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The first movie Batman in 1943

Holy Batman Day! Saturday, September 17 is National Batman Day with special events, movie theater screenings, giveaways and more. But before Michael Keaton, Ben Affleck, George Clooney and yes, Adam West, there was … Lewis Wilson in 1943.

Wilson starred as the caped crusader in the 15-part serial “Batman” shown in movie theaters in 1943. The DC Comics superhero first came to life in print in 1939, so the live action serial quickly followed. Note: The trailer and some of the movie material spell it as two words.

In honor of National Batman Day, take a look at the trailer for the 1943 “Batman” serial:

In the 1943 serial, Batman-Bruce Wayne is a secret government agent fighting a Japanese sabotage ring in Gotham City in the midst of World War II (the film is definitely dated with stereotypes and slurs). Sidekick Robin, the Bat Signal, the Bat Cave, Alfred the butler, Wayne Manor and here in its initial offering. Each of the 15 parts were released weekly on the big screen.

A 1949 sequel, “Batman and Robin,” followed the initial serial’s success. 

You can buy the entire 15-part serial in this DVD set on Amazon (affiliate link)

or check out these Batman history books: