51 Shades of Geek

Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders – music by Lolita Ritmanis, Michael McCuistion & Kristopher Carter

Batman: Return of the Caped CrusadersConsider, for a moment, how long it’s taken for the 1966 Batman to reach the torrent of merchandise that we’ve seen recently. We have the entire series on Blu-Ray, there are comics, there are action figures on the way, and Adam West and Burt Ward have reunited as the Dynamic Duo for some direct-to-video animated adventures. It’s glorious. Batman ’66, as we now call it, was my Batman – the Batman I watched over grilled cheese sandwiches at my grandmother’s house every day after school. I’m pleased to see it come out from under the post-Alan-Miller “received fandom wisdom” shadow of “But it isn’t, and never was, what Batman was supposed to be!” (If you’ve been reading either this site or my books long enough, you know that I live to debunk “received fan wisdom” – just about every corner of every franchise has its charms if you go in with an open mind.)

But a Batman ’66 soundtrack album? The thrice-reissued score from the movie that was released between the show’s first and second seasons is as close as we’re likely to get. Take the tangle of sometimes conflicting rightsholders that held up the show’s release on Blu-Ray, add the estates and publishers of two composers, stir, and you have a scenario where even the label that finally brought us a massive CD box set of every classic Star Trek TV score has admitted defeat.

But they can bring us this: the complete score from the first of those animated Batman ’66 adventures, Return Of The Caped Crusaders. I had very, very mixed feelings about the movie itself, but the soundtrack is just about magical. Frequent collaborators Ritmans, Carter and McCuistion have been composing music for Batman since the 1990s animated series, so they know what’s up in the Batcave – and they’re not afraid to luxuriate in the classic TV show’s jazzy-with-surf-guitar style, or quote Neal Hefti’s 4 out of 4immortal Batman theme, to make it fit in almost seamlessly alongside the three season of live action. It helps matters considerably that they were given enough of a music budget to hire real players to bring it to life: it’s a really lush score for a cartoon.

But it’s perfectly in keeping with the Batman ’66 ethos, and that alone makes the Return Of The Caped Crusaders soundtrack an absolute joy.

Order this CD

  1. Classic Batman Main Title (1:24)
  2. Batman’s New Look (0:25)
  3. Meet Our Baddies / It’s the Bat-Signal (2:22)
  4. To the Batcave (1:53)
  5. Not So Fast, Old Chum / Crosswalk Conundrum (0:30)
  6. Riddle Me This? / Atomic Lab Fight (3:13)
  7. Jokermobile Chase (1:49)
  8. Catwoman Has Batnip (1:49)
  9. TV Dinner Factory Arrival (1:24)
  10. TV Dinner Factory Kerfuffle / TV Tray Death Trap / Dessert Denouement (4:31)
  11. Establish Police HQ / The BatShadow Rises / A Moment With Aunt Harriet / You’re Dismissed (2:15)
  12. In Search of Criminal Activity (1:10)
  13. Batcave Batmobile Arrival / To the Bat-Rocket (1:20)
  14. The Right Bat Stuff / Space Joker Playon (1:29)
  15. Bat-Rocket Approaches the Station (1:21)
  16. Outer Space Rendezvous / Under the Influence (3:34)
  17. Zero-G Brawl (2:29)
  18. Like a Bat in the Night / Holy Hitchhiker, Robin (0:37)
  19. Bruce Snaps at Aunt / Back Alley Dirge (1:03)
  20. Why Won’t He Answer? (0:33)
  21. Gotham Crime Spree (0:39)
  22. Bat Dupe See / Batmen Take Over / Robin Figures It Out (3:39)
  23. Catwoman Is in Her Element / To the Catmobile (2:10)
  24. Batcave Showdown (2:24)
  25. Radioactive Silo Trap / Bat Anti-Isotope Spray / Surprise Prison Inspection (2:46)
  26. Mass Prison Break (1:32)
  27. The Show Must Go On / Bat TV Two See (2:38)
  28. Bad Batmen (2:00)
  29. One Step Ahead (2:22)
  30. Villains Plan (3:44)
  31. Airship Battle (2:18)
  32. Farewell Catwoman (1:39)
  33. Classic Batman End Title (3:22)
    Bonus Tracks
  34. Gotham Palace TV Theme (0:21)
  35. Hector and the Hoedaddies (0:21)
  36. Bedbugs TV Source (0:53)
  37. Kitkat Kave Dancing (0:35)
  38. Gotham Palace TV Source #2 (0:45)
  39. Joker Circus (0:43)
  40. Elegant Party Source (1:01)

Released by: La-La Land Records
Release date: November 11, 2016
Total running time: 1:12:30