The Phibes Philes: The Bat & The Lizard – That Time Batman Almost Fought Godzilla

The Phibes Philes: The Bat & The Lizard – That Time Batman Almost Fought Godzilla

Few have faced the mighty Godzilla and lived. The indomitable titan of terror has stood in lordly triumph over the likes of Mothra, Rodan, and King Ghidorah. No missile can stop him! No tank can harm him! He’s conquered the cities of Earth and a few distant planets as well. Godzilla seems unstoppable, but there is one foe who could possibly best the beast: Batman! Yes, the Caped Crusader recently met the King of the Monsters in the comic series, “Justice League vs. Godzilla vs. Kong,” but comics have wacky crossovers like that all the time. (Sabrina the Teenage Witch has met Zatanna, Predator, Sonic the Hedgehog, and the Sharknado.) It’s really rare when those kooky crossovers happen in the movies. And for Batman and Godzilla, it nearly happened.

In 1966, the wonderfully campy “Batman” debuted on television. Featuring Adam West as the titular hero and a gaggle of ghoulish gangsters to menace Gotham City, the show was an instant sensation. Meanwhile, Godzilla had been established as the reigning champion of cinematic crossovers. 1962 was the year King Kong and Godzilla first fought, which is by far the most famous Godzilla crossover we recognize as such. However, the majority of Godzilla’s monstrous enemies made their debuts in films unrelated to the franchise. Mothra and Rodan were creature feature stars before they tangled with Big G. Since Godzilla found success fighting characters from other fantasy stories, it made some sense that he would face the ever-popular masked man. (Hey, I said it made SOME sense, not a lot!)

Two treatments were written: one by regular “Godzilla” writer Shinichi Sekizawa and the other by an unknown American (possibly billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne). While the Sekizawa script is lost to time, the other (called “Batman Meets Godzilla”( is available at the American Heritage Center in the University of Wyoming. It was found in a collection of papers belonging to “Batman” producer/narrator, William Dozier. The film was never made, but the plot (which is 100% real) indicates just how nutty it might’ve been. As Otto Preminger’s Mr. Freeze would say, it’s “wild!”

Our story begins with Commissioner Gordon and Barbara Gordon (In case there are any non-nerds reading this, she’s Batgirl) are traveling to Japan. When they near the country, their boat is capsized by a tidal wave… or so it would appear. It’s actually the work of the evil German mad scientist/implied Nazi (Naturally!), Klaus Finster! The diabolical doctor claims to be in possession of a weather machine capable of destroying Japan, so Batman and Robin set out to defeat Finster. But wait! It’s no mere weather machine; it’s a device that controls Godzilla!

And then it gets weird.

Batman and Robin attend a Kabuki show where they are attacked by sword-wielding assassins. The psychos decapitate Barbara’s friend Reiko, but don’t feel too bad: she was a sinister spy robot sent by Finster. In pursuit of the mad doctor, the dynamic duo finds themselves in a chase that involves spike-shooting motorcycles and a taxicab that turns out to be a poison gas chamber. Before you can say “Holy Deus ex machina!,” Barbara/Batgirl appears with a bat blowtorch to rescue our heroes. Obviously, this leads to another chase where Batman and Robin run nude (save for their masks) through a bathhouse. This is what was actually written.

At this point, the writer remembers that Godzilla is in this story. Two different plans for defeating Godzilla are included in this treatment. The first one (scratched out by pencil) involves a female Godzilla robot, the other concerns a bat device that recreates the seductive mating call of the lady Godzilla. Both scenarios are motivated by the same logic: Godzilla needs some lovin’.

In the thrilling, chilling conclusion, the Bat-Trio get on their respective vehicles to battle Godzilla. They send the crazed Finster plummeting to his well-deserved doom. Eventually, Godzilla grabs Barbara in a moment reminiscent of “King Kong.” The ever-clever Batman uses the mating call, causing Big G to toss Barbara like an empty soda can. Batman scales Godzilla, then ties a bomb to the creature using Batrope. The bomb is detonated, thus knocking Godzilla out. Japanese scientists then build a bomb around the King of the Monsters, sending him off to space so he can be someone else’s problem.

Again, I must tell you that this summary was from the actual outline for the proposed “Batman Meets Godzilla.” Despite reading like the nonsensical ravings of a lunatic mind, this outline makes me wish we had gotten this beautiful mess. The Adam West “Batman” was a very funny and very intentional comedy. With the right handling, these bizarre ideas could’ve led to an all-time camp classic. Alas, this was one crossover that was not meant to be. However, with Batman and Godzilla retaining their considerable popularity, there’s still a chance these two may share the screen together. If they do, let’s hope they get a script that’s just as… Batty.


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