trapping them until Superman could show up to save them, which was pretty much the Dynamic Duo's go-to move. I guess it's understandable that the writers wanted Superman to be the main hero, but still...

Well, maybe I'm being too hard on radio Batman. Really, all the characters on that show were pretty bad at what they did. I've never known another Clark Kent who was so terrible at keeping his secret identity. He's constantly talking about doing things only Superman could do, or telling people what he sees through a door with his x-ray vision, or flying somewhere to meet someone mere moments after they called him from another city, and then stammering uselessly when they question how he could possibly do these things. And the only reason Lois and Jimmy and Perry never catch on that he's Superman is because they're even dumber than he is. Batman only knows because Superman told him.

Granted, the show was made for kids and written on an appropriate level. But it is kind of hilarious how Clark has been concealing his double identity for so many years but still hasn't learned anything about how to do it effectively. Whenever they do a storyline where someone threatens to expose Superman's identity and narrator Jackson Beck intones about the risk to "Superman's most closely guarded secret," I have to laugh, because constantly blurting out your secret and then trying to backtrack or stammer out an excuse isn't my idea of close guarding.
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Old July 23 2014, 03:53 AM   #602
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Re: FLASH series being developed for The CW

Batman had been around a few years, but he hadn't been around long enough for, say, the people making the show to have read him when they were kids. And his exposure outside of comics was pretty limited at that point (I know there were some movie serials). It's very plausible that they went into it with very little knowledge/understanding of the character, and shoehorned him into an inauthentic role.

I'll give them a pass for the secret identity schtick on the basis that they were playing it broadly for comedic entertainment value. The kids could giggle with glee that they knew the secret, but the adults on the show didn't.
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Old July 23 2014, 05:01 AM   #603
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Re: FLASH series being developed for The CW

^Well, I don't think it was meant to be as comical as it was. It's just that it had to be played broadly given the youth of the target audience. And audiences back then, of all ages, were less genre-savvy, so a lot of things were more unsubtle.
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Old July 23 2014, 06:53 AM   #604
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Re: FLASH series being developed for The CW

^ There's this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vUIMP3k6y90

The fairly obvious idea, it seem obvious now, was to make it so square, and so serious, and so cliche-ridden, and so overdone, and yet do it with such an elegence and style that it would be funny. That it would be so corny, and so bad, that it would be funny.
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Old July 23 2014, 12:50 PM   #605
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Re: FLASH series being developed for The CW

I don't think I've ever heard William Dozier talk beyond the narration in the series. Interesting!
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Old July 23 2014, 03:18 PM   #606
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Re: FLASH series being developed for The CW

To clarify, in my last post I was talking about the '40s Superman radio series, not Batman '66. Batman was unambiguously intended to be a sitcom and a spoof, albeit one that small children would be able to enjoy unironically as an adventure show. The Adventures of Superman, on the other hand, was played straight, but it had qualities that seem quaint and awkward and amusingly strange to modern ears.

(For instance, the complete lack of continuity. The show was a serial, with storylines continuing from one 15-minute episode to the next, and each episode would usually begin with a recap of the closing scene from the last episode -- but the dialogue was almost always entirely different the second time. There was one instance where a henchman suggested an idea to the villain at the end of one episode, and the next episode opened with the villain explaining the same idea to the totally clueless henchman. Then there was the case of the Laugher, an archvillain who was quite ignominiously killed off at the end of one storyline -- his gun randomly blew up in his face while he was trying to kill Lois, with Superman totally uninvolved -- and yet a few years later he reappeared and wanted revenge for Superman sending him to prison.)
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Old July 24 2014, 12:57 AM   #607
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Re: FLASH series being developed for The CW

And they rebooted Superman's origin from an unconventional version at the start of the series that involved him coming to Earth as an adult who grew up in his spacecraft, to a more conventional version when they retold it years later. I haven't listened to the entire series, but I know that much.

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^Well, I don't think it was meant to be as comical as it was. It's just that it had to be played broadly given the youth of the target audience. And audiences back then, of all ages, were less genre-savvy, so a lot of things were more unsubtle.
Also, whatever their virtues, radio programs were a pretty unsubtle medium. They had to telegraph things via dialogue that would have been blatantly obvious in a visual medium. The OTT secret identity business could be seen as part of that approach. They wouldn't have been relying solely on Collyer's voice to get across the idea that Clark Kent and Superman were the same guy, but believed to be two people by the other characters on the series. They may have seen the need to constantly remind the audience through such comical incidents...their audio-only version of Clark winking at the camera.
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Old July 24 2014, 02:52 AM   #608
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Re: FLASH series being developed for The CW

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And they rebooted Superman's origin from an unconventional version at the start of the series that involved him coming to Earth as an adult who grew up in his spacecraft, to a more conventional version when they retold it years later. I haven't listened to the entire series, but I know that much.
Right. The first two episodes were whiplash-inducing. The first episode is the familiar origin story ending with Kal-L (as it was spelled at the time) getting launched from the exploding Krypton. Then episode 2 opens abruptly with Superman arriving at Earth as an adult, already in costume, and somehow fully versed in American English and Earth culture. And he saves some random professor and his son who are never heard from again, and they suggest that he join a newspaper as the best place to learn about trouble, and the kid randomly suggests he call himself Clark Kent.

It was when they relaunched the series early in WWII, after a hiatus, that they retold the origin with the more familiar story of Clark being adopted and raised on Earth (although after that they picked up the continuity, such as it was, from the previous series, rather than doing a complete reboot). Unfortunately, there are no known surviving copies of the episode that tells that story. In the time I've been listening (up to the start of 1948 as of today), I've heard the Krypton origin story told three times, not counting the unaired audition version of the first episode (and not counting the missing relaunch episode), but I've never heard the story of Clark's childhood retold -- although there was a late 1947 story that involved Clark going home to his late father's farm after a bad guy found the rocket that had brought him to Earth.



Also, whatever their virtues, radio programs were a pretty unsubtle medium. They had to telegraph things via dialogue that would have been blatantly obvious in a visual medium. The OTT secret identity business could be seen as part of that approach. They wouldn't have been relying solely on Collyer's voice to get across the idea that Clark Kent and Superman were the same guy, but believed to be two people by the other characters on the series. They may have seen the need to constantly remind the audience through such comical incidents...their audio-only version of Clark winking at the camera.
Hmm, maybe. I have noticed that a lot of things get explained or described twice within a single episode, and it's occurred to me to wonder if that was because radio reception was often iffy and staticky and a listener might not hear every line. (Which helps with those episodes that are really badly preserved, although there are some I can't make out at all. I wish someone would digitally restore them.)

Speaking of describing everything in dialogue, it's funny the way Superman in flight has to constantly give himself commands as if he were riding a horse -- not just "Up, up, and away!" but "Down, down!" and "Faster!" and so on. There was even an episode where Superman had kryptonite-induced amnesia and didn't remember he could fly, and Batman told him to say "Up, up, and away" to activate his flying powers, as though saying it automatically caused him to fly -- which it actually did!

Although my favorite bit is when it goes like this: (whispers) "They're in the next room. I have to open the window quietly so they won't hear me fly away -- as Superman. Now, gently... softly... Okay, now out the window..." (yells) "UP, UP, AND AWAYYYYYYY!!!!!"
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Old July 24 2014, 03:25 AM   #609
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Re: FLASH series being developed for The CW

Well, if I had to rationalize it in-story, I'd say that the flying phrases were psychosomatic triggers or somesuch.

Maybe if Superman had told Batman to say "I'm Batman!", radio Batman would have actually become more like Batman.
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Old July 24 2014, 03:39 AM   #610
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Re: FLASH series being developed for The CW

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Maybe if Superman had told Batman to say "I'm Batman!", radio Batman would have actually become more like Batman.
I doubt it, because that was Michael Keaton's catchphrase, and he was very, very unlike Batman.
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Old July 24 2014, 04:00 AM   #611
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Re: FLASH series being developed for The CW

Sounds like Keaton could have been a role model to that guy on the radio. And the phrase has caught on elsewhere. For example:

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Old July 26 2014, 07:04 PM   #612
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Re: FLASH series being developed for The CW

The latest radio Batman insanity, from "Batman's Great Mystery" in February 1948:

Clark Kent is trying to convince Inspector Henderson that Batman has been replaced with an impostor, imprisoned or killed by a man who lured him into a trap by threatening to expose his greatest secret -- though Clark won't tell Henderson what that secret is, because of course Batman's true identity as Bruce Wayne must be protected at all costs.

But Kent has a plan to expose the impostor, and asks Henderson: "Do you have Batman's fingerprints on file?"

"Why, sure, but we'd need someone close to him to file a formal complaint before we could check them."

"Robin could do that! Let's go out to their house now!"



What is... I don't even...


(By the way, I think the discussion of radio Superman and Batman has become its own separate thing by now, so could it be split into a separate thread? I think it would be posts 593, 595, and 600 onward, although the last part of 595, my response to Morpheus 02, relates to the other ongoing conversation -- is there a way to keep that part of the post in this thread while splitting off the rest to a new thread?)
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Old July 26 2014, 07:35 PM   #613
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Re: FLASH series being developed for The CW

The Pilot episode was very meh. Hopefully it gets better.
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Old July 26 2014, 08:35 PM   #614
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Re: FLASH series being developed for The CW

Christopher wrote: View Post
The latest radio Batman insanity, from "Batman's Great Mystery" in February 1948:

(By the way, I think the discussion of radio Superman and Batman has become its own separate thing by now, so could it be split into a separate thread? I think it would be posts 593, 595, and 600 onward, although the last part of 595, my response to Morpheus 02, relates to the other ongoing conversation -- is there a way to keep that part of the post in this thread while splitting off the rest to a new thread?)
Click multiquote on the messages you want to reference

Then, i think you can start a new thread. Then hit reply, and the system will mention about your multiqoutes from other messages..and then include them.

(And a link to the earliest part of this thread might help too).

definitely some great tangents that deserve separate discussion (that more might join if they saw a different title)
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Old July 30 2014, 01:27 PM   #615
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Re: FLASH series being developed for The CW

Kelly Frye has been cast as Plastique. I never watched much Smallville, but I guess they did use her in that show. However, as a Firestorm fan, I'm excited to hear this, as Plastique debuted in an issue of The Fury of Firestorm.

She's an interesting addition, since she later on went to join the Suicide Squad and marry Captain Nathanial Adam (aka Captain Atom). With the casting of Professor Stein and Ronnie Raymond on Flash, this is great news for a Firestorm fan!
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