Filmation followed up The Superman/Aquaman Hour of Adventure (1967) with The Batman/Superman Hour (1968), securing the rights to the first animated iteration of the Caped Crusader who was already a hit in the live-action TV series, starring Adam West, Burt Ward, and a talented cast of famous faces making up the Rogues’ Gallery.
Narrated by Ted Knight (who does a lot of voice work, appearing as Alfred the butler, Commissioner Gordon, the Penguin, the Joker, Mr. Freeze, and a number of other characters), the complete collection of The Adventures of Batman present 34 stories, alternating between tales told in two segments and tin one, with each segment running about seven minutes.
Airing Saturday mornings and geared towards kids, these adventures frequently find Batman (voiced by Olan Soule) and Robin (voiced by Casey Kasem who also voices Chief O’Hara) combating villains, in solo outings and those who have teamed up, involved in robberies of cash, jewels, et cetera. The most fun adventures are the capers when the villains are competing against each other.
Other familiar faces from the Batman comics that pop up include the Riddler, the Mad Hatter, the Scarecrow, the Catwoman, and Gordon’s daughter, Barbara, who is also Batgirl. The first time Batgirl joins the Dynamic Duo in the series, our heroes already know her. Jane Webb performs the voices of the two aforementioned female characters.
The video is presented in a 1080p/MPEG-4 AVC encoded transfer displayed at the original aspect ratio of 1.33:1. The colors pop off the screen in bright, bold hues across the spectrum, evoking its comic book origins. Blacks are inky and whites are accurate, creating a strong contrast. The image looks clean from damage. There are occasions when the source is incomplete (like Batman missing his chest logo) or dirt smudges can be seen on the backgrounds.
The audio is available in DTS-HD 2.0 Master Audio. Dialogue is clear. The score and effect tracks are balanced well in the mix. There is a faint hiss on the track but no other signs of wear or damage.
The Blu-ray offers no extras.
Although it might be too simple for modern viewers, The Adventures of Batman is a fun throwback before the dark of the Dark Knight dominated the character and his stories. Watching a few episodes in one sitting, the viewer will notice the animation is limited and repetitive, a common trait of Filmation’s low budget house style. Those who are fans of the show should be happy with this high-definition presentation.
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