The Power Records Podcast #24 – Man-Bat/The Riddler!

THE POWER RECORDS PODCAST #24 – MAN-BAT/THE RIDDLER

Chris and Rob are back to discuss two classic Batman audio adventures: “Robin Meets Man-Bat!” and “If Music Be The Food of Death” starring The Riddler!

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Opening and closing themes courtesy Peter Pan Records.

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25 responses to “The Power Records Podcast #24 – Man-Bat/The Riddler!

  1. Great episode, guys! As our dear friend Martin Gray would say, these records were both pants. (I think that’s a compliment; honestly, I never know what the hell he’s saying.)

    I, too, love the classic Man-Bat stories and I got such a thrill out of how the original trilogy of issues were sewn together for this tale. And as you guys were discussing I started to think, the next villain I want to see in a Batman movie is Man-Bat… followed by the Mad Hatter. And then you guys said the same thing five seconds later.

  2. Great review show, guys!
    I love Man-Bat, and I loved this book & record set. It’s not the only one I bought as a kid, but it’s the only one I kept and still have, to this day.
    I didn’t get any of the non-book 45s or LPs, so I never heard this Riddler story. I agree it’s pretty damn good! Thanks for providing it for our listening pleasure!

    I commented on the Man-Bat book in my Bronze Age Man-Bat reviews over at my blog. It includes a panel-by-panel comparison of the art that Neal Adams reprinted slashed swiped from himself. For anyone interested, check it out here:
    http://seiginonakama.blogspot.com/2016/11/mb12-robin-meets-man-bat-power-record.html

  3. Yay! Another episode of Power Records!
    And featuring two of the best stories they’ve ever done. I don’t care if you covers them before, it’s great hear them again, and get both Rob and Chris’s opinions and memories related to them. Plus, now they’re in the same feed as the other Power Records. The only downside, we have run out of Batman!
    Oh well, plenty of other great characters to listen to.
    Anyways, there is one question that remains about The Riddler adventure. Just what in Great Gotham does “If Music be the Food of Death” even mean!?! Even the world’s greatest detective can’t solve that one!
    Matt Sirius: Proud Member of “Shagg Matthews Crap List”

  4. Terrific show, Chris and Rob! Growing up, the only Power Record I ever owned was the Mark of the Man-Wolf. I’ve really enjoyed hearing these stories for the first time (or second time in the case of this episode).
    Chris, I hear what you mean about Commissioner Gordon sounding like the magician from Frosty the Snowman. They have very similar vocal inflections. The actor in Frosty is Billy De Wolfe, but I don’t believe it was him. This Power Record was released a year after he passed away in 1973. It is possible this was recorded long before it came out, but I doubt it.

  5. “If Music Be the Food of Death” is a play on “If Music Be the Food of Love, Play On” from Shakespeare’s play Twelfth Night. I read the play in college and realized “Oh, that is where the Power Records title came from.” I hope I don’t seem like a know-it-all pointing that out, but Matt did ask. Just FYI there is a 70s drive-in sex comedy version of Twelfth Night, which I saw on Joe Bob’s Drive in Theatre.

    I had the albums of these before I got the book and record of Man-Bat. Did anyone thing it was weird that Robin was in all four stories that had the villains cover, but Robin himself was nowhere to be found on the cover? On the album that had Batman and Robin running on the beach, Robin is on the cover, but only appears on one story. The image of Robin was lifted and used on one of those wooden kids puzzles.

    I don’t know if a Batman picture disc would have been a good idea. I might have hypnotized myself staring at it as it went around the turntable.

    The Riddler story was one of my favorites as a kid, because it is so Gorshin-flavored. As an older listener, I thought the “Key of A” riddle was a bit unfair, because there was no way the listener could solve it. We had a chance to solve the other riddles. Did anyone think Riddler’s trick on the island was similar to the death-trap in Batman 263, that was reprinted in the Batman’s Villains Digest? The comic is the May 1975 issue.

    https://d1466nnw0ex81e.cloudfront.net/n_iv/600/5168300.jpg

    Man-Bat was probably used on the Power Records because he was so ubiquitous in the the early 70s. Just look at a Detective Comics cover gallery from the time and see how many covers Man-Bat is on. I did have some Batman Family issues with him, but I think I got the record first. Heck, Man-Bat even had two issues of his own comic, and the first issue was the only time, to my knowledge, that Steve Ditko drew Batman. The first Baxter Reprint of classic Batman in the 1980s was a Man-Bat vs Batman that reprinted the three Neal Adams drawn stories. That was the first time I got to read the originals.

    I still think the Power Records may have been my introduction to Man-Bat. The kids in my neighborhood put on a show where we lip-synced the record. Only Batman (me) and Robin had costumes. Fortunately, all the kids left nerdy stuff like Batman behind, except for this one guy…wonder who that was?

    Sorry to drone on so long, but have you guys ever covered The Scarecrow’s Mirage? I didn’t see it when I looked back through the episodes.

    1. Oh man, I wish you had a video of your live interpretation! I forgot to mention that my friends and I also used the audio from this record for some comedy skits we did with my old portable tape recorder. We would “interview” Batman, and he would respond with lines from this record. I remember I asked Batman about his flying enemy, Man-Bat, and he angrily responded “Man-Bats don’t fly!!!”. Good times.

      Chris

      1. Sounds like you were much more creative than us….We just lip-synced. I think I’m glad no video exists. Robin was taller than Batman (Pretty much everyone was taller then me). I got to be the caped crusader because I had a halloween costume and the record belonged to me. Man-Bat and She-Bat had no costumes…they just wore regular clothes and flapped their wings…well arms. We just “shadow boxed” the gang since we didn’t have enough kids to play them.

        Our back drop was an old bed sheet where I tried to draw the Batman logo used on the record, with the text wrapped inside the batwings and the Robin logo from Batman Family that had the mask like design on bottom. I don’t have any artistic talent now and sure didn’t back then. Even my Batman fan-fic at the time was mostly one page of prose and a page of illustration, sort of akin to Big Little Books.

  6. Oh, yeah. This is the stuff. As I mentioned in the comments to an earlier episode, I received “Robin Meets Man-Bat” together with Holo-man as a Christmas present. I really loved it, because the booklet had that fantastic Neal Adams art – and yes, at that point, I was already recognizing the styles and names of individual artists.

    The Riddler story is really surprisingly good – I’m impressed that it’s not based on an actual comic book story; as Rob noted, it would have been a great comic! And the Gorshinesque characterization for the Riddler is a nice touch, because honestly, there was no better villain on the TV show than Gorshin’s Riddler.

    1. p.s. I just went and listened to your third episode, just to hear your coverage of the third Power Record that I received that one Christmas along with Holo-man and Robin Meets Man-Bat, i.e., Spider-man: Invasion of the Dragon Men. Based on that, I can see your point about so many of the Power Records being monster stories. Also, it just reinforces what I thought back then: the Batman record was definitely the best of those three.

  7. Regarding the voice actors, I could only identify 2, both in the story “Robin Meets Man-Bat”: Mike McNally (voice of Mitch, one of the bank robbers), and Elliott Lewis. Lewis narrated all 4 stories in the 2nd Batman album and voiced Kirk Langstrom here.

    The Riddler story “If Music Be the Food of Death” was written by Joan Wile, who performed on several children albums including Peter Pan’s activity LP “Singing in the Rain” (1972) and Golden Records’ “Songs from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” (1968). I believe she was also one of the two story readers for the Peter Pan read-alongs circa ’68.

    I have the entire collection of the 70’s-era Power Records and that’s all the Batman stories they have produced, aside from the Christmas album. There was one other Peter Pan picture disc in the series, which was “Puff the Magic Dragon” (1982), with some gorgeous artwork by George Peed.

    And for the record (pun intended), Peter Pan did produce its version of the story “Treasure Island” in 1950, and was later repurposed into a 45 read-along in 1976.

  8. I forgot to point out that the recordings for Power Records were done in Massachusetts, so that might explain the “New York” accent…

  9. Dudes! I can’t tell you how many times I tried to work in “Because they’re both Russian (rushin’)” into conversation when I was a kid. I didn’t have many friends.

  10. This record was the first comic book related thing in print I ever held in my hands. I checked this out from the library and listened to it repeatedly one summer, until my mom finally had it with the shrieking mixed with numerous skips on the record. I still remember “Robin and I prefer fighting without guns….without guns….without guns” I now picture the folks editing the thing going “This sounds good, but is there any way we can make Man Bat’s shriek more ear-piercingly painful? OK good! And how about we make the sonic weapon actually hurt people’s ears!”

  11. Very cool to hear these as I don’t remember hearing them as a kid! I agree, would be great to find a Batman or Spiderman pictures disc but I think by the time Peter Pan was making those they were targeted towards younger audiences. I just found another PP picture disc, Puff The Magic Dragon and a PP Empire Strikes Back music album with some lame cover art. I refer to the villian on the cover as Darth Greedo. Will e-mail the photos.

  12. Also, you mentioned you would love to find another Batman record. I may have found one but I was a bit disappointed by it because it is just a song. Notice the label doesn’t mention Peter Pan but it does have Newark, NJ printed on it. And after hearing it one time that’s enough I don’t need to hear it again. here is the link

  13. Ha! Just found a Robin record as well. At this time they are not Peter Pan or Power Records but credited as “A Product Of Synthetic Plastics Co”.

  14. I adore these stories! Really brings back floodwaters of childhood memories. I wore out the Riddler story on the LP to the point I of maximum warpage. Rethought this record at least twice more since then.
    As ever, Y’all present these classic stories in such glory. Your insight and backstories are full of significant information and we can hear the love y’all have for them.
    Thanks for the hours of enjoyment and nostalgia y’all have provided. I’m eagerly awaiting the next episode. Maybe it will be KOJAK this time. Hint hint…
    Keep up the fantastic work.

  15. The Batman meets Manbat story was repurposed on a cassette format it also had the other three stories commented upon by Chris Franklin on the show. I got most of my ‘Power Records’ stories in cassette format. The other cassette that comes to my mind is Star Trek based stories.

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