BATMAN was a 1960s TV show that appeared on the ABC Television Network. It ran for 2 ½ seasons -- from January 12, 1966 to March 14, 1968. BATMAN aired twice a week, with the first episode ending in a cliffhanger which was resolved at the beginning of episode two.
120 complete half hour episodes of BATMAN were filmed and aired during its TV run.
BATMAN was more of a comedy than an action-adventure series and reflected the tone of the Batman comic books of the 1950s and early 1960s. Often very silly and campy, it remains a lasting image of Batman for some still today -- despite the fact that it has nothing in common with the original 1939 incarnation of the character or the Batman mythos of today.
The series revolved around the oft-ridiculous adventures of Batman (played by Adam West) and his young sidekick Robin (Burt Ward) in Gotham City. Batman’s secret identity was of course Bruce Wayne, the “millionaire philanthropist.” Robin was secretly Wayne’s teenage ward Dick Grayson. The two lived in “stately Wayne Manor” outside of Gotham with their loyal butler Alfred (Alan Napier) and Aunt Harriet (Madge Blake).
Every week, the Dynamic Duo would take on one or more of Gotham City’s super villains, such as The Joker (Cesar Romero), Catwoman (Julie Newmar and Eartha Kit), The Riddler (Frank Gorshin and John Astin), The Penguin (Burgess Meredith), and various other members of Batman’s rogues gallery -- some of which were created for the TV show. In fact, it became quite the "in thing" for stars to make an appearance in BATMAN as a villain.
Other cast regulars included: Police Commissioner Gordon (Neil Hamilton), Police Chief O’Hara (Stafford Repp), and toward the end of its run, Batgirl/Barbara Gordon (Yvonne Craig).
At first, the series was set to be on CBS as a straight-forward adventure show aimed at kids. While CBS dawdled, DC Comics regained the TV rights to Batman and eventually made a deal with ABC. The idea then was to do BATMAN as cool and trendy, but serious, prime time adventure show. ABC then made a deal with 20th Century Fox to produce the show, who in turn handed it over to producer William Dozier and Greenway Productions.
It is said that Dozier hated comic books and opted for a parody of the entire genre. Thus, BATMAN went from being a serious action/adventure to a comedic send up of the comics.
Bat-villains from the 1966 film, BATMAN
Originally, a movie was planned to launch the series, but ABC decided to premiere BATMAN in January of 1966. Consequently, the movie -- which became BATMAN (1966) -- was postponed until the summer break after completion of the first season.
Actors considered for Batman are said to have included Mike Henry, Ty Hardin, Lyle Waggoner, and of course Adam West, who eventually nabbed the part.
The show was enormously popular for a brief period of time. Stars of the day clamored for roles as a Batman villain or to make a cameo appearance on the show. A theatrical movie, titled BATMAN, hit theaters the summer of 1966 after the conclusion of season one. The film was not that big of a box office success, although it went on to be quite profitable via re-released to theaters, TV, and video/DVD for the next several decades. “Bat-Mania” swept the country in late 1966 on into 1967. BATMAN also featured one of the most recognizable musical themes in TV history.
Success came and went quickly for BATMAN. The show was canceled by ABC following the completion of season 3. NBC offered to pick the series up for a 4th season, but 20th Century Fox had already destroyed the Bat-sets and NBC withdrew the offer.
B66 history continues after the jump!
After the show ended, both Adam West and Burt Ward found themselves typecast with new roles hard to come by -- particularly for Ward. West eventually embraced the character and hit the convention circuit as “Batman.” West also provided voice work on BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES (as “The Gray Ghost”), and he currently has a semi-regular voice role as Gotham’s mayor on the animated series THE BATMAN.
In 2003, a TV movie was made about the show titled BACK TO THE BATCAVE. Both West and Ward appeared in the movie as themselves, with actors portraying the two for the recreations of the filming of the original series.
BATMAN‘s run on TV was short, but it’s influence has lasted for decades. To many -- particularly those who are not Batman fans -- this is the TRUE depiction of the Batman character. Not until 1989’s BATMAN -- directed by Tim Burton -- did others besides the Bat-fans see a dark and serious portrayal of the character as he was originally conceived in 1939.
Perhaps BATMAN‘s greatest influence was among those who consider themselves as Batman fans -- particularly those who are now in their mid 30s to early 50s. Case in point, yours truly. - Bill "Jett" Ramey, April 2007
SEASON 3 (1967-1968)
95. Enter Batgirl, Exit Penguin
96. Ring Around The Riddler
97. The Wail Of The Siren
98. The Sport Of Penguins
99. A Horse Of Another Color
100. The Unkindest Tut Of All
101. Louie The Lilac
102. The Ogg And I
103. How To Hatch A Dinosaur
104. Surf's Up! Joker's Under!
105. The Londinium Larcenies
106. The Foggiest Notion
107. The Bloody Tower
108. Catwoman's Dressed To Kill
109. The Ogg Couple
110. The Funny Feline Felonies
111. The Joke's On Catwoman
112. Louie's Lethal Lilac Time
113. Nora Clavicle & Ladies' Crime Club
114. Penguin's Clean Sweep
115. The Great Escape
116. The Great Train Robbery
117. I'll Be A Mummy's Uncle
118. The Joker's Flying Saucer
119. The Entrancing Dr. Cassandra
120. Minerva, Mayhem And Millionaires
SEASON 2 (1966-1967)
35. Shoot A Crooked Arrow
36. Walk The Straight And Narrow
37. Hot Off The Griddle by Robert Reineke
38. The Cat And The Fiddle by Robert Reineke
39. The Minstrel's Shakedown
40. Barbecued Batman?
41. The Spell Of Tut
42. Tut's Case Is Shut
43. The Greatest Mother Of Them All
44. Ma Parker
45. The Clock King's Crazy Crimes
46. The Clock King Gets Crowned
47. An Egg Grows In Gotham
48. The Yegg Foes In Gotham
49. The Devil's Fingers
50. The Dead Ringers
51. Hizzoner The Penguin by Mark Hughes
52. Dizzoner The Penguin by Mark Hughes
53. Green Ice
54. Deep Freeze
55. The Impractical Joker
56. The Joker's Provokers
57. Marsha, Queen Of Diamonds
58. Marsha's Scheme Of Diamonds
59. Come Back, Shame
60. It's The Way You Play The Game
61. The Penguin's Nest
62. The Bird's Last Jest
63. The Cat's Meow
64. The Bat's Kow Tow
65. The Puzzles Are Coming
66. The Duo Is Slumming
67. The Sandman Cometh
68. The Catwoman Goeth (A Stitch In Time)
69. The Contaminated Cowl
70. The Mad Hatter Runs A Foul
71. The Zodiac Crimes
72. The Joker's Hard Times
73. The Penguin Declines
74. That Darn Catwoman
75. Scat! Darn Catwoman
76. Penguin Is A Girl's Best Friend
77. Penguin Sets A Trend
78. Penguin's Disasterous End
79. Batman's Anniversary
80. A Riddling Controversy
81. The Joker's Last Laugh
82. The Joker's Epitaph
83. Catwoman Goes To College
84. Batman Displays His Knowledge
85. A Piece Of The Action
86. Batman's Satisfaction
87. King Tut's Coup
88. Batman's Waterloo
89. Black Widow Strikes Again
90. Caught In The Spider's Den
91. Pop Goes The Joker
92. Flop Goes The Joker
93. Ice Spy
94. The Duo Defy