THE BAT-MAN SERIAL (1943) EPISODE 4 – SLAVES OF THE RISING SUN!
It opens on a frantic fist-fight on a train trestle and a locomotive carrying a shipment of radium bound for Gotham City. Batman and Robin battle to stop the henchmen from blowing up the tracks. One henchmen goes into the river below and drowns. Batman gets knocked out briefly by a well-thrown … rock? (A gun? Something. He gets hit in the head.) He manages to defuse the bomb and Robin saves him by throwing him into the icy waters and then jumping in himself. The crooks failed (and one guy died) but at least Batman and “that kid” died too. The mission is not a complete failure.
OH, YES IT IS because Batman and “that kid” not only survived (BECAUSE OF COURSE THEY DID), they also stopped the crooks and they still have the Radium Gun.
Dr. Daka, the racist, RACIST villain (a bog-standard 40s Yellow Peril mastermind played by a white guy. At least he doesn’t have buck-teeth, that’s the nicest thing you can say about him) is feeding his pets, a pit full of crocodiles. (This will be important later.) He orders sake for six, to toast his henchmen’s success on stealing more radium for his Radium Gun. The Lead Henchman shows up and reports failure. He then quits Daka’s employ and makes an impassioned (and racist) anti-Axis speech. When Daka sicks his two MIND-CONTROLLED henchmen on him (who have the blank, dead eyes of SLAVES! and wear metal beanies and matching sweat-shirts), the Lead Henchman shoots one and then threatens Dr. Daka with an automatic pistol. (I believe it was a .45.) The guy says “SO LONG, SUCKERS!” right before Daka triggers the trap-door that sends him to his crocodile-fuelled death. (I told you it would become important later.)
Robin appears to be 35 years old.
A phony fortune teller (secretly an agent of Dr. Daka) gets punched out (and then impersonated) by Bruce Wayne. Bruce’s girlfriend Linda Page* (who’s uncle is the mind-controlled slave who DIDN’T get shot in the previous scene) gets roughed up a bit and mugged for a clue but Alfred drives her to the hospital while she’s still unconscious. (*Bruce briefly dated a woman named JULIE Page around this time in the comic books. I’d prove citation but take my word for it.)
There’s a hilariously over-sped car chase with an armored car and a normal sedan, not a Bat-Mobile. Batman changes in the car. Robin drives. Batman gets on top of the armored car and busts into it using the Radium Gun. He beats up the driver (another one of Daka’s henchmen) and the armored car GOES OVER A CLIFF!
DON’T MISS OUR NEXT THRILLING CHAPTER! EPISODE 5 – THE LIVING CORPSE!
Hugh Hefner used to show these serials at parties and they were such a hit, somebody decided to adapt Batman to television. And look how well that turned out.