The Bizarre (& Unauthorised) 1960s BATMAN Films of The Philippines - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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The Bizarre (& Unauthorised) 1960s BATMAN Films of The Philippines

Batman fights Dracula, anyone? 

First appearing in comic book form in 1939, Bob Kane & Bill Finger's most famous creation for DC Comics, Batman, is known and loved the world over. The Caped Crusader has appeared in a variety of successful (and sometimes not so successful) films, and has been played by a wide variety of actors; like Adam West, Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, George Clooney, Ben Affleck, Bob Soler, Dolphy, Jing Abalos and Joey de Leon. All names you likely know, right?

Yeah, well possibly not so much for the last four. Unless, of course, you are a resident of the Philippines and have been treated to one of their film industry's big-screen takes on Batman.

In 1965, before Adam West donned the cape and cowl (and tights, in his case), director Paquito Toledo kicked off the Philippine Batman Mockbusters with Alyas Batman at Robin...

Translating as Alias Batman & Robin (if you hadn't worked that out for yourself), the film stars the famous Philippine actors Bob Soler as Batman. I say famous, possibly more infamous as before he played Batman he'd already taken a turn at a variety of other superheroes, including Captain Barbell (natch) and (an unauthorised version of) The Phantom in other Filipino films. The same year, Soler, Toledo and most of the rest of the team above regrouped and took a shot at another superhero - this time it's a DC / Marvel crossover...

Captain Philippines at Boy Pinoy is, essentially, Captain America (complete with Filipino flag shield) and his kid sidekick who is the same actor who played Robin still dressed as Robin (obviously the budget didn't stretch to a new costume for the sidekick).

The two films are, essentially, low budget comedy affairs and no footage seems to still exist of them - which for legal reasons is probably a good thing.

Lou Salvador Jr. who played Boy Pinoy/Robin was dubbed "The James Dean of the Philippines" a decade earlier. So if the actual James Dean had not died in that car crash, perhaps he'd have given Burt Ward a run for his money?

Moving on, and two films which saw Batman share the spotlight with other famous characters. You know, natural, complimentary team-ups, like...

Batman Fights Dracula (or Batman Bitch-Slaps Dracula, if the poster is to be believed) was made in colour, unlike all the other Filipino films on this page. Starring Jing Abalos as Batman, he was a member of the S.O.S. Daredevils and previously worked as a stunt instructor until becoming a fully-fledged star in this film. Dracula is played by Dante Rivero (who is still working today), and even Robin gets in on the action (or "Ruben") played here by Rolan Robles in what appears to be his sole film credit.

The film is now, sadly, lost with no prints left in existence. The plot is based around a mad scientist called Doctor Zorba who is at his wit's end because Batman keeps foiling his plans. In an attempt to take Batman out of the picture, together with his fanatic follower Turko, they hatch a plan to bring Dracula back to life so that he can be controlled by them by means of ultra-ray sunglasses!

Obviously they need Dracula to defeat Batman because... er?... just because, OK! Look, it's probably something to do with vampire bats and some tenuous link or something like that. Just go with it. Jing Abalos gets it, right?...

From here on out, surely, this thing writes itself...

Zorba resurrects Dracula in a hidden laboratory/cemetery mausoleum. The beautiful daughter of another scientist, who Zorba is holding captive for reasons, learns the secret of the ultra-ray glasses. Batman raids the hideout, bitch-slaps Dracula, rescues the girl who tells Batman about the sunglasses. Batman uses said sunglasses to control Dracula and kill the very men who created him.

All very organic storytelling.

But, we've saved the best unauthorised 1960s Filipino Batman film for last, as in the year that Adam West and Burt Ward (who may have been thankful at the time that James Dean was not in contention) were cast as Batman & Robin in the popular US TV series, Batman was very big business. So was another famous character - Bond, James Bond...

Crossover time...

"The names Man, Bat-Man."

This 1966 Filipino Batman/James Bond cinematic spoof directed by Artemio Marquez stars the Philippine comedian Dolphy as Batman and James Bond and Boy Alano as "Rubin".

Dolphy (born Rodolfo Vera Quizon Sr.) was a Filipino comedian and actor, widely regarded as the country's King of Comedy. He pulls not just double-duty here but triple, playing the characters James Hika (Bond), James Batman (Batman, d'uh!), and Dolpho (the Bruce Wayne type alter ego).

The plot is very 1960's James Bond. An evil organization called the CLAW has threatened nuclear annihilation on the rest of the world unless all countries submit to its rule within five days. Presenting a united front, an alliance of countries tap James Bond and Batman (and Robin) to stop the threat. And unlike the previous films we have looked at above, this one still exists.

Are we excited?...

Come on, tell me if a Hollywood studio announced a (bigger budget) 007 and the Dynamic Duo film today you wouldn't watch the hell out of that! The audiences of the Philippines in the 1960s sure did. And who can blame them, eh?

All these films originated in the Philippines in the 1960s, but as the decade drew to a close they weren't finished producing unauthorised Batman cinematic outings. Next time we'll move into the 1970s and beyond and take a look at more of these bizarre adventures.

Same Bat-time. Same Bat-Channel...

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