Batman is a 15-chapter serial, released in 1943 by Columbia Pictures. The serial starred Lewis Wilson as Batman and Douglas Croft as Robin. J. Carrol Naish played the villain, an original character named Dr. Daka. Rounding out the cast were Shirley Patterson as Linda Page (Bruce Wayne's love interest), and William Austin as Alfred the butler. The plot involved Batman—as a U.S. government agent—attempting to defeat the Japanese agent Dr. Daka, at the height of World War II.
The film is notable for being the first filmed appearance of Batman, and for debuting story details that became permanent parts of the Batmanmythos. It introduced "The Bat's Cave", and its secret entrance through agrandfather clock inside Wayne Manor. Both departures subsequently appeared in the comics. The serial also changed the course of how Alfred Pennyworth's physical appearance would be depicted in later Batmanworks. At the time it was released in theaters, Alfred was overweight in Batman comics. After William Austin's portrayal in these chapter plays, subsequent issues of the comics portrayed him as Austin had: trim, and sporting a thin mustache. The serial was commercially successful, and spawned another, Batman and Robin, in 1949. It was re-released in 1965. The re-released version, called An Evening with Batman and Robin, proved very popular, and its success inspired the intentionally campy Batmantelevision series (and its 1966 theatrical feature film spin-off) starring Adam West and Burt Ward.
Batman and Robin struggle against Dr. Daka, a Japanese scientist and agent of Hirohito who has invented a device that turns people into pseudo-zombies, and has a base in a Funhouse of horrors, in a Japanese area of the city. Daka makes several attempts to defeat the Dynamic Duo before finally falling to his death when Robin hits the wrong switch, opening a trapdoor to a pit of crocodiles.