Photo by Fox
In January 12 1966, was released one of the most iconic tv shows of all time, ‘Batman’. The series focuses on the adventures of Batman and Robin; although the lives of their alter-egos, Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson are typically 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 secret identities to assist in their crime-fighting. The “Dynamic Duo” typically come to the aid of the Gotham City Police upon the latter being stumped by a supervillain. Throughout the episodes, Batman and Robin have to deduce clues and discover the supervillain’s plan, and also figure out how to thwart that plan and capture the criminal.
Stars: Adam West, Burt Ward, Alan Napier, Neil Hamilton, Stafford Repp
Creators: William Dozier, Bill Finger, Lorenzo Semple Jr.
To celebrate the 50th birthday, here are some of the curiosities about this show.
- A total of 352 “Holy” words were used by Robin from “Holy Agility” to “Holy Zorro”.
- The Riddler was just a minor and forgettable villain in the comics. This series is responsible for turning him into one of the most popular villains in Batman’s rogues gallery.
- Mickey Rooney turned down an offer to play The Penguin. Spencer Tracy was offered the role, but he said he would only take the part if he could kill Batman.
- In all the scenes of the villains’ hideouts, the camera filmed at an angle or “crooked”. This shot is known as an “oblique” or “dutch” angle. This was because all the villains were also crooked and it gives a sense of something being wrong in the scene/shot.
- When the series premiered, Alfred had been “killed off” a few years earlier in the comic book series. However, when the producers announced that they intended to make Alfred a regular character, he was brought back to life in the comic book as well.
- The Batmobile was a customized 1955 Lincoln Futura, which had been used in the film ‘It Started with a Kiss’ (1959). According to Barris, there were five Batmobiles made during the 1966-1968 run of the Batman series.
- Each main villain had their own theme music.
- Before going on the air, this show received the worst audience test scores in the history of ABC. It only went on the air because so much money had already been invested in it.
- 84 different word overlays were used during the fight scenes from “Bam” to “Kapow”.
- Shortly after the series began to air in England, several children were hurt while “flying” out of windows trying to emulate Batman. An announcement by Adam West in the role of Batman was filmed to discourage children from the practice, and made it clear he himself could not “fly”.
- Adam West has often referred to Batman as one of three big B’s to made an impact during the sixties, the other two being The Beatles and (James) Bond.
- When playing The Joker, Cesar Romero painted over his mustache rather than shave it off.
- Suzanne Pleshette was one of the original choices to play Catwoman before Julie Newmar landed the role.
- The uncredited narrator for the series is voiced by producer William Dozier. On the 1966 Original Televison Soundtrack Album, the narrator is identified as “Desmond Doomsday”.