November 21, 2014

Chief Standing Pat in Batman

With the Batman series finally being released on DVD, it's a good opportunity to look back at one stereotypical two-parter. Here's how it starts:

The Great Escape/The Great Train RobberyThat conniving cowboy of crime, Shame, breaks jail with the trusty aide of his fiancee, Calamity Jan, and her mom, Frontier Fanny, in a Sherman tank. At Police Headquarters, The Batman and Robin gets a message from Shame announcing his plans to steal a rock and roll from The Gotham City Stage. While The Caped Crusader and The Boy Wonder race back to The Batcave to consult The Batcomputer, Shame hides out at Gotham City Central Park Stables, where he is introduced to the members of his new posse: Standing Pat, a giant indian who converses in signals issued by his cigar; and Fernado Ricardo Enrique Dominquez (Fred for short), a Mexican with a British accent.Comment:  A Plains Indian in traditional clothing with a phony name played by a non-Native actor...that was par for the course in the 1960s.

True, some dramas, including Westerns such as Bonanza, had begun to address the problems. Even comedies such as The Munsters were giving Indians a slightly modern edge.

Other than including an Indian at all, there doesn't seem to be much to recommend Batman's treatment of Indians. Other shows were just as bad.

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