BATMAN (1966 - TV Series)

There’s a business in Logansport, Indiana known as Fiberglass Freaks. They produce my dream car.  They don’t make a lot of them as each car is custom built by hand.  The car is known as “The Batmobile.”  Over the years in the movies and television there have been several Batmobiles, but the 1966 Batmobile is perhaps the best known and one of the most loved. It is this car this small company builds.  The popularity of this car is not just because of its distinctive lines and style, but because of the popularity of a camp, comedy version of one of the most well-known crime fighters in comic book history, Batman.  

The 1960’s Batman TV series was originally conceived as a drama; at some point the decision was made to turn it in to a camp comedy.  I don’t know why the decision was made but the result was almost literally pure gold.

  The show stared Adam West as Batman/Bruce Wayne; and Burt Ward as Robin/Dick Grayson.  The show made some comic book fans angry because of its turn towards comedy but for much of the world these two became Batman and Robin.   The villains were just as important as the stars and they featured many well-known actors of the time, Caesar Romero (The Joker), Burgess Meredith (The Penguin), Frank Gorshen and John Astin (The Riddler), Julie Newmar, Ertha Kitt and Lee Meriwether (Catwoman) and even Vincent Price (Egghead).  Each villain was over-the-top-evil. 

If you are a fan of the comics, the graphic novel Batman or any of the later Batman movies, this is not likely to be your show.  It is more parody than drama and it is family friendly rather than dark and forbidding.  In short, everything the Batman comics today are not.  The show is however “1960’s Camp” at its finest. It features bright comic-book colors, stylized language, cheap sets and special effects so bad that they actually become almost endearing.  Those of us who grew up with the series will long remember the preachy morals, the over the screen “biff,” “bang” and “pows” that accompanied the fight scenes, Robin’s 352  (yes they have been counted) different “Holy exclamations Batman” and of course the 1960’s Batmobile designed by George Barris which became a star on its own.  

There is an interesting piece of trivia attached to this show.  When Sean Connery retired for the first time from his role as James Bond reportedly one of several actors offered the part was  Adam West; partly because of how he handled his role as Bruce Wayne.  He turned down the part and it eventually went to George Lazenby. While I believe this was a good decision I can’t help but wonder how Bond might have differed had he accepted?


 And in case you thought I was kidding about the 352 “Holy Exclamations”