I remember being deeply puzzled the first time I saw the 1966 Batman movie. I must have been about eight or nine when it showed up on TV, advertised on one of our local syndicated stations as a big event. Knowing Bats only from the comics, I didn't quite know what to do with the Adam West epic that unfurled before my eyes-- its camp humor went right over my head. My strongest memory was of waiting-- waiting for something to happen, waiting for the plot to kick in, waiting for any sort of suspense to build. It was like encountering Waiting for Godot at a very young age, except here Vladimir and Estragon show up in capes and cowls.

I don't know that it would be right to refer to this Batman as "good," per se, but in a moment when the darker Nolan version seems suffocatingly omnipresent (I liked the most recent film, but also feel slightly smothered by it all these months later), there's something refreshing about returning to the arch, tongue-in-cheek images above. When nihilism becomes the new conventional wisdom, camp parody rediscovers its subversive edge, and can allow us to access the bright primary colors and shoddy rear projections in a renewed fashion. By layering The Dark Knight's preview dialogue on top, the mash-up above also calls attention to just how bizarre and surreal those original images were-- cut out and reframed, they once again become marvelous.


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