60S Batman TV Series

Arts & EntertainmentTelevision / Movies

  • Author Theresa Harrison
  • Published September 29, 2011
  • Word count 673

Must see viewing when I was a child was Batman, the tremendously tongue in cheek style of the television shows was superb along with Adam West portrayal of Batman who did, as rumour has it, talk very slowly so as to get more screen time.

So what made Batman so great? Batman was all about the gadgets, in fact the gadgets were his superpowers as such, funded by his alter ego Bruce Wayne, the millionaire American industrialist and this was back when a million was something worth having.

There was the secret hideout itself – the Batcave! Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson would press the secret button from within the bronze bust and the bookcase would slide back reviling the Bat poles (everything touched by Batman was called Bat something) and Batman and Robin would emerge in the Bat Cave. The Batcave had all manner of useful crime fighting equipment such as a supercomputer and a forensic lab and also to serve as a garage for the iconic Batmobile.

It was impossible for any kid of about 10 or so who, back in the 60’s to see the Batmobile and not fall instantly in love with it. With its deep throaty roar, jet flames shooting from the rear and black glossy paint it was a thing of beauty. The car (and there were several made) sold in 2007 for £119000 ($233000) at a London auction.

The core of Batman’s superpowers came of course from his utility belt which has, over the years held a staggering wide array of useful crime fighting gadgets including rope, camera, gas bombs, explosive pellets, recording device, laser torch, baterang, finger dusting kit, breathing apparatus and a seeming magical ability to hold whatever is required at the time, such as shark repellent spray, don’t leave home without it.

A superhero only really shines when pitted against super villains and lucky for Batman he has a range of villains who are now household names. While at the time the actors for Batman and Robin were relatively unknown the villains were famous names. The four who gave Batman the hardest time were The Joker, played by Cesar Romero who stuck with the role throughout the series and made it a masterpiece. The Penguin, played by Burgess Meredith with his distinctive waddle and ‘wak wak wak’ evil laugh. The Penguin appeared most often, in 20 shows, slightly more that The Joker. Catwoman was played by 2 actresses (3 if you count the movie filmed at the time of the series) over the series, Julie Newmar originally, Lee Meriwether in the film, and finally Eartha Kitt. The final most popular super villain was The Riddler with ‘cryptic’ clues that always lead to his downfall, played by Frank Gorshin for much of the series and for the film, John Astin played for the final 2 appearances of The Riddler.

A virtual army of villains made intermittent appearances, King Tut, Lord Fogg, Shame, The Puzzler and Mr Freeze were amongst the most popular. All of which were seen off along with their henchmen at the end of the episode in the big fight scene with the inspired ‘Kapow’ and ‘Ooof’ graphics, simply magical.

Not that Batman fought alone, his clean cut ward, Dick Grayson played by Burt Ward fought alongside as Robin, while back at Wayne Manor the trusted butler Alfred Pennywoth, played by Alan Napier knew Bruce Wayne’s secret identity and was very much part of the crime fighting team, assisting especially with the defeat of The Archer. Often the call for help came from Police Commissioner Gordon played by Neil Hamilton by use of either the red Batphone the iconic sky Batsignal. Girl power made an early showing in the form of Police Commissioner Gordon’s daughter Barbara Gordon, played by Yvonne Craig as Batgirl.

All these parts came together and meshed beautifully to make a terrific series fondly remembered by a generation and has gone on to inspire others to come up with their own take on Batman for the delight of generations since and surely to follow.

kids batman muscle costume

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Article written by Theresa Harrison

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