|Created by||William Dozier|
|Developed by||Lorenzo Semple Jr.|
|Narrated by||William Dozier|
|Opening theme||"Batman Theme" by Neal Hefti|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||3|
|No. of episodes||120 (list of episodes)|
|Executive producer||William Dozier|
|Running time||25 minutes|
|Original release||January 12, 1966 –|
March 14, 1968
Batman is an American live-action television series based on the DC Comics character of the same name. It stars Adam West as Bruce Wayne/Batman and Burt Ward as Dick Grayson/Robin—two crime-fighting heroes who defend Gotham City from a variety of archvillains. It is known for its camp style, upbeat theme music, and its intentionally humorous, simplistic morality (aimed at its largely teenage audience). This included championing the importance of using seat belts, doing homework, eating vegetables, and drinking milk. It was described by executive producer William Dozier as the only situation comedy on the air without a laugh track. The 120 episodes aired on the ABC network for three seasons from January 12, 1966, to March 14, 1968, twice weekly during the first two seasons, and weekly for the third. In 2016, television critics Alan Sepinwall and Matt Zoller Seitz ranked Batman as the 82nd greatest American television series of all time. A companion feature film was released in 1966 between the first and second seasons of the TV show.
Batman held the record for the longest-running live-action superhero series in terms of episodes until Smallville in 2011.
The series focuses on Batman and Robin as they defend Gotham City from its various criminals. Although the lives of their alter-egos, millionaire Bruce Wayne and his ward Dick Grayson are frequently shown, it is usually only briefly, in the context of their being called away on superhero business or in circumstances where they need to employ their public identities to assist in their crime-fighting. The "Dynamic Duo" typically comes to the aid of the Gotham City Police Department upon the latter being stumped by a supervillain, who was accompanied in his/her appearances by several henchmen and an attractive female companion. Throughout each episode, Batman and Robin follow a series of seemingly improbable clues (also known as "bat logic") to discover the supervillain's plan, then figure out how to thwart that plan and capture the criminal.
For the first two seasons, Batman aired twice a week on consecutive nights. Every story is a two-parter, except for two three-parters featuring villainous team-ups (the Joker and the Penguin, then the Penguin and Marsha, Queen of Diamonds) in the second season. The titles of each multi-part story usually rhyme. The third and final season, which aired one episode a week and introduced Yvonne Craig as Barbara Gordon/Batgirl, consist of self-contained stories. Each third-season story ends with a teaser featuring the next episode's guest villain, except for the series finale. The cliffhangers between multiple-part stories consist of villains holding someone captive, usually Batman or Robin, with the captive(s) being threatened by death, serious injury, or another fate. These cliffhangers are resolved early in the follow-up episode with Batman and Robin getting themselves out of every trap.
Ostensibly a crime series, the style of the show is intentionally campy and tongue-in-cheek. It exaggerates situations and plays them for laughs, though the characters take the absurd situations very seriously.
Main article: List of Batman (TV series) episodes
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||34||January 12, 1966||May 5, 1966|
|2||60||September 7, 1966||March 30, 1967|
|3||26||September 14, 1967||March 14, 1968|
Main article: List of Batman (TV series) characters
According to Adam West's memoir Back to the Batcave, his first exposure to the series concept was through reading a sample script in which Batman enters a nightclub in his complete costume and requests a booth near the wall, as he "shouldn't wish to attract attention." It was the scrupulously formal dialogue, and the way that Batman earnestly believed he could avoid standing out while wearing a skintight blue-and-grey costume, that convinced West of the character's comic potential.
Producers did develop several tentative scripts for Two-Face, but never produced any of them. Clint Eastwood was allegedly considered for the role shortly before the series was cancelled.
In the early 1960s, Ed Graham Productions optioned the television rights to the comic book Batman and planned a straightforward juvenile adventure show, much like Adventures of Superman and The Lone Ranger, to air on CBS on Saturday mornings.
East Coast ABC executive Yale Udoff, a Batman fan in his childhood, 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.
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 campy comedy. 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 campy 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.
Lorenzo Semple Jr. had signed on as head scriptwriter. 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 campy comedy, and in Ross's case, sometimes outright slapstick and satire. It was originally intended as a one-hour show, but ABC changed the premiere date from Fall 1966 to January of that year. With the network having only two early-evening half-hour time slots available, the show was split into two parts, to air twice a week in 30-minute installments on Wednesdays and Thursdays. A cliffhanger connected the two episodes, echoing the old movie serials.
Some ABC affiliates were not happy that ABC included a fourth commercial minute in every episode of Batman. One affiliate refused to air the series. The network insisted it needed the extra advertising revenue.
The Joker, the Penguin, the Riddler, Catwoman, Mr. Freeze, and the Mad Hatter, villains who originated in the comic books, all appeared in the series, the plots for which were deliberately villain-driven. According to the producers, Frank Gorshin was selected to portray Riddler due to the fact that he was a Batman fan since childhood. Catwoman was portrayed by three different actresses during the series run: by Julie Newmar in the first two seasons, by Lee Meriwether in the feature film based on the series, and by Eartha Kitt in the third and final season.
The show was extraordinarily popular, and was considered "the biggest TV phenomenon of the mid-1960s".
Semple's participation in the series decreased in the second season. In his autobiography Back to the Batcave Adam West explained to Jeff Rovin – to whom he dictated the autobiography after rejecting an offer to contribute to The Official "Batman" Batbook written by Joel Eisner – that when work on the second season commenced following the completion of the feature film, Dozier, his immediate deputy Howie Horwitz, and the rest of the cast and crew rushed their preparation. Thus, they failed to give themselves enough time to determine what they wanted to do with the series during season two.
John Astin replaced Frank Gorshin as The Riddler for a pair of episodes when Gorshin's new agents at William Morris demanded more money.
By season three, ratings were falling and the future of the series seemed uncertain. To attract new viewers, Dozier opted to introduce a female character. He came up with the idea of using Batgirl, who in her civilian identity would be Commissioner Gordon's daughter, Barbara, 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). 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. Batgirl was the first Superheroine to appear in an ongoing capacity on television. The show was reduced to once a week, with mostly self-contained episodes, although the following week's villain would be introduced in a tag at the end of each episode, similar to a soap opera. Accordingly, the narrator's cliffhanger phrases were mostly eliminated, most episodes ending with him encouraging viewers to watch next week.[notes 1]
Aunt Harriet was reduced to just two cameo appearances during the third season, due to Madge Blake's poor health and the issue of trying to fit so many characters (Batman, Robin, Batgirl, Alfred, Commissioner Gordon, Chief O'Hara, and a guest villain) into a half-hour episode. Another cast change during the final season was replacing Julie Newmar, who had been a popular recurring guest villain as the Catwoman during the first two seasons. Singer-actress Eartha Kitt assumed the role for season three, as Newmar was working on the film Mackenna's Gold at that time and thus unable to appear. In the United States, Kitt's performance in the series marked the second mainstream television success of a black female, following Nichelle Nichols as Lt. Uhura in Star Trek and continued breaking the racial boundaries of the time. 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 purrs. Frank Gorshin, the original actor to play the Riddler, returned 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. 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.
As head scriptwriter, Lorenzo Semple wrote four episodes himself and established a series of "Bat-rules" for the freelance writers working under him. The show's campiness was played up in elements, including the design of the villains, dialogue and in signs appearing on various props. Batman would frequently reveal one of his many crime-fighting gadgets, which were usually given a ridiculous-sounding name, such as Shark Repellant Bat-Spray or Extra-Strong Bat-Knockout Gas. The series used a narrator (executive producer William Dozier, uncredited) who would end the cliffhanger episodes by intoning, "Tune in tomorrow – same Bat-time, same Bat-channel!" During the climactic fistfights in each episode, the punches and other impacts were punctuated by onomatopoeia (sound effects such as "POW!", "BAM!", "ZONK!") superimposed on the screen, as in comic-book fight scenes.
A typical story begins with a villain's caper (stealing a fabulous treasure, kidnapping a prominent person, attempting to take over Gotham City, etc). At police headquarters, Commissioner Gordon and Chief O'Hara deduce the villain's identity, admit they're outclassed and gaze reverently at the Batphone. At "stately Wayne Manor", Alfred (Wayne's butler) answers the Batphone and calls Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson away from an oblivious Aunt Harriet with a humorously transparent excuse. Batman and Robin race the Batmobile to police headquarters and begin to work on the case. Batman and Robin locate the villain, lose in a brawl and are left alone in a ridiculously complex deathtrap. The episode ends in a cliffhanger. The next episode resolves the cliffhanger in a comically improbable fashion. The same general plot pattern of investigation and confrontation repeats until another major brawl that defeats the villain.
Near the end of the third season, ratings had dropped significantly, and ABC cancelled the show. NBC agreed to take over the series, but before it could do so, it was discovered that hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of Batman sets had been destroyed. Rather than rebuild the sets, NBC dropped the project. Reruns of the series have been seen on a regular basis in the United States. They are currently shown on the classic TV networks TeleXitos, weekdays dubbed in Spanish, as well as Saturday mornings on IFC. As of 2022, the series can be found on the streaming app Tubi. It also appears Saturday nights on most MeTV stations in the U.S.A.
From the beginning, cameras were purposely placed out of level with the set (known as "Dutch tilt"), and characters were filmed from high and low angles. This technique was most often used when filming on the set of a villain's lair to lend a surreal, comic-book quality to the scenes, as well as to imply or merely remind the viewer that the crooks were crooked.
The original Batmobile from the 1960s TV series was auctioned on January 19, 2013 at the Barrett-Jackson auction house in Scottsdale, Arizona. It was sold for $4.2 million.
Several cast members recorded music tied into 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.
In 1966, Batman: The Exclusive Original Soundtrack Album was released on LP, featuring music by Nelson Riddle and snippets of dialogue from Adam West, Burt Ward, Burgess Meredith, Frank Gorshin, Anne Baxter (as Zelda the Great) and George Sanders (the first Mr. Freeze). The "Batman Theme" was included, along with titles like "Batusi A Go! Go!", "Batman Thaws Mr. Freeze", and "Batman Blues". It was reissued later on compact disc. Neal Hefti, who wrote the iconic theme song for the series, also released a soundtrack album in 1966, Batman Theme and 11 Hefti Bat Songs.
|United States||ABC (January 12, 1966 – March 14, 1968)|
|United Kingdom||ITV (1966–1992)|
|Channel 4 (1993–1996; one episode a week)|
|BBC Four (2007–2009)|
|ITV4 (2011–2014; one episode a week)|
|The Children's Channel/The Family Channel/Bravo (1993–2001)|
|France||Deuxième chaîne de l'ORTF|
|DVD/Blu-ray name||Region 1||Region 2||Region 4|
|The Complete First Season (DVD)||November 11, 2014||TBA||TBA|
|The Second Season: Part One (DVD)||February 10, 2015||TBA||TBA|
|The Second Season: Part Two (DVD)||July 14, 2015||TBA||TBA|
|The Complete Third Season (DVD)||November 3, 2015||TBA||TBA|
|The Complete Series (DVD & Blu-ray)||November 11, 2014||16 Feb. 2015||TBA|
In January 2014, television host Conan O'Brien posted on his Twitter account, and Warner Bros. later confirmed, that Warner Bros. would release an official DVD and Blu-ray boxed set of the complete series sometime the same year. In April, 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 under license from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment and that Adam West and he were doing special features for the release.
Prior to the announcement, multiple conflicting reports were given for the reason the series had not been released officially. These included:
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[update]. Until 2014, only the 1966 feature film was available on DVD from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment for nonbroadcast 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. 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. 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 the same year.
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.
Warner Bros. released the full 120-episode Batman collection on Blu-ray and DVD on November 11, 2014 (under license from 20th Century Fox) with a variety of extras including a miniature Batmobile, a 32-page episode guide, and The Adam West Scrapbook. A second box set released on Warner Bros.' own "batmanondvd" website replaces the Batmobile, The Adam West Scrapbook, and the trading cards with a letter from Adam West, a script from the episode "The Joker is Wild" and a bonus box containing the movie and the "Adam West Naked" documentary. This series is also available at the Google Play Store, and iTunes Store.
On review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes, the series as a whole has received an approval rating of 72%. Additionally, the first season received an approval rating of 50%, based on twenty-two reviews, its consensus reads, "Holy mixed reception, Batman! - this deadpan farce translates the beloved comic strip with the punch of an onomatopoeia panel, but its overload of camp can be as grating as it is amusing." While the third season received an approval rating of 94%, based on sixteen reviews, its consensus reads, "Fierce females shook up the dynamic duo in the final season of Batman with plenty of technicolor "POW!""
Television critics Alan Sepinwall and Matt Zoller Seitz ranked Batman as the 82nd greatest American television show of all time in their 2016 book titled TV (The Book), stating that "West's performance, the brilliance of which has required decades to be properly recognized, played as if series creator William Dozier and chief developer Lorenzo Semple Jr., had taken the establishment's fantasy of itself and dolled it up in tights and a cape. The anarchic gangs of supervillains and henchmen that kept trying to capture or destroy Gotham City stood in for the forces of chaos that kept threatening to engulf so-called civilized America throughout the sixties, only made colorfully grotesque and knowingly silly". In 1997, TV Guide ranked the episodes "The Purr-fect Crime" and "Better Luck Next Time" #86 on its list of the 100 Greatest Episodes. In 2009, "Better Luck Next Time" was ranked No. 72.
Main article: Batman (1966 film)
A film based on the television show, Batman, was released in 1966. The film was originally intended to be produced before the series as a way to introduce the series to the public. However, the series' premiere was moved up and the film was forced to wait until the summer hiatus after the first season. The film was produced quickly to get into theatres prior to the start of season two of the television series.
The film did not initially perform well in theaters. Originally, the movie had been conceived to help sell the television series abroad, but the success of the series in the United States was sufficient publicity. The film was shot after season one was filmed. The movie's budget allowed for producers to build the Batboat and lease a helicopter that would be made into the Batcopter, both of which were used in the second and third seasons of the television show.
Main article: Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders
West and Ward announced at the Mad Monster Party that one or two Batman animated movies would be released in 2016 with the two doing voiced roles as their characters for the show's 50th anniversary along with Julie Newmar returning.
Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders was released on Digital HD and Digital Media on October 11, 2016, and on DVD and Blu-ray November 1.
Main article: Batman vs. Two-Face
A sequel to Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders called Batman vs. Two-Face was released on October 10, 2017. The film starred William Shatner voicing Two-Face as the main antagonist. Adam West died before it was released, but did complete his voiceover work before his passing. This was one of Adam West's final performances before he died from leukemia.
Main article: Batman '66
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. 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. Holly 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. Issues #23 through #28 were mainly dedicated to introducing villains from the comics that either were not used, such as Solomon Grundy, Poison Ivy and Scarecrow, or did not exist at the time, such as Ra's al Ghul, Bane, the Harlequin (Dr. Quinn's criminal persona) and Killer Croc (who was introduced earlier as one of King Tut's henchmen, but gained a focus story). The first five issues were compiled into the Batman '66 Vol. 1 trade paperback in April 2014. Kevin Smith and Ralph Garman likewise worked on a Batman and Green Hornet crossover, titled Batman '66 meets The Green Hornet. The six-issue miniseries began publication in June 2014. Jeff Parker wrote a Batman and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. team-up titled Batman '66 meets The Man from U.N.C.L.E. released in 2016. Ian Edginton wrote a Batman team-up with John Steed and Emma Peel of The Avengers titled Batman '66 Meets Steed and Mrs. Peel. Batman teams up with Wonder Woman in the crossover team up Batman' 66 Meets Wonder Woman '77 writing by both Parker and Marc Andreyko. In a reversal of sorts, Archie Comics produced the next crossover titled, Archie Meets Batman '66, released as a six issue mini series in July 2018. The series was written by Batman '66 veteran Jeff Parker and Archies stalwart Michael Moreci. Mike Allred returned to create the main covers with Archie artists creating the alternative covers and interior art.
A version of Batman closely resembling his 1960s TV Series counterpart briefly appears in the 2003 Planetary/Batman one-shot by DC Comics.
The 7th issue of Solo featured a short adventure titled Batman A-Go-Go!, which was created by writer/artist Mike Allred as a tribute to the 1960s TV series.
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 is a four-issue miniseries and a regular series that ran nine issues. The Secret Lives of Julie Newmar is a four-issue miniseries and Burt Ward, Boy Wonder was going to be a four-issue miniseries, but has not yet been published in full (although a promotional first issue was released for Free Comic Book Day).
Main article: The Green Hornet (TV series)
Van Williams and Bruce Lee made a cameo appearance as the Green Hornet and Kato in "window cameos" while the Batman and Robin were climbing a building. This was in part one of a two-part second-season episode of the Batman TV series, "The Spell of Tut", which aired on September 28, 1966.
Later that same season, the Green Hornet and Kato appeared in the two-part second-season episodes A Piece of the Action and Batman's Satisfaction, which aired on March 1–2, 1967. In the two episodes, the Green Hornet and Kato are in Gotham City to bust a counterfeit stamp ring run by Colonel Gumm (portrayed by Roger C. Carmel). The Batman's Satisfaction episode leads to a mixed fight, with both Batman & Robin and the Green Hornet & Kato fighting Colonel Gumm and his gang. Once Gumm's crew was defeated, Batman and Robin squared off against the Green Hornet and Kato, resulting in a stand-off that was interrupted by the police. In this episode, Batman, Robin and the police consider the Green Hornet and Kato to be criminals, although Batman and Robin were cordial to the duo in the earlier window appearance. There is also a mention of The Green Hornet TV series on the Batman TV series episode The Impractical Joker (episode 55, Part 1, aired November 16, 1966): while watching TV together, Alfred, Dick Grayson and Bruce Wayne (who says, "It's time to watch The Green Hornet", with the hornet buzzing sound audible in the background) are interrupted by the Joker; then, after the interruption, The Green Hornet TV series theme music is heard.
In the December 9, 1966 Green Hornet episode "The Secret of the Sally Bell", the Batmobile can be seen revolving on its turntable floor in the Batcave on a bad guy's TV set. In the February 3, 1967 Green Hornet episode "Ace in the Hole" (which aired between the September 1966 and March 1967 Batman appearances mentioned above), Batman and Robin can be seen climbing a building on a television set. There was one other Green Hornet & Kato appearance that was not on the Batman TV series nor on The Green Hornet TV series: a segment of the Milton Berle Show/The Hollywood Palace aired in the Fall of 1966 brought together The Green Hornet and Kato (Van Williams and Bruce Lee), and Batman (Adam West), in a comedy sketch with Milton Berle, in which Bruce Lee demonstrates his martial arts expertise. Burt Ward as "Robin" was not included in this appearance.
Main article: Crisis on Infinite Earths (Arrowverse)
The Arrowverse crossover event "Crisis on Infinite Earths" features a cameo appearance from Burt Ward as an older Dick Grayson/Robin, wearing a red sweater with a yellow and green trim while walking a dog. Upon seeing the skies turn red, the former Boy Wonder shouts "Holy crimson skies of death!" The event also reveals that the events of this series are set on Earth-66, which is one of the worlds destroyed by the Anti-Monitor (LaMonica Garrett) during the Crisis.
The Batman character appeared in four public service announcements:
During the summer/fall of 1966 Adam West and Frank Gorshin went on a tour as Batman and the Riddler to promote the new Batman movie and the series. They were usually accompanied by several bands before the featured event that saw Batman and the Riddler exchange corny jokes as well as a song performed by West. The tour most famously stopped at Shea Stadium in New York on June 25, 1966 and City Park in New Orleans on November 26, 1966.
The company Stern released the pinball machine Batman '66, based on the TV series, in December 2016. It is the first Stern game that features a full color LCD in the backbox instead of a Dot-matrix display. There are three different versions of the pinball machine: Super Limited Edition, Limited Edition and Premium.
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, bubblegum cards, scale model kits of the Batmobile and Batboat, 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 to 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, 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 Joker, the Penguin, the Riddler, Catwoman and, exclusive to a boxset, Robin. Three Batman variants were also produced, a limited SDCC exclusive boxed figure, with an action feature that replicates the famous Batusi dance, a carded Surf's Up Batman figure complete with surfboard and trunks, and a boxed, unmasked Batman with Batcomputer and Bruce Wayne's study accessories. A carded Joker variant, with surfboard and trunks, and a boxed Batgirl figure followed. Each figure has the likeness of their respective 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. A large range of 8-inch action figures with the TV cast's likenesses have been released by Figures Toy Company (FTC) from 2013 to 2018 and, in 2017, a single wave of 3.75-inch figures (including King Tut, Bookworm and two Mr. Freezes) from Funko.
In 2016, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the TV series, LEGO released set 76052 Classic TV series Batcave, featuring minifigure versions of Batman, Robin, Bruce Wayne, Dick Grayson, and the four main villains from the film (Catwoman, The Penguin, The Riddler, and Joker). In 2021, LEGO released a set based on the 1966 TV series Batmobile, featuring minifigure versions of Batman and Joker. This set was a newer version of a SDCC exclusive. Later that same year, LEGO released a build-able cowl based on the TV series.
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. 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 addition, West played the voice of Thomas Wayne, Bruce Wayne's father in the episode "Chill of the Night" from the series Batman: The Brave and the Bold. West would eventually embrace his past with the series, and his recurring role as a fictionalized version of himself as Mayor West in the TV series Family Guy deliberately made no references to the series, at the behest of Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane.
Burt Ward reprises his role as an old Dick Grayson in Crisis on Infinite Earths.
In the 1989 Batman movie, directed by Tim Burton, the Joker's real name is given as "Jack Napier", which is partly a homage to Alan Napier, who played butler Alfred Pennyworth throughout the series.
Director Tim Burton confirmed the plot device of Penguin running for Mayor of Gotham City in Batman Returns was borrowed from the series episodes "Hizzoner The Penguin" and "Dizzoner The Penguin".
Additionally, Burgess Meredith, the actor who played the Penguin in the 1960s series, was originally asked to play the Penguin's father Tucker, but he declined due to his health problems which culminated with his death in 1997, and was replaced with Paul Reubens.
A line spoken by Robin (Chris O'Donnell) in Batman Forever is an 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 film, Robin says "Holey rusted metal, Batman!" after the duo climbs onto twisted metal girders beside some water. This catchphrase also appeared for a time in Batman comic books.
The opening scene of The Dark Knight, the second installment of Christopher Nolan's Batman film series, The Dark Knight Trilogy, showcases a bank robbery by the Joker. Throughout the sequence, he wears a clown mask which is reminiscent of the one worn by Cesar Romero in "The Joker Is Wild!", his very first appearance as the Joker in the series.
Although never confirmed as drawing inspiration and/or intentionally referencing the TV series, near the ending of The Dark Knight Rises Batman tries to toss a bomb into the ocean, just like he did in the 1966 movie based on the series itself.
The animated spin-off of The Lego Movie starring Batman features a number of references to the television series. When Alfred addresses similar phases of Batman's life (in which he references all the years a Batman live-action film was released), he mentions "that weird one in 1966" in which the film briefly shows a clip of Adam West's Batman dancing in an episode. During the film's climax, Alfred dons an identical costume to Adam West's Batman out of nostalgia. When Batman and Robin take on a room of villains, they hit them so hard that onomatopoeia pops out of thin air while a remix of the 1960s theme song plays in the background.
In the film, the Batmobile from the 1966 TV series appears along with other cars and vehicles from other films and TV series in a big race. In one scene in particular, the Batmobile's brakes squeal the notes to the TV series' theme song.
A young Bruce Wayne briefly appears in a sequence in the 2019 standalone Joker film, where he is seen sliding down a pole. Director Todd Phillips confirmed that was an Easter egg referencing the series.
The Simpsons has been a hotbed of Batman references throughout its run. Among the most enduring is Bart Simpson's alter-ego "Bartman" though the character only appeared on the series two times. The first was with Bart dressed as Bartman in "Three Men and a Comic Book" and the other in "Revenge Is a Dish Best Served Three Times" which tells of Bartman's origin which is eerily similar to that of Batman's.
The other major enduring reference is Radioactive Man. Though he appeared in comic book form during some season one episodes, his first major appearance is in the episode "Three Men and a Comic Book" which tells of his origin story. In the season 7 episode "Radioactive Man", Tim Burton, shown directing a Radioactive Man reboot, tells his staff that he doesn't want his film to be like "that campy 60s series", and he shows a clip parodying a Batman fight scene and Paul Lynde playing special guest villain The Scoutmaster.
Other Simpsons references to Batman include:
In Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham, an extra level based on the series is included, titled "Same Bat-time, Same Bat-channel", along with characters including Batman, Robin, Batgirl, Joker, Catwoman, Riddler, Penguin and Alfred. Adam West serves as a playable character. The Batmobile from the show is also included as a drivable vehicle. The end credits sequence remakes the Batclimb window cameos.
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