JOIN THE CRUSADE TO BRING BACK BATFINK.
The First-Ever Region I DVD Release of BATFINK From Shout! Factory
Batfink was produced by Hal Seeger Productions from the spring of 1966 to the fall of 1967. It took as parodic source the wildly popular Batman television series, which premiered the previous January. Thinking quickly, Seeger rushed the first two Batfink pilot cartoons into production. Beginning in September 1967, Screen Gems released the package of 100 five-minute Batfink cartoons into local syndication, where they aired in locally-produced cartoon compilation programs. In New York City, WNEW-TV aired them as part of the Paul Winchell show.The main characters in the Batfink cartoons included Batfink himself, who boasted supersonic sonar-radar and wings like a shield of steel, his assistant Karate, a hulking Japanese martial arts expert who talked with a Brooklyn accent, and archvillain Hugo A Go Go. Frank Buxton (formerly the host of the ABC game show Get The Message and also a fixture on that network's Discovery) voiced Batfink and Hugo, and Len Maxwell did Karate and the Chief. Both actors played many other characters as well and also wound up working together on other projects such as the Woody Allen spy dub-fest What's Up, Tiger Lily?
Hal Seeger's staff and freelance animators were mostly old friends of Seeger from the Fleischer Studios days. The most frequent animators on the series were Myron Waldman, Bill Ackerman, Morey Reden, Martin Taras, and Dave Tendlar. New York animation legend Jim Tyer, of Terrytoons fame, contributed his manic style to several cartoons. The writing was split almost equally between Dennis Marks and Woody Kling, though several scripts were credited to a young moonlighting Mad magazine writer named Nick Meglin. Woody Gelman and Stan Hart may have done uncredited writing on some of the early episodes.
The cartoons continued to air on television throughout the 1980's, at which time they disappeared from distribution. One of the last over-the-air stations to air Batfink, in 1985, was WLIG-TV (now WLNY-TV), Channel 55, on Long Island, which aired the show in a half-hour format featuring five cartoons, Saturdays and Sundays at 7:00 a.m. and also during the afternoon hours on Monday through Friday. Nickelodeon briefly revived the cartoons on its Weinerville and Nick in The Afternoon program from 1995 to 1997. The films have also recently aired on ABC in Australia. Beginning in 2007, Boomerang began airing the cartoons in a weekend half-hour slot, proving you cannot keep a good bat down.
Shout! Factory released the first ever Region I DVD release of Batfink, with all 100 shorts, on July 3, 2007. Previously, a Region II (UK) DVD with all 100 cartoons was marketed. There had been a number of other VHS releases in the UK previously.
Batfink © Hal Seeger Productions. I come to praise Batfink, not to infringe upon his copyright.
Acknowledgements: The Batfink Page could not have been made possible without the help of some very important people who provided films, tapes, advice, and other moral support: Charlene Seeger, Jerry Beck, Frank Buxton, Irwin Chusid/Raymond Scott Archives, Bill Henderson, Hal Lifson, Harry McCracken, Sharon Molloy, Jesse Moreno, Nickelodeon, Mike Pipher, Steven Rowe, Linda Simensky (formerly of Cartoon Network), Emru Townsend, WLIG-TV, Riverhead, NY, and WNJU-TV, Newark, NJ.