ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Classic Television Memories: Batman 1966 - 1968

Updated on August 4, 2017

Hi, I'm glad you're here. You must have an interest in classic television shows. In a moment, we're going to climb into my Classic TV Time Capsule, but first let me lay out the Plan.

We're going to embark on a journey. We're going to enter the Capsule and travel back in time to relive some of the television shows from the years 1960-1969. I chose this decade because in my opinion, this era spawned some of the greatest shows ever; making household names of the shows and its stars, and becoming the patterns for some of the television shows since. So if you're looking for "reality shows", you're in the wrong place. If you're a lover of classics like Bonanza, Mannix, Hawaii Five-O (the original), The Dick Van Dyke Show, then come along with me.

Enough talk, let's go!

Follow me as we go inside this bullet-shaped metallic structure. In the middle of the Control Room are two very comfortable reclining chairs. surrounding the chairs on the walls are individual television screens, each with a classic show running on it. As we take our seats, I grab my remote control, and aim it at one of the screens. I think we'll choose for our first trip, my personal favorite, Batman. I point and click, and in the words of Jackie Gleason, and awaaaay we go.

Beginnings:

Since his creation in 1939 by artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger, Batman along with his sidekick Robin, The Boy Wonder, were featured in a wide array of media during the 30's and 40's. The character first appeared in the pages of Detective Comics #27; he was a featured guest on the Superman radio shows of the 40's, and also in this era made it onto the silver screen in two Saturday matinee cliffhanger serials, Batman (1943), and Batman and Robin (1949), both produced by Columbia. The Caped Crusader also fought crime in the daily newspaper comic strips.

In 1966, The Dynamic Duo was brought to the relatively young media of television, and Batmania was born.

The series from 1966-1968 focused on Gotham City's resident crime-fighters, Batman, alias Bruce Wayne, played by Adam West, and Robin, aka Wayne's youthful Ward, Dick Grayson, played by Burt Ward. Joining the pair are Alfred the Butler, (Alan Napier) the only person that knows Wayne's true identity, and Dick's Aunt Harriet (Madge Blake), who is always kept in the dark of her nephew's extracurricular activities.

Rounding out the cast are veteran actor Neil Hamilton (Commssioner Gordon), and Stafford Repp (Chief O'Hara).

Gotham's criminal element were portrayed by a veritable cast of then Hollywood's Elite, but the recurring characters were The Riddler (Frank Gorshin), later played by John Astin, who played Gomez Addams of the Addams Family, Catwoman (Julie Newmar, Eartha Kitt, and Lee Meriwether in the feature film), The Joker (played by Latin romantic leading man, Caesar Romero), and The Penguin (played by veteran actor Burgess Meredith), who later played Mickey in the Rocky movies.

Other villians include Vincent Price (Egghead), Victor Buono (King Tut), Cliff Robertson (Shane), The Mad Hatter (David Wayne), False Face (Malachi Throne), Mr. Freeze (Otto Preminger, and George Sanders), The Bookworm (Roddy McDowell), and the list goes on.

Batgirl was added in 1967, and played by Yvonne Craig.

Back to the show:

Each week at 7:30 on Wednesday and Thursday nights, one of Gotham's super-criminals commits a crime that's too difficult for the police to handle. Batman and Robin are summoned either by the Batphone, or the Bat-signal located on the roof of police headquarters. Bruce and Dick access the Batcave via the batpoles, magically changing into their costumes as they reach the cave. They hop into the Batmobile, and speed off to police headquarters.

There they figure out the criminal's plot, and they're on the case. Catching up with said perp, a fight ensues, but the tables are turned and the Dynamic Duo are trapped in a cliffhanger ending that's resolved the next night,

After escaping the death trap, the pair resume tracking down the villian, finally subduing him or her, making Gotham safe until next week. This is the basic scenario for each show, with a few variations.

The show was played tongue-in cheek, in contrast to the character's earlier incarnations, and by today's standards is just plain silly. However, for a nine year old kid in 1966, this was high art.

The Series started out as a phenonmenon, leading to a marketer's paradise in merchandising, (toys, games, etc), and even a feature film was produced in 1966, showcasing all the main characters, pitting Batman and Robin against all four villians, (Joker, Catwoman, Riddler, and Penguin), whose plan was world domination. The film followed the same format as the series, and did well at the box office.

The rollercoaster ride for the series ended in 1968, due to budget constraints caused by sagging ratings. Even the introduction of Batgirl wasn't enough to save the show. I thought her addition sealed the series' fate.

Today, the series remains popular in syndication. Althougn the show hasn't officially been released on DVD as yet. There are other products featuring the cast that will whet your Bat-Whistle.

Until next time.

Bonus

Adam West and Burt Ward weren't the only actors to try out for the series. Lyle Waggoner (of Carol Burnet's troupe), and a young actor named Peter Deyell vied for the roles, and through the courtesy of Youtube and the generous person who uploaded the videos, the screen tests featuring all four actors are presented for your enjoyment. In my estimation, physically, Waggoner was a better Batman, although West had the voice. Deyell came off more like a kid, but his fight demonstration was impressive. What do you think? Please feel free to leave a comment.

Gone But Not Forgotten

Alan Napier (Alfred) Jan 7, 1903 - Aug 8, 1988

Neil Hamilton (Commissioner Gordon) Sept. 9, 1899 - Sept. 24, 1984

Stafford Repp (Chief O' Hara) April 26, 1918 - Nov. 5, 1974

Madge Blake (Aunt Harriet) Nov 31, 1899 - Feb. 19, 1969

Frank Gorshin (Riddler) April 5, 1933 - Nov. 5, 2005

Caesar Romero (Joker) Feb 15, 1907 - Jan 1, 1994

Burgess Meredith (Penguin) Nov 16, 1907 - Sept 9, 1997

William Dozier (Announcer, Producer) Feb 13, 1908 - April 23, 1991

Adam West (Batman) September 19, 1928 - June 9, 2017

Yvonne Craig (Batgirl) May 16, 1937 - August 17, 2015



Parting Shot

The classic television world has lost one of its leading pioneers. Adam West (Batman) passed away on June 9, 2017. due to a short battle with leukemia. He was 88. Mr. West contributed to some of the best moments of my childhood, and will sorely be missed.

Batman: The Complete Television Series (Blu-ray)
Batman: The Complete Television Series (Blu-ray)

TV's iconic Dynamic Duo has been captured, along with a legion of abominable archenemies in a POW-erful numbered limited-edition collection. Featuring ALL 120 original broadcast episodes, ever popular guest stars like Julie Newmar and Cesar Romero, The Adam West Scrapbook, complete episode guide — and exploding with over 3 hours of all new extras — you can bring home all the crime fighting action that won generations of fans!

 

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Mazzy Bolero profile image

      Mazzy Bolero 

      6 years ago from the U.K.

      The time capsule was a great way of starting the hub, Penman51! I would never have realized those auditions were on YouTube, so thanks for including them, but I still think Adam West and Burt Ward were the best. Batgirl was an infuriating bimbo who always got into trouble and required rescuing by Batman and Robin. As a junior feminist at the time, this used to get my dander up! I much prefer this fun version of Batman to the dark, serious movies that came later.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)