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A Cry for Help from A Batman Fan (Jerome A. Holst © 2005)

TV ACRES received this email from a Batman enthusiast on September 14, 2005.

The writer (Sean Bush) wants FOX to create a TV special for the upcoming 40th Anniversary of the BATMAN TV Series. He has gone to great length to detail his idea, and being a Batman fan myself, I felt he should have a chance to be heard. I have posted the text of his email below.

If you want to contribute to his vision of a 40th Anniversary special, then please contact Sean at his email address at hbk_4ever@hotmail.com
---------------------------------------------------------------
Dear sirs,

As you may know, next year will be the 40th anniversary of 20th Century Fox's famous BATMAN TV series of the 1960s. What would be better for the 40th than the discovery of four "new" or "lost" episodes of the series. They do exist and Fox could have them ready in time for the 40th. I'm trying to get Fox to tackle the project. Please help me in anyway that you can.

The episodes to which I'm referring are the two, 1-hour live action "Legends of the Superheroes" (THE ROAST and THE CHALLENGE) that were produced in the 1970s by Hanna-Barbara. These specials featured Adam West, Burt Ward, and Frank Gorshin all reprising their roles from the TV series as well as the show's famous Batmobile. They were done in the same campy fashion as the series, and being 1-hour each, they can easily be turned into two, 2-parters (four episodes total). And like the series, the villains are all played by well known comics of the time, and even features the traditional celebrity appearance, in this case Ed McMahon. I don't believe that they've been seen on TV since their original airdate, so to most fans they will be like new. So with just a little tweaking, we can have four "new" or "lost" episodes of the series for the 40th anniversary.

Let's start with the second of the two (THE CHALLENGE) as that will be the easier to prepare. It already contains the perfect place for the cliffhanger and has two Batfights: one at the end, and one in the first half/episode that Batman loses just like in the series. Just make these 10 slight alterations:

1) Replace the narration with someone who sounds more like William Dozier (the series original narrator).

2) Eliminate the laugh track as it was never used on the series.

3) Eliminate the "Legends..." opening at the beginning and start the show with the villains plotting their crime (which immediately follows the opening)

4) At the end of the above scene the camera zooms in on the Doomsday Device countdown. Add a couple of seconds of new footage: a close-up of the countdown. Then go to the regular TV Batman series opening and credits.

5) Fix this blooper: Sinestro is sabotaging the Batmobile but clearly has no tools in his hands. (oops!) Add in some yellow beams so that it looks like he is using his power ring to do the damage.

6) Add "POW!", "BIFF!" etc... during the final Batfight as well as Batman's gas station fight with Solomon Grundy during the first half/episode.

7) Cliffhanger: Batman unknowingly buys a booby trapped motorcycle from the Weather Wizard who then turns to the camera and says," They won't last 5 minutes on that bike!" then the show goes to a commercial. As soon as the action pauses, add in this commentary: "What devilish trap have the Dynamic
Duo befallen, and will the Superheroes find the Doomsday Device in time? For the answers, tune in tomorrow. Same Bat-time, Same Bat-channel." Start the second half/episode with the usual recap followed by the Batman opening and credits. Then pick up where the first half/episode left off. It will work
perfectly.

8) Create new titles for the two halves/episodes, one of which referring to the "challenge" in order to be true to the original title.

9) Add the Batman theme during the following scenes: The Batfights, when Batman's in the Batmobile, on the jetski, running ("Holly-blisters Batman!") and when he takes off on Booby trapped motorcycle. However, when cycle separates, make the theme sound like it's being played on tin cans for both humor and to emphasize that they are on an out of control clunker.

10) When Batman and Captain Marvel ram Dr. Sivana's head into the Doomsday Device to deactivate it, add "GONG!", a gong sound, and shake the camera at the point of impact.

And that's all there is to it. You now have episodes # 123 and 124 (THE ROAST will become #121 and 122) of Batman.

Now for THE ROAST. Unlike THE CHALLENGE -- Batman was not the center player in this one. At the same time there is no obvious place for the cliffhanger. As a result this one will take a little more work, but can still be turned into 2 "new" or "lost" episodes. For starters, I have come up with a new opening made from classic footage with new dialog supplied by
West, Ward, McMahon, and new narration (again, find someone who sounds like William Dozier). This opening will make Batman the main focus of the episodes. NOTE: New dialog is clearly marked where needed.

-----EXTERIOR SHOT OF WAYNE MANOR-----

NARRATOR: (new dialog)
"Stately Wayne Manor, home of millionaire Bruce Wayne and his youthful ward
Dick Grayson better known as the Dynamic Duo: Batman and Robin..."

-----BATPHONE RINGING-----

NARRATOR CONTINUES: (new dialog)
..."where they are about to receive what may be the most urgent call for their services that they've ever had."

-----ALFRED THE BUTLER ANSWERS THE BATPHONE-----

ALFRED:
"I'll get him sir."

CUT TO:

-----BRUCE ANSWERS THE BATPHONE-----

BRUCE:
"Yes Commissioner?"

Ed McMAHON'S VOICE: (new dialog)
"Hello Batman, this is Ed McMahon."

-----SHOT OF ALFRED WHO REACTS WITH SURPRISE-----

BRUCE'S VOICE: (new dialog)
"Ed McMahon?"

DICK'S VOICE: (new dialog)
"Holy-Publisher's Clearinghouse!"

-----CLOSE UP OF GRAYSON-----

BRUCE'S VOICE: (new dialog)
"Well, Mr. McMahon, to what do we owe this pleasure?"

-----SHOT OF BRUCE LISTENING TO BATPHONE-----

McMAHON'S VOICE: (new dialog)
"I'm hosting a special televised celebrity roast in honor of all the
superheroes. I would be most honored if you and the Boy Wonder would attend."

-----CLOSE UP OF DICK ACTIVATING THE SECRET BATCAVE ENTRANCE-----

BRUCE'S VOICE: (new dialog)
"Thank you very much. Robin and I would be happy to attend."

-----BRUCE HANGS UP BATPHONE-----

BRUCE:
"To the Bat-poles!"

-----BRUCE AND DICK SLIDE DOWN THE BAT-POLES [then the famous BATMAN opening and credits]-----

-----BATMAN AND ROBIN ENTER THE BATCAVE VIA BAT-POLES AND TAKE OFF IN THE BATMOBILE WHICH WE SEE EXIT THE CAVE THROUGH THE SECRET ENTRANCE AND DRIVE DOWN THE ROAD-----

From this point we begin "THE ROAST" starting with the "Legends..." opening, which now acts as the opening to Ed McMahon's show. (NOTE: Do not replace the narration for the "Legends..." opening as he will now be the narrator for McMahons show. Also, being that this is supposed to take place before a live audience, leave the laugh track in for this one.) Unfortunately, as I stated earlier, on "THE ROAST" Batman and Robin are not the main focal point. None the less, they do have their good moments. These, along with the new opening will help to keep more of the focus on Batman.

1) Robin using charades do tell Batman that he's totaled the Batmobile.

2) Batman "saves the day" by throwing a pie in Mordru's face.

3) A villainess talks about an affair she had with Batman ("Remember that time you gave Robin a quarter and sent him off to the movies?")

4) Robin gets in several "Holy" words.

5) The show begins with Batman introducing Ed McMahon.

Now for the problems that need to be fixed:

1) First of all, there is no Batfight and therefore no obvious place for "POW!" and so forth. The one exception being when Batman throws the pie. (Be sure to add "SPLAT!!!".)

SOLUTION: The super villains are wrecking havoc on stage throughout the show (like Solomon Grundy repeatedly beating up Ed McMahon). Add the "POW!" and so forth during these times.

2) There is no obvious place for the cliffhanger.

SOLUTION: The show is filled with "we'll be right back" commercial breaks. During one of these have the narrator (the William Dozier sound-alike) say: "What super villains will be next to wreak havoc on the Superheroes? Will they be able to withstand it? And will Ed McMahon's medical insurance have
to go up? To find out, tune in tomorrow. Same Bat-time, same Bat-channel." Start the next half/episode with the usual recap+Batman opening, then pick up where the first half/episode left off.

3) Sadly, Frank Gorshin did not appear in this one, so Batman does not have an arch enemy appear on stage. There may be a way to fix this as well.

SOLUTION: In the late 80's (during a new "Batmania" boom) there was a TV special produced to help promote the series. In this special, Julie Newmar -- looking as sexy as ever -- gets back into her Catwoman outfit. The only footage of this that I have ever seen is on the video "BATMANIA: From Comics To Screen. So I don't know how much footage there is. But if there is a sufficient amount, you could use this to have Catwoman appear on stage, per (no pun intended) haps singing an evil song. Have Julie Newmar record the needed dialog, and have the camera going back and forth between Catwoman,
and shots of the intrigued Superheroes and McMahon. Early in "THE ROAST" there is even a scene of Batman applauding wildly. This could be re-used here as well.

If it will be too difficult to put her image on the scenery, then have this be a pre-recorded dance that they're watching on screen. Either way have Ed McMahon announce her as "the sexiest villainess in the world. Batman's arch enemy/dream girl: Catwoman!" Or something to that effect.

Perhaps, since they're all masked anyway, a few seconds of new footage can be shot of the superheroes trying to rush to the stage with dollar bills. Maybe even getting into a fight amongst themselves (providing the show with a Bat-fight). This would be a perfect reason for Ed McMahon to go to a commercial break. The show will then just pick up from there. It will be a flawless seem.

4) All of this added footage will obviously make the episodes run over.

SOLUTION: True they will run over, so for usual TV viewing some parts (perhaps Retired Man's constant yapping) will need to be cut out. But for video/DVD, and per haps a TV special to air them for the first time, they should be shown in their entirety. The new opening will obviously happen during the first episode, while the Catwoman scene should be in the second. Perhaps the second to last villain.

All that's left is to create new titles, one of which referring to "the
Roast" in order to stay true to the original title. And that's all there is to it. We now have a total of four "new" or "lost" episodes of the Batman TV series just in time for the 40th anniversary.

Please help me to get 20th Century Fox to do this. E-mail them and tell them that you want these episodes made ready for the 40th. Post this information on your site and ask others to join us. We can make this happen.
In addition to the 40th anniversary, the recent passing of Frank Gorshin is a sign that this must be done as soon as possible while West, Ward, McMahon and Newmar are still with us. So please help us in any way you can.

Sincerely,

Sean Bush
4645 Beechgrove Dr.
Independence, KY 41018

P.S. Please Answer if you have any helpful advice or know who all I should contact that could help to get this project done by the 40th.

Thanks,

Sean Bush hbk_4ever@hotmail.com
 


 

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