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Batman is a 1960s Americanmarker television series, based on the DC comic book character of the same name, which starred Adam West and Burt Ward as Batman and Robin, two crime-fighting heroes who defended "Gotham City". It aired on the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) network for two and a half seasons from January 12, 1966 to March 14, 1968. Despite its short run, the series had two weekly installments for most of its tenure, giving the show a total of 120 episodes.

Genesis of the series

In the early 1960s, Ed Graham Productions optioned the TV rights to the comic strip Batman, and planned a straightforward juvenile adventure show, much like Adventures of Superman and The Lone Ranger, for CBS on Saturday mornings. Mike Henry, who would later go on to star in the Tarzan franchise, and is best known for his portrayal of Jackie Gleason's not-too-bright son Buford T. Justice, Jr. in the Smokey and the Bandit movies, was set to star as Batman.

Reportedly, DC Comics commissioned publicity photos of Henry in a Batman costume. Around this same time, the Playboy Club in Chicagomarker was screening the Batman serials (1943's Batman and 1949's Batman and Robin) on Saturday nights. It became very popular, as the hip partygoers would cheer and applaud the Dynamic Duo, and boo and hiss at the villains. East coast ABC executive Yale Udoff, a Batman fan in childhood, attended one of these parties at the Playboy Club and was impressed with the reaction the serials were getting. He contacted West Coast ABC executives Harve Bennett and Edgar Scherick, who were already considering developing a TV 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 quickly reobtained rights and made the deal with ABC. ABC farmed the rights out to 20th Century Fox to produce the series. Fox, in turn, handed the project to William Dozier and his Greenway Productions. Whereas ABC and Fox were expecting a hip and fun, yet still serious, adventure show, Dozier, who loathed comic books, concluded the only way to make the show work was to do it as a pop art camp comedy. Originally, espionage novelist Eric Ambler was to write the motion picture that would launch the TV series, but he dropped out after learning of Dozier's camp comedy approach. It is worth noting the strict censorship of comics at this time (after Doctor Fredric Wertham's essay Seduction of the Innocent lead to the Comics Code), which may also have influenced this approach. The campy production could also have been to avoid the censors, as the Batman cartoon strips were very dark and Noir until the 1950s and from the 1970s onwards.

By the time ABC pushed up the debut date to January 1966, thus foregoing the movie until the summer hiatus, Lorenzo Semple, Jr. had signed on as head script writer. He wrote the pilot script, and generally kept his scripts more on the side of pop art adventure. Stanley Ralph Ross, Stanford Sherman, and Charles Hoffman were script writers who generally leaned more toward camp comedy, and in Ross' case, sometimes outright slapstick and satire. Instead of producing a one-hour show, Dozier and Semple decided to have the show air twice a week in half-hour installments with a cliffhanger connecting the two episodes, echoing the old movie serials. Initially, Dozier wanted Ty Hardin to play Batman, but he was unavailable, filming Westerns in Europe. Eventually, two sets of screen tests were filmed, one with Adam West and Burt Ward, the other with Lyle Waggoner and Peter Deyell, with West and Ward winning the roles.

Villains

The Penguin: Played by Burgess Meredith. The Penguin is an old arch enemy of the Caped Crusaders. He baffles them with his fishy clues as to what crime he is going to commit.

The Joker: Played by Cesar Romero. Also, an enemy of Batman and Robin. Joker has a habit of over powering the station in charge of the news, and gives the Dynamic Duo clues to his crimes.

The Riddler: Played by Frank Gorshin and John Astin. The Riddler has a way his twisted mind works. As Batman said in the first episode, "The Riddler's mind is like an artichoke. You have to rip off spiny leaves to reach the heart!"

Catwoman: Played by Julie Newmar and Eartha Kitt. Catwoman secretly loves Batman, but she still likes to try to murder him and Robin.

Mr. Freeze: Played by George Sanders, Otto Preminger, and Eli Wallach. Mr. Freeze is forced to live in an environment 50 degrees below Zero.

Plot summary

The "teasers"

The typical story began with a villain (often one of a short list of recurring super-criminals) committing a crime, such as stealing a fabulous gem or taking over Gotham City. This was followed by a scene inside Police Commissioner Gordon's office where he and Chief O'Hara would deduce exactly which villain they were dealing with. Gordon would press a button on the Batphone, a bright red telephone located on a pedestal in his office. The scene 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. Alfred would interrupt so they could excuse themselves and go to the Batphone. Upon learning which criminal he would face this time, Bruce would push a button concealed within a bust of Shakespeare that stood on his desk causing a bookcase to slide back and revealing two poles. "To the Batpoles!" Wayne would exclaim, at which he and Grayson would slide down to the Batcave, activating a mechanism on the way that dressed them as their alter egos. Often, at this point, the title sequence would begin.

The episodes proper

Similar in style and content to the 1940s serials, they would arrive in the Batcave in full costume and jump into the Batmobile, Batman in the driver's seat. Robin would say, "Atomic batteries to power...turbines to speed." Batman would respond, "Roger, ready to move out." And the two would race off 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 Canyonmarker, a hinged barrier dropped down to allow the car to exit onto the road. Scenes from the Dynamic Duo sliding down the batpoles in the Batcave, to the arrival at Commissioner Gordon's building via the Batmobile (while the episode credits are shown), are reused footage that is used in nearly all part 1 and single episodes.

After arriving at Commissioner Gordon's office, the initial discussion of the crime usually led to the Dynamic Duo conducting their investigation alone. During the investigation, a meeting with the villain would usually ensue, with the heroes getting involved in a fight and the villain getting away, leaving a series of unlikely clues for the Duo to investigate. Later, the Duo would face the villain again, and he or she would capture one or both of the heroes and place them in a deathtrap with a cliffhanger ending which was usually resolved in the first few minutes of the next episode.

After the cliff-hangers

The same pattern was repeated in the following episode until the villain was defeated in a major brawl where the action was punctuated by superimposed onomatopoeic words, 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 pile, and two out-of-town gunmen who shoot at the Dynamic Duo toward the end of the "Zelda The Great/A Death Worse Than Fate" episode, but end up killing each other instead. 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, and 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 or not. In "The Penguin's Nest," a policeman suffers an electric shock at the hands of the Penguin's accomplices, but he apparently survived as he appeared in some later episodes. In "The Bookworm Turns," Commissioner Gordon appears to be shot and falls 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 series' guest villains ever discovered Batman's true identity: Egghead by deductive reasoning, and King Tut on two occasions (once with a bug on the Batmobile and once by accidentally mining into The Batcave). Egghead was tricked into disbelieving his discovery, as was Tut in the episode when he bugged the Batmobile. In the episode when Tut tunnelled 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 Universitymarker. (He didn't even recognize Batgirl, asking her, "Why are you wearing that purple mask, lady?")

Of the big four criminals (The Riddler, The Joker, The Penguin, and The Catwoman), only The Riddler never entered The Batcave. However, in the movie Return to the Batcave: The Misadventures of Adam and Burt, The Riddler finally entered The Batcave.

Season 1

In Season 1, the dynamic duo, Batman (Adam West) and Robin (Burt Ward), are super crime-fighting heroes, contending with the villains of Gotham City. It begins with the two-parter, "Hi Diddle Riddle" and "Smack in the Middle".

Season 2

In Season 2, the show suffered from repetition of its characters and formula. In addition, critics noted that the series' delicate balance of drama and humor that the first season maintained was lost as the stories became increasingly farcical. This, combined with Lorenzo Semple Jr. contributing fewer scripts and having less of an influence on the series, caused viewers to tire of the show and for critics to complain, "If you've seen one episode of Batman, you've seen them all."

Season 3

By Season 3, ratings were falling and the future of the series seemed uncertain. A promotional short featuring Yvonne Craig as Batgirl and Tim Herbert as Killer Moth was produced. The short was convincing enough to pick up Batman for another season, and introduced Batgirl as a regular on the show in an attempt to attract more female viewers. Batgirl's alter ego was Barbara Gordon, a mild-mannered librarian at the Gotham Library and Commissioner Gordon's daughter. The show was reduced to once a week, with mostly self-contained episodes, although the next 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, but most episodes would end with him saying something to the effect of "Watch the next episode!"

Aunt Harriet was reduced to just two cameo appearances during the third season, due to Madge Blake being in poor health. (Aunt Harriet was also mentioned in another episode, but was not seen; her absence was explained by her being in shock upstairs.) The nature of the scripts and acting started to enter into the realm of the surrealistic, specifically with the backgrounds, which became two-dimensional cut-outs against a stark black stage.

Cancellation

At the end of the third season, ABC planned to cut the budget by eliminating Chief O'Hara and Robin. Batgirl would become Batman's full time partner. Both Dozier and West opposed this idea, and ABC canceled the show a short time later. Weeks later, NBC offered to pick the show up for a fourth season and even restore it to its twice a week format, if the sets were still available for use. However, NBC's offer came too late: Fox had already demolished the sets a week before. NBC didn't want to pay the $800,000 to rebuild, so the offer was withdrawn. Batman was replaced on ABC by the sitcom The Second Hundred Years.

Cast

Regular cast



Several cast members recorded records 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. The track captures Gorshin's insane portrayal perfectly. Burgess Meredith recorded a spoken word single called "The Escape" backed with "The Capture", which was The Penguin narrating his recent crime spree to a jazz beat.

Guest appearances

Although dozens of actors portrayed villains and henchmen on Batman, four criminals appeared frequently (although they were sometimes played by different people):



Burgess Meredith told James H. Burns of Starlog Magazine, "On Batman, they ultimately kept a script always ready for me, so that when I would be in Los Angeles, they'd have a show all set to go."

Other popular villains included George Sanders, Otto Preminger, and Eli Wallach as Mr. Freeze, David Wayne as The Mad Hatter, Victor Buono as King Tut, Roddy McDowall as The Bookworm, Walter Slezak as The Clock King, and Vincent Price as Egghead.

Tallulah Bankhead's role as the Black Widow turned out to be her final screen appearance. Three other actors also played their final parts on Batman: Francis X. Bushman as Mr. Van Jones in episodes 31-32, Reginald Denny as Commodore Schmidlapp (in the Batman movie), and Douglass Dumbrille who portrayed the Doctor in episode 10.

Aside from portraying super-criminals, another coveted spot was the Batclimb Cameo. Often, as the Dynamic Duo scaled a building using Batarangs and Bat-ropes (actually filmed on a horizontal surface, with their capes held up by strings from off-camera, and aired with the shot rotated 90 degrees), a window would swing open, a celebrity would pop their head out, and a short conversation would ensue. Batclimb cameo scenes were discontinued for the third season. The personages that did these scenes were:



Theme music

Popularity

Many sports, music, and media personalities, and a number of Hollywoodmarker actors, looked forward to and enjoyed their appearances as villains on the Batman show. They were generally allowed to overact and enjoy themselves on a high-rated TV series, guaranteeing them considerable exposure (and thus boosting their careers). The most popular villains on the show included Cesar Romero as the Joker, Burgess Meredith as The Penguin, Frank Gorshin as The Riddler, and Julie Newmar as Catwoman. Other famous names from the "rogues gallery" in the comic book series made appearances on the show (notably The Mad Hatter), and some were taken from other superheroes, such as The Puzzler (a Superman villain) and The Clock King (a Green Arrow villain, who was again portrayed as a Batman villain in the 1990s animated series). Many other villains were created especially for the TV show, and never did appear in the comic books (e.g., Shame, Lorelei "The Siren" Circe, Lee Chandell/Fingers, the Bookworm, Lord Marmaduke Ffogg, Dr. Cassandra Spellcraft, and Louie the Lilac), while some were hybrids. The comics' Mr. Zero was renamed Mr. Freeze, a name change that was copied in the comics with lasting effect, and the comics's Brainy Barrows was reworked as Egghead. A recent comic book featured the first appearance of a version of King Tut.

A celebrity making a prominent appearance in another role was Lesley Gore, a popular singer of the 1960s, playing "Pussycat," an "apprentice" of Catwoman. On the January 19, 1967 episode, she sang her top 20 hit "California Nights." Gore was also the niece of Howie Horwitz, one of the show's producers.

Adam West enjoys the story that he was part of two of the three Big B's of the 1960s: Batman, The Beatles and Bond. West says he was actually invited to play James Bond in On Her Majesty's Secret Service based on his popularity as Batman, but he declined the role as he felt it should be played by a British actor. (Ironically, the role went to an Australian, George Lazenby.)

The popularity of the TV show did not translate well to the silver screen, however. A movie version of the TV show was released to theaters (see Batman ), but it did not become a large box office hit, even though creatively the movie was generally regarded to be just as good as the first season episodes, and superior to most of the second and third season episodes. The movie continued to be profitably re-released to theaters, TV, and video for decades. Originally, the movie had been created to help sell the TV series abroad, but the success of the series in America sold itself, and the movie was brought out after season one had already been aired. Indeed, the movie's budget allowed for producers to build the Batboat and Batcopter, which were used in the second and third seasons of the TV show.

The live-action TV show was extraordinarily popular. At the height of its popularity, it was the only prime time TV 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 often filmed as two-part cliffhangers, with each storyline beginning on Wednesday and ending on the Thursday night episode. At the very end of the Thursday night segment, a little tag featuring the next week's villain would be shown, such as, "Next week—Batman jousts with The Joker again!" (This started 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 ridiculous 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 remained a long-running punchline in popular culture.

Parodies in the series

  • The television show was famous for parodying names of many famous celebrities of the day. Among the most notable were newscasters Walter Cronkite, who was parodied as "Walter Klondike" on Batman, and Chet Huntley, who was known as "Chet Chumley" on the show. Steve Allen played himself on the show, and was known as "Allen Stevens." J. Pauline Spaghetti, a woman who is almost tricked into giving up her fortune to the notorious European criminal "Sandman," played by Michael Rennie, is a parody on J. Paul Getty owner of the Getty Oil Company and one of the richest men of the 1960s.




  • Gotham City's Mayor Linseed is a parody on John Lindsay, who served as Mayor of New York City from 1966 to 1973.


  • Commissioner Gordon would occasionally speak on the phone to the state's governor, Governor Stonefellow. This is a parody on Nelson Rockefeller, who served as governor of New York from 1959 to 1973.




  • The Catwoman is known to have an additional hideout, "Cat-Lair West", across the river from Gotham City in "New Guernsey," a parody on New Jerseymarker. (Guernseymarker and Jerseymarker are both islands in the English Channel and both breeds of cattle.)


  • Gotham's "Short Island" was a parody of New York's Long Islandmarker.


  • Gotham's "Phony Island" was a parody of New York's Coney Islandmarker


  • In the episode "The Entrancing Dr. Cassandra," in which Ida Lupino appeared as the episode's title villain, Dr. Cassandra Spellcraft, the evil alchemist steals the Mope Diamond, a parody on the famous Hope Diamond, from Spiffany's Jewellers. Spiffany's is a parody on Tiffany & Co.


  • One of Woodrow Roosevelt High School's basketball rivals is "Disko Tech," a homophone of discotheque.


  • The three-part Londiniummarker episode during Batman's final season ("The Londinium Larcenies," "The Foggiest Notion," and "The Bloody Tower") was the series' tribute to the Swinging London period of the 1960s. At the time of the show, everything British was "hot" in North America. Many aspects of Londonmarker were parodied during the three episodes. The city's name is changed to Londiniummarker, which was the British capital's name during Roman times. Scotland Yardmarker becomes "Ireland Yard" in the series. Carnaby Streetmarker becomes "Barnaby Street." Fleet Streetmarker, the city's press district, is changed to "Bleat Street."


  • Alan Hale Jr., who became best-known in America for portraying Captain Jonas Grumby, the Skipper of the S. S. Minnow, on Gilligan's Island, appeared as Gilligan, the owner/cook of a diner, in "The Ogg And I." (The title itself is a parody of The Egg And I, the film comedy that introduced the characters of Ma Kettle and Pa Kettle, who maintained a chicken-and-egg farm.)


After the series run

1970s reunions

In 1972, Burt Ward and Yvonne Craig reunited as Robin and Batgirl, with Dick Gautier stepping in as Batman (Adam West was, at the time, trying to distance himself from the Batman role) for an Equal Pay public service announcement. In 1977, Adam West and Burt Ward returned to the Batman universe in animated form. West and Ward lent their voices to Batman and Robin respectively, on the 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 TV specials. In the 1980s, several cast members would team up for a series of celebrity editions of Family Feud.

Legacy

The series' stars, Adam West and Burt Ward, were typecast for decades afterwards, with West especially finding himself unable to escape the undeserved reputation the series gave him as a hammy, campy actor. However, years after the series' impact faded, West found fame and respect among comic book and animation fans, who appreciated his work on the TV series. An episode of Batman: The Animated Series paid tribute to West with an episode entitled "Beware The Grey Ghost." In this episode, West played the role of an aging star of a superhero TV series Bruce Wayne had watched as a child, and would be inspired by as a crimefighter, who found new popularity with the next generation of fans. He would also play Gotham City's Mayor Grange as a somewhat recurring role in The Batman. In addition, the most frequent visual influence is that later Batmobiles usually have a rear rocket thruster that usually fires as the car makes a fast start.

In 2003, West and Ward reunited for a tongue-in-cheek telefilm 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 and Gorshin, as well as Lee Meriwether, who had played Catwoman in the 1966 film and Lyle Waggoner, who had been an early candidate for the role of Batman. Yvonne Craig did not appear in the movie because she reportedly disliked the script. The movie received high ratings and was released on DVD May 2005.

A line spoken by Robin (Chris O'Donnell) in Batman Forever is a homage to the TV Robin's catch-phrase. During the movie he says, "Holey rusted metal, Batman," (referring to the island's land-scape which is made from rusted metal and has holes in it) which sounds intentionally similar to lines spoken by Robin beginning with the word "Holy" and ending with "...Batman!" This can also be written as, "Holy (bad pun of the moment)!" The upcoming graphic novel Holy Terror, Batman! also references this catch-phrase.

The animated TV series Batman: The Brave and the Bold is influenced by the 1960s TV series. The opening credits feature Batman rope climbing up a building, something that Adam West often did in the show. 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 TV series, using attributes such as the red hot-line phone, the bust of Shakespeare, the sliding bookcase, the bat-poles, Robin in his old TV-series costume, and the shot of Batman and Robin fastening their seat belts in the Batmobile.

Home video (non-) release

Despite considerable popular demand, no official home entertainment release (VHS, laserdisc or DVD) of the series has occurred to date in North America, with the situation seemingly unlikely to be resolved in the near future.

Conflicting reports of the reasons behind the non-release of the series point to a number of different factors, some, none or all of which may indeed play a part. These include:
  • Disagreement between DC Comics, owners of the Batman character after DC's sister/parent company Warner Bros. took over DC in 1976, in which Warner Bros. could also be involved, and 20th Century Fox, owners of the program itself. Gord Lacey's influential TV/DVD website TVShowsonDVD.com is often quoted in support of this much-discussed theory, after a story the website ran in December, 2005.
    • Commentators have suggested that DC Comics itself is not involved, and that Warner and Fox are reluctant to work with each other. This was denied by a Warner spokesperson in 2005 during their semi-regular "Home Theater Forum" chat, where it was stated that the issues were between Fox and DC alone, with Warner playing no part in negotiations.
    • The argument has been made that DC does not wish to distort the current image of the Dark Knight by having the overtly-campy 1960s series competing head-to-head with more modern takes, such as Tim Burton's Batman film and its sequels or Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. DC may indeed be distancing itself from the 1960s series. A solicited cover by Mike Allred for issue #7 of Solo—a 2005 DC Comics series—featured Batman doing the Batusi. The cover, based on Adam West and a memorably campy episode of the TV series, was replaced by the time of Solo #7's released. Allred explains that the cover was pulled by "higher ups" for reasons largely unknown. Speculation over the reasons first intimated that potential infringement of rights were the issue, but this was soon replaced with suggestions that its "campy" nature was the real factor in its removal. At the time of the issue's release, DVDs of Batman, Batman Returns, Batman Forever, Batman & Robin, and Batman Begins were also being promoted, and DC's chief editor Dan Didio reportedly does not like camp.
  • 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. 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 potentional 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.)
  • 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."
    • 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 possible a separate issue regarding some of the costumes as well!"


The series, under the Fox/ABC deal, is however still in syndication, and regularly shown on a number of channels around the world. Thus far, though, only the 1966 feature film is available on DVD for non-broadcast viewing in North America. This also affected the 2003 television movie reunion Return to the Batcave: The Misadventures of Adam and Burt, which was only able to make use of footage from the 1966 movie.

Collectibles

The episodes introducing Catwoman ("The Purr-fect Crime" / "Better Luck Next Time") 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 TV 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.

References

  1. Television Obscurities. "Batgirl Promotional Short", June 11, 2003. Accessed 2007-03-24.
  2. Eisner, Joel. The Official Batman Batbook (1986), p. 151. ISBN 0-8092-5035-7
  3. Batman Confidential #26, April 2009, DC Comics.
  4. http://www.mania.com/batman-brave-bold-rise-blue-beetle_article_110719.html
  5. The programme is perpetually highly ranked as a "Most Requested" unreleased showat TVShowsonDVD.com. Currently (April 2008) it is, and has been for some time, second only to The Wonder Years.
  6. "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." "Batman - 1966 Batman Series Still Not Coming To DVD Yet," by David Lambert, December 5, 2005. Accessed 2008-04-05.
  7. Warner Home Video representatives stated: :"..we have no rights to '60s BATMAN... The BATMAN TV issue is between DC Comics and Fox. It doesn't involve Warner home video." Chat Transcript: Warner Home Video on HTF, March 29, 2005. Accessed 2008-04-05.
  8. Mike Allred "Re: Did DC make Mike change his 'Solo' cover? YES! Now the truth can be told.", 2005-10-25.
  9. ComicBookDb.com: Solo #7. Accessed 2008-04-05.
  10. "Batman - New Lawsuit - Will We Ever See Batman on DVD?" by Gord Lacey, August 19, 2006. Accessed 2008-04-05.
  11. "Fox Hit With Claim for Net Profits on 'Batman' Series", by Leslie Simmons, August 18 2006. Accessed 2008-04-05.
  12. The relevant passage reads: "The lawsuit filed by Debra Dozier Potter was dismissed with prejudice on 11/26/07. Furthermore, an 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." Accessed 2008-04-05.
  13. "Re: Blog talks about Batman DVD ownership woes" Reply #42, January 25, 2008. Accessed 2008-04-05.
  14. "A Few Non-Bionic Legal Issues Plaguing TV-DVD", by David Lambert, 2007-10-07.


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