Thursday, October 23, 2014

Review: Nelson Riddle's 'Batman: Exclusive Original Television Soundtrack Album'

Can't wait until November 11 for the landmark home video release of the classic "Batman" TV series? Well, Bat Fan, you can whet your Bat-ppetite further with Mercury/UMe's reissue of the show's Exclusive Original Television Soundtrack Album. Originally released by 20th Century Fox records in 1966, the year the series debuted, this record was both of its time and seemingly ahead of it, much like the series it advertised. Nelson Riddle's mix of lounge jazz, light Rock & Roll, and surf was very sixties soundtracky, while the presentation was much more forward thinking. The way the record folds dialogue from the series in with the music sounds like sampling twenty years ahead of schedule, especially the litany of Burt Ward's "Holy-This!" and "Holy-That!" littered through "Holy-Hole-in-the-Doughnut -or- (Robin, You've Done It Again)". There's also guest gabbing from Special Guest Villains Anne Baxter (as Zelda), Frank Gorshin (as The Riddler), Burgess Meredith (as The Penguin), and George Sanders (as Mr. Freeze).

That major baddies like The Joker and Cat Woman are absent is probably down to the fact that the Batman: Exclusive Original Television Soundtrack Album was released so early in the show's run, before viewers had a chance to really identify their favorite villains (Julie Newmar wouldn't regularly appear as Cat Woman until season two). This also means that a couple of favorite themes are absent, such as the Batgirl theme and the awesomely fuzzed-out variation on the main theme that played during fight scene's in the series' final season. Also, one should be warned that the "Batman Theme" on this album is not composer Neal Hefti's recording that kicked off the show but a remake by Riddle that works in a surprise lounge-jazz interlude. But, hey, that's how the album came out five decades ago. The re-release is available on both CD and vinyl, which is what I received to review. If you really want to recreate that Bat feeling of '66, the vinyl is the only way to go.

Get the Batman: Exclusive Original Television Soundtrack Album on vinyl or CD on Amazon.com here:


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