Tony Mastroianni Review Collection

4 Hours of Batman -- Man, It's Wild

Cleveland Press 1965

There are these four no-goodnies, see. And they're up to something.

Then these two cats wearing long underwear and crazy capes show up and they're not yelling "trick or treat" or anything like that.

But one of those hoods spots them and just like that he sizes up the situation. No dummy is he.

And he utters a line that will be spoken dozens of times during the evening, a line that surely will rank with some of the great dramatic speeches of all time.

"Look out," says he, "it's Batman."

It kind of grips you, doesn't it. Especially after you have heard it a few times and you know the scene that will surely follow.

FOR THAT wonderful utterance is a cue for at least five minutes of fighting. It takes that long because all of these fellows are out of shape.

It's a fight with more sound than fury as each blow to the jaw sounds more like a hammer hitting an anvil than fist hitting flesh.

Over at the Continental Art these nights people are turning out to see something called "An Evening With Batman and Robin." The show is all 15 chapters of a 1943 serial film and it runs more than four hours plus an intermission.

I DROPPED in the other night for old times sake. It's wild.

This movie is so bad it's hilarious.

You can wander in at any time and people usually do. There's not much of a story line which makes it great if you want to wander out for a snack.

It's a rather strange affair for an art film house. Like most such theaters the Continental has no popcorn or candy concession. The nearby drugstore ran out of popcorn the other day and candy bars reportedly ran low.

THE COFFEE POT kept warm on the small hot plate needed refilling 20 times last Friday night, 25 or 30 times last Saturday. Normal production is two or three pots for a busy night.

There was a run on sugar cubes, too. Not so much for the coffee, but for straight eating on the part of non coffee drinking kids.

The more energetic and hungry have been making their way to the nearby Howard Johnson's to bring back more substantial rations.

No one seems to worry about arriving for the beginning, are willing to buy a ticket no matter how far along the film is.

J. CARROL NAISH is the villain, a Japanese spy operating here during World War II. He punctuates his lines, with a whistling sound that results from a sharp intake of breath, hisses out such phrases as "So good," and "So nice."

Commented one character in the film: "Your accent is a little off, but your makeup is perfect."

Batman is a pleasure-loving playboy who becomes a hard hitting crime fighter every time he gets rid of his crazy civilian clothes -- double-breasted suit, wide tie and extra wide brim hat -- and dons his tights, mask and cape.

His young side-kick, Robin, is a skinny, bushy-haired kid who doesn't look strong enough to fight his way out of the playground.

And that girl! Pretty, but gee she's stupid. Every other chapter there's a mysterious phone call telling her that if she wants to find her missing uncle she should show up at a certain lonely address all alone.

And so, putting on her wide-shoulder coat over her wide-shoulder dress and placing a big floppy hat on her big floppy hairdo, out she goes.

Wandering into an empty, one-room cabin in the middle of nowhere and calling out several times she surmises aloud: "I guess there's no one here."

How's that for being perceptive?