|Format:||Live action television series|
|Created by:|| Bob Kane (characters)|
William Dozier (series)
|No. of Series:||3|
|No. of Episodes:||120 (List of Episodes)|
|Duration of Episodes:||30 mins|
|Starring:|| Adam West|
Batman was a thirty-minute prime time, live action television series broadcast by the ABC Network between 1966 and 1968. Premiering on January 12th, the series featured actor Adam West as the perennial character of Batman, while Burt Ward donned nylon stockings and fairy boots for his portrayal of the erstwhile sidekick, Robin.
The show was noteworthy for its memorable use of onomatopoeia during climactic fight scenes. The show proved popular to many fans, and transformed Adam and Burt into modern pop culture icons.
When not fighting crime as Batman and Robin, the Dynamic Duo were often found at Wayne manor in their respective identities as Bruce Wayne and his "youthful ward", Dick Grayson. Living alongside them in the vast mansion, was doddering old Aunt Harriet (a character exclusive to the television series), and their mild-mannered butler, Alfred. Alfred possessed the good fortune of being the only other person to know Batman and Robin's secret identities.
Unlike the earlier movie serials of the 1940s, this was the first Batman project to feature Batman's rogues gallery of villains. Cesar Romero made numerous appearances as the Joker, while Burgess Meredith reinvented the image of the Penguin, with his crooked smile and trademark "Squawk". Julie Newmar provided Catwoman's rolling "R"s, only to be replaced later by Lee Meriwether for the 1966 movie, and again by Eartha Kitt. Two men provided their talents to the role of the Riddler - Frank Gorshin and John Astin.
In addition to the fantastic sets and costumes was the first introduction of the Batmobile, Batcycle, Batboat, and the Batcopter. The Batmobile donor car was a 1955 Lincoln Futura that George Barris customized in only three weeks. Two Batcycles appeared on the show; the first was a barely modified Harley Davidson, and the second was a highly modified Yamaha. The Batboat was built by Glastron.
By season three, declining ratings prompted the introduction of a third partner to the Bat Family, Barbara Gordon – aka Batgirl (played by Yvonne Craig). Although Batgirl was a popular character, her presence could not save the series, and it was canceled in 1968.
<videogallery id="0"> Video:Batman intro (1966)|Season 1 and 2 Intro Video:1960s Batman Television Series Intro - Season 3|Season 3 Intro </videogallery>
- Adam West as Batman/Bruce Wayne
- Burt Ward as Robin/Dick Grayson
- Alan Napier as Alfred Pennyworth
- Neil Hamilton as Commissioner James Gordon
- Stafford Repp as Chief Clancy O'Hara
- Madge Blake as Aunt Harriet Cooper
- Yvonne Craig as Batgirl/Barbara Gordon (Season 3 only)
Batman and Robin often confronted four main villains in a lot of episodes all of which were from the comics. Two of them were also played by different actors.
Main Recurring Comic Book Villains
- The Joker (Cesar Romero) - 19 Episodes with a cameo appearance and the 1966 movie.
- The Penguin (Burgess Meredith) - 20 Episodes with a cameo appearance and the 1966 movie.
- The Riddler (Frank Gorshin and John Astin) - 11 Episodes with a cameo appearance and the 1966 movie.
- Catwoman (Julie Newmar, Lee Meriwether, and Eartha Kitt) - 15 Episodes with two cameo appearances and the 1966 movie.
Other villains were used from DC Comics, while others were created just for the show:
Comic Book Villains
- The Mad Hatter (David Wayne) - Based on the Imposter Mad Hatter; featured in 4 Episodes.
- False Face (Malachi Throne) - Based on an obscure, one-time comic villain; featured in 2 Episodes.
- Mr. Freeze (George Sanders, Otto Preminger, and Eli Wallach) - Featured in 6 Episodes.
- The Puzzler (Maurice Evans) - Based on a former Superman foe; featured in 2 Episodes.
- The Clock King (Walter Slezak) - Based on a former Green Arrow foe who fought the JLA; Featured in 2 Episodes.
- The Archer (Art Cartney) - Based on a minor Superman rogue; featured in 2 Episodes.
Recurring show Villains
Some Villains that were created for the show made more than just one appearance:
- Egghead (Vincent Price) - 5 Episodes with a cameo appearance.
- King Tut (Victor Buono) - 8 Episodes with a cameo appearance.
- Shame (Cliff Robertson) - 4 Episodes.
- Marsha, Queen of Diamonds (Carolyn Jones) - 5 Episodes.
- Olga, Queen of Cossacks (Anne Baxter) - 3 Episodes.
- Lord Ffogg (Rudy Vallee) - 3 Episodes.
Other show Villains
These villains made one or two appearances:
- The Bookworm (Roddy McDowall) - 2 Episodes.
- Ma Parker (Shelley Winters) - 2 Episodes.
- The Minstrel (Van Johnson) - 2 Episodes.
- Black Widow (Tallulah Bankhead) - 2 Episodes.
- Zelda The Great (Anne Baxter)- 2 Episodes.
- Chandell (Liberace) - 2 Episodes
- The Sandman (Michael Rennie) - 2 Episodes
- Siren (Joan Collins) - 2 Episodes
- Louie the Lilac (Milton Berle) - 2 Episodes
- Lola Lasagne (Ethel Merman) - 2 Episodes
- Colonel Gumm (Roger C. Carmel) - 2 Episodes
- Nora Clavicle (Barbara Rush) - 1 Episode
- Dr. Cassandra Spellcraft (Ida Lupino) - 1 Episode
- Minerva (Zsa Zsa Gabor) - 1 Episode
Battle Sound Effects
As the fights progressed, as punches, kicks and blows with foreign objects were dealt to both villain and hero, all manner of sounds were emitted. Here is a list of said sounds:
In each Season, these words appeared differently:
- Season 1: Words appear with fight in the background
- Season 2: Words appear in coloured background
- Season 3: Words and background flash.
For the first two seasons, Batman episodes were aired as two-part storylines, with the title of the second episode often rhyming with the title of the first episode. The Batman series was famous for showcasing various celebrity talents including: Edward G. Robinson, Jerry Lewis, Art Linkletter, Roddy McDowall, Milton Berle, Dick Clark, Steve Allen, Sammy Davis Jr., and many others.
After the show finally ended in 1968, they thought they could show it on another network. Yvonne Craig said this in an interview: "When we were cancelled by ABC, they wondered if we could get on another network. When it looked like we couldn't, they came with a bulldozer and bulldozed the whole set--The Batcave and all of that.
"Then, two weeks later, NBC said, 'Listen, we'd like to take a shot at "Batman", if you still have the set'. They didn't want to start from scratch and build them because the set cost $8,000,000. So it was too late and nothing came of it." The delay doomed the television show, but by 1969 the networks showed the first reruns of the television episodes, and continue to this day.
This show will always be the one that welcomed Batman to television.
As of today, the series has never been released on DVD or Blu-Ray due to a legal dispute between Warner Bros. and 20th Century Fox.
Even though George Barris built four Batmobiles, and later acquired a fifth that was built by a fan, there is only one occurrence during the entire series where a replica was used instead of the original #1 car, during a Mad Hatter episode, when the #4 dragster replica was used in the background in the Batcave while the #1 car was being repaired.