|Let's do the Batusi! Top side panel of Batusi Batman box|
Gleeps! It's Batman!
In our previous Bat-Post we revealed the first of the Batman TV series toys with the Batman Classic TV series Batman and Robin 2-pack. This week we review another classic re-enactment of the show with this Batusi TV Batman action figure.
This was originally a San Diego Comic-Con Exclusive action figure, but is now available at Matty Collector for $30.
|Front panel of box #1 of the Batusi Batman action figure|
|The patrons of this discotheque look straight out of Mad Men|
Actress Cathy Ferrar will be forever known as the "Gleeps Girl" after exclaiming the above dialogue during the premier episode of the Batman TV series "Hi Diddle Riddle." During that episode Batman and Robin follow a lead that winds them up at a discotheque called "What A Way To Go-Go." It's there that Batman reveals the dance that would help feed the fire to a craze known as Batmania.
Adam West describes the filming of this scene in his book 'Back to the Batcave':
When we did the discotheque scene, the drugged Batman slid onto the dance floor and did the Batusi with Jill St. John. As (Lorenzo) Semple had written the scene, the Batusi was a nondescript dance that simply enabled Batman to move along the revelers. I felt it should be a little more than that, and I worked it out on my own, made it a singular moment of madness inspired by the ongoing debate in the media about whether drug use was mind-expanding or debilitating. I wasn't trying to make a social judgement. I just felt it would be funny and abstract to have batman slightly out of his well-trained mind, losing control as a result of the drug.
Virtually everyone in the crew laughed when I finished the scene, but there was some front-office type who nervously jangled the change in his pocket and said he thought it was ridiculous.
"He's drugged," I yelled, as I Batusied in his direction. "What do you do when you're drugged?"
I didn't find out, because he turned and left. He never came back, either, and to this day I wonder what he and others like him thought when the Batusi became a national dance craze.
|Mattel put some thought into this Batman action figure complete with TV diorama|
You shake a pretty mean cape Batman and so does Mattel!
Overall, the Batusi Batman action figure is a welcomed addition to the line of Mattel Batman toys and it nicely displays in it's double boxed TV diorama. The figure itself is reminiscent of Kenner's Super Powers collection as it has a mechanism that causes Batman's arms to move to replicate the iconic dance.
|Robin get his groove on watching Batman on the Bat Scope at the What a Way to Go-Go|
The figure has many pluses, but those pluses also cause it to have minuses at the same time:
- The art on the packaging is straight out of the sixties and the toy comes in not one, but two boxes. The second box that actually encompasses the figure is a mock television set that allows for Batman to dance in the box without removing it. The TV box has accurate quotes from the first episode like "In this little game, I am the ace of trump!" and the back depicts Robin parked in the Batmobile in front of the What a Way to Go-Go at 222 Glover Ave. I'm impressed with Mattel's attention to detail with this and that they actually did their homework.
- The TV set box also plays jazzy surf rock music similar to the music that was played during the dance scene in the pilot episode. This was a clever feature even for Mattel if I do say so myself.
- The action figure is a dead ringer for Adam West and is well detailed like its other Batman counterparts in the toy line.
|With a push of a button you too can do the Batusi|
- I love the idea of the TV set box, but making it a 2-pack with an action figure of Jill St. John who portrayed the Riddler's Moll, Molly, would have been the ultimate win for this toy.
- The music playing feature was also a win-win, but is not the actual song played in the series, which can be found on the Batman Exclusive Original Television Soundtrack Album on the track Holy Flypaper. Either Mattel didn't complete their homework or there was a licensing issue.
- The figure is nicely detailed, as are the other figures in the series, but as usual it's basically a re-used mold. The difference between the other Batman's in this wave is the abdomen does not have articulation like the others. Also, Batman's fingers are forever molded giving the piece sign. Being able to swap out molded hands would have been a nice feature.
|Rear packaging art of Box #1 of the Batman Batusi action figure|
A quote from Adam West on the rear panel on box #1:
I created the BATUSI when everyone was shaking it to the WATUSI. In our television show, BATMAN just couldn't resist the music and his urge to get up and dance. And so the BATUSI was born. It immediately became a national dance craze and my moves were copied many times in many movies and TV shows. Do you hear the music? Let's dance the BATUSI! - Adam West
For the most part, I feel Mattel put their all into this set and the draw backs are probably unapparent to most Batman toy collectors and could be that only a Batman TV series freak like me would notice such things, but this toy has been 47 years in the making and I'll take what I can get.
Anyone else manage to pick up this Bat-Figure? Who remembers the clue that brought the Dynamic Duo to 222 Glover Ave?
Next week John reviews the Batmobile!
About the author: John Sholtz is an avid toy collector and the interim editor of the Batcave Toy Room due to the abrupt death of Bruce Wayne. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter at, Facebook, Google+ and Linkedin.