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"Holy...!" (for example "Holy cow!", "Holy mackerel!" or "Holy smoke!") is an exclamation of surprise used mostly in English-speaking countries.

Robin of the Batman TV series is noted for his many catchphrase "Holy..." exclamations. The lines in the 1960s TV series were uttered by Robin actor Burt Ward and were directly related to the plot; for example, "Holy Graf Zeppelin!" is uttered by Robin upon seeing an aerial balloon.[1][2] In his cameo on the Arrowverse crossover "Crisis on Infinite Earths", Burt Ward exclaims, "Holy crimson skies of death!" while Earth-66 experiences red skies due to the incoming antimatter wave.[3]


According to New York wellness expert Scott A. Morofsky, Robin would "inevitably refer to an intense experience with a loud, 'Holy... Batman, what do we do now?'".[4] Bradley J. Ricca, comic book scholar at Case Western Reserve University, suggests that: "Robin exists as a media entity inextricably linked with Batman and shares nearly as much ubiquity in American culture".[5] He considers Robin's famous "Holy..." catchphrases to have been grossly overused in the series, popularizing it in the American vernacular.[5] Cartoons such as Super Friends continued to make use of Robin and his catchphrases, "spouting 'Holy' in front of every noun imaginable" and Robin's exclamations still remain closely associated with his character in popular culture.[5]

American author David Shields notes how much in contrast Robin's "Holy..." outbursts, his alliteration and assonance, his fast riffs were to the laconic Batman.[6] According to film critics Deborah Cartmell and Imelda Whelehan, Robin's quip "Holey Rusted Metal!" in Batman Forever was an "explicit in-joke".[7] Camp humour,[8] through Robin's exclamations and other circumstances in the Batman series, have led some commentators to speculate on homosexual undertones in the relationship between Batman and Robin.[9] Image Entertainment paid homage to Robin's quips with the title "Batman: Holy Batmania" in a 2004 2-disc DVD release containing four documentaries discussing the sixties TV series. The DVD title is the name of one of the documentaries itself.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Holy Graf Zeppelin". Holysmokesbatman.com. Archived from the original on 9 September 2013. Retrieved 10 August 2013.
  2. ^ "Robin's 20 Oddest "Holy" Exclamations From the Batman TV Series". ThoughtCo. Retrieved 2018-09-10.
  3. ^ "'Supergirl' recap: Holy crimson skies of death!". Entertainment Weekly.
  4. ^ Morofsky, Scott A. (9 July 2013). WellativityTM. WestBow Press. p. 211. ISBN 978-1-4497-9839-0.
  5. ^ a b c Duncan, Randy; Smith, Matthew J. (29 January 2013). Icons of the American Comic Book: From Captain America to Wonder Woman. ABC-CLIO. p. 612. ISBN 978-0-313-39924-4.
  6. ^ Shields, David (30 October 2003). Remote: Reflections on Life in the Shadow of Celebrity. University of Wisconsin Press. p. 95. ISBN 978-0-299-19363-8.
  7. ^ Cartmell, Deborah; Whelehan, Imelda (17 June 2013). Adaptations: From Text to Screen, Screen to Text. Routledge. p. 196. ISBN 978-1-136-21959-7.
  8. ^ Misiroglu, Gina (1 October 2004). The Superhero Book. Visible Ink Press. p. 434. ISBN 978-1-57859-370-5.
  9. ^ Halfyard, Janet K. (1 January 2004). Danny Elfman's Batman: A Film Score Guide. Scarecrow Press. p. 42. ISBN 978-0-8108-5126-9.
  10. ^ The Batman Filmography. McFarland. 31 July 2013. p. 77. ISBN 978-0-7864-6891-1.

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