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Burt Ward (left) Adam West starred iconic 1960s TV show 'Batman.'  |  File photo

Burt Ward (left) and Adam West starred in the iconic 1960s TV show "Batman." | File photo

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Updated: September 10, 2012 6:10AM



There’s no denying it anymore: Superheroes have entered the mainstream.

In only a few short years, superhero comic books have mutated from a taboo hobby with a modest fan base into a socially acceptable, multimillion-dollar industry.

Seriously, I’m pretty sure a movie can’t get the green light these days unless it contains at least one superhero.

Mark my words: A remake of “Gone with the Wind” is inevitable, and it’ll probably star the Incredible Hulk as Rhett Butler.

Yet long before we as moviegoers were treated to 17 Spider-Man movies and 23 Batman films every month, superhero cinema was relatively rare.

Revisit that bygone era when Blue Island Public Library, 2433 York St., hosts a free screening at 11 a.m. Aug. 11 of actor Kirk Alyn’s 1940s “Superman” serials and several classic episodes from the iconic 1960s TV show “Batman.”

“We’ll probably show a couple of the episodes from the ‘Batman’ series and then intermix that with a couple of the ‘Superman’ serials just to give people a flavor of where it was back in the inception, back before all the special effects in the movies took over and it really went crazy,” event organizer Dan Carroll said.

Those who only are familiar with recent film incarnations of Batman villains such as the Joker and Catwoman may be surprised to see how other actors portrayed the same characters, Carroll said.

“With ‘Batman,’ we’d certainly like to show episodes with popular villains like Cesar Romero as the Joker — the ones people would recognize — and tie them in with ones people have seen in the movies so they can sort of see what TV did with those characters.”

Likewise, the old “Superman” serials are sure to surprise those who are used to seeing actor Tom Welling, of TV’s “Smallville,” don the red cape.

“It’s all black and white, and it’s all vintage stuff,” he said. “This was the first effort to take Superman out of the comic books and do it in a movie format.”

Sure, the special effects might be absurd by current standards, and the acting can be a bit campy in comparison to the gritty reality of the superhero flicks now showing on Southland screens.

But when it comes to tales of caped crusaders and men of steel fighting the forces of evil, you simply can’t beat the classics.

Information: (708) 388-1078, Ext. 30 or email to dcarroll@blueislandlibrary.org.



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