13 BATTY GIFs: An Action-Packed Birthday Salute to LEWIS WILSON

Screendom’s first Caped Crusader was born 103 years ago…


Lewis Wilson was born 103 years ago on Jan. 28, 1920, and is fondly remembered for being the first actor to portray the Caped Crusader in cinema. The 1943 Batman serial debuted 80 years ago and co-starred Douglas Croft as Robin the Boy Wonder.

Prior to the premiere of the 1966 Batman TV show starring Adam West and Burt Ward, Wilson and Croft’s Dynamic Duo set the standard, though they were later replaced in a 1949 follow-up serial with Robert Lowery and Johnny Duncan.

While the costumes aren’t up to today’s standards, they do seem like they could be put together by a millionaire playboy and his ward. Batman’s costume is especially loose and his ill-fitting mask seems like it could come off at any time while it also strains credulity that he could see out of it at all.

Costume issues aside, the 1943 serial is an enjoyable watch primarily because Lewis looks like he had a fun time doing it. His Bruce Wayne is often smiling and laughing and he and Douglas Croft have a great rapport.


And, as it’s sometimes done, here’s a 13th Dimension lagniappe of Lewis Wilson scaring the bejesus out of Alfred with Dr. Daka’s death ray!


— 13 GROOVY GIFs: Great BAT-GADGETS From BATMAN ’66. Click here.

— GEORGE REEVES: 13 Times SUPERMAN Thought Doors Were Stupid. Click here.

A 10-year-old Walt Grogan fell in love with the Big Red Cheese thanks to essays written by Dick Lupoff and Don Thompson in the paperback edition of All in Color for a Dime, released in 1970 and bought for him by his father off a paperback spinner rack in a liquor store on the South Side of Chicago. Walt runs The Marvel Family Web Facebook page devoted to all incarnations of the Fawcett/DC Captain Marvel and blogs about Captain Marvel at shazamshistorama.com.

Author: Dan Greenfield

Share This Post On


  1. A very enjoyable first-time effort to portray the Caped Crusader, even with the financial limitations involved here. Also a personal inspiration for my cosplay and fan film efforts. I would have liked to have seen Mr. Wilson have had a cameo in the 1966 TV series; he only would have been in his mid-40s.

    Post a Reply
  2. I love these old serials. However, I think Batman’s greatest enemy was his own cape which kept falling over his face when he threw a punch. I love how one of the baddies in one of the .gifs had to pull it off the Caped Crusader’s head during a fight. Great stuff here!

    Post a Reply
    • Originally, this piece was going to be called “13 Times Batman’s Cape Definitely Didn’t Get in The Way!”. Lol!

      Post a Reply

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: