In the subsiding Depression of the 1940's, Serial films became quite popular. Serials were basically movies broken up into chapters which could be viewed for a rather small admission price. It was in 1943 that the growing popular comic book team Batman & Robin, were granted their very first live action appearance played by Lewis Wilson and Douglas Croft. In this fifteen chapter Serial entitled Batman, the Dynamic Duo faced a Japanese villain by the name of Daka. Given the WWII era, this Serial heavily featured racist content, which for the most part was removed in future releases. Even so, the film gave Batman a secret hideout known as the "Bat's Cave", a concept later adapted into the comic books.
1949 saw the second Batman Serial titled Batman & Robin. Robert Lowery and John Duncan took the role of Batman & Robin this time around, going head to head with an evil criminal known as The Wizard. Much like its '43 predecessor, this Serial also had a first; the well known Bat-Signal, which also has stood the test of time as an essential tool in Batman's adventures.
Many Batman fans are not so familiar with the original Serial films, much less have viewed them. But despite their apparently low budget, unflattering production, they play quite an important part in Batman's rise to popularity. Fortunately, their place in Batman history has recently been revived through the release of DVD sets, so that Batfans both young and old can experience these crucial films.