Batman (TV series)

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Batman
1966 Batman titlecard.JPG
Genre
Created by William Dozier
Based on Batman 
by Bob Kane and
Bill Finger (uncredited)
Developed by Lorenzo Semple, Jr.
Starring
Narrated by William Dozier
Opening theme "Batman Theme" by
Neal Hefti
Ending theme "Batman Theme" by
Neal Hefti
Composer(s)
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 3
No. of episodes 120 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) William Dozier
Producer(s) Howie Horwitz
Running time 25 minutes (without commercials) 30-33 minutes (with commercials)
Production company(s) Greenway Productions
20th Century Fox Television
Warner Bros. Television Distribution (current)
Broadcast
Original channel ABC
Audio format Monaural
Original run January 12, 1966 (1966-01-12) – March 14, 1968 (1968-03-14)
Chronology
Related shows

Batman is a 1960s American live action television series, based on the DC comic book character of the same name. It starred Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward as Robin — two crime-fighting heroes who defend Gotham City.[1][2] It aired on the ABC network for three seasons from January 12, 1966, to March 14, 1968. The show was aired twice weekly for its first two seasons and weekly for the third, with a total of 120 episodes produced during its run. The program was known for its upbeat theme music and camp moral lessons, which included championing the importance of using seat belts, doing homework, eating vegetables and drinking milk among children.[3]

Production[edit]

In the early 1960s, Ed Graham Productions optioned the television rights to the comic strip Batman and planned a straightforward juvenile adventure show, much like Adventures of Superman and The Lone Ranger, to air on CBS on Saturday mornings.

Former American football linebacker and actor Mike Henry was originally set to star as Batman in a more dramatic interpretation of the character. Henry reportedly posed for publicity photographs in costume, but he was not signed for the role.[citation needed] Around this same time, the Playboy Club in Chicago was screening the Batman serials (1943's Batman and 1949's Batman and Robin) on Saturday nights. It became very popular. East coast ABC executive Yale Udoff, a Batman fan in his childhood, attended one of these parties at the Playboy Club and was impressed with the reaction the serials were eliciting. He contacted ABC executives Harve Bennett and Edgar J. Scherick, who were already considering developing a television series based on a comic strip action hero, to suggest a prime time Batman series in the hip and fun style of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. When negotiations between CBS and Graham stalled, DC Comics quickly reobtained rights and made the deal with ABC, which farmed the rights out to 20th Century Fox to produce the series.[4]

In turn, 20th Century Fox handed the project to William Dozier and his production company, Greenway Productions. ABC and Fox were expecting a hip and fun—yet still serious—adventure show. However, Dozier, who had never before read comic books, concluded, after reading several Batman comics for research, that the only way to make the show work was to do it as a pop art camp comedy.[5] Originally, espionage novelist Eric Ambler was to have scripted a TV-movie that would launch the television series, but he dropped out after learning of Dozier's camp comedy approach. Eventually, two sets of screen tests were filmed, one with Adam West and Burt Ward and the other with Lyle Waggoner and Peter Deyell, with West and Ward winning the roles.

By that time, ABC had pushed up the debut date to January 1966, thus forgoing the movie until the summer hiatus. The film would be produced quickly to get into theatres prior to the start of Season Two of the television series. Lorenzo Semple, Jr. had signed on as head script writer. He wrote the pilot script, and generally wrote in a pop-art adventure style. Stanley Ralph Ross, Stanford Sherman, and Charles Hoffman were script writers who generally leaned more toward camp comedy, and in Ross's case, sometimes outright slapstick and satire. Originally intended as a one-hour show, ABC only had two early-evening time slots available, so the show was split into two parts, to air twice a week in half-hour installments with a cliffhanger, originally to last only through a station break, connecting the two episodes, echoing the old movie serials.

The Joker, the Penguin, the Riddler, Catwoman, Mr. Freeze, and the Mad Hatter, villains that originated in the comic books, all appeared as in the series, the plots for which were deliberately villain-driven as well as action-comedy-heavy.

Plot summary[edit]

Teasers[edit]

The typical story began with a villain (often one of a short list of recurring villains) committing a crime, such as stealing a fabulous gem or taking over Gotham City. This was followed by a scene inside Commissioner Gordon's office, where he and Chief O'Hara would deduce which villain was responsible. Commissioner Gordon would press a button on the Batphone, a bright red telephone located in his office. The scene would then cut to 'stately Wayne Manor' where Alfred (the butler) would answer the Batphone, which sat like a normal everyday telephone on the desk in Bruce Wayne's study. Frequently, Wayne and his ward, Dick Grayson, would be found talking with Dick's aunt, Harriet Cooper, who was unaware of Bruce's and Dick's secret identities. Alfred would discreetly interrupt so they could excuse themselves to go to the Batphone. Upon learning from Gordon which criminal he would face, Wayne would turn a switch concealed within a bust of Shakespeare that stood on his desk. This would cause a bookcase to slide back and reveal two fireman's poles. "To the Batpoles!" Wayne would exclaim, and he and Grayson would slide down to the Batcave, activating an unseen mechanism on the way that dressed them as their alter egos. The title sequence often began at that point.

The title sequence featured animated versions of Batman and Robin, drawn in the then-current style of the comic books, running towards camera and then fighting an assortment of villains, including several "marquee" villains like the Joker and the Penguin.

Plot[edit]

Series stars Burt Ward (left) and Adam West as Dick Grayson/Robin and Bruce Wayne/Batman respectively.

Similar in style and content to the 1940s serials, Batman and Robin would arrive in the Batcave in full costume and jump into the Batmobile, with Batman in the driver's seat. Robin would say, "Atomic batteries to power...turbines to speed." Batman would respond, "Roger, ready to move out." With that, after fastening their seat belts, the two would drive out of the cave at high speed. As the Batmobile approached the mouth of the cave (actually a tunnel entrance in Los Angeles's Bronson Canyon) a camouflaged door would swing open and a hinged barrier outside the Batcave would drop down to allow the car to exit onto the road. Scenes of Batman and Robin sliding down the Batpoles and getting into the Batmobile, the Batmobile exiting the Batcave, and the arrival at Commissioner Gordon's building (while the episode credits are shown), are reused footage utilized in nearly all episodes.

After being summoned to Commissioner Gordon's office via the Batphone, the initial discussion of the crime usually led to Batman and Robin conducting their investigation alone. This investigation usually resulted in a meeting with the villain, with the heroes engaging in a fistfight with the villain's henchmen, and the villain getting away, leaving a series of unlikely clues for the two to investigate. Later, they would face the villain's henchmen again, and he or she would capture one or both of the heroes and place them in a deathtrap leading to a cliffhanger ending, which was usually resolved in the first few minutes of the next episode.

After the cliffhanger[edit]

The second part of the episode (until late in Season Two) would begin with a brief recap of part one. After the opening credits and the theme music, the cliffhanger was resolved.

The same pattern of plot was repeated in the following episode until the villain was defeated in a major brawl where the action was punctuated by superimposed words transformed from sounds, or onomatopoeia, as in comic book fight scenes ("POW!", "BAM!", "ZONK!", etc.). Not counting five of the Penguin's henchmen who disintegrate or get blown up in the associated Batman theatrical movie, only three criminal characters die during the series: the Riddler's moll Molly (played by Jill St. John in Episode 2) who accidentally falls into the Batcave's atomic reactor, and two out-of-town gunmen who shoot at Batman and Robin, but kill each other instead, toward the end of "Zelda The Great/A Death Worse Than Fate." Twice, the Catwoman (Julie Newmar) appears to fall to her death (into a bottomless pit and from a high building into a river), but since she returned in later episodes, it is presumed that as a "cat," she has nine lives and thus has several more left to go. In "Instant Freeze," Mr. Freeze freezes a butler solid and knocks him over, causing him to smash to pieces, although this is implied rather than seen. There is a later reference suggesting the butler survived. In "Green Ice," Mr. Freeze freezes a policeman solid; it is left unclear whether he survived. In "The Penguin's Nest," a policeman suffers an electric shock at the hands of the Penguin's accomplices, but he is presumed to survive, as he appears in some later episodes. In "The Bookworm Turns," Commissioner Gordon appears to have been shot and to have fallen off a bridge to his death, but Batman deduces that this was actually an expert high diver in disguise, employed by The Bookworm as a ruse, implying that the diver survived the fall.

Robin, in particular, was especially well known for saying "Holy (insert), Batman!" whenever he encountered something startling.

The series utilized a narrator (producer William Dozier, uncredited) who parodied both the breathless narration style of the 1940s serials and Walter Winchell's narration of The Untouchables. He would end many of the cliffhanger episodes by intoning, "Tune in tomorrow — same Bat-time, same Bat-channel!"

Only two of the show's guest villains ever discovered Batman's true identity: Egghead by deductive reasoning, and King Tut on two occasions—the first time with a bug on the Batmobile and the second time by accidentally mining into the Batcave. But Egghead was tricked into disbelieving his discovery, as was Tut in the episode when he bugged the Batmobile. In the episode when Tut tunneled into the Batcave, he was hit on the head by a rock which made him forget his discovery and jarred him back into his identity as a mild-mannered Professor of Egyptology at Yale University. While under the spell of the Siren (Joan Collins), Commissioner Gordon found the Batcave beneath Wayne Manor and deduced Batman's true identity, but Alfred gassed him to prevent his informing her, the memory of the discovery gone after leaving the Siren's spell.

Season 1[edit]

In Season 1, Batman and Robin are super crime-fighting heroes, contending with the villains of Gotham City. It begins with the two-parter, "Hi Diddle Riddle/Smack in the Middle," featuring Frank Gorshin as The Riddler.

Season 2[edit]

In Season 2, the show featured repetition of its characters and its formula. Semple's participation in the series decreased.

Adam West explained to Jeff Rovin in his autobiography, Back to the Batcave, that when beginning work on the second season following the completion of the feature film, Dozier, his immediate deputy Howie Horwitz, and the rest of the cast and crew rushed their preparation for the second season, failing to give themselves enough time to determine what they wanted to do with the series during that season.

Season 3[edit]

Yvonne Craig was added to the cast for season 3 in 1967, portraying Barbra Gordon/Batgirl.

By Season 3, ratings were falling and the future of the series seemed uncertain. To attract new viewers, Dozier opted to introduce a recurring female character. He came up with the idea of using Batgirl, who in her civilian identity would be Commissioner Gordon's daughter, and asked the editor of the Batman comics to further develop the character (who had made her debut in a 1966 issue of Detective Comics).[6] To convince ABC executives to introduce Batgirl as a regular on the show, a promotional short featuring Yvonne Craig as Batgirl and Tim Herbert as Killer Moth was produced.[7] The show was reduced to once a week, with mostly self-contained episodes, although the following week's villain would be in a tag at the end of the episode, similar to a soap opera. Accordingly, the narrator's cliffhanger phrases were eliminated, with most of the episodes ending with him saying something to encourage viewers to watch the next episode.[notes 1]

Aunt Harriet was reduced to just two cameo appearances during the third season, due to Madge Blake's poor health. Another cast change for the final season saw Julie Newmar, who had been a popular recurring guest villain as the Catwoman for the first two seasons, being replaced by singer-actress Eartha Kitt for season three, as Newmar was working on the film Mackenna's Gold at the time, and was unable to appear. In America, Kitt's performance in the series marked the first mainstream television success of a black female, continuing to break racial boundaries of the time, Kitt even flirted with West's character on screen.[8] Kitt's performance as Catwoman would also, later, inspire Halle Berry's portrayal of the character in the 2004 film Catwoman, in which Berry would mimic Kitt's famous purrs. Frank Gorshin, the original actor to play the Riddler, returned for a single appearance after a one-season hiatus, during which John Astin made one appearance in the role.

The nature of the scripts and acting started to enter into the realm of surrealism. For example, the set's backgrounds became mere two-dimensional cut-outs against a stark black stage. In addition, the third season was much more topical, with references to hippies, mods, and distinctive 1960s slang, which the previous two seasons had avoided.

Cancellation[edit]

Near the end of the third season, ratings had dropped significantly, and ABC cancelled the show. Reruns of the series have been seen on a regular basis in the United States and much of the world since 1968, and are currently shown on the classic TV network Me-TV on Saturday nights.[9]

Cast[edit]

Regular cast[edit]

  • Adam West as Bruce Wayne / Batman: a millionaire whose parents were murdered by criminals, he now secretly uses his vast fortune to fight crime as Batman. Producer William Dozier cast Adam West in the role after seeing him perform as the James Bond-like spy Captain Q in a Nestlé Quik television ad. Lyle Waggoner had screen tested for the role, though West ultimately won the role. West later voiced an animated version of the title character on The New Adventures of Batman and well as Super Friends: The Legendary Super Powers Show and The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians.
  • Burt Ward as Dick Grayson / Robin: Batman's faithful partner and "boy wonder", noted for his recurring interjections in the form of "Holy ________, Batman!" (The series avoided referencing Robin's origins as Bruce Wayne's fellow "crime orphan", as whose legal guardian the courts appoint Bruce.) Ward voiced an animated version of this character on The New Adventures of Batman.
  • Alan Napier as Alfred: Batman's loyal butler and Batgirl's discreet confidant.
  • Neil Hamilton as Commissioner Gordon: The Commissioner of the Gotham City Police Department and one of Batman's two major police contacts.
  • Stafford Repp as Chief O'Hara: Gotham City's Chief of Police, and Batman's other major police contact. (The character was created by Semple for the series, as someone for Gordon to talk to, and later briefly added to the comics.)
  • Madge Blake as Harriet Cooper: Dick Grayson's maternal aunt. (She first appeared in the comics, two years before the series premiered, to give Bruce and Dick a reason to be secretive about their dual identities).
  • Yvonne Craig as Barbara Gordon / Batgirl: Commissioner Gordon's daughter and crime fighting partner for Batman and Robin for the third season.
  • William Dozier - executive producer, creator, and narrator (uncredited).

Recurring villains[edit]

Frequent "special guest villians" (clockwise from left) Burgess Meredith as The Penguin, Cesar Romero as The Joker, and Frank Gorshin as The Riddler.

Popularity[edit]

A film based on the television show, Batman, was released in 1966. It did not initially perform well at the cinema. Originally, the movie had been conceived to help sell the television series abroad, but the success of the series in America was sufficient publicity. The film was shot after season one was filmed. The movie's budget allowed for producers to build the Batboat and Batcopter, which were used in the second and third seasons of the television show.

The live action television show was extraordinarily popular, called "the biggest TV phenomenon of the mid-1960s".[10] At the height of its popularity, it was the only prime-time television show other than Peyton Place to be broadcast twice in one week as part of its regular schedule, airing at 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays. Episodes of the show were filmed as two-part cliffhangers, with each storyline beginning on Wednesday and ending on the Thursday night episode. (In the second season, a pair of three-parters were also seen; at the very end of the Thursday night segment, a brief tag featuring the next week's villain would be shown, such as, "Next week: Batman jousts with The Joker again!" This started on the third week of the series' run and continued until the end of season two. The first episode of a storyline would typically end with Batman and Robin being trapped in a deathtrap, while the narrator (Dozier) would tell viewers to watch the next night with the repeated phrase: "Tune in tomorrow — same Bat-time, same Bat-channel!" Even many years after the show ceased production, this catch-phrase still remains (2014) a long-running punchline in popular culture.

The "Captain Crocodile" episode of the TV series The Monkees featured a parody segment devoted to "Frogman" and "Reuben the Tadpole" (played, respectively, by Peter Tork and Davy Jones) combating the criminal forces of Michael Nesmith and Micky Dolenz. [11]

Tie-in music[edit]

Several cast members recorded music tied in to the series. Adam West released a single titled "Miranda," a country-tinged pop song that he actually performed in costume during live appearances in the 1960s. Frank Gorshin released a song titled "The Riddler," which was composed and arranged by Mel Tormé. Burgess Meredith recorded a spoken word single called "The Escape" backed with "The Capture," which consisted of The Penguin narrating his recent crime spree to a jazz beat. Burt Ward recorded a song called "Boy Wonder, I Love You," written and arranged by Frank Zappa.

After the series run[edit]

Batman and Robin along with other characters started having animated television appearances on Filmation's series The Batman/Superman Hour six months after the live action Batman series ended its production. Four years later, the Dynamic Duo appeared in two episodes of The New Scooby-Doo Movies which were "The Dynamic Scooby-Doo Affair"and "The Caped Crusader Caper".

1970s reunions[edit]

In 1972, Burt Ward and Yvonne Craig reunited as Robin and Batgirl for an Equal Pay public service announcement. Dick Gautier played Batman because Adam West was, at the time, trying to distance himself from the role. It was narrated by William Dozier. In 1977, Adam West and Burt Ward returned as voice actors for the second Filmation-produced animated series, The New Adventures of Batman. West would once again reprise his role as Batman in animated form when he succeeded Olan Soule in the final two seasons of Super Friends. In 1979, West, Ward, and Frank Gorshin reunited on NBC for Hanna-Barbera's two Legends of the Superheroes television specials. In the 1980s, several cast members teamed up for a series of celebrity editions of Family Feud.

Legacy[edit]

The series' stars, Adam West and Burt Ward, were typecast for decades afterwards, with West especially finding himself unable to escape the reputation of a hammy, camp actor. However, years after the series' impact faded, an episode of Batman: The Animated Series paid tribute to West with an episode titled "Beware The Gray Ghost." In this episode, West himself provided the voice of an aging star of a superhero television series Bruce Wayne had watched as a child and from which he later found inspiration. This gave West new popularity with the next generation of fans. He also played Gotham City's Mayor Grange as a somewhat recurring role in The Batman.

In 2003, West and Ward reunited for a tongue-in-cheek television movie titled Return to the Batcave: The Misadventures of Adam and Burt which combined dramatized recreations of the filming of the original series (with younger actors standing in for the stars), with modern day footage of West and Ward searching for a stolen Batmobile. The film included cameo appearances by Newmar, Gorshin, and Lee Meriwether, as well as Lyle Waggoner, who had been an early candidate for the role of Batman. Yvonne Craig did not appear in the movie — she reportedly disliked the script. The movie was released on DVD in May 2005.

The animated television series Batman: The Brave and the Bold is influenced by the 1960s television series. The opening credits feature Batman rope-climbing up a building, something that Adam West and Burt Ward often did in the show.[12] Several villains from the 1960s show including King Tut, Egghead, Mad Hatter, Archer, Bookworm, False Face, Black Widow, Siren, Marsha Queen of Diamonds, Louie the Lilac, Ma Parker, and Shame make cameo appearances as prisoners at Iron Heights prison in the episode "Day of the Dark Knight!" They are all captured by Batman and Green Arrow during a mass escape attempt. The episode "Game Over for Owlman!" shows a room in the Batcave containing "souvenirs" of deathtraps that the Joker employed in the 1960s series, with accompanying flashbacks: the giant key from the "Human Key Duplicator" from "The Impractical Joker", the slot machine-controlled electric chair from "The Joker Goes to School," and the giant clam from "The Joker's Hard Times." The episode "The Color of Revenge!" begins with a flashback to the time of the 1960s television series, using attributes such as the red Batphone, the Shakespeare bust, the sliding bookcase, the Batpoles, Robin in his old television-series costume, and the shot of Batman and Robin fastening their seat belts in the Batmobile. Additionally, the Adam West Batman briefly appears in "Night of the Batmen!" as part of an army of Batmen gathered across the Multiverse.

The Young Justice episode "Schooled" briefly references the show as well by featuring a Shakespeare bust in Bruce's office at the Waynetech building in Metropolis. As a further homage to the series, Bruce is shown accessing an emergency Batsuit hidden in his desk by flipping a switch concealed within the bust.

The original Batmobile from the 1960s TV series was auctioned on January 19, 2013 at the Barrett-Jackson auction house in Scottsdale, Arizona.[13] It was sold for $4.2 million.[14]

A line spoken by Robin (Chris O'Donnell) in Batman Forever is a homage to the television Robin's catch-phrase exclamations that started "Holy" and sometimes ended "Batman!" - for instance "Holy bargain basements, Batman!" (from the television series' first season) and "Holy flypaper, Batman!" (from the television series' second season). During the movie, Robin says "Holy rusted metal, Batman!" after the duo climb onto twisted metal girders beside some water. This catchphrase also appeared for a time in "Batman" comic books.

Batman '66 comic[edit]

In 2013, DC began publication of Batman '66, a comic book series telling all-new stories set in the world of the 1966–68 TV series. Jeff Parker writes the series, which features cover art by Mike Allred and interior art by different artists each issue.[15][16][17] In the course of this series, the Bookworm, the Minstrel, Sandman, Olga Queen of the Cossacks, Zelda The Great, Shame, and Marsha Queen of Diamonds all have their first appearance in Batman comics. Penguin, Joker, Riddler, Catwoman and Mr. Freeze also appear in the series. Issue #3 of Batman '66 introduced the Red Hood and Dr. Quinn into the series continuity. In issue #7 Batman used a new vehicle, the Bat-Jet, to follow False-Face to Mount Rushmore. The series was to have introduced Killer Croc into the continuity, as well as a new villainess named Cleopatra. In April 2014, the first five issues were compiled into the Batman '66 Vol. 1 trade paperback. Kevin Smith and Ralph Garman likewise worked on a Batman and Green Hornet crossover, titled Batman '66 meets The Green Hornet.[18] The six-issue mini-series began publication in June 2014.

Other Comics[edit]

Bluewater Comics has released a series of comics that take their cue from the TV show. They are The Mis-Adventures of Adam West, The Secret Lives of Julie Newmar, and Burt Ward, Boy Wonder and are similar in tone to the TV series. The Mis-Adventures of Adam West had a four issue mini-series, and a regular series that ran nine issues. The Secret Lives of Julie Newmar was a four issue mini-series and Burt Ward, Boy Wonder was going to be a four issue mini-series but has not yet been published.

Batman Arkham Origins[edit]

  • In the Batman: Arkham Origins video game, exclusive DLC for the PlayStation 3 includes a Batman skin based on the Batman TV series.

Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham[edit]

In Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham, there will be an extra level based by the 1966 Batman TV series, along with characters including: 1966 Batman, 1966 Robin; 1966 Batgirl, 1966 Joker, 1966 Catwoman, 1966 Riddler, and 1966 Penguin. Also Adam West will be playable. The 1966 Batmobile will be included as a Vehicle.

DVD & Blu-ray Release[edit]

In January 2014, Conan O'Brien posted on his Twitter account, and Warner Bros. later confirmed, that Warner Bros. would release an official DVD and Blu-ray box set of the complete series sometime in 2014.[19]

On April 10, 2014, the website tvshowsondvd.com quoted Burt Ward in saying that Warner Bros. would release the complete series on November 11, 2014 in time for the holiday season from 20th Century Fox Television, and that he and Adam West were doing special features for the release.

Prior to the announcement, there were multiple conflicting reports for the reason the series had not been released officially. These included:

  • Disagreement between DC Comics, owners of the Batman character, after DC's sister/parent company Warner Bros. took over DC in 1969. Warner Bros. could also be involved, as well as 20th Century Fox, owners of the program itself.[notes 2]
  • Greenway/ABC/Fox rights issues. The Batman series was conceived as an equal partnership between William Dozier's Greenway Productions and Fox in 1964, before Fox entered into a separate agreement with ABC to produce the series in 1965. With three companies involved almost from the outset, there is some speculation that these rights are tangled even before the DC Comics character ownership rights are to be considered. Moreover:
    • In 2006, Deborah Dozier Potter, "the successor-in-interest to Greenway Productions" sued Fox for allegedly withholding monies under the Fox/ABC agreement.[20][21] Dozier Potter further claimed that this came to her attention when, in March 2005, "she considered releasing the series on DVD", implying that (from her perspective at least) Greenway/Dozier Potter has some say in the matter of potential DVD release of the series. The case was resolved/dismissed in November 2007. In February 2005, John Stacks had approached Deborah Dozier Potter to market the series on DVD. There were many offers and lots of interest in the release of the series, as can be read in Joel Eisner's The Official Batbook Revised Bat Edition 2008.[notes 3]
  • Other complications/rights issues:
    • Christopher D. Heer, writing at the "1966 Batman Message Board", clarified a quote by moderator Lee Kirkham, noting that there will likely be the need for complicated deals regarding cameos, since "...at least some of the cameos were done as uncredited, unpaid walk-ons – which means that Fox does NOT have home video clearances for them. Either those scenes would have to be cut or an agreement reached with the actors."[22]
    • Kirkham's initial quote also noted that, alongside music clearance issues, there could also be problems over some of the costumes, and the original Batmobile:
"It may surprise you, but then there are also rights issues concerning the design of the unique Batmobile design used in the show, and possibly a separate issue regarding some of the costumes as well!"[23]

The series, under the Fox/ABC deal, is still in syndication, and regularly shown on a number of channels around the world, currently appearing in the United States on Me-TV and IFC as of July 4, 2014. Until 2014, only the 1966 feature film was available on DVD from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment for non-broadcast viewing in North America. This affected the 2003 television movie reunion Return to the Batcave: The Misadventures of Adam and Burt, also released to DVD, which was able to make use of footage only from the 1966 movie.

With Batman being unavailable for home-video release until 2014, an unusual situation occurred in which material that would be considered DVD featurettes was released separately. In 2004, Image Entertainment released Holy Batmania, a two-DVD set that included documentaries on the making of the series, as well as rare footage such as the original screen tests of the cast and Lyle Waggoner.[24] In 2008, Adam West released a privately issued DVD with the tongue-in-cheek title Adam West Naked for which he recorded anecdotes regarding all 120 episodes of the series.[25] In 2013 PBS aired an episode of Pioneers of Television called "Superheroes" that featured interviews with Adam West and Burt Ward, and talked about the 1960s TV series. It was released on DVD March 11, 2013.

Also in 2013, PBS produced and transmitted a documentary titled Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle. This documentary talked a little bit about the series and included an interview with Adam West.

In November, 2014, Warner Bros. released the full, 120 episode Batman collection on Blu-ray and DVD with a variety of extras including a miniature Batmobile, a 32-page episode guide, and Adam West Scrapbook.[26] It is also available at the iTunes Store for Apple mobile devices iPod, iPod Touch, iPad and Apple TV.

Collectibles[edit]

Starting in 1966, an enormous amount of Batman merchandise was manufactured and marketed to cash-in on the TV show's vast popularity. This includes trading cards, scale model kits of the Batmobile, coloring books, and board games. Items from this particular era have gained substantial collector appeal with their remarkable variety, scarcity, and style.

One of the most desired collectibles involves the episodes introducing Catwoman ("The Purr-fect Crime" / "Better Luck Next Time"), which were the subject of a View-Master reel & booklet set in 1966 (Sawyers Packet # B492). While the series was first-run on ABC, packet cover indicia reflected the "Bat Craze" cultural phenomenon by referring to the booklet as a Batbooklet, Dynamically illustrated. By the time the television series was cancelled in 1968 and GAF had taken over the View-Master product, Batbooklet was removed in favor of then-standard View-Master packaging for all future releases in the decades to follow, right up the period when the standard packet line was discontinued. The first season's superimposed fight onomatopoeias were not used for the View-Master's scenes of fights. Instead, black-lined "blast" balloons (transparent inside), and series-like onomatopoeias were illustrated and superimposed over fight images.

The popularity of the TV series has carried several decades after its debut; toy company Mattel has made the 1966 Batmobile in various scales for the Hot Wheels product line. The Batmobile with Batboat were also produced under the Matchbox and Corgi names in the UK, during this period.

Warner Bros. acquired merchandising rights to the series in 2012,[1] and in 2013 Mattel released an action figure line based on the television series. To date only a single series of figures have been produced: Batman, the Riddler, the Joker, the Penguin, Catwoman and exclusive to a boxset Robin. Two Batman variants were also produced a limited SDCC exclusive figure with an action feature that replicates the famous Batusi dance and a Surf's Up Batman figure complete with surfboard and trunks. Each figure has the likeness of their respected actor (with Catwoman resembling Newmar and the Riddler resembling Gorshin) and came packaged with a display base and collector card. A Batmobile was also sold to retail making this the first time the classic model has been produced for action figures in the 6 inch scale.

In 2013, Hong Kong based entertainment collectible manufacturer Hot Toys, produced 1/6 scale versions of West's Batman and Ward's Robin.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Adam West, dictating Back to the Batcave to Jeff Rovin, admitted to having resented the development; in his words, "...We were now calculating and titillating. These kinds of things are always short-term solutions to problems...."
  2. ^ From Lambert, David (December 5, 2005). "Batman – 1966 Batman Series Still Not Coming To DVD Yet". Archived from the original on April 16, 2008. Retrieved April 5, 2008. 
    • "Fox (who owns the footage) and DC Comics (owner of the characters, and sister company of Warner Bros.) are still deep in the process of sorting out the legalities and licensing situations for this release. There may be other licenses involved as well, such as music and so forth."
  3. ^ The relevant passage reads: "The lawsuit filed by Debra Dozier Potter was dismissed with prejudice on 11/26/07. Furthermore, a notice of unconditional settlement was filed by the Plaintff on 11/19/07. For those who care to look, the case is DEBORAH DOZIER POTTER VS TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX FILM CORPORATION Case No BC357067."

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Top 10 Comic to TV Adaptations". IGN. June 22, 2007. Retrieved August 15, 2010. 
  2. ^ "A History of Batman on TV". IGN. July 17, 2008. Retrieved August 15, 2010. 
  3. ^ Glen Weldon; Michael Kantor. Superheroes!:Capes cowls and the creation of comic book culture. pp. 162–163. 
  4. ^ Konow, David (20 February 2014). "A Tribute to the 1966 Batman TV Series". Tested. Whalerock Industries. Retrieved 22 April 2014. 
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