Sunday, May 29, 2011

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Batfink vs. "The Copycat Bat" (1967)

One of the many superhero satires to hit the air in the late 60's was Batfink, a sendup of not just Batman, but also The Green Hornet. Hal Seeger (Milton the Monster) opted to syndicate Batfink, with the shorts airing as part of weekday compilation packages in its initial run in 1967 (a couple of shorts aired in 1966 as pilots). The series was later brought back when Nickelodeon acquired it to use on comic Marc Weiner's Weinerville show in the 90's. Boomerang was the last network to hold the rights at last check, and aired Batfink on Saturdays as part of its now-defunct Cartoons Without a Clue lunch time block.

Comedian and television personality Frank Buxton (Discovery) voiced Batfink and arch-foe Hugo A-Go-Go, among others, while Karate, the clumsy sidekick, was played by Len Maxwell (who'd make a comeback 30 years later on MTV's Celebrity Deathmatch). To give you some idea of the simplicity of the plotting (most episodes were written by TV vet Heywood "Woody" Kling), here's "The Copycat Bat", uploaded by PeppeRaskell1 to YouTube:



Obviously, subtlety was not in Hugo's vocabulary, which is why he's always easily beaten.

Rating: B-.

2 comments:

KARTOON-KOMPANY said...

I really love the Batfink cartoons! I remember these as a kid in the '60s. Batfink would really be cool as a comeback if he had a really good storyline...

hobbyfan said...

In the right hands, he would be. That is to say, as long as someone outside of Cartoon Network gets the rights to him.