6: Halloween

All things spooky and creepy golden age Batman! Including a lengthy segment on Dracula, the origins of World’s Finest, and the first appearance of the Scarecrow

You can find an archive of all episodes at batlessons.com


Send your comments, questions and corrections to contact@batlessons.com or tweet at us @batlessons


Podcast Artwork by Sergio R. M. Duarte

Podcast Music by Renzo Calma


[00:00:00] Alex: Anything else you wanna say about Dracula before we move on?

[00:00:02] Brian: Drac. Dracula’s a bitch. No, I’m just kidding. Um, To Bat Lessons, the Batman History Podcast. I am out cash and I am joined today by Brian Anders. In this episode, we’re talking all things spooky and creepy. Golden age Batman. Are you ready to find out about what goes bump in the night? Brian?

Uh, yeah. It’s been a minute. I’m super stoked about it.

[00:00:29] Alex: Me too. Halloween is, probably my favorite, holiday. normally around the house I do all the decorations. We have like a blow up spider and my toddler, my son loves a eco spider, spider, spider.

[00:00:41] Brian: that’s fun. Tonight when we were having dinner, I was playing the like spooky, scary skeletons that, whatever that album

[00:00:49] Alex: yeah, yeah, yeah.

[00:00:49] Brian: Um, so I was playing that Calvin was enjoying it quite a bit. We don’t have any like Halloween costumes yet. We changed our, our doormat, which I don’t know if that counts. and we’ve always talked about getting stuff, so we might, we might actually do it this year.

Um, do you have a, like a costume or anything?

[00:01:07] Alex: Yes. So Clark wanted to be a firefighter. He got very excited about being a firefighter. So he has a costume, He’s actually tried it on.

[00:01:15] Brian: right?

[00:01:16] Alex: Yes. He runs around the house in his costume saying Firefighter, firefighter, firefighter. Um, so he had to hide it. yeah, cuz like he was, he would go try to get it and put it on.

and we, we have historically done themed things. Like one year, I was, the Mad Hatter and Bree was the queen of hearts. And, Luna was Alice, our little dog. We dressed her up in a little blue dress, So to go along with the fire stuff. I am a, Taco Bell hot sauce packet

and yeah, and, and Bree, my wife is, is a Fleming Hot Cheetos

[00:01:50] Brian: Oh,

[00:01:51] Alex: bag.

[00:01:52] Brian: to go with the firefighter, man. That’s good.

[00:01:55] Alex: Because when you Google it, you’re like, you know, um, family firefighter, you know, costume theme or whatever. And it’s a lot of like people burning houses or like, they’re all firefighters and

[00:02:05] Brian: you got like a firefighter.

and two burn victims.

[00:02:07] Alex: Yeah, it’s like, I don’t wanna be on fire. So we, we got creative with it.

[00:02:12] Brian: It’s gonna be a hot family.

[00:02:15] Alex: Yeah. So because of my love, for this, I couldn’t help but, try to choose some topics that are pretty standard for us. Pretty typical for us. We’re not gonna go too far off the beaten path, but, but have a little bit of a Halloween valence to them. So, in our third episode of the show, we covered the inspirations for Batman, and the inspirations we talked about were DaVinci’s Orna Zorro, The Shadow, and a 1930s movie called The Bat Whispers.

But before we dove in, I mentioned an immediately dismissed to inspirations as obvious. Those were Sherlock Holmes, which we’ll talk about in a future episode and Dracula. what you didn’t hear in that episode was Brian challenging those as obvious and asking me to cover them. and I wasn’t prepared at all.

And so all of that conversation hit the cutting room Floor. in fact, there’s a funny little clip we check at the beginning where Brian says, like, What was it? I’m, we’re listening to the sound of Alex read books, that’s like me desperately trying to figure out what the heck Dracula has to do with Batman. like being put on the spot. And, uh, as you might be able to tell six episodes into this show, open questions like this, drive me banana sandwich. I cannot let stuff like this go. So today in honor of Halloween, I thought we would talk, uh, a bunch about Dracula. Dracula and a little bit about how it has to do with that, man.

So, don’t worry. If you want the straight Uncon Batman content. If you want a story, use the chapter marker. Skip ahead, second half of the show. we’ll talk all about some golden age Batman again, but, but for a minute we’re gonna talk about Dracula. How’s that sound?

[00:03:48] Brian: That sounds good to me. If, if anyone is like thinking about skipping ahead, I can almost promise that this will be really interesting.

[00:03:57] Alex: There’s some good tidbits. I, I know you’re all about the, the, the random facts. We’re gonna take a a yeah, we’re gonna get off the beaten pack path just because I think there’s some really cool stuff to talk about. Um,

[00:04:07] Brian: it,

[00:04:08] Alex: so how do we know that Dracula is an inspiration for Batman? the, the thing that I was citing in that, that episode, the second episode of the show was, from Less Daniel’s book, Batman, the Complete History.

That’s the 19 99 1 that, Mark c Nobleman was talking about. Um, it had the, the quotes from, from, uh, Bill Finger that, that weren’t cited and he couldn’t find them for a long time. Um, and it’s super brief. It’s got like a sentence where it says that Bob Kane quote admitted. That be LAI’s Dracula was an inspiration.

and so that’s, that’s how I came with that. but digging a little bit more, um, I found, an article written by Tom Andre, who we know as the ghost writer for Batman and Me, the Bob Kane autobiography. Um, he wrote an essay, an article titled The Darkest Night, the Gothic Roots of Batman Comics, which was included in the fall 2020 edition of an academic journal called Source Notes in the History of Art.

And that article is super interesting, um, cuz it talks about like less like the specific inspirations like this book or this TV show, and more about like, sort of the, the sociological climate that, Batman is born from. it’s available on the University of Chicago press website. I’ll, I’ll put a link of the show notes.

but in that, in that article he says, White upper class males like Bruce Wayne were thought to exemplify the highest level of rationality and self-control. Kane modeled the look of Batman on Bella LAI’s Dracula and the Dark Night functions as a double of the villain. He fights. He represents the Acme of heroic development by being able to both access the savage primordial instincts manifested by villains and direct his violent and impulses solely against criminals.

It’s also the case that this article cite on Tom Andre cite himself, which I think is like a total badass move , like when you’re being pub published in academic academic journal.

You’ve got a footnote that, points to your own book. Um, there’s a 20, 20 11 book that he wrote called Creators of the Superheroes, where he’s, he’s specifically citing this quote that from Bob Kane. I now desperately want to read this book. Unfortunately, there’s no eBooks available. and I couldn’t get a book delivered in time for this episode.

But, uh, rest assured , I I will be diving deep.

Okay, so what is Dracula? Who is Dracula? Dracula is an 1897 novel written by a man named Bran Stoker.

[00:06:20] Brian: Mm-hmm.

[00:06:21] Alex: it’s what they call an epistolary novel, which means that it’s comprised of letters and other documents. and Dracula is not the only, uh, example of an epistolary novel. It’s not even the first, but it is one of the most famous.

It consists of diary entries, newspaper clippings, telegrams letters. Think of it like a found footage film like Cloverfield,

[00:06:40] Brian: Mm-hmm.

Wow. You chose Cloverfield as the found footage film.

[00:06:45] Alex: that’s the one that I go to. What’s your, what do you, what comes to your mind?

[00:06:47] Brian: Well, the first thing, the two things that come to mind, which one’s more, a little bit, little bit more modern is, uh, paranormal activity

[00:06:54] Alex: yeah,

[00:06:55] Brian: that was super popular when we were in college. And then, uh, the Blair Witch Project, which is like one of the OGs,

[00:07:01] Alex: I think the thing with Blair Witch Project was that was what, like 1999. So I was,

it was something like that. It was Raider R so I was too young, so I didn’t see it when it came out. and Cloverfield was, I must have been like a freshman in high school. Um, at that point it was like 2004, something like that.

Totally speaking off the cuff, I have no idea. But it was right in that sweet spot where I had, like, I had figured out how to use BitTorrent

[00:07:21] Brian: Oh, yeah,

[00:07:22] Alex: so I remember, So I, I watched it right when it came out and so that, that was the defining one for me.

[00:07:26] Brian: I’m pretty sure JJ Abrams directed that

[00:07:29] Alex: um, Cloverfield, I don’t know. I think it is a bad robot thing, but I don’t know if he directed it.

[00:07:35] Brian: Produced by JJ Abram, Directed by Matt Reeves.

[00:07:39] Alex: directed by Matt Reeves, who went on to direct.

[00:07:42] Brian: Batman.

[00:07:43] Alex: Batman

[00:07:44] Brian: The Batman. Okay. I thought so. I was like, Oh no, I’m on the spot.

[00:07:48] Alex: Yes. The, the the 2022 Moving picture film on which next episode will be,

[00:07:54] Brian: Okay. I was wondering when that was gonna come out.

[00:07:55] Alex: I’m editing it as we speak,

[00:07:57] Brian: Awesome.

Well, good

luck. It. It. could be a two parter.

[00:08:03] Alex: It might be that was like a four hour conversation. yeah. so yeah, like, I remember when I started reading Dracula and I was telling Brian that this might be something that we talk about on the show, and I was like, Oh, you, it’s like a found footage thing.

And Brian was like, Oh yeah, like World War Z. And I felt like really smart for like, observing this, but if it’s the first thing that comes up, if you Google like, you know, you know, what is Dracula the book, right? Like, if you go to Spark Notes, like, everyone’s like, Oh, it’s an epistolary, you know, it’s like a found footage film.

I’m like, Oh, okay. So my comparison is obvious, but,

[00:08:36] Brian: I also, you, when you said you were reading it, I was like, Dang. Like I, I’m one of those people who just like, I stay away from reading really old books cuz usually they suck

[00:08:47] Alex: Um, it’s not a bad book. It’s not a bad book. It’s, it’s, um, one of those things where it, in order to set the mood, especially towards the beginning of the novel, it does a lot of like referencing sort of, um, geography and sort of, ethnic groups and things like that, that you won’t get. At first. So the, for me, it was a lot of like flipping back and forth between the edition that

[00:09:08] Brian: Uh, yeah. Yeah.

[00:09:09] Alex: Yeah. Had notes at the end that was like explaining like an acronyms and, and, and sort of like, you know, references.

[00:09:17] Brian: Because of the time, it would’ve been like different types of stereotypes that they were applying to people. Like, ah, those Hungarians and everyone knows about Hungarians.

It’s like, I, I don’t

[00:09:28] Alex: Yeah, exactly. so it, it’s tough in that regard, but otherwise it, it was, it was not so bad to read. I, I do

[00:09:34] Brian: Okay, cool. I guess I should reel back a little bit.

[00:09:37] Alex: Yeah,

[00:09:38] Brian: Old books usually are written in a certain tone or a certain cadence or something that makes them really unfun to, for me to read, but the stories are usually completely fine.

[00:09:49] Alex: Yeah. And Dracula is challenging, uh, a bit. We’ll talk about it more in here in a minute. what’s, what is interesting about the fact that it’s an, a epistolary novel, is that the, the diary entries and the letters themselves are narrative devices.

So there’s parts of the novel where like, you know, Jonathan Hark are, one of the characters is like trying to send a letter and, and the letter is one of the things in the book, and Dracula like intercepts it so it doesn’t reach the final person. Or like, he’s, he like goes back to get his diary, which is the diary you are reading, Right.

So, yeah, they like play, they play a part in the story, which is. It’s pretty cool. Yeah. Uh, a neat device. it’s not necessarily a long novel, but a lot happens in it. It does ramble, kind of goes all over the place a little bit. so it’s hard to summarize, but I’ll give it a go. it starts with Jonathan Harker, who’s a British lawyer and he’s traveling from England to Pennsylvania on business.

he’s been tasked to meet with Ko Dracula, who is just a person. He’s, you know, um, nobility in Pennsylvania, right?

[00:10:48] Brian: Yeah. So, So I guess it should be noted that like the people who read this for the first time, there was no meaning behind

Count Dracula. Right? Like he was just some count, count, Brian. Right. And it turns out that, Okay.

[00:11:02] Alex: Yeah. There, there, there is, um, sort of a meta textual reference of the name Dracula itself, but it’s likely that most people who are reading it in England in the late 18 hundreds when this was written didn’t know.

[00:11:12] Brian: Yeah. I always wonder what it’s like to like read these types of things for the first time, where like the surprise is like a real surprise. Whereas like, we could read this now and you’d be like, Well, everyone knows Dracula means

[00:11:24] Alex: He’s the vampire. He’s gonna go visit the

vampire. Right.

[00:11:29] Brian: But the people who read this and just like don’t

know they just, eh, his name’s just Dr.


[00:11:34] Alex: Just, Just, a guy.

[00:11:35] Brian: just a guy.

[00:11:36] Alex: And, and Dracula has, um, contracted with Jonathan Harkers law firm to purchase real estate in London. Right. And so that’s why Jonathan Harkers going there. They’re like crossing ts dot nines for him to buy, you know, a place for him to live cuz he wants to come live in London.

and at first Harker is a guest of Dracula. but then the count asks him to stay awhile and help him get better at his English. Right. Um, he’s like, Oh, my addiction’s not very good. I can’t pronounce stuff right. You know? and slowly over time, Harker comes to realize that he’s not a guest, but he’s imprisoned.

Right. there .

[00:12:07] Brian: Well, also like, how weird is it that you’re like, well, you see the lawyer, right? Like, I brought my lawyer who’s now going to teach me English. Like what kind of a lawyer is like, Yeah, I can teach English.

Eh, this is worth my time.

[00:12:21] Alex: Well, not to mention like the a, a big passage at the beginning of the story is him like trying to get to, to account Ous Castle, right? So like, he’s like taking a stage coach and then getting dropped off and picked up another. And like, every time he explains where he’s going, like, people are like going, Oh no.

Like, you know, doing the, the, you know, Catholic cross and like one point someone gives him like a, a cross necklace for to wear and they’re like saying prayers and they’re like freaking out. And he is like, you know, so there’s this kind of signs that like, maybe this place is, Yeah. And he’s like, Well it’s just a dude, you know, this is part of my job.


[00:12:53] Brian: totally.

And if I, if all those feels, I can sue him, right?

[00:12:56] Alex: Yeah, There you go. there’s certain parts of the castle he’s not supposed to be in. and in particular there’s a room that he finds, uh, later on and breaks into that has a big grand balcony with a view of the courtyard and other parts of the castle.

And in this room, he observes the count climbing on all force head first down the side of a castle. Like he gets out of a window and crawls down. It’s like a super creepy unsettling. And the book is like really good at these sort of like, just setting of the vibe, of just being like, something’s off.

Right? And there’s just, these moments that they really build up to and, and punctuate, like for whatever reason, everyone talks about those specific moments where that thing happens. And, and when you’re reading it, you feel that, right? Like, oh crap, like he’s crawling down the, the castle, right? he also , he falls asleep in this room at a later point in the book, um, which is something he’s not supposed to do. He’s not supposed to fall asleep anywhere except inside of his room. He’s been directed by Counter Aula. and he wakes up and there’s these three young women who start to like seduce him.

Like they’re gonna go to downtown, right? . and they’re going in for like the kiss and Dracula, like barges in, and he says, Leave him to me, He’s mine. And like, shoes them away, right? And Harker passes out and then like wakes up in his bed, right? So kind of this really wild moment is another one that like everyone always talks about.

[00:14:15] Brian: Does he think, does he think it was real since he wakes up in his.

[00:14:19] Alex: Yeah, he? does. Yeah. He’s, And that’s, there’s, there’s sort of like a, a sort of like psychological horror. You’re like living in this guy’s mind of like, he’s freaking out cuz he can’t get out. He’s trying to like plan his escape. Like, and there’s the, there’s the scene where like, he cuts himself, well he’s shaving and like Dracula’s, like really wanting his blood.

Like he’s acting really weird. Or like, um, while he’s shaving he has the mirror right. And Drac Hill’s not in it and he freaks out. Right. There’s lots of moments where he starts to realize things are wrong. so he does eventually escape. We don’t really have an account of that. He just like writes about how he’s getting ready to escape and then later he wakes up in a hospital, um, with like mind fever or whatever brain fever.

Um, which is kind of cool cuz like, it’s how a diary might actually be written. Like he’s not writing while he’s like going.

[00:14:59] Brian: Yeah.

[00:14:59] Alex: so yeah. Wakes up in a Budd Burst hospital, not remembering what happened. That’s like the first third of the book and that’s like my favorite part. Um, cuz it’s just this existential horror and dread.

[00:15:08] Brian: Mm-hmm.

[00:15:09] Alex: the book then jumps to two women, lucy, West En and Meina Murray. they’re in an English coastal town called Wi Be, and this is actually where, Brom Stoker spent a lot of time when he was writing his book, he would visit Wipie.

yeah. And Mina is Jonathan Harkers fiance, so that’s how she’s related to this. She’s visiting Lucy, who lives there in Wipie and Lucy does a bunch of sleep walking. Right. That’s kind of the thing that, that Lucy is documenting in her diary. Diary entries. like she goes out and sits on a bench, like on the coast where the, you can hear the water crashing, like think West Cliff Drive and like Santa Cruz.


[00:15:43] Brian: Mm-hmm.

[00:15:43] Alex: and Lucy’s like constantly going out and chasing after her and making sure that like, you know, she doesn’t end up in the ocean or whatever. And at one point they

find two pinpricks on her neck that look kind of like a bite mark. Right.

concurrently with all this, there’s a pretty gruesome shipwreck at Whippy.

like everyone’s dead, including like the person who was like steering the boat, he’s like tied himself to the, the, the like mast. The st not the MAs, the steering wheel. Right. Because it’s like through a storm or whatever.

the way we find out about this is through a newspaper clipping, which is really cool.

You’re like reading the reporting on it and like what happened and how they found people.

[00:16:17] Brian: one question. So you said he tied, like he tied himself to the steering, whatever

[00:16:23] Alex: Yeah, yeah,

[00:16:24] Brian: they find his dead body tied to it, or, Oh my gosh.


[00:16:29] Alex: creepy.

[00:16:30] Brian: Yeah, that’s grizz.

[00:16:31] Alex: and one of the things, um, there’s nothing living on the boat except for one of the accounts, is that there is a large black dog that runs off the boat. We come to find later that this dog is Dracula, sidetrack, Like at this time, the, the sort of like rule set and lore for what a vampire is, is not really set in terms of like modern fiction.

in fact, Brom Stoker kind of creates the prototype that everyone follows, for vampires and, vampires can transforming into anything, Right? So like in the movies, he’s always transforming into a bat. Yeah. And, and the book, he transforms into a bat, into a wolf, into like mist.

[00:17:06] Brian: to miss.

[00:17:07] Alex: yeah. And he like goes under someone’s

[00:17:10] Brian: Anything

[00:17:11] Alex: yeah,


[00:17:12] Brian: can transform to an apple pie

[00:17:14] Alex: and the, the, the sort of like in folklore, there’s not a huge difference between a vampire and a wear wolf. They kind of are like adjacent, like, um,

[00:17:22] Brian: Huh?

[00:17:23] Alex: Yeah.

[00:17:24] Brian: Really?

That’s really the so to total side thought, but it makes me wonder like how this stuff comes back around with, um, was it the underworld series?

[00:17:36] Alex: Oh, sure, sure, sure. Sure.

[00:17:37] Brian: Because they’ve got like the, the vampires

[00:17:40] Alex: the


[00:17:41] Brian: the wear wolves. yeah, the lichens. And then they start to like, have hybrids and

stuff and is like, is that just like kind of sh coming back

[00:17:48] Alex: I don’t know. I don’t, I, um, I assume that there’s some other like foundational fiction that they’re building on top of, but, um,

[00:17:55] Brian: Probably. That’s just interesting.

[00:17:57] Alex: yeah, for sure. yeah, that happens in parallel.

[00:17:59] Brian: Okay.

[00:18:00] Alex: another thing that is also happening during all of this is that Lucy, on the same day has three dudes that all propose to her three men.

one is, is, uh, an American named Quincy Morris. Another is, a person that we’re probably not gonna talk about. It’s on Um, and a third is a, a doctor whose name is John Seward. and so Dr. Seward shows up and like checks in on Lucy cuz she’s doing all this walking. They find the pinpricks, they’re a little

worried about her. and he’s like, I’m not sure what’s going on. Um, I’m gonna send for my mentor, a doctor named Van Helsing.

[00:18:31] Brian: Dang.

[00:18:32] Alex: yeah, that’s where Van Hsing comes from. Although nothing like any of the movies, or anything like that. He’s just a doctor. In fact, in the movie we’re gonna talk about in a bit, just like a gray, gray haired old dude,

[00:18:42] Brian: It doesn’t look like a, a sexy Australian.

[00:18:46] Alex: just a doctor. Van Hessing instantly thinks it’s a vampire, but doesn’t say so. Cuz like vampire’s not real and he doesn’t want people to freak out. Right. they put garlic up around her room.

Which helps for a while. because like one of the things that’s happening concurrently with this is like Van Healthing points out that like she’s really low on blood and she’s gonna die, right?

Cause she’s like losing blood all the time. They don’t understand why. So they’re like doing like rotating transfusions, like everyone’s giving her blood transfusions and she still doesn’t have enough blood, but they put up the garlic and it gets better, right? Like she starts doing better. But her mom shows up, , Lucy’s mom, and is like, this garlic is like superstition and it’s stupid and we’re getting rid of it.

which leaves her vulnerable. And then she dies right

[00:19:22] Brian: Dang.

[00:19:23] Alex: after Lucy dies. Van Helsing essentially puts together a posse with all the dudes that were like courting Lucy, like all the people who had proposed Quincy Morris and, and Seward. And, they go to her, to her tomb cuz he’s trying to convince them that she’s undead, right?

That she’s, she’s a vampire. And it turns out that she is, they like witness her like sucking the blood of like a child. and they murder her. And like, not just a little bit like they murder her hard .

So like, they drive a stake through her heart.

Which, like, for me, coming before I read this book, like my, my frame of reference is like literally I remember being a child and thinking like, this is stupid.

Like how, like drive a stake through like my, my mental image is Buffy, right? I don’t know if you’ve ever watched Buffy the Vampire Cell, but she takes a piece of wood and she sort of like taps it against your chest hard and then you instantly turn into dust.

Okay? But that is not what driving a stake through a human would be.

[00:20:18] Brian: No, I know some history on this too, actually.

[00:20:21] Alex: Yeah. So they take like a piece of wood that’s sharp and they lay it on her, and then they take like a hammer or a crowbar or something heavy and they like pound it into her chest, right?

[00:20:31] Brian: yeah. So one of the, so one of the interesting things about that is, um, I don’t remember what disease it was, uh, but uh, when people died with this particular disease, and they were buried, people would be worried that they were vampires or something. So they would op, dig them up, open ’em up, and one of the things that they would do to, make sure that people weren’t, or like were not vampires or would kill them was the stake, cuz it would actually like hold them down to the ground,

right? Yeah. So that, that’s where the original like stake was.

They would stake them down with a big long stake so it would firmly get them in the ground. So they’d wake up and just kind of be stuck to the

ground forever.

[00:21:08] Alex: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

[00:21:09] Brian: The other thing they would do is they would turn them and have them face down cuz they thought that these vampires would wake up confused and they would try and dig and they would

dig downward and be

stuck. Um, or they would just put huge rocks on top of, which I think in some places they still do

today. .

[00:21:28] Alex: Mm-hmm. that’s very interesting. Um, So not only do they, So back to back to Lucy, right? Not only do they drive the steak through her heart, then they cut off her head, then they stuff her mouth full of garlic,

[00:21:42] Brian: Oh, okay.

[00:21:43] Alex: And remember, these are the three guys that are like courting her. They’ve all asked to marry this chick. And they come on this expedition thinking this doctor’s crazy. And then at the end they’re like, together, they’re like murdering her like hardcore. pretty wild scene.

[00:21:57] Brian: Hashtag Love

[00:21:59] Alex: yes, , back to Budapest. Mina leaves, right? So at some point during this, she leaves Lucy to go to John, who’s written to call for her.

So she goes back to Budapest, she meets up with him, they get married, right? Cause they’ve been fiance for months at this point. He’s been missing. He’s been, yeah, very traumatic for her. They come back to England, right? And they meet up with everyone. And then Ven Helsing is like mega Posse, right? Let’s take all the dudes that were according Lucy and Mina and John.

Cause now John is like, Yeah, Drac was this vampire dude, you know? And he came to, to, to London, right? Cause he knows that, that he’s left, he’s been planning to go live at this house or whatever. and they’re like, Let’s get him right? So that, that at this point it just turns into like action movie, right?

Like they, at one point they find, these boxes of earth, of soil. because in, in this sort of, You know, mythical rule set, you know, vampire cannon. it’s not that they need to sleep in a coffin, because they like a coffin or whatever, or that’s, that’s the rule set. It’s that they need to sleep in the native soil where they would’ve been buried when they died.

[00:23:05] Brian: Ah, interesting.

[00:23:08] Alex: um, like, I think it’s like 23 boxes. It’s like mini, mini boxes of soil from Pennsylvania with him. And so even though counteracts not there, they start destroying the boxes, which, um, causes him to flee. He’s like, Oh, I gotta get back. So he goes back to Sylvania, they chase him there, they kill him.

And that’s the end of the book, right?

[00:23:27] Brian: Okay.

I think mythology is the word you

were looking for.

[00:23:31] Alex: Yeah. so yeah, it kind of rambles, right? The, the, the sort of inciting element is that, you know, Dracula, like Terrorizes, um, and, and they end up killing ’em.

But like it’s got many characters. A lot of ’em have things to do with each other, but they have things to do with each other that like, it, it’s just kind of like this wild coincidence, right? That like, you know, Dracula is like terrorizing Jonathan. And then he goes and like, Terror, Terrorizes Mina and her friend, who also happens to know like this vampire doctor, right?

Like, it’s kind of a lot of like, like that. I really enjoyed the book though.

[00:24:00] Brian: Out of 10, how many stars?

[00:24:02] Alex: I would say like a seven or eight for sure. I definitely end up at, you know, more in love with the, the mythology of Dracula and the idea of Dracula

than the book itself.

[00:24:10] Brian: Sure

[00:24:10] Alex: so that’s the story itself. But if you’re trying to sort of, step back and do a meta textual read and like understand the sort of like psychological place that this comes from or the themes of the book, most academics feel that it’s speaking to an anxiety that was prevalent in British literature starting in the Victorian era called reverse colonization.

essentially the idea is that a strange or superior outsider comes to England, takes the land and or subjugates the people.

[00:24:36] Brian: Really?

[00:24:37] Alex: yeah, if you have a charitable view of this anxiety, it stems from an empathetic view of the British empire’s impact on others and the inevitability of those chickens coming home to roost.

If you do not read it, charitably, then perhaps you could chalk it up as like xenophobia, racism, you know, like fear of miscegenation. Right? and if you think about it, Dracula does kind of fit this bill. He’s a vampire who’s tapped out his native lamp. And wants to seek out greener pastures, um, in London, which is a target rich environment for him to like drink blood

and like turn people into vampires.

another example of this trope, that that academic site or this theme is HG Wells wore the worlds, right? Like, it’s this idea of like, you know, the aliens coming and um, taking over. So yeah, that’s one of the, the sort of themes that you could take away. go

[00:25:25] Brian: I don’t, so I dunno if this matters at all, but Jack the Ripper, 1888 to 1891

[00:25:31] Alex: It.

[00:25:31] Brian: also. So, I dunno if there’s parallels there

[00:25:33] Alex: Yeah, so totally there is, some really, really, really great conversation about sort of like the horror culture and the horror fiction climate in Victorian England that I would love to talk about.

[00:25:48] Brian: Okay.

[00:25:48] Alex: in fact, there was a whole nother topic for this episode that I cut, about another inspiration for Batman, that I would love to come back for at some point. and, and I think Jack the record dovetails better with that. it’s

[00:26:00] Brian: Nice.

[00:26:00] Alex: is the one I wanted to talk about.

[00:26:02] Brian: Okay. That you had made that reference another time.

[00:26:04] Alex: I just, I think we’re gonna be here all night if I do it but it’s a really good point. It’s a really good point. Yeah, we’re gonna come back for it. Hopefully, I don’t know if we’re still doing this in a year. next Halloween,

[00:26:16] Brian: next Halloween,

[00:26:17] Alex: Victorian England Horror, Jack the Ripper, Spring Hill, Jack. there’s another meta read, that positions the book as a challenge to sexual and gender norms. the book is fairly erotic, um, especially the scene where Dracula’s wives, we, we come to find out that the three women are his wives,

[00:26:34] Brian: Sure.

[00:26:34] Alex: are are trying to seduce Harker, and the scene crescendos to this moment where he stops and says like, he’s mine, right?

Like, as if to say that perhaps it’s not just like drinking his blood, right? But that there’s, there’s sort of like an erotic element to that as well. it’s pretty clear that that that Dracula has an interest in Harker specifically for some reason. and it’s not just in that scene, right? Like there’s an infatuation.

it’s, it’s described in pretty sens terms. Uh, and it’s not a stretch to say that there are homoerotic undertones to the book. Um, there are some who, examining Stoker his personal life, his notes think that perhaps he had some repressed homosexuality or by curiosity. Um, and I don’t love personally the sort of like casual way that we like to discuss dead people in their private lives.

Um, cuz it was a pretty private.

[00:27:24] Brian: Yeah.

[00:27:25] Alex: but I do find some of those things persuasive, right? That, um, there is, especially in Victorian England, right, that there is a lot of, you know, people were not in touch with their feelings, let’s say . There’s a lot of things that are repressed and, and spoken about in, in sort of abstract and allegorical ways, right?

So it’s not, it’s not a stretch to say that, that there’s some of those themes in this book.

So that’s the novel. Who wrote this novel? Brown Stroker. He was an Irish guy. He lived from 1847 until 1912. in his lifetime, he was most famous for being a business manager for the li See, which is West End Theater in London.

It’s still there today. Um, it’s currently hosting, um, Disney’s Lion King, the musical. It’s been doing that since 1999. and he came to be the business manager there by way of being personal assistant to Sir Henry Irving, who was an actor who owned the Lim. he was the first ever actor to receive a night hood.

kind of a big deal at the time. Had an inflated ego. Some people think that Stoker was writing Dracula as perhaps to be inspired by Sir Henry Irving. They, um, had, they were friends, but it was also a, a, a tenuous relationship. in addition to managing the lice, which again is what he was known for at the time.

He was a writer, though he was not particularly financially successful. he wrote for newspapers. Sometimes was a theater critic for those newspapers. Sometimes wrote like fiction, a few pages at a time, sort of in serial. and he wrote several novels, one of which is, is Dracula. if you wanna know more about him, there is a, um, a lecturer that was given at Johnson County Community College in Kansas City, um,

that I will link.

Yeah, it’s a really, really good, good lecture. I can’t remember the guy name. Maybe I’ll edit in after,

[00:29:02] Brian: Well, why is it notable that was Kansas City

[00:29:05] Alex: I’m from Kansas City . I think that’s interesting. It’s not notable at all. Just a, there’s a college professor who gave a


[00:29:11] Brian: just dunno if the audience knows that.

[00:29:12] Alex: Yeah, that’s fair.

[00:29:14] Brian: So 1847 and the book was 1897. Right. So he was 50 when the book came out, and he was only 65 when he died in 1912. Young, young dude. Really interesting. It’s interesting thing about life in different sense.

[00:29:31] Alex: yeah. No, it, it, um, he’s young for today, but I don’t know if he would’ve been at the time. That’s probably a pretty full life,

um, in, in, in the 19th century.

[00:29:40] Brian: for us. Right.

[00:29:41] Alex: Yeah. . Yeah, exactly.

I wanna talk a little bit about inspirations for, for Dracula, the, the book. Um, and I’ll start by talking about one that, everyone, uh, knows or is the first one that people hear about.

That is perhaps, are definitely overvalued and overstated. Um, and that is VLA the Inhaler. are you familiar with vla, the inhaler?

[00:30:02] Brian: I am indeed. I’m pretty sure there’s even, uh, a Well, what time period was he alive?

[00:30:08] Alex: the 15th century. So

[00:30:10] Brian: Oh, way long ago. Okay. There’s, um, there’s a Young Jones episode. I don’t know if you’ve ever watched those,

[00:30:18] Alex: haven’t,

[00:30:19] Brian: Um, where they go to this castle that’s overrun by these evil World War I

over lords, and there’s this guy who I, I wanna say he’s, he’s been like, possessed by Vladi Al’s Ghost or something, and

he’s just like, really, really gruesome.

[00:30:38] Alex: Okay. Yeah, that’s kind of cool. so who’s led the inhaler? yeah, 15th century. He was the prince of Wal Laia. What is V Laia? V Laia is a, uh, principality is a territory. Um, at the time it was a kingdom, right? that is in modern day Romania. At the time it was, um, sort of sandwich between the Ottoman Empire to the south and, um, hungry to the north, as well as Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania shared a northern border with Milwaukee. Vlad ii, who’s Vlad PA’s father joined a group called The Order of the Dragon, and this was a Christian crick order that was organized to fight the ottoman. So basically, amongst sort, you know, cross countries, there’s this sort of Christian organization that is trying to align people to be against the Ottoman Empire, which is, um, you know, a Muslim empire at the time.

So this is part of the sort of like, post, Roman, you know, Byzantine empire, clash between the, the Christians, the Catholics, specifically Roman Catholics and and Muslims. because he joined the Order of the Dragon, he became known as lad Dr. Kool or Lit, literally

v lad The Dragon.

Yes. And much like, yeah, much like we might append son to the end of a surname, Johnson Isaacson Williamson, Vlad II would become known as v Lad, Son of the Dragon, or in Romanian, old Romanian Dracula, Flat Dracula.

[00:31:58] Brian: Oh wow.

[00:31:59] Alex: Yeah. So

That’s where the name Dracula comes from.


[00:32:05] Brian: Dragon, essentially. Son of the dragon,

[00:32:07] Alex: yes. I’m not super well versed on gladly imp himself.

Um, and I’m not gonna go too deep, but suffice to say , that, being sandwiched between sort of the, the rest of, um, you know, Western Europe, so they’re in Southeast Europe and, and the Bacan Peninsula, right. being sandwiched between the rest of Europe, which is, which is largely Catholic, and the Ottomans to the South, It’s a very tumultuous region.

Lots of war. And, lots of sort of like trying to persuade the rulers of this country. Uh, the, I I’m gonna butcher this, the void. Vos vo vo vo VOAs. The kings. The princes, right? Vlad and his father to be aligned with them. So at various points, like they’re aligned with Ottoman and empire, and then they’re aligned with Hungary, right?

It’s kind of a proxy war, right? And vla, the inhaler becomes famous for sort of like putting his foot down and like, establishing, you know, that he is like the sole ruler of this country, right? And, in a, in a big way being sort of a buttress against the Ottoman Empire and their spread to the rest of Europe.

and the way that he did that was that he was like super, super, super gruesome, and super, and like showed no mercy and like, impaled people was one of the things that he was known to do. Tortured people, you know?

[00:33:21] Brian: their heads on spikes, right?

[00:33:23] Alex: exactly. And when we say imp pale, right? Like we think like maybe.

We’re doing something with speed. Like we would, uh, you know, take a,

[00:33:31] Brian: Um,

[00:33:32] Alex: and like run it through them, but that’s not what we’re talking about, right? Like, you would like put a person a top, uh, you know, a sharp spike and then like let their body weight, pull them down over it over the course of like, days, Right?

And have them ride in pain. Yeah, it’s pretty rough. So that’s how he becomes known as the inhaler. He’s a pretty, pretty bad guy. , um,

[00:33:53] Brian: bad dude.

[00:33:54] Alex: bad dude. And, um, because of the fact that Dracula shared the name with Dracula from Broms Stoker’s book, everyone just assumed that it’s the same guy. In fact, there are adaptations, movie adaptations that basically say that he is that like, glad the MPA dies, but he’s on dead.

He’s a vampire. He’s living in, in modern day, right. the French for Colo film from 1992 with Gary Oldman and, uh, Winona a writer, bro. Stokers Dracula does this right? The, the beginning of the movie, they’re talking about, you know, gladly mpa. But we actually have notes that Stoker kept wall writing Dracula that were rediscovered, and were not published until 1972.

and they contain no notes about Laly and Paylor at.


[00:34:38] Brian: None.

[00:34:39] Alex: instead what we do have is notes that he had gone to read a book while researching, called an account of the Principalities of Walk and Moldova, including various political observations relating to them by a man named William Booker Wilkinson.

And we, we just know like one day he went to the library, he was there for like, I shit you not like 20 minutes. Right. read this book. and if you go and read this book, it doesn’t even really go into detail on v Gladly and Pale. It just lists a bunch of various leaders for the regions and their surnames.

So basically he thought Dracula sounded cool, um, , and he had been writing this book for many years and didn’t name it Dracula until the last second. His publisher e had even said that like, you can’t name your, your villain like the vampire. Right? And so , that’s how, um, you know, Dracula’s name gets attached to the thing.

it’s likely that his, place in Sylvania as a Balkan state that is kind of in this Milu is related to that, that as well. And it goes to show that he really didn’t know a whole lot about VLA and Paylor, that he put it in Sylvania, not Milwaukee,

[00:35:43] Brian: Okay, so I feel like I need to pause and go back. So you’re saying he didn’t know who FLA the inhaler was, but by choosing the name Dracula, he made this connection to Vlad son of the Dragon.

[00:35:57] Alex: Yes.

[00:35:58] Brian: So the whole vla, the inhaler thing was a total accident, but is sure connected.

[00:36:06] Alex: Yeah. So again, we’re working off of his notes,

[00:36:09] Brian: Yeah. But this is like one of those really crazy, um, coincidences,

[00:36:15] Alex: Yes. I think it’s, it’s very likely that he may have known who Vlada Taylor was, and he may have even known that he was making this connection, but it was not what he set out to do when he wrote the book and he didn’t take great care to do it. at the very least, which

[00:36:28] Brian: That’s wild.

[00:36:29] Alex: yeah, it is kind of wild.

So yeah, if he’s not inspired by, by the inhaler, what the heck is he inspired by? And he was more inspired by vampires themselves and, um, some earlier English fiction on the subject. We know he read them, he wrote about it in his notes. There was a penny dreadful that was running at the time called Varney the Vampire.

There was a novel called Carmilla from 1872 and a book simply titled Vampire from 1819. So other English writers had written novels about vampires. He’s just doing another one. Right.

[00:36:55] Brian: So in our second episode we talked about like paper to comics and stuff. Did you

[00:37:01] Alex: Yes,

[00:37:01] Brian: to hit on a refresher on what a penny dreadful is?

[00:37:04] Alex: sure. Penny Dreadfuls were, basically pamphlets. They’re like eight to 10 pages. They’re really cheap. They’re on newsprint, right? They’re, they’re books that you would read. It was like a precursor to, not to comics themselves, but to, Pulp Fiction that would, that would

come later. The magazines that were sort of serial fiction.


so that’s a good question. So yeah, Varney, the Vampire, Big, big inspiration was a, was a opinion of the dreadful that was happening

I don’t wanna talk about any of those inspirations specifically. but I do think it’ll be really interesting to talk about vampires generally and where that concept comes from.

If you simplify vampires to simply being creatures that, drink blood, you can find examples in Mesopotamian, Greek and Roman mythology. But if you’re looking specifically for the word vampire and, uh, a legend that’s a little bit closer to what we think of a vampire, the first written mention, and, and of this term is from the 11th century in SL folklore, so Eastern European.

[00:37:54] Brian: Interesting. Okay.

[00:37:56] Alex: it’s generally thought that vampire legends originate as people are trying to understand or explain oddities in the way that the human body decompos.

[00:38:04] Brian: Yes. Yep.

[00:38:05] Alex: So this is what you were talking about earlier.


After humans die, all kinds of stuff goes sideways. Right? Like your blood’s no longer flowing. So chemical reactions that are normally prevented just by the literal, just by the movement of that blood starts to happen.

or things that, chemical reactions that are prevented by like the body temperature, your blood flowing, maintains a certain body temperature that stops happening that starts, starts to occur, right? Like chemical reactions. And so how exactly this manifests depends on a lot of things, including like the temperature where the body is, contact with materials.

Like are you touching wood or dirt or something else, right? but one of the things that can happen is bloating. Bloating, where gases inside you expand and make your gut and torso grow. So your physically upper body is getting larger and your lips lips become plump. And it looks like maybe you just ate, right?

Like you’re feeling pretty

[00:38:54] Brian: You look really full.

[00:38:55] Alex: Yes. Um,

[00:38:57] Brian: a mosquito or a tick.

[00:38:59] Alex: yes, Exactly. And then another thing that can happen is blood is like forced out of your, like

of your, um, you know, capillaries right out of the skin, right? It’s literally pushed out and it can come out of your mouth and it can come outta your nose, right? And so you can come, you can imagine someone coming to a body that’s like, got blood coming outta mouth looking pretty full, and you’re like, I thought this dude was dead, right?

And instead it looks like he was just eating blood,


[00:39:27] Brian: Yeah.

So let me add to this really quickly. Um, so I, I pull up the vampire Wikipedia really quick and jump to pathology and, and origins and stuff. So there’s a section about contagion where it says, um, basically the, as the pneumonic form of bubonic plague.

, it is associated with breakdown of lung tissue, which would cause blood to appear at the lips. So it’s another thing where you could have blood coming outta your mouth and, and would be like a, a decent time period. Uh, for a lot of this folklore to be originating

is when bubonic plague was ravaging Europe,

[00:40:07] Alex: Yes. another thing that we associate with vampires is like having long fingernails or canines,


Um, in modern day, those sort of old wives tale is that these things are contr attributed to those things continuing to grow after you die. Like people say that your hair keeps growing or that your fingernails keep growing after you die.

Turns out this isn’t true. By the way, that’s not what happens is, is your flesh is desiccating

[00:40:30] Brian: Yeah.

[00:40:31] Alex: And


[00:40:32] Brian: drying out and like pulling back. Yeah.

[00:40:34] Alex: your fingernail stays the same length, everything else, sort of retreats, which is pretty gross. So that’s how these legends start. Right? And that’s what’s inspiring stoker and inspiring other authors of this time.

but it is worth noting that Stoker really solidifies a lot of the rules that we think of for Vampire. He does invent a few things himself. For example, the fact that a vampire has no reflection in a mirror. Stoker’s the first person to write about that. but even the majority of things which he doesn’t invent, like the shape shifting and the drinking blood, and like when he drinks blood, he gets younger and, you know, all of that, you know, fear of garlic and fear of crosses.

He doesn’t invent all of those things, but he collates them, puts them all in one place and sets a p prototype that a lot of people are, you know, following and continue to follow to

[00:41:16] Brian: right?

[00:41:16] Alex: just because the novel is so popular.

so that’s how he was inspired. Fast Forward book’s not very successful.

He doesn’t make a lot of money from any books. Right. How does Dracula become relevant then if the book’s not a success? in 1922, there’s a German film called Nosferatu.

It’s based on Dracula. Um, it’s a very, very influential horror classic. It’s a silent film. it’s, you know, got some really interesting filmmaking techniques where like they show sort of like supernatural powers by like, you see like NORAs like shadow.

They cast a light, you know, and have a shadow reach out and like grab someone and like the person reacts as if they were grabbed. It’s a really cool like idea and effect. it was unauthorized. Hence the vampire being named Nosferatu. all of the other character’s names were changed, but it is, it is the Dracula story.

and the Stoker estate sued over the creation of Nasra and won, and all copies of the movie were ordered destroyed. so it could be, you know, in an alternate version of events. We don’t really know anything about Nasra, other than it existed, but thankfully some prints were not destroyed and we have access to the film today and they were, you know, smuggled outta the country and like came to America and people saw the film here and were inspired to do other things with it.

but sort of in reaction to the success of this, the Stoker family says we should start doing authorized adaptations, right? So they, they sort of realize that they have something that like people could, continue to appreciate and make money off of, right? And so they do a stage play. The stage play, um, eventually is what gets at adapted into the 1931 film.

So in 1931, Universal in la right? Uni, like Universal Studios that their back lot in la there, that’s where they were making movies.

[00:42:55] Brian: Mm-hmm.

[00:42:56] Alex: they’re making a lot of monster movies and they, you know, made them through the fifties and sixties. They made hundreds, right? Dracula is not the first, universal horror movie, but it’s pretty early.

There’s a few that come before Fandom of the Opera, The Man Who Laughs, which we’re gonna talk about, in a future episode. But it’s, but it is early on. It’s like the ninth one, I think. and I did watch it and prep for this episode, and it has many of the things that you might associate with Halloween, like you take for granted, or horror or vampires, that I didn’t really realize cause I hadn’t, watched this movie before this.

Have you ever seen this movie?

[00:43:22] Brian: the 1931

[00:43:24] Alex: Yes. This is Bella LAI’s Dracula, the Universal Dracula movie.

[00:43:28] Brian: Oh, this is the one that you said that you wanted to watch. And I’m pretty sure I downloaded it since then,

[00:43:33] Alex: Oh, okay. Okay. this is, this is the one that Bob Kane specifically says was an inspiration for him.

[00:43:38] Brian: Got it. Okay.

[00:43:39] Alex: So I hadn’t watched it until I was prepping for this episode. And there are many things that you might associate with Halloween that come from this movie,

which is really interesting. So like, the movie opens with a movement from Che Kovski Swan Ballet, um, Swan Lake Ballet. Yeah. Which I instantly recognized as a Halloween song , which is really

[00:44:31] Brian: So I, I definitely recognize this song.

[00:44:33] Alex: Yeah.

[00:44:34] Brian: don’t connect it with Halloween.

[00:44:35] Alex: You don’t,

[00:44:36] Brian: No, I

I, I, should I, I know you’ve got a really strong musical background as well, but I think I spent so much time with the Suzuki violin stuff

and orchestras and stuff that I just hear Kowski,

[00:44:49] Alex: Okay. Fair enough. I, I don’t know why I associated with it,

[00:44:53] Brian: yeah.

[00:44:54] Alex: And it’s gotta be like, there were like, know, haunted houses when I was growing up that played the song or something. or like you know, when they’re running the bumpers between the horror movie marathon on like Nick at night or like, I don’t know what it is, but this, this song instantly and it’s at the top, right?

Like I, I sit down to watch this movie, to research this episode, a hit play and I’m instantly like a wash with nostalgia for a movie I’ve never seen. And I’m interested, listeners, dear listener, Please, I, I beg of you, if you know this song and you associate it with Halloween, but you don’t know this movie, I want you to tweet at us or like send us an email, contact@batlessons.com at lessons. I want to know, cause like I fully expected Brian to be like, Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah.

And he’s not so I, I, I’d wonder if I’m an oddball in this.

[00:45:33] Brian: I’m gonna go up and I’m, I’m gonna ask my wife after I’m done with

this. I’m really,

[00:45:38] Alex: me too. Me too. so who plays Dracula? Dracula is played by Bella Lagosi, and if you hear people talk about this movie, they will call the movie Be LAI’s Dracula. He is the most important part of why this movie works. the performance is magnificent. I linked a, a short little clip from the beginning of the movie where one of his wives is waking up.

They’re in a crypt and they shine a spotlight on his face and he just stares at the camera. And he’s not in monster makeup. He’s not in a crazy getup. And the way that he like it just, he looks like a monster, to me, is really, I think he’s just standing there, just looking at the camera.

[00:46:18] Brian: Oh yeah. This is a famous shot. I know this shot for sure. This dude’s creepy.

Ast. Heck

[00:46:25] Alex: Right.

[00:46:26] Brian: yeah,

[00:46:27] Alex: so yeah, it’s like literally in this, in this minute and 42nd long clip. What, what, like plays, I can pull, I can pull this image into my head and see it without seeing it. Is this like three second dolly? From 46 seconds to 50 seconds, you know, in this, where he’s just looking at the camera.

I’m like, my goodness.

[00:46:47] Brian: Oh yeah.

[00:46:48] Alex: Um,

[00:46:48] Brian: like a very famous shot.

No, no question. Yeah.

[00:46:51] Alex: you could see how someone might be channeling Batman here. It’s a good looking dude, right? Who is dressed well, right? Who is just like staring into your soul. This is like a scary person, right?

[00:47:05] Brian: Yeah. If I had to make a comparison, he looks kind of like Ray finds


[00:47:12] Alex: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. I could see, I could see that for sure.

They, they may have intentionally been trying to channel Dracula when they were doing the Baltimore.


[00:47:20] Brian: be really interesting.


really curious about that.

[00:47:23] Alex: Yeah. to be clear, like Bella Lagosi carries this movie on his back, , I will talk a little bit more about, my feelings on the movie generally, in a bit.

But, he is the best part of it by far. I do wanna do a little bit digress. Uh, a little bit of a digression about Bella Lagosi, um, because I think there’s some interesting tidbits in here. he went on to have a fairly tortured career after this. This was easily his, his biggest role. It’s one of his earlier roles, it was a big success for Universal.

but they didn’t really reward him for that. He had very few leading parts. He had, um, personal troubles in his life. He was often in debt and needed the money. And Universal knew that. And they knew he was desperate. And so they paid him very little, often made a lot less than his counterparts that he was starting in films with, like bores, Karloff.

and they treated him poorly in other ways. he would play Frankenstein’s Monster in a 1943 movie called Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman. And in the script, Frankenstein is blinded and cannot see, but in the edit that detail of the movie is cut. So this results in confusion and derision amongst audiences of reviewers of LAI’s performance because everywhere he’s walking is Frankenstein.

He’s got his arms out front of him stiff cuz he can’t see right? And everyone says this is stupid and it’s goofy. And what is Lagosi doing right? And funnily right is, is kind of the mental image of we have now of Frankenstein, Is basically people making fun of Bella Lagosi. And he took the criticism pretty hard.

later in life, he would struggle with substance addiction. and, and so he is kind of a, a tragic figure. I encourage you to learn more about him. I’ll link, a YouTube documentary, um, in the show notes Bella Lagosi, but an incredible performance. the movie’s an early talkie. so this is right as we’re starting to get sound, people talking voices.

and there’s almost no music at all. and I think that lends to the eerie and creepy feel of it. There’s a lot of tension by the fact that there’s just long moments of just complete silence. this was Universal’s only profitable movie during the Great Depression, right? This is 1931. while the tone and the vibe of the movie is good, and you know, I think it’s successful for good reason, it’s actually not great on the technical level.

it, because it was made during the Great Depression, the budget was quite low. And so most of the movies lifted directly from the stage play. It involves lots of talking, very little action to speak of very little special effects. Like they didn’t even really try with a lot of the special effects. Like there’s just a bat on a stick.

Like someone’s like lifted up and down the bat and it’s kinda like flapping its wings on the string, and then they just jump cut to like Dracula standing there, right? There’s lots of rush storytelling. the movie even kind of ends abruptly, Van Helsing has driven a stake through Draculas Heart, and he tells, Mina and Harker to go away and, and he’s gonna take care of Dracula.

And they do, and they just kind like walk out the crypt and like, walk up some stairs, and then like, the end, And this was like before there were credits, The credits were at the beginning of the movies back then, not the end. So literally there’s not a conversation, there’s not a, it just ends, It’s very awkward.

and there’s a lot of like, sort of like weird pacing and technical problems with this movie. interestingly, right, Another interesting note here is that because this is so early in talks, this is before dubs, right? So today, if you wanted to produce a, a movie in multiple languages, you would just have voice actors come in and talk over the top of the video, and then you’d, you’d chip it out with, with that language track, right?

Like as another, you know, audio channel. so in order to make more money, right, this, what Universal would do is they would shoot multiple versions of the movie at the same time. So there’s a Spanish language version of this film. Yeah. . And what they would do is they would reuse the sets. They would reuse the script, and in the evenings they would shoot the Spanish language version of the movie after they had shot the English language version during the day.

[00:51:03] Brian: would, shoot and edit the movie twice.

[00:51:05] Alex: Yes, Once in English. Once in Spanish, Yes. and what’s really, really interesting about this one in particular is that the crew that worked on the Spanish language, Dracula would hang out during the day and watch them shoot the English version. And so they kind of took notes about like, what worked and what didn’t work, and like up with ideas about their framing and what they were

gonna do with the cameras. the Spanish version of this movie is significantly better from a storytelling perspective and from a technical perspective. Like there are multiple places in this movie. Like there’s a scene when Jonathan Harker walks into the castle for the first time and Dracula standing at the top of the stairs.

And in the English version, he’s just kind of standing there and it’s a wide shot, and it’s lingers for a long time, and it’s a little awkward. You can’t really see anybody. And in the Spanish language version of this film, it’s a crane shot and it, it, the camera sort of like flies up the stairs and comes in on Dracula’s face it’s, it’s really cool.

it is worth noting that the person who played Dracula is Nobel Lai. And so the performance is not very good. Um, but many people who love this movie love the Spanish language version of the film. So if you’re interested in

[00:52:11] Brian: No way.

[00:52:12] Alex: it’s well worth watching.

[00:52:14] Brian: Wow.

[00:52:14] Alex: And this movie ignites the popularity of the novel of the character and really, um, sets Dracula in stone as part of sort of the American Horror. Um, you know, Pantheon,

[00:52:26] Brian: Hmm,

[00:52:27] Alex: Dracula itself goes on after this to get over 200 film adaptations. So there are 200 different versions of, of Dracula as a movie. Cinema Massacre.

I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of them. It’s the angry video game nerd. That guy, YouTuber has a channel where he

[00:52:43] Brian: That’s actually really funny. There’s a, a band that I like called From First to Last, and

[00:52:48] Alex: uh,

[00:52:48] Brian: a a Christmas song come out called C Massacre.

[00:52:52] Alex: okay, there you

[00:52:52] Brian: kind of curious if there’s a connection.

[00:52:54] Alex: Maybe I, I don’t know. But, um, he does a lot of movies about filmmaking, a lot of movies about horror, or, sorry, a lot of videos about filmmaking, a lot of videos about horror. And one of the ones that he did is like a 30 minute long video where he compares to a bunch of different versions of the, of the movie, compares them to the book, how accurate they are, how much he likes them.

it in the show notes. Well worth watching if you’re interested in that sort of thing. not just adaptations of the book itself. The Guinness Book of World Records cites Dracula as the most portrayed literary character of all time, 272 different film credits. Dracula has appeared in 272 different films.

Number two, right? Most portrayed literary character is Sherlock Holmes. Coming in with only 75 betrayals on film.

Yeah. So Dracula is a, a big part of the sort of, pop culture history of America.

[00:53:44] Brian: Yeah. I mean, it makes sense. Like I, I just think of several movies where, I mean, just even Adam Sandler did a movie where he voiced, uh, Dracula. Yeah, yeah. It’s a, it’s a kids’ movie.


[00:53:58] Alex: Like a cartoon.

[00:53:59] Brian: Yeah. Yeah. Hotel Sylvania, that’s what it’s called.

[00:54:02] Alex: There you go. That’s awesome. Yeah. Synonymous with Halloween. and it’s, it makes sense that this phenomenon, like people like Bill Finger and Bob Kane would’ve been like going to the movies and seeing this cuz everyone was right.

[00:54:11] Brian: Mm-hmm.

[00:54:12] Alex: so that’s Dracula. I think it’s pretty convincing as an inspiration.

know, Dracula man turns into a bat. Batman, Right? well kept wealthy man has dark side strikes, fear into the hearts of people. I do, I do wanna draw sort of a straight line to Detective comics. Number 31, which we finished the last episode with Gardner Fox issue.

[00:54:29] Brian: Mm-hmm.

[00:54:30] Alex: Batman Chases the Monk to Romania he’s in a castle.


talk of wear wolves. Definitely directly inspired by Dracula. It’s not a Bill Finger book. Um, so it’s, it’s easy to imagine that Bob Kane, Gardner Fox, sit in the bullpen talking about the next Batman comics. They’re talking about Dracula, you know, that they’re talking about the, you know, types of stories they want to tell.

Okay, so the 1939 New York World’s Fair. So this is related to, but not to be confused with the 1964 New York World’s Fair, 1964 is the one where Disney himself goes and is like showing off a bunch of like Disneyland stuff.

Think of, of a World’s Fair as kinda like a temporary theme park.

It’s intentionally only meant to be open for a year. maybe to, the first Captain America movie, they have something called the Stark Expo that, that Steve Roger goes to. This is modeled after the 1939 New York

World’s Fair.

[00:55:21] Brian: And so a lot of, lots of inventions. Um, there’s some like really famous things like the. World’s Fair in Paris is the reason that the Eiffel Tower

exists, I’m pretty sure. they like, they built it for the fair and then they loved it and decided to keep it up. Um, I know that Tesla, Nicola Tesla did a bunch of stuff at the World’s Fair to like show off electricity and light bulbs and


DC generator,

[00:55:46] Alex: Mm-hmm.

[00:55:47] Brian: et cetera. So yeah, lots of connections with like the future, like the world of the future and stuff like

[00:55:53] Alex: Yes, yes. yes. the New York World’s Fair in particular is the largest fair that’s ever happened in the United States. 44 million people attended this over the course of two seasons, So they were open for two years, April to October, 1939 and 1940. It’s, uh, two square miles, and it had zones on communication and government and transportation, food and amusements, right?

and the theme, as you say, was the World of Tomorrow. So that’s on all of the posters and everything for this, the, the theme for the fair, the World of Tomorrow. Lots and lots of companies use this for advertising. This is where GM and Ford did a lot to sell the United States on cars. There’s like videos that you can see of like little models of cities with like interstates and like highways and things running through them like decades before. The interstate

system is a

thing, right?

[00:56:38] Brian: Mm, Yeah. Two or three decades.

[00:56:40] Alex: and if you look at it, the, the, these models, it’s like, Oh yeah, that’s a freeway. That’s like a, that’s a six lanes. Like I, that’s the 1 0 1. That’s I five, you know, I’m in

[00:56:48] Brian: Mm-hmm. on the timing is really interesting too, cuz 1939 to 1940, World War II has started

in Europe, but, um, the US hasn’t gotten involved yet and a direct result of World War II and Eisenhower as a general visiting, Germany, and he loved the auto bond and their ability to, to move military quickly is what, um, started off the interstate system.

In fact, think I 80 that comes through us through California and Iowa and stuff like that is the Dwight Di Eisenhower highway, right?

[00:57:23] Alex: you are correct. Yes.

[00:57:24] Brian: Yeah.

[00:57:25] Alex: and very, very, very much influenced by the military. There are even portions of the interstate that are intentionally designed such that you could land like a military, you know, bomber on, on the interstate. Right. It’s why they’re sufficiently wide and, and .

[00:57:38] Brian: Mm-hmm. .Mm-hmm. .There is, there is a wives tale about that. Like every three miles there’s supposed to be like a one mile section. That’s not

true. But yeah, it is designed in a way that like planes can land on it if necessary.

[00:57:51] Alex: so not just cars, right? This is, the place where a lot of people first saw a television set. this is a place where a lot of people first saw a color photo. General Electric showed up and was showing off. The first fluorescent light bulb had a building that they built that was showing off air conditioning to people.

A lot of people were seeing that for the first time. because I’m a Disney guy, little, little tangent. 1939 Worlds Fair in some ways is an inspiration for Disneyland itself, which opened in

  1. [00:58:16] Brian: fco, right?

[00:58:17] Alex: Well, Disneyland first primarily, because a lot of the exhibits are sponsored by corporations. So it’s both entertainment and advertisement, which happens at Disneyland.

But then yes, you’re right.


big inspiration for epca.

[00:58:29] Brian: advertising.

[00:58:30] Alex: Yes. but like Epcot that like has pavilions for different countries, right? Where you can try their food and learn about their culture. 1930 nine’s World’s Fair has that That’s the government zone, right?

but not just that, even the, construction, the buildings there in the center of the 1939 World’s Fair, there’s a building called the Perisphere, which is basically just spaceship Earth.

Right? And so in the middle of Epcot, Yes, there’s a geodesic dome. You can go inside, you can write a ride. the, if you Google Perisphere, there’s a big RoundSphere building that people can go inside. There’s an exhibit inside It is , It is space. Your birth?

[00:59:03] Brian: I’m Googling it. Oh yeah. Oh, whoa. It is for sure. Spaceship birth.

[00:59:09] Alex: Yes.

[00:59:10] Brian: And it’s like right at the end of this big, chunk of water, like, kinda like the mall and, um, Washington, dc But it, it’s kind of, I mean, it’s also exactly how Acot set up at the end of a big section of water and there’s stuff inside it. Wow.

[00:59:25] Alex: Yeah.

[00:59:26] Brian: That’s Epcot for sure.

[00:59:29] Alex: so anyway, we could do an entire podcast on New York and the, the New York World’s Fair. Um, and on Disney and how they’re interrelated. But, um, I bring it up because

DC Comics, is in New York City, right. And they use this as an opportunity to promote comics. they were well positioned to take advantage and, what they did was they printed a special comic book called World’s Fair Comics.

It was 96 pages. So that’s pretty long. like, that’s like a triple size issue, right. Has a cardboard cover, so’s a little bit more durable than a normal comic book. And just like all of the theme books is an anthology. So there’s a bunch of different stories, that, that DC’s doing. Yeah. Theme books that DC’s doing at the time.

It’s an anthology just like them, but it’s plucking stories from all of the different anthologies. So in the 1939 New York World’s Fair Comics, there’s a story, Superman, which is Action Comics. There’s a story from Zara, which is in Detective Comics. Right. The Sandman, which I think is Adventure Comics.

Don’t quote me on that. Right. There’s, you know, basically it’s a sampler of everything across

their line and they’re selling it for 25 cents. And that was pretty successful for them. So when the World’s Fair comes back in 1940 for another season, they had another, um, addition of the World’s Fair Comics, which you scroll down a little bit, Brian,

you can see


In front of the Perisphere are standing Superman, Batman, and Robin. So additionally in 1940 they hosted what they called a Superman day, um, where they had a bunch of events for kids. Like they had like, you know, races and like other feats of strength, that they got to compete in. They like wrote on elephants, right? they gave away a bunch of these comics.

[01:00:58] Brian: Yeah.

[01:00:59] Alex: admission was half off that day.


[01:01:03] Brian: in admission. 10 cents. on the, It’s on one of these covers.

[01:01:06] Alex: Yeah. I’ve got a poster here in the document. I’ll put it in the show notes, but there’s also a video that I want you to go watch Brian.

[01:01:11] Brian: Oh, okay.

[01:01:12] Alex: And this is video from Superman Day. So we’ve got a bunch of kids.

[01:01:15] Brian: Mm-hmm. bunch of kids with little red S’s on their chest. They’re racing.

[01:01:21] Alex: Mm-hmm.

[01:01:22] Brian: There’s girls doing a jump roping. Oh, girl races.

[01:01:26] Alex: potato s

[01:01:28] Brian: Uhhuh. Yep. I don’t know what that part is. It looked like a mob. like a bunch of girls killing each other.

[01:01:36] Alex: like a had broken and like they’re all trying to get the

[01:01:38] Brian: Oh, is a pinata. Okay. I it does look like a bunch of kids being greedy, like trying, like trying to get stuff, but it also looks like a rugby scrum.

The styles are so interesting, dude. Right in elephant.

Well Superman up on a, some kind of pedestal.

[01:01:57] Alex: Yeah. It’s a float

[01:01:59] Brian: It’s a float. Yeah.

[01:02:00] Alex: and he’s looking super. He’s got his on his, uh,

[01:02:03] Brian: I got the military playing music following Superman’s pedestal float.

[01:02:08] Alex: anyway.

[01:02:09] Brian: Yeah. I

[01:02:09] Alex: you,

[01:02:10] Brian: gotten to the point where

[01:02:11] Alex: you can imagine, you know, a bunch of people showing up for what is essentially a big DC ad, right? And

[01:02:17] Brian: Oh yeah.

[01:02:18] Alex: the comics.

[01:02:19] Brian: Well, I mean, if you, if you wanna like go down that road, you could say that like, every experience at Disney or even like the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, it’s just a series of advertisements, right? It’s all marketing, it’s all public

[01:02:35] Alex: Mm-hmm.

Mm-hmm. .. it’s also something that I’ve, I’ve shied away from talking about too much. Um, but it, it is worth pointing out that this is not, is not Batman Day. It is not Superman and Batman Day, It is Superman Day. at this time, Batman is a success, right? He is on the cover of, World’s Fair Comics, the, the second issue, right?

but he is not as big as Superman. Superman is syndicated in a newspaper strip. He has a radio show at this point. he’s very soon gonna have a serial after this. Superman is, is top G , he’s on top. and remains that way,

[01:03:07] Brian: Yeah.

[01:03:08] Alex: for a long, long, long time

[01:03:09] Brian: Do you know off the top of your head the age difference?

[01:03:12] Alex: between.

[01:03:13] Brian: First appearance is April of 1938.

[01:03:16] Alex: So like a year,

[01:03:17] Brian: First Superman, and then Batman is

[01:03:21] Alex: April 38, 39, Right.

[01:03:24] Brian: March 39.

[01:03:26] Alex: March of 39.

[01:03:26] Brian: Okay. So they’re just a year apart. And then one year later, Okay, this, this adds up a little bit more, but yeah. Superman beat him by a.

[01:03:34] Alex: Yeah. And, and so he has a head start, but he also just is more popular and basically stays that way until like the eighties. So they had such success with this book, World’s Fair Comics. It’s a sampler of everything that DC has to offer. It introduces people at Boost sales of their other books. They decide to try it as a more regular thing, even as the World’s Fair is not continuing. so in 1941, the following year, they start a new book and they call, The first issue of it was called World’s Best Comics.

but from the second issue of the comic onward, it was called World’s Finest Comics. And it came out quarterly, so four times a year and

had stories from all of their most popular characters. almost always containing a Batman story and a Superman story. In the 1950s, superheroes become less popular.

They had to scale back production of lots of things. World’s Finest at that time, goes from a hundred pages to about 26 pages. And so instead of having separate Batman and Superman stories, they would have, one story where both Batman and Superman are teaming up. And so if you talk to

people about World’s

[01:04:30] Brian: see.

[01:04:30] Alex: that’s what they will think of.

They will think of it as the

[01:04:33] Brian: Um,

[01:04:33] Alex: Superman Team Up book,

[01:04:34] Brian: so

is this like where the Justice League comes from?

[01:04:37] Alex: No, not necessarily. the, that comes from, um, the Justice Society of America. but it is where start to think of DC as more a universe, right? Where, where stories can cross over and coexist. And it’s not just like all of the action comics stories over here and all of the comic stories are over there, and never the two shall meet, Right.

[01:05:00] Brian: Right. Yeah. They’re not separate universes. They’re a shared universe where Metropolis and Gotham are places you can travel between.

[01:05:07] Alex: right? Yeah. And, and, and DC’s starting to develop a cohesive brand across multiple of their intellectual properties, right?

[01:05:14] Brian: yeah,

[01:05:14] Alex: So that’s how World’s Fines came to be. I chose number three World’s Fines number three because it has a particular relevance to us for Halloween. I should say the last Batman story we read is from September of 1939.

So you, what did you just say? March of 1939. Batman’s Introduc. September of 1939. The was Detective Comics. 30 ones we just read. this issue is from September of 1941, so two years later, and the spring of 1940 is a very pivotal time for Batman and a lot of things change. that’s gonna be a really interesting discussion for the future.

a different episode, but I just wanna call out that we are jumping ahead and the artwork, the tone, the content of this is much more formulaic and more in line with what you will come to expect for Batman for decades to follow. after we exit this really interesting period of change in the golden age, the first couple years, we’re probably gonna fast forward through a ton of stories that are exactly like this, right?

so yeah. World’s finest number three. You wanna read it?

[01:06:08] Brian: Let’s do it.

[01:06:09] Alex: Okay.

[01:06:09] Brian: All right. So yeah, we’ve got, it, it looks just like you would expect a, like a Halloween Batman cover to look like there’s dead trees, or maybe it’s just trees with all the leaves off of ’em. Batman is, looks like Batman is chasing Robin around a fence. in the distance we’ve got a huge, larger than life scarecrow with bats flapping around it.

The silhouette by the moon. up at the top says Batman with Robin. It’s got the, the common like Batman logo with the huge wings in the human head thing. sort of like an unfilled scroll, like age paper across the Batman’s horizon moves a new and terrible figure, a fantastic figure of burlap and straw with a brain cunning and distorted. Who is this figure?

Ludicrous Appearance inspires fear. Symbolizes fear. Fear incar. Fear walking the streets of Gotham City? Is it that most terrible, most bizarre of all criminals. The criminal, the criminal all will learn to fear and call the scarecrow like a real scarecrow. He looms bold and frightening.

Scaring the fluttering inhabitants of the city yet from the flock rise, the winged cloaked, Batman and Robin, to challenge and combat the eerie power of the scarecrow.

[01:07:36] Alex: indeed. so this, we’re back to Bill Fingering at this point. Gardner Fox is long gone and, and Bill Finger has written this, and he’s doing it kind of in this sort of announcer cadence that, you’ve ever watched Batman 66, you will be familiar with. do you do, what is, do you have any thoughts about Scarecrow before we dive in?

[01:07:54] Brian: I, I’m, I’m really curious about the origin. Like, is it just like, is it gonna be kinda like Scooby Doo where at the end you like, figure out it’s just like a person in there? or not, because I know that there’s like some Batman characters where it like, it, it truly is a non-human, like monster type

character. Um, or like Solomon Grundy pretty sure he’s a actual dead person, like a zombie. and so I’m really curious if like, what’s gonna go on under Scare Crow? Is it like a, a dead person that’s come back, or is it just going like a dude? does the whole like fear Gas

[01:08:29] Alex: Mm-hmm.

[01:08:30] Brian: or it’s injection or whatever it is? The, the, the Fear Toxin.

Thank you. They fear toxin. Is that original or is this something that was adapted over time? So I just, I’m curious. I have a lot of questions. Yeah,

[01:08:42] Alex: Okay. Very good. Well, I, I think we’re gonna answer all of those things.

[01:08:45] Brian: let’s do it.

Yeah. So bottom right corner of the cover, there’s the first panel, there’s a. Either a child or a very nerdy looking adult is okay. There’s a child, running through a field with a stick up in the air like you swatting at birds. Maybe there’s a scarecrow in the background and it says in the caption, very often an incident in childhood suggests the sort of person that child will be when he has grown up.

Such was the case with Jonathan Crane as a small boy, Jonathan Crane liked to frighten birds.

[01:09:18] Alex: we cut to, a panel of, a classroom. Looks like maybe a college classroom. There’s a man and a suit, and the caption says, When Jonathan Crane grew up, he became a teacher of psychology in a university. is where we find him today.

[01:09:29] Brian: Gentlemen, this term we study the psychology of fear. Fear that nameless dread, that grips a person when thoughts of terror run through his mind, he’s obviously the professor in this college classroom He’s kind of pulling at his jacket, like he’s, it’s like an kind of an arrogant, position, So then, uh, in the next one, he has a gun pulled out and he says, Notice this gun. Should I point it at you? You would be afraid, but you would be more afraid if I did this. And he turns and he shoots

[01:10:03] Alex: It’s like a vase, maybe.

[01:10:05] Brian: It looks like evasive flowers.


I don’t, I don’t understand why you’d be more afraid.

[01:10:11] Alex: Well, Rick, well we’ll read on, he says, Now you see what the gun can do. It can destroy before you only guess what it could do. Now that you have seen, you are even more afraid. Simple psychology gentleman,

[01:10:23] Brian: Oh, I see. Okay.

[01:10:25] Alex: He’s, he’s got these really big bugeyes while he’s saying it.

[01:10:29] Brian: Yeah.

[01:10:29] Alex: the gun. He’s like, Mm,

[01:10:31] Brian: After the class over crane, near some other professors, You’re coming to the party I’m giving tonight. Don’t forget, I’ll except one A. He looks so shabby in those old clothes. Positively weird. So it’s these old dudes that are with each other and are playing, going to a party and intentionally leaving out Jonathan Crane.

And Jonathan Crane is walking away looking over his shoulder. Seemingly kind of unhappy about that comment.

[01:10:59] Alex: Yeah. These, these are his, um, his colleagues. These are other professors,

[01:11:02] Brian: Yeah. His

peers. Yeah.

[01:11:03] Alex: left out,

[01:11:04] Brian: Well, like notably left out too, cuz they said all except one. Not like just a few of us cool dudes. Everybody but that weirdo.

[01:11:14] Alex: Mm-hmm.

So we cut to later in his home, he’s sitting in a chair by himself. He’s got his hand on his, on his chin. He’s thinking, and he says, The fools, do they think I would give up my precious books just to buy clothes. Ba They think I’m strange and I look like a scarecrow, a scarecrow. we skipped a panel.

That’s okay. They

[01:11:32] Brian: did

[01:11:32] Alex: of his clothes. they say like, he’s, it’s shabby and it’s poor.

[01:11:35] Brian: Yeah. Yeah. I was reading. And that, that they make, they make enough money to have nice clothes and he has clothes.

[01:11:43] Alex: Mm-hmm.

[01:11:43] Brian: what’s the.

[01:11:44] Alex: they judge human values by money. If I had money, they’d respect me and I could buy more books. Yes, if only I had money, Lots of money. and this resonates with me that, um, if I had more money, I would just buy lots of books. That’s the thing that I would definitely do.

[01:11:57] Brian: . So again, you’ve got Jonathan Crane teaching in his class. Take the example of the protection racket worked by the gangster.

He wants money, so he makes people pay him. And how does he do it? He makes people afraid. Afraid. So that they pay him? Yes. He makes them afraid. Afraid. And he gets money. Lots of money because people are afraid of him. So then back at his house, his distorted brain begins thinking along fantastic lines, along criminal lines.

[01:12:28] Alex: he, he stands up from his chair in his study and he goes, So I look like a scarecrow. That will be my symbol. A symbol of poverty and fear combined. The perfect symbol, the scarecrow. And then three minutes later in the home of a certain businessman,

[01:12:41] Brian: Three minutes. He’s moving fast.

[01:12:44] Alex: Oh, sorry. Three nights later, I misread that

[01:12:45] Brian: Oh, okay. I was like, Holy smokes. Three nights later. Go ahead.

[01:12:51] Alex: in the home of a certain businessman. What? Straws? Yes, my friend straws. It is my sign. Who, what are you?

[01:13:00] Brian: it looks like Jack Skellington essentially like very long, thin legs, long thin arms. Just kind of stepping out in front of this, this businessman character. It looks very comical. No, no pun intended, but like, it just looks silly. it is, it kind of strikes me as funny how scared the businessman looks because I think in like a real situation, he’d be like, What are you doing?

Not necessarily like as concerned. that’s just the way it’s drawn though, I guess. And he says, I’m the scarecrow. I’ve come to sell you my services.

[01:13:33] Alex: really quickly before we move on, on from this page, um, I, I wanna call out the way that it’s formatted. it has sort of three panels horizontally across the top, and then at the sort of bottom two thirds of the page, it has one panel on the right that’s very tall. It’s the, it’s the entire two thirds.

And then on the left there’s three panels, two that are half height of the remaining space and one that’s half of the height of the rating remaining space. And, because comics are red, left to right, top to bottom, it’s not exactly obvious how you might read this. and so they’ve numbered it.

They’ve given 1, 2, 3, 4,

5, 6, 7.

[01:14:07] Brian: I didn’t see the numbers.

[01:14:09] Alex: In the upper left hand corner there’s little numbers, in circles and not even that, not just that they also have arrows.

[01:14:15] Brian: Arrows.

[01:14:16] Alex: So from panel four, yeah, there’s an arrow that points to panel five straight down. So it’s saying instead of going from left from four to seven right to

this, to this double height thing on the right, you’re gonna go down and then you’re gonna go left to right on that row and then you’re gonna go back up. this is what we call panel stacking. and it is part of the sort of modern rule set. Of comic books. You would read it this way if in a comic book today without the numbers and without the arrows.

[01:14:46] Brian: They’re training us at in at this point in.

[01:14:48] Alex: Yes. I will say this is controversial. There are people who really, really, really hate panel stacking.

but, but the sort of, the gist of the rule is if there are, panels that are taller than a single row, then you will, sort of treat them as, as columns that you will read left to right. So you’ll read the first column left to right, top to bottom, and then you’ll move onto the next column. anytime you have sort of like, you know, the, the gutter comes to a t, you would read everything to the left of the T first, and then you would

[01:15:20] Brian: Got it.

[01:15:21] Alex: It’s called panel stacking. Um, yes. Sorry for that diversion.

[01:15:25] Brian: No, no, that’s interesting. I, I never, ever would’ve noticed those numbers and errors if you hadn’t done that,

[01:15:31] Alex: You know what, it’s something that I take for granted now, panel stacking and, the numbers pointed it out to me that this is actually something that is weird, is, and it’s something that people will have trouble reading comic books today. They’ll get lost cuz they, they start reading panel number seven when they should have gotten to five.


Okay, so we’re back. We’re in the home of a certain businessman, Scarecrow standing in front of him and he says, You are Frank Kendrick, your business partner is su you because you stole some money from business. You two own

[01:15:57] Brian: for a certain sum of money, I will scare your pardon. So that he’ll be afraid to prosecute you. He will drop the suit. Do you want to buy my services?

[01:16:07] Alex: And he says, I suppose so. Why not? If you can stop my partner,

[01:16:10] Brian: So that very night he visits the, the partner you’ve got, Scarecrow is in the window, Sil, waited by the moon up above this other person, business partner. He says, I am the Scarecrow. You are Frank Kendrick’s business partner. I’ve come to tell you, you must withdraw your suit against him.


[01:16:29] Alex: who?

[01:16:30] Brian: the businessman says also, what a weird way to introduce yourself.

Like I, I see things through the lens of like crime all the time. And he’s, he’s like, he’s laid everything out. He’s like, Hi, I am a bad guy, connected to this other guy,

and you’re gonna drop that suit

[01:16:49] Alex: yes,

[01:16:50] Brian: guy got me to come scare you.

[01:16:52] Alex: yes. It’s very convoluted. If, if had not in the panels before they had primed us that this is a protection racket. I don’t know if I would’ve been able to follow yeah, he shows up scares. One dude says, Hey, your business partner’s trying to sue you. I’m gonna stop him and you’re gonna pay me. So he is shaking down the one dude for money to

[01:17:14] Brian: Yeah,

[01:17:15] Alex: shake down the other guy. It’s a little, it’s a little, little convoluted. Next time we meet, it will be your heart unless you withdraw the suit. You have been mourned by the scarecrow. and we see him holding this gun and there’s a puff of smoke and a line. And the dude, he says, Ah, you shot me. Which is kind of funny. Kinda like

[01:17:28] Brian: yeah. So then the Batman shows up. The Batman and Robin Dart lightly across the rooftops. Did you hear that? Says Robin? Yes. Something’s up. It came from over there,

[01:17:40] Alex: then they’re looking over the edge of a building and he says, What is it?

[01:17:43] Brian: Looks like a walking scarecrow. Come on, Robin.

[01:17:46] Alex: And he says, With the lightness of trained athletes, the duo swing to the near building.

[01:17:50] Brian: And they do just that

[01:17:52] Alex: Yeah, they swing it in front of the moon.

[01:17:53] Brian: down the fire escape. They race and pursuit of the scarecrow. Come on Robin. That fellow’s fast on his feet.

[01:18:00] Alex: abruptly, a bullet screams past Batman’s head and smacks into the brick behind him. So we kind of see Batman like dodging, and then there’s

[01:18:07] Brian: Mm-hmm.

[01:18:08] Alex: a bullet line. It’s a zing.

[01:18:09] Brian: And then in the next panel you see Batman jumping down to the ground from up on, uh, the fire escape. He goes, Oh, oh, he’s spotted us. Only one thing left to do. And he’s, he’s, jumping down to beat the tar out of him. Obviously

[01:18:25] Alex: noticed that it was Oh, oh, I always read that as, Oh, no, what is, Oh, oh,

[01:18:28] Brian: Uhoh,

[01:18:29] Alex: But it’s o h o h.

[01:18:31] Brian: I think it’s before the, uh, for Uhoh. I think it’s Oh,


[01:18:34] Alex: Okay. Okay. And he says hi pal. And he kind of like,

[01:18:38] Brian: is he slams his body into a garbage can.

[01:18:42] Alex: So he’s got, he’s coming down knees first, both knees onto the sort of like lower back, like the small of scarecrows back. And he’s got his fist out in front of him on his head. And he’s like, with all of his weight smack And,

[01:18:55] Brian: And,

[01:18:55] Alex: onto a garbage can.

[01:18:56] Brian: the high P thing is just super funny to me. It reminds me of Ocean’s 11. Like I actually, I just watched the trilogy like in the last week with Allie and um, it’s like you’ve got the twins that don’t get along

very well, and, one of them’s carrying the balloons and it’s all a bit or

[01:19:14] Alex: Mm-hmm.

[01:19:15] Brian: into ’em and they release the balloons, it goes up to the camera and he is like, Hey, watch where you’re going, friend

[01:19:20] Alex: Who you calling friend? P.

[01:19:21] Brian: Who you calling friend p. Who you calling Pal Jackass

[01:19:24] Alex: Uh, Ocean’s 11 is one of my favorite movies of all time.

[01:19:29] Brian: amazing.

[01:19:30] Alex: so good.

Steven Soderberg is, is, great. I, um,

I liked it so much that, um, I arranged for my, So Ocean’s 12 came out on my birthday, It was December 10th, whatever year that

was. And so, yeah, I arranged for all of my friends to show up and like, they invited their friends.

And so like, I was through Boy Scouts. I was in high school, but I was through Boy Scouts. I was friends with some middle schoolers, eighth graders, and they showed up and they invited all of their friends and as eighth graders are want to do. Right. And I remember it was like the first like four rows of this movie theater are like people who are here basically because of me.

and hated it cuz like, when you’re 14, Oceans 12 is like not a movie for you. and everyone’s like, Alex, why are we at this movie? I was mortified. It was the worst.

[01:20:15] Brian: That sucks. It’s a good movie.

[01:20:18] Alex: uh, yeah. It’s, it’s good hindsight. It’s, it is not paced like the first one at all.

[01:20:21] Brian: No, it’s not. They’re all, All three of them are different,

but yeah.

You were 14.

[01:20:27] Alex: Lucky.

[01:20:28] Brian: Yeah.

[01:20:29] Alex: Okay. Very good.

[01:20:30] Brian: Steven Soderberg, right?

[01:20:31] Alex: It, it’s so good.

[01:20:33] Brian: That’s super good.

Yep. Okay. Pleasant Dreams says Scarecrow, So he’s swings around with some kind of Billy club looking thing and cracks in the head.

[01:20:44] Alex: Then Robin says, Slug. Slug the Batman. Will you? And he’s like running towards Scarecrow as Scarecrow is like

[01:20:50] Brian: Mm-hmm.

[01:20:51] Alex: of Batman.

[01:20:52] Brian: Scarecrow goes, Take that and he throws the trash can and apparently Wallops, Robin


[01:21:00] Alex: maybe.

[01:21:00] Brian: I mean, it really nails it. It looks like it’s great. Great accuracy for a psychology professor

[01:21:06] Alex: Yep.

And then, yeah. and then we see Scarecrow kind of like jumping over the top of a wall and it says And with queer Grasshopper leaps, the Scarecrow disappears into Black night. I’m really upset that we didn’t talk about Spring Hill, Jack, cuz that’s, This is, this is the thing he does. He jumps over a wall kind of like this.

[01:21:22] Brian: Yeah. Uh,

[01:21:22] Alex: Anyway,

[01:21:23] Brian: are you all right? It says Robin, just a bit woozy. That was quite a clout. Oh, Oh, sirens. Somebody heard that shot and phoned the police

[01:21:33] Alex: then we see a newspaper clipping. It says businessman shot by scare.

[01:21:36] Brian: And then Frank Kendrick says, Do you deny hiring this scarecrow to frighten Harold and to dropping his lawsuit? Of course I do. Says the businessman, can I help it this Scarecrow person takes an interest in my affairs?

[01:21:52] Alex: you know, we can’t arrest you without proof. Come on boys. I don’t like the aroma in this place. Smells like a skunk is loose in here. So the detective leaves

[01:22:00] Brian: Probably because scarecrows there and he fell through a garbage can earlier.

[01:22:05] Alex: Oh yeah. No, he’s not there. He’s not there.

[01:22:07] Brian: Oh,

[01:22:08] Alex: This is the first business partner. This is, this is Kendrick.

[01:22:10] Brian: got it. Got it. And that very night, as Paul Harold reads, gunfire, crashes through the room. The Scarecrow warns only once.

[01:22:19] Alex: And you see like a bullet go through his new, the newspaper that, uh, the guy’s reading like into his chest. And he’s got like really surprised eyes. and when the police arrive, there’s a policeman talking to another one. He says, Harold murdered. look at what I found. Straw. The scared crow left this calling card.

[01:22:36] Brian: And Frank Kendrick has a visitor you killed. I just heard it on the radio. What difference does it make? He refused to withdraw his lawsuit against you. Now he’ll never sue you.

[01:22:48] Alex: and then we cut back to, at the, uh, president’s office at the university, Jonathan Crane is standing there in front of, front of the president, and the president says, We have decided to relieve you of your professorship here. Your teachings are entirely too fantastical, such as you’re shooting a gun off in class, we feel,

[01:23:03] Brian: Ba who cares what you feel? I have money now. I don’t need you anymore.

[01:23:10] Alex: And he’s got, he’s got a lot of cash.


[01:23:13] Brian: huge wa of cash. She’s got like $10,000 in cash.

[01:23:18] Alex: Such a weird way to say, I’ve got money now.

[01:23:20] Brian: Yeah.

[01:23:21] Alex: and that night in his room, Crane ponders, they fired me who wanted to be adult teacher. Anyway. Now I can have money, more money.

[01:23:29] Brian: This, So this next band is a little interesting. It’s, a newspaper and, it’s got the scarecrow like kind of, out on, I don’t know, it kind of looks like, um, Like a snow angel, kind of like set up and it’s, I’m, it looks like it’s just referencing that the scarecrow is making more action. He’s showing up in the paper a lot more.


[01:23:49] Alex: read this as, as Scarecrow is like tearing through the newspaper from behind.

[01:23:53] Brian: Oh, okay. I can see that.

[01:23:55] Alex: It’s kind of abstract.

[01:23:56] Brian: Yeah, it’s pretty abstract. and now the ensuing days tell of the beginning of the great crime master of the beginning of the days of terror, the scarecrow strikes again and again.

[01:24:08] Alex: Bruce Wayne meets an old friend, the president of the college. So we’ve got Bruce Wayne here in a blue suit, and hat, next to the president. And he says, Hello Martin, How are you? What’s new? And the president says Nothing much. We people of college usually lead a fairly unexciting life.

[01:24:22] Brian: this scarecrow crane, as we call him, waves. A large roll of bills under my nose.

[01:24:28] Alex: And then we go outta thought balloon, it goes Scarecrow, I wonder. then he says, And spends all his money on ancient books. You say,

[01:24:36] Brian: Oh. Looks like it, looks like Bruce Wayne might be figuring it


[01:24:40] Alex: yeah, he’s got money. All of a sudden he’s spending it on ancient Burkes.

[01:24:44] Brian: And they, they call him the scarecrow

[01:24:47] Alex: maybe he’s the Scarecrow.

[01:24:49] Brian: maybe adds up. And at that very moment, the Scarecrow pays another call on a prospective client. You Scarecrow, It’s a another businessman looking dude looking a little surprised. And over in the corner you’ve got Scarecrow who obviously came through the window pulling a, curtains back.

Yes. And you are Richard Dodge, owner of a failing department store, being put out of business by arrival. Something I can remedy if you are interested.

[01:25:20] Alex: at Scarecrow says, I can scare away customers. I’ll start a reign of terror that will drive them away. And the businessman says, And into my store. Hmm. It’s a bit unethical of course, But it is the old law of the survival of the fittest. Yes. Yes. What a weird way to talk.

[01:25:34] Brian: Yeah. Yes, Yes. the next day, Scarecrow E And it’s a shadow of a scarecrow, um, standing over a woman who’s being frightened.

[01:25:48] Alex: We cut to a panel. That’s kind of wild. We’ve got like scarecrow standing there and he’s like chucking things. Uh, um, and like there’s motion lines going away from him, like what he’s throwing. And then at the end of it, there’s like explosions. There’s like, so he’s got like a grenade or like a, like, you know, improvised explosion of some kind.

And there’s

like smoke coming out. Yeah.

And Scarecrow says stupid pack pushing, crowding against each other, like frightened animals. And, uh, there’s a woman running away goes hell scarecrow. the caption reads, the boosting of the smoke bomb is a signal for panic.

[01:26:21] Brian: And in the Wayne apartment, Scarecrow Crane. Could it be a coincidence now from the radio calling all cars, Calling all cars to Fenton’s department store, The Scarecrow is starting a riot there.

[01:26:35] Alex: This is another thing again, Um, if you’re familiar with Batman 66, we’ve got Batman and Robin. They’re at Wayne Manor, and they’re like listening to the radio or they’re getting a phone call and they’re

like, you know, this is, this is very reminiscent of, of Batman

  1. [01:26:48] Brian: signal and stuff. Yeah.

[01:26:49] Alex: and then Batman says, Come on Robin, we have no time to lose.

And then Robin says, Right, And it’s really funny. And we’ve from one panel to the next, they’re not in their suits. And then the next one, they are right. So we don’t see them change. There’s no bat pole. There’s no bat cave. They’re just suddenly

[01:27:04] Brian: They’re instantaneously in their costumes and Batman’s going, Come on, don’t be so slow. . And instant later the bat Mobile darts through the city streets after parking their car, they race over rooftops. You’ve got Batman and Robin jumping off a roof. Batman says, If we go in this way, By the roof of the store.

We won’t be seen

[01:27:27] Alex: Towards the center of Confusion race, the Batman and Robin to the Scarecrow. Hi ugly. Batman goes, he’s like walking up behind Scarecrow and Scarecrow is at this department store with a baseball bat. Smashing plates.

[01:27:40] Brian: This, those high dollar figure


[01:27:42] Alex: property damage of,

[01:27:44] Brian: Yep.

[01:27:44] Alex: dining where

[01:27:45] Brian: stupid. Claude says, the Scarecrow and he swings a bat at Batman. Batman Ducks. missed strike one.

[01:27:52] Alex: not



people names. He punches at him.

[01:27:56] Brian: Yeah. Now down the slippery length of the counter spins the scarecrow, the Batman racing to meet him, you’ve got, just a big long table and, the Scarecrow just kind of bouncing funnily on his butt sliding across the top of this

[01:28:09] Alex: Yeah. So, The way this reads to me, right, is this is like a, um, like a pharmacy bar, Like it’s a counter like, or a meat counter, something

like that, that where someone would stand behind it. And what what’s happened is Batman has punched Scarecrow and like Looney Tune style, he is now sliding from one end

[01:28:28] Brian: Oh, absolutely


[01:28:29] Alex: the way to the other his butt.

[01:28:31] Brian: Yeah. Such a strong punch that he lifted him off his. And Scarecrow slid across table on his butt

[01:28:40] Alex: Meanwhile,

[01:28:41] Brian: so hard that Batman had to run after him.

[01:28:44] Alex: right? So, so Batman is in the foreground, in silhouette running, and there’s these really, really swift motion lines and Scarecrow sliding across the bar. And ,Batman, Batman beats him to the other

side and touches him again.


[01:28:59] Brian: Nice to meet you.

[01:29:00] Alex: yeah, he, he slid across the bar. It’s very,

[01:29:04] Brian: Yeah. Yeah. He’s, he’s playing ping pong with himself and both sides of the table. And the ball is Scarecrow,

[01:29:14] Alex: And that’s, that’s exactly right.

[01:29:15] Brian: blundering, fool. You think you can take me so easily and, uh, Scarecrow, launches off of the and kick Batman in the chest with both feet.

[01:29:26] Alex: Meanwhile, Robin finds himself in trouble. And he’s like punching a police officer and he says, Sorry, but you’re making a mistake. And the other police officer says, Stop him. So like, Robin’s trying not to get taken away by the police. He’s beating him up.

[01:29:39] Brian: It’s so funny. like, No, no, I’m innocent. I’ll just assault you.

[01:29:45] Alex: I’m just a vigilante.

[01:29:46] Brian: Yeah. I’m not doing anything wrong. You’re making a.

You’re going to die. Batman says, uh, Scarecrow. He’s got his gun out across the room. He looks like he’s gonna just shoot Batman. Robin looks, turns over his shoulder. He says, Hey, I gotta stop that maniac act.

[01:30:03] Alex: in this, in this panel that you just read, there’s, there’s a sign on the wall that says

sports. So you can tell what, what

part of the store they’re in.

[01:30:11] Brian: that that was relevant. . So

[01:30:13] Alex: one would not think. Yeah.

[01:30:15] Brian: Yeah.

[01:30:15] Alex: this is another thing from, uh, Batman 66. Everything is labeled conveniently and enlarged lettering.

[01:30:20] Brian: Oh right.

[01:30:21] Alex: from the rack in the sports department, Robin see seizes a bowling ball. And so he’s picked up a bowling ball from the sports and he’s throwing it.

[01:30:28] Brian: I sent him up in the next alley. Yeah, the ball knocks scarecrow off his feet and Scarecrow goes, Ugh.

[01:30:34] Alex: The scarecrow recovers swiftly and scrambles to his feet. His hand digs into his pocket. And so scarecrows gotten back up and he’s chucking, something and it says, I’ll finish you with this bomb

[01:30:44] Brian: again. Robin makes use of the sports department. hope my aim is good. It had better be. And you’ve got Robin standing there with a bow and arrow. Fully pulled, letting go.

[01:30:56] Alex: Yeah.

[01:30:56] Brian: The for, I mean the foresight. He’s gotta have to, like, he just finished throwing a bowling ball. Scarecrow is jumping up about to throw a bomb bomb’s mid-air and Robin’s like, quick, let me grab this bow and arrow cuz that’s like the fastest fast draw weapon around

[01:31:12] Alex: yep. And in the next PA panel it says, Bullseye. And you see the arrow going through this bomb and it’s exploding. And

[01:31:18] Brian: Yep.

[01:31:18] Alex: his cape kind of up around, you know, his, his face and he’s kind of like shielding himself.

[01:31:23] Brian: Yeah. The famous Dracula like


[01:31:26] Alex: is kinda, yeah.

[01:31:27] Brian: Yeah. it looks like our saw dust friend has given us the slip again, says Batman. And in the background between behind Batman and Robin, you’ve got the police running up. Hold your fireman. It’s Batman and Robin , which is like super funny cause like Robin was just beating up these guys and this other police officer’s like, Hold your fire.

They’re good guys.

[01:31:51] Alex: yes. Well, we’re entering an era, um, again, we’re gonna talk about, you know, 1940 and what happened. But we’re entering an era where Batman and Robin are, are duly deputized officers of the law. Right? So they’re on the same side as the, as the police. So Batman is talking to the police officer and he says, You’re too late, Sar sergeant.

And the police officer says, Anybody know if he stole anything? And then this woman, who I think is, uh, someone who worked at the store says yes. He took, uh, two books from the rare books department.

[01:32:18] Brian: Now out, I don’t know if anyone else is jumping ahead with me, , but Batman’s actually, Bruce Wayne, who’s putting together this whole, like Scarecrow a, is a nickname for this psychology professor who like loves

books .

[01:32:32] Alex: Mm-hmm. .Mm-hmm. .

[01:32:33] Brian: suddenly has a lot of weird money and, And now they’re short two rare books.

[01:32:37] Alex: Yes. From,

[01:32:38] Brian: later that night.

[01:32:39] Alex: department Store’s. Rare Books Department,

[01:32:41] Brian: Yeah. Which I didn’t know that department stores commonly

had a rare books department.

I haven’t.

[01:32:48] Alex: okay.

[01:32:50] Brian: Next time I find myself in like JC Penney or Nordstrom, I’ll ask where Rare Books department


[01:32:56] Alex: you go.

[01:32:56] Brian: later that night. So he stole the rare books that ties in very neatly with the man called Scarecrow Crane.

Leave your mask on. So that was Batman talking to Robin.

[01:33:08] Alex: And he’s like taking off his mask. So we cut to another scene and there’s a man, who’s in a brown hat and a blue jacket, and he’s at a door and I, I think he’s knocked on it. And, and Jonathan Crane is answering and he says, What do you want? And the man says, I beg your pardon? May I use your phone to call a garage?

My car broke down.

[01:33:26] Brian: he lets him in

[01:33:27] Alex: Yeah.

[01:33:28] Brian: to, to, to do a phone call.

[01:33:29] Alex: no one had cell phones. This is probably pre-pay phone as well.

[01:33:33] Brian: No, I get that. But if I was a criminal, I’d be like, No.

[01:33:36] Alex: Who’s this random guy who’s showing up at my door?

[01:33:38] Brian: Yeah. I just wouldn’t let anyone in my house if I was a criminal.

[01:33:41] Alex: Yeah.

[01:33:41] Brian: Yeah. Weird. Anyway, this rando walks in the room. Ah, rare books. Quite a nice collection too. You must have spent a fortune on these. And Crane says, That’s none of your business.

You asked for a phone. There it is. Use it and get out.

[01:33:56] Alex: But once outside the unwelcome visitor removes his disguise. And here we’ve got Batman coming out of the blue jacket and the brown hat, and he’s got like a, a mask. Like he’s just taken off his mission. Impossible.

[01:34:07] Brian: a outside of his costume.

[01:34:10] Alex: Yes. It’s not Bruce Wayne coming out of the, out of the trench coat. It

is Batman,

[01:34:15] Brian: Yeah.

[01:34:16] Alex: and Robin says, Think he’s our man.

And Batman says, I’m positive. Tomorrow I’m going to call on Dodge, the department store owner. bet he hired the scarecrow to start that riot in Finton store.

[01:34:26] Brian: The moron to think he would fool me with such an obvious disguise. Try to question Dodge. Will he? He’ll find Dodge Dead first. So this is, Jonathan Crane, uh, listening out of his own window from behind a curtain.

[01:34:42] Alex: And then we cut to, um, Scarecrow in costume and it says it’s time for the Scarecrow to walk again.

As the scarecrow steps out, a voice floats mockingly towards him from the shadows. And you see scarecrow kinda like running against silhouette against, against the moon.

And he says, Now for who’s there? And then a voice from outside the panel says, The Batman Pal. I knew if I talked loud enough, you’d make a dumb move. I have proof that you are the scarecrow.

[01:35:07] Brian: So the, the scarecrow whips around, pulls a gun out and shoots. Towards Batman and Robin saying, Trick me, Will you? Down Robin, down says Batman.

[01:35:18] Alex: really quickly, I just wanna, I just want to call out what’s happened here.

[01:35:21] Brian: Mm-hmm.

[01:35:22] Alex: Batman has put on a costume. He showed up at the house saying, I, I, my car broke down. I need to use the phone. He lets him use the phone. He leaves, takes off the costume, right? Jonathan Creighton sees him through the window, finds out it’s Batman. He says, Oh, I’ve outsmarted you, you think I wouldn’t notice you changing back into Batman. And then Crane gets on his Scarecrow costume, leaves the house, and Batman’s waiting for me. And he says, I was counting on the fact that you would come after me in your Scarecrow costume and now I know it’s you cuz you just came outta the house.

So they’ve, they’ve Crane thinks he’s outsmarted Batman and then Batman on Smarts Crane because they are all in a 40 chess game where they’re thinking two steps ahead of each other. It’s a little, uh,

[01:36:00] Brian: Well, it’s also like really convoluted that he gets into this costume to like make a point of seeing his, like his rare books

and then is out of costume as Batman

[01:36:13] Alex: Yes.

[01:36:14] Brian: when Scarecrow sees him. And then Scarecrow surprised when he runs into Batman in a few minutes.

[01:36:19] Alex: Yes. The whole

[01:36:23] Brian: uh,

[01:36:23] Alex: the perfect way to describe this story.

[01:36:25] Brian: With his queer Grasshopper loops, the Scarecrow Bounds and sprints away. The dynamic duo duo in full pursuit. He’s going into that playground. It says Batman.

[01:36:36] Alex: And then we see Robin sort of jumping over, a wall onto a swing set. And he says, Now this will be a knife. Nice trick if it works and outs springs, the boy wonder. And so he’s like swinging off of the swing set. He’s like, He’s not sitting, He’s on his feet, right?

[01:36:51] Brian: Yeah, he’s jumping.

[01:36:52] Alex: And he, is jumping towards the scarecrow and it says, It’s that medicine boy again.

[01:36:56] Brian: but the scarecrows, bony noded fist smashes him full in the face. You have to be quicker than that. , which is like a great way to describe the situation where Robin’s being all clever in a gymnast and he’s gonna jump in, get scarecrow in like me mid-air, like like a, a baseball bad hit and a pitch His bony fist smashes this kid’s


[01:37:24] Alex: And then, and then, we’ve got Scarecrow standing over the top of Robin’s body. He’s like slumped over on the ground. He’s got a gun and

Batman says, Drop that gun. and Scarecrow says, I’ll finish you first, then your pal. And then the caption, the caption says, But the Scarecrow is too intent upon evil to note the still flying swing and

[01:37:44] Brian: and

the swing cracks in right in the back of the head and oh my goodness. So they caught him on accident.

[01:37:53] Alex: Yes, the swing hits him in the back of the head, uh, as the scare car reaches for his fallen gun. The Batman Leaps,

[01:37:59] Brian: A shot blast past Batman’s face as they lock in a terrible struggle cuz they’re fighting over the gun. Obviously

[01:38:06] Alex: The Scarecrow says, You’ll find I’m as good at fighting as you are bat.

[01:38:09] Brian: once again, the Scarecrow stoops for his fallen gun when Robin enters the fray. So Scarecrow is bending over to pick up a gun from the ground and his butt is positioned right underneath or right over the top of a seesaw, teeter totter, whatever you call that. And you’ve got Robin, who’s in the air coming down on the other side says, Hold that position.

[01:38:39] Alex: and he jumps down on the other side of the, Of the seasaw and it comes up and smacks Scarecrow in the butt.

[01:38:45] Brian: kind of flings him in the air a bit.

[01:38:46] Alex: Yeah.

[01:38:47] Brian: Batman zips in Dex him kind of upper cut.

[01:38:51] Alex: Little Alley U action.

[01:38:53] Brian: Yep. Gets him off his feet. Nice timing kid.

[01:38:56] Alex: And then Robin says, Wow, is he really out at last?

[01:38:58] Brian: I don’t know. He certainly gave me the fight of my career, but from now on, only fighting he’ll do is in a prison cell.

[01:39:06] Alex: And so the infamous short lived career of the scarecrow comes to an end at last.

[01:39:10] Brian: a weird phrasing. Say the short lived career at last,

like I

[01:39:18] Alex: you’re right. I didn’t think of it. That is stupid.

[01:39:23] Brian: So then, uh, yeah, Scarecrow standing there in a cell with his hands on the bars. He goes, The stupid fools actually think they’re going to keep me here.

[01:39:32] Alex: And the final caption says, Will the Scarecrow return only time, only inscrutable time can tell. So that is the first story of the scarecrow.

Um, this is Batman hitting its stride. All right. on this page in the middle top panel, we have Batman Grinning as a Gun is being shot in front of his face is kind of the, the Jolly Batman, right?

it stays this way basically until the eighties, right? This is the tone. you can see a lot of Bill Finger in this, if you remember Partners, Partners in peril. The very first story, it’s like businessmen are having like contractors disputes and Batman’s getting involved. For some reason. It’s the same thing, right?

Scarecrow is showing up and like helping businessmen like scare each other twice. Like one is, trying to get a lawsuit dropped. The other is like trying to like boost up one department store over the other, and Batman is like fighting that costume criminal. so that’s the same, but, but we’re also kind of getting sort of the fantastical element that Bill Finger is bringing to it, right?

Where. We have this, you know, dude in a ridiculous getup, right? And they’re fighting in sort of ridiculous scenarios, that that bill Finger will become well known for where, you know, you’ve got the, the gigantic penny and the gigantic typewriter and the gigantic record player. And like, we’re starting to get these, they go to like really exotic settings, right?

In Gotham to have these ridiculous fights. We have, you know, Batman being on the side of the law. is, it is different the Golden Age Batman that we have read up until this point. What do you think of it?

[01:41:02] Brian: I mean, it’s fun. It’s definitely like silly, less like gritty than some of the other ones we saw, like nobody died in this


[01:41:10] Alex: right.

[01:41:10] Brian: Uh, no, no. He did shoot that one guy, Scarecrow did


the, the scare, but Batman didn’t kill anyone in this one. yeah, lots of fun clips. I mean, it’s, and just the jokey manner within the fighting to say like, I don’t know.

He essentially said special delivery before he punched Scarecrow on the face on while he was sliding across that table, you know? so yeah, lots of fun, fun stuff happening, but it’s also like goofy enough that we can sit here and en enjoy kind of tearing it apart.

[01:41:40] Alex: Yeah, for sure. It’s, we’re we’re getting into more kinetic, cartoony action as well.

Right. the stories we’ve read up until now are like six to 10 pages. this is 13, Right. So the stories are getting longer. there’s more action in them. Right. We’ve, we kind of like go from set piece to set piece where they’re, they’re doing, Yeah.

Cartoon violence. what do you think about Scarecrow specifically? You had, you said at the top, you were wondering whether he was gonna be like a monster or

[01:42:05] Brian: Yeah. He’s a dude, he’s a psychology department. He’s really focused on fear, so all of that kind of like adds up with where he’s going. But he doesn’t like gas anyone. He doesn’t have the toxin. seems to be like kind of a misguided, frustrated person, not like a deeply evil.

Being, so like I can, this is a really obvious seed that was at the beginning of like the, the plant that grows out of

[01:42:33] Alex: Mm-hmm. and Scarecrow appears one more time in the Golden Age. Bill Finger Will will write another scarecrow. But only one. and he ends up being not a very important character for a long time until the sixties when none other than Gardner Fox, revives Scarecrow as an important and recurring villain and

remains in the Rogue gallery from gallery from then on,

[01:42:55] Brian: The road gallery, That’s what they call the villains.

[01:42:57] Alex: you’ve never heard it called a rogues gallery.

[01:43:00] Brian: I don’t know. I don’t think

[01:43:01] Alex: Okay, Yes, that is, that is, um, superheroes when you have a set of villains that go with a hero that it’s called their rogues gallery. in the case of the flash, specifically in Cannon, like in the stories they call themselves the rogues. I don’t know where

[01:43:15] Brian: Now, wait.

[01:43:16] Alex: comes from.

Now I’m gonna Google it. a rogue’s gallery is a police collection of mug shots or other images of criminal suspects kept for identification purposes. So we’ve got York Police Department here, and there’s two dudes standing in front of a wall of bug shots.

[01:43:29] Brian: Oh, it’s like a literal, like image gallery.

[01:43:33] Alex: Yes, a rogue gallery. So like you get a call from someone that says, I was just mugged and this was just a description. They go and they look at the wall and they say, Okay, which dude was it? kind of cool.

[01:43:41] Brian: Huh. That’s really interesting. Yeah.

I I just noticed that it said Bob Kane on that last, thing, so I’m gonna keep an eye out and see if it’s like how often it shows up. I’m guessing it’s just like the title page and the last page or something, but it does make me wonder if it’s starts like kind of peeking out all over the place.

I mean, the dude’s in love with himself.

[01:44:00] Alex: he is in love with himself. And, I don’t know a hundred percent for sure. I wish I did. 1941. So he probably was involved to some degree at this point. Jerry Robinson has been hired at this point. so he may be doing the art. I don’t know for sure. I know around 1943, Bob Kane, Batman gets picked up as a newspaper strip syndicated.

Bob Kane still sees that as a. prestigious thing that, that to be sought after, to be in the newspapers. And so he goes on to, to sort of more directly do the arts in the, in the Batman newspaper, comic strip. And Jerry Robinson basically starts being the main artist at that, at that time. So, um, I, I could, I wish I had done more research.

I don’t know whether Jerry Robinson did most of this art. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if he’s the one that actually drew.

and with that we’ll go ahead and wrap it up. If you like the show, then you can help other people find us, Tell your friends about the show, if you think they’d be interested. If you’re using Apple Podcast, tap on the name of the show. Scroll down and find the place to give us a review. All you gotta do is tap the Stars, but if you read a review, we will read it on the show.

If you’re using Overcast, hit the Star at the bottom of the now playing screen to recommend us. It helps a lot, if we grow an audience, we can keep putting out episodes. You can find all our episodes and show notes@batlessons.com. You can send us comments, questions, corrections, or even suggestions to contact@batlessons.com, or you can tweet at us at bat lessons. Until next time, I’m Alex Cash.

[01:45:18] Brian: And I’m Brian Anders.

[01:45:19] Alex: Thanks for listening.

[01:45:20] Brian: If I had to make a comparison, he looks kind of like Ray finds


[01:46:02] Alex: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. I could see, I could see that for sure.

They, they may have intentionally been trying to channel Dracula when they were doing the Baltimore.


[01:46:10] Brian: be really interesting.

[01:46:11] Alex: Anything else you wanna say about Dracula before we move on?

[01:46:13] Brian: Drac. Dracula’s a bitch. No, I’m just kidding. Um, Mm. No, nothing comes to mind. I guess I feel like we’ve hit on a lot. I, I added some links that you might appreciate. One is for a seemingly not very short. Oh, okay. It’s not that long. Not that long. Um, thing on the leaky cauldron.org um, villains in Dracula and Harry Potter, and one of the things that jumped out to.

Second paragraph, first sentence. The first and most obvious similarity between Dracula or Baltimore, Tom Marvel, o Riddle is their looks. Stoker is quick to describe his title character and does so at the reader’s first meeting of Dracula, and it, it goes on from there. I didn’t want to read and like lose track of what you were talking about, but was a sentence that jumped out, so I commented it in

[01:47:03] Alex: Yeah. No, for sure. And this is, this is a lot of academics when they’re talking about the book, talk about this passion specifically because it is, in some ways not exactly aligned with what we think of as a va. Vampire, tall, old man, clean shaven, long white mustache clad from black and head to toe without a single spec of color in him anywhere.

So just a pill kind of old guy,

right? Not, not some, uh, monster. Like Nosferatu is like kind of a go, right? not that in fact, he’s

[01:47:30] Brian: Yeah. So the more I think about this, the more it’s like, yeah, I get it. I mean, vor, he can’t die. He’s the, he is like, he does everything at night. You never hear anything about him and like the sun touching him, you know? he is essentially raised from the dead. Right?

Which, it’s another, it’s, it’s interesting, like, I don’t know.

I see it more and more as I think about it.

[01:47:53] Alex: Everything’s a remix, right?

[01:47:55] Brian: Everything’s a remix. It’s a copy of a copy of a

[01:47:58] Alex: Mm-hmm.

[01:48:00] Brian: it’s a movie that you hate,