Saturday, April 26, 2014

Atomic Batteries to Power! Turbines to Speed!

In keeping with our last two posts on Lorenzo Semple, Jr. and the current BATMAN ’66 comic book, I’ll throw out this quick item.

Lorenzo Semple, Jr. had Robin the Boy Wonder utter this now classic pair of lines, when the Batmobile  took off on its first “14 Mile” trip to Gotham City, in the pilot episode – and (one would imagine, via stock footage) often thereafter.   

Atomic Batteries to Power!  Turbines to Speed!”

Roger!  Ready to move out!”, would come the grim reply from Batman! 

The iconic scene from BATMAN '66 # 8 (2014)
 But, did this ever take place in the original comic books? 
I certainly haven’t read every Batman comic ever done, but I have read a fair number of them and would tend to think not.  However, this iconic scene WAS recreated in the pages of BATMAN ’66, Issue # 8.  A wonderful "tribute comic book" to the TV series

Now, I may never know if “Atomic Batteries to Power!  Turbines to Speed!” was uttered in a BATMAN comic book before BATMAN ’66 # 8… but I CAN say with absolute certainty that it WAS part of the dialogue of another comic story. 

Why?  Because I wrote that dialogue myself! 

Check out this panel from “Moldfinger” or “The Spy Who Ducked-Out On Me”, from Boom! Studios' 2010 hardcover collection “Walt Disney’s Donald Duck Classics Quack Up”.  (Click to Enlarge)

Oddly, I didn’t know it at the time I was writing the script, but this story dated back to that wonderful year of 1966, making it more appropriate than even I realized for me to include that iconic bit from the BATMAN 1966 TV series. 
Bonus 1966 reference:  In the same panel, my use of the word “Nucleonic” originates with the 1966 LOST IN SPACE episode “The Sky Pirate” – and my favorite line:

Why don’t you just blast him with your Nucleonic Planet Buster?” says young Will Robinson to Space Pirate Alonzo P. Tucker.  

After all this… My name might not be Roger, but I’m clearly Ready to move out!”. 


Anonymous said...

I haven't read every Batman comic ever published, but I'm reasonably sure that the "atomic batteries" line began and ended with the TV series. My peak comic book-reading years coincided with the TV show (1966-68), and I never saw that phrase in Batman, Detective Comics, Brave & Bold, World's Finest Comics, or Justice League. And that period was when the comics were the most heavily influenced by the TV show.

In fact, I don't recall any reference to the Batmobile using atomic power at any time in the comics, or seeing anything like that A-framed nuclear reactor in the Batcave. That goes for Silver and Bronze Age comics, and reprints of earlier stuff, including the period circa 1960, when DC comics, including Batman, were following a sci-fi trend.

When I was seven or eight, watching the TV show, it never bothered me that Batman had a nuclear reactor within 14 miles of a major city. But then, I never wondered about a police commissioner deputizing Batman and Robin without knowing anything about their backgrounds, or even their real names. Or how Robin could be deputized even though he was a minor, too young to be certified as a law enforcement officer in any state. Or how Batman could allow Robin to accompany him on dangerous missions, yet he never got prosecuted for child endangerment.

But the TV show sort of existed in its own goofy never-never land, where rules of logic were different from the real world. And the sixties were a more innocent time, anyway.


Joe Torcivia said...

Ah, but TC… If there’s ANYONE I’d TRUST with a nuclear reactor within 14 miles of a major city it’s Batman! And, perhaps Adam West’s particular version of Batman all the more so!

As for those nagging “Child Endangerment” issues, we could hang MANY of our icons on that charge, couldn’t we? John and Maureen Robinson – and, by extension, the United States Government – let alone Donald Duck’s Uncle Scrooge, who routinely put his grandnephews in perilous situations for the sake of employing cheap labor.

But, as you say, they were innocent times, when we liked seeing kids act as peers to adventuring adults!

I pretty much mentally surveyed the vast number of BATMAN and Batman-related comics I’ve read from the Silver Age until “The New 52”, and I don’t recall the bit appearing in comic books, and so I think we concur on this! It *would* be interesting, though, if anyone could come up with an example to disprove my assertion.

I’ve read relatively few Golden Age Batman stories (…or those from the “First Transitional Age” that buffered the Golden and Silver Ages – late ‘40s thru late ‘50s?), but I seriously doubt a science-fiction-y concept like a nuclear powered automobile would have appeared back then!

And, yes… The TV Series certainly existed in a (as you so perfectly put it) “goofy never-never land”, which became all the more goofier as time passed… culminating in such wonderfully bizarre notions as “explosive mechanical mice, led away by Bat-Pied Pipers” and the “Terrific Trio” flattened into cardboard cutouts! Even the most excessive of the Silver Age antics (which seemed to manifest themselves especially in Mort Weisinger’s SUPERMAN titles – and in THE FLASH) managed to stop short of that! Oh, wait… I think The Flash was flattened once, wasn’t he? No mice, though!