Friday, April 6, 2012

"BATMAN: The Series" (William Dozier, 1966 - 1968)



Episodes Directed by …

Oscar Rudolph (37 episodes)
James B. Clark (15 episodes)
George Waggner (10 episodes)
Sam Strangis (8 episodes)
Robert Butler (6 episodes)
Murray Golden (6 episodes)
Larry Peerce (6 episodes)
Norman Foster (4 episodes)
Tom Gries (4 episodes)
Charles R. Rondeau (4 episodes)
Don Weis (4 episodes)
William A. Graham (2 episodes)
Jeffrey Hayden (2 episodes)
Sherman Marks (2 episodes)
Leslie H. Martinson (2 episodes)
James Neilson (2 episodes)
Richard C. Sarafian (2 episodes)
James Sheldon (2 episodes)
Robert Sparr (2 episodes)

Episodes Written by …

Bob Kane (109 episodes)
Stanley Ralph Ross (27 episodes)
Charles Hoffman (22 episodes)
Stanford Sherman (18 episodes)
Lorenzo Semple Jr. (16 episodes)
Jerry Robinson (11 episodes)
Stephen Kandel (5 episodes)
Earl Barret (4 episodes)
Francis M. Cockrell (4 episodes)
Marian B. Cockrell (4 episodes)
Fred De Gorter (4 episodes)
Robert C. Dennis (4 episodes)
Max Hodge (4 episodes)
Elkan Allan (3 episodes)
John Cardwell (2 episodes)
Richard Carr (2 episodes)
Robert Dozier (2 episodes)
Bill Finger (2 episodes)
Lee Orgel (2 episodes)
Jack Paritz (2 episodes)
Bob Rodgers (2 episodes)
Edwin Self (2 episodes)
Charles Sinclair (2 episodes)
Henry Slesar (2 episodes)
Sheldon Stark (2 episodes)
Ellis St. Joseph (2 episodes)
Jay Thompson (2 episodes)
Hendrik Vollaerts (2 episodes)
William P. D'Angelo (2 episodes)
Robert Mintz (2 episodes)
Peter Rabe (2 episodes)
Leo Townsend (2 episodes)
Pauline Townsend (2 episodes)

Based on the DC Comics Character Created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger

Series Executive Produced by William Dozier

Series Produced by Howie Horwitz, Charles Fitzsimons and William P. D'Angelo

Series Cinematography by …

Howard Schwartz (51 episodes, 1966-1967)
Meredith M. Nicholson (28 episodes, 1966-1967)
Ralph Woolsey (10 episodes, 1966)
Jack A. Marta (7 episodes, 1966)
Charles Straumer (5 episodes, 1967-1968)
Sam Leavitt (2 episodes, 1966)

Series Art Direction by …

Jack Martin Smith (104 episodes, 1966-1968)
Serge Krizman (79 episodes, 1966-1967)
Jack T. Collis (10 episodes, 1966)
Russell C. Menzer (8 episodes, 1966)
Frank T. Smith (5 episodes, 1967-1968)
Franz Bachelin (2 episodes, 1966)
Ed Graves (2 episodes, 1966)

Series Set Decoration by ...

Walter M. Scott (104 episodes, 1966-1968)
Chester L. Bayhi (76 episodes, 1966-1967)
Warren Welch (14 episodes, 1966)
Bert Allen (12 episodes, 1967)
Robert De Vestel (6 episodes, 1967-1968)

Series Costume Design by Andrew Pallack

Series Editing by …

Hugh Chaloupka (26 episodes, 1966-1968)
Homer Powell (25 episodes, 1966-1967)
J. Frank O'Neill (15 episodes, 1966-1967)
Ronald J. Fagan (10 episodes, 1966)
James Blakeley (10 episodes, 1967-1968)
Bill Murphy (7 episodes, 1966-1967)
Byron Chudnow (5 episodes, 1966)
Harry Coswick (3 episodes, 1966)
Newell P. Kimlin (2 episodes, 1966)
Leon Selditz (2 episodes, 1966)

Original Theme Composed by Neal Hefti

Original Television Soundtrack Composed by Neal Hefti, Nelson Riddle, Billy May and Warren Barker


Adam West ... Bruce Wayne/Batman
Burt Ward … Richard ‘Dick’ Grayson/Robin
Neil Hamilton … Police Commissioner James Gordon
Stafford Repp … Police Chief O’Hara
Alan Napier ... Alfred Pennyworth
Madge Blake … Aunt Harriet Cooper
Yvonne Craig … Barbara Gordon/Batgirl
Cesar Romero … The Joker
Burgess Meredith … The Penguin
Frank Gorshin … The Riddler
John Astin … The Riddler II
Julie Newmar … Catwoman
Eartha Kitt … Catwoman II
Vincent Price … Egghead
Eli Wallach … Mr. Freeze
George Sanders … Mr. Freeze II
Otto Preminger … Mr. Freeze III
Victor Buono … King Tut
Cliff Robertson … Shame
Roddy McDowell … Bookworm
Milton Berle … Louie The Lilac
David Wayne … The Mad Hatter
Rudy Vallee … Lord Marmaduke Ffogg
Glynis Johns … Lady Penelope Peasoup
Edward Everett Horton … Chief Screaming Chicken
Van Johnson … The Minstrel
Byron Keith … Mayor Linseed
Walter Slezak … The Clock King
Jill St. John … Molly
Kathleen Crowley … Sophia Starr
Liberace … Chandell
Joan Collins … The Siren
Sid Haig … Royal Apothecary
Zsa Zsa Gabor … Minerva
Reginald Denny … King Boris
Bill Williams … Multimillionaire

Wealthy philanthropist Bruce Wayne, with the aid of trusted ward Dick Grayson, fights crime and immorality in Gotham City as Batman and Robin.


Key Episodes:

“Hi Diddle Riddle”
“Smack in the Middle”
“Fine Feathered Finks”
“The Penguin’s a Jinx”
“The Joker is Wild”
“Batman is Riled”
“Instant Freeze”
“Rats Like Cheese”
“The Thirteenth Hat”
“Batman Stands Pat”
“The Purr-Fect Crime”
“Better Luck Next Time”
“The Curse of Tut”
“The Pharoah’s in a Rut”
“Fine Finny Fiends”
“Batman Makes the Scenes”
“Green Ice”
“Deep Freeze”
“The Contaminated Cowl”
“The Mad Hatter Runs Afoul”
“The Zodiac Crimes”
“The Joker’s Hard Times”
“The Penguin Declines”
“Batman’s Anniversary”
“A Riddling Controversy”
“A Piece of the Action”
“Batman’s Satisfaction”
“Enter Batgirl, Exit Penguin”
“Ring Around the Riddler”
“Surf’s Up! Joker’s Under!”
"Louie, The Lilac"
“The Londinium Larcenies”
“The Foggiest Notion”
"Song of the Siren"
“The Bloody Tower”
“The Great Escape”
“The Great Train Robbery”
“The Joker’s Flying Saucer”
“the Entrancing Dr. Cassandra”
“Minerva, Mayhem and Millionaires”


The 1960s; a tumultuous decade defined by the emergence of counter culture, the exponential increase of narcotic experimentation and sexual promiscuity and an abysmal failure in the Vietnam War that left America disillusioned and radically altered.

We traveled to the moon while we questioned authority for the first definitive account. And as the world grew grimmer, with the concepts of black and white turning to gray, the art scene felt there was only one thing it could do to breathe life into the nation again.


From Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Can to the zany antics of a cartoon canine named Scooby Doo to the phenomenon known simply as the Beatles, the creative output of the 60s was big, bold, bright and bombastic.

And arguably no other trend, no other craze touched so delicately the nerve and hunger for pop culture then producer Bill Dozier’s over-the-top, colorful and hyper-kitsch take on the caped crusader and the boy wonder with 1966’s “BATMAN” television series.

Keeping vigil from their mansion on the outskirts of Gotham City, philanthropist Bruce Wayne (Adam West) and his earnest ward Dick Grayson (Burt Ward) fight the forces of crime and evil respectively as Batman and Robin; fully deputized agents of the Gotham Police Department who, with the aid of Police Commissioner Gordon (Neil Hamilton), Police Chief O’Hara (Stafford Repp), faithful butler Alfred (Alan Napier) and doting Aunt Harriet (Madge Blake) wage a never ending battle against the most nefarious villains imagined such as the Riddler (Frank Gorshin/John Astin), the Penguin (Burgess Meredith), The Joker (Cesar Romero) and Catwoman (Julie Newmar/Eartha Kitt).

This is the show that defined Batman for an entire new generation of fans. It’s the one that everyone refers to, that everyone knows and that is usually the butt of everyone’s jokes, most unfortunately.

Because first things first, there’s always a edge of Batman’s creation that’s going to be based less on the haunted psychological loner and more on the colorful crime fighter with all of the gadgets and wit fighting cornball foes and righting wrongs throughout Gotham City.

The series, as star Adam West has said on multiple occasions, was a slice of the cultural pie. Meant not to be taken deathly serious the show was full of parody, adventure, high comedy and charm that its fans, myself included, can clearly identify.

Of course there are aspects that you just refuse to give credence to, most obviously that of Batman and Robin being deputized by the police (Frank Miller calls foul on that one all the time).

But people tend to forget that that’s exactly what was going on with Batman in the comics throughout the 50s and 60s. The caped crusader was Gotham City’s leading citizen, making public appearances and walking down the streets in broad daylight.


If anything and for all its 'Biff's, 'Wham's and 'Pow's, The “BATMAN” TV Series was pretty accurate to the character’s portrayal at the time. It was being true to the comics of the day if not exactly the character’s psychological underpinnings from his inception in 1939.

The series is a four-color comic book farce made flesh.

But just like future incarnations such as “The Batman” or “Batman & Robin,” the character can be interpreted into a fun heroic crime fighter for kids when you leave the murder of his parents out of the story. He’s so versatile that he can afford to have his driving motivation be left out in order to make way for stories that are simply fun adventures with all the trimmings of gadgetry and panache.

The cast of the series is a wonderful collection, with all the humor and theatrics one would need to perform in this particular portrait of Gotham City.

Adam has a wonderful sense of authority in the role, which in turn gives him real presence on screen. His chemistry with Burt Ward is just infectious and you can really tell they had so much fun making the show.

Burt’s take on Robin has become legendary in its own right with his character trait of spewing camp one-liners, all beginning with the notorious and well known ‘Holy’ gag.


“Holy Missing Relatives!”
“Holy Zorro!”
“Holy Pin Cushions!”
“Holy Safari!”
“Holy Molars!”
“Holy Hollywood!”
“Holy Peanut Butter!”
“Holy Ten Toes!”
“Holy Uncanny Photographic Mental Processes!”
“Holy Robert Louis Stevenson!”

“Holy Diversionary Tactic!”
“Holy Karate!”
“Holy Contributing to the Delinquency of Minors!”

Just so you know, every single one of those is real.

Aside from our dynamic duo, we also got a very sexy Batgirl courtesy of Yvonne Craig, complete with a dazzling purple costume, a batcycle trimmed in lace (!) and her very own trippy theme song. Ironically it was William Dozier's desire to include a female heroine that led to the creation of Barbara Gordon in the comic books. Her dainty kicks, however (the result of the studio feeling it wouldn’t be right to have her slug anyone), present quite a letdown in the battle for feminist equality.

We also get some memorable turns from the supports for our heroes.

I love Neil Hamilton’s warm, paternal approach to Commissioner Gordon; that made the character very admirable and a joy to watch whenever he was on screen. And the ever-loyal Alfred delivered by Alan Napier has a similar quality that truly makes you feel that there’s a sense of love and family within the halls of Wayne Manor, however briefly we might find ourselves there in a given episode.

And who could ever forget Stafford Repp and his insistently goofy, overtly Irish Police Chief O’Hara!? I just LOVE that character and it’s amazing to see that he’s still around in some aspects of the mythology (O’Hara makes a cameo appearance in Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale’s “Batman: Dark Victory” graphic novel and plays a major role in John Fiorella’s “GRAYSON” Fan Trailer).

As with several incarnations of Batman, some of the greatest casting was left in the hands of the villains and “BATMAN” was no exception.

Making his debut in the pilot two-parter, Frank Gorshin gave a wonderfully kinetic rendition of the Riddler throughout the show until he left (he was replaced by the impressively mustached John Astin for the show’s third season) and made a lasting impression that continues even today (most people make note of Jim Carrey’s take on the character in “Batman Forever” being inspired by Frank).


There’s also Burgess Meredith as a very dapper and comedic Penguin, possibly my 2nd favorite villain from the show. He went on to co-star in the original “Clash of the Titans” and it’s tremendous to see his range going from the comedy of “BATMAN” to the drama of later performances.


Of course no one can forget Cesar Romero, the Latin Lover himself, taking on a manic and kooky depiction of the Clown Prince of Crime. One of the funnier aspects of Romero taking on the role was that he was so attached to his moustache (being that it was the trademark that identified him with his fans) that he refused to shave it for the Joker. You can even see it poking out from the white make up!

But my favorite villain as portrayed in the series (or should I say villainess) has to be Catwoman.

Initially she was portrayed by Julie Newmar, easily one of the most statuesque women ever and she gave Catwoman a sense of uncanny eroticism despite the child-like atmosphere.

Then came Eartha Kitt and she was arguably the most iconic in the role for her trademark ‘purr.’ That voice! One could also make note that prior to the likes of Billy Dee Williams as Harvey Dent and Michael Clarke Duncan as the Kingpin, THIS was the first time that a comic book character had been cast with an actor that had an ethnic background that differed from the source material. Needless to say, one doesn't see this as a black Catwoman; she is simply Catwoman and among the best in the role to date.

Aside from the known rogues, the show made the decision to incorporate its own adversaries to challenge Batman, especially by the show’s third season and some of these are downright hilarious and inspired.

Can you name these five before the next paragraph?



There was the dastardly cowboy-themed Shame, played by Cliff Robertson (who went on to portray Uncle Ben in the Sam Raimi-directed “Spider-Man” films!)

There was the notorious King Tut, played by Victor Buono, who on one occasion intended to drive Batman to a mindless insanity that would condemn him into a slave that would dance the Batusi for his Pharoah’s amusement. In hindsight the character seems to be cut from the same cloth as Maxie Zeus, given his fancying himself an almighty being of immense power from an ancient time.

Of course who could forget the Egg-themed criminal Egghead? Portrayed by the legendary Vincent Price, the character made several attempts to make a yolk out of the dynamic duo.

There was also Louie the Lilac, played by veteran film and theatre actor Milton Berle; a gangster with a green thumb and a penchant for purple pin-stripes who intended to corner the flower market in Gotham City.

And we can’t leave out the gorgeous Joan Collins and her portrayal of the Siren, whose hypnotic ‘song,’ a high-pitched frequency, once rendered Commissioner Gordon and Bruce Wayne under her spell.

A number of these series exclusive foes played a part in the laundry list of sensational guest stars that "Batman" was revered for, including flamboyantly famed musician Liberace and Zsa Zsa Gabor.

Aside from playing dastardly denizens of Gotham, several guest stars would also make smaller cameos in the famous 'Bat-Climb,' where the star would often appear in a window as Batman and Robin ritualistically climbed up the side of some Gotham Skyscraper while exchanging moral platitudes.
Rob Reiner, Colonel Klink, Terri Garr, Dick Clark, Sammy Davis Jr. and even ole’ Blue Eyes himself, Frank Sinatra; all of them made cameos from the window. Even Santa Claus himself popped in on one occassion!


The show is ultimately best known for its dry wit and sense of farcical humor as evidenced on several occasions.

One of the most notorious HAS to be the epic, the dreadful and the controversial “Batusi” dance, as performed by Adam himself while attending a bar as part of a case investigation trying to track down the Riddler. Of course this is NOT before he asks to stand at the bar in costume so he won’t “attract attention” (!) and orders himself a tall glass of drugged OJ while talking up “Diamonds are Forever” Bond girl Jill St. John!

“you shake a pretty mean cape, Batman!”

Oh jeez haha.

At least fellow TV heroes Green Hornet and Kato made a handful of appearances. To think, Bruce Lee himself was involved with “Batman” in some way. FANTASTIC!


The series was also known for its trademark opening theme composed by Neal Hefti, so much so that the theme has gone on to be mocked constantly whenever Batman comes up as a subject of discussion. Even so, it’s quite the catchy tune!

And how about the clever idea to make the comic book come to life with the use of cartoon sound effect balloons?


True, many of the episode scenarios are just laughably ridiculous (The Joker wants to become the king of surfing! The Riddler challenges Batman to a Boxing match! Mr. Freeze steals Diamonds…oh wait.) But y’know what? I can never get enough. Watching the 60s “BATMAN” show is just too much fun!

Besides, who says you have to be dark and grim all the time? Every so often the sight of Adam and Burt in satin capes running into Police Headquarters in daylight or cruising the streets in, what I still believe, is arguably the greatest Batmobile EVER can be just as enjoyable when it’s seen as it should be; nothing more than a presentation of another side to Batman. Just as valid, just as enjoyable. No more, no less.
This TV show was 60 Pop Art at its zenith, pure and simple.

Its fun, it’s campy, and yet it’s still Batman.

A wonderfully nostalgic footnote in the dark knight’s history, “BATMAN” will (or at least should) hold a special place in the hearts of fans for generations to come.



Chas Blankenship's Bat-Mania 2012 is Proud to present "Hi Diddle Riddle," the pilot episode of "BATMAN," in its entirety.

Unfortunately, legal dilemmas have refrained from permitting a proper home video release of the series on DVD or Blu-Ray given that Warner Brothers owns rights to the character while 20th Century Fox owns the rights over the series (though one has to question why the Movie was allowed a release so easily).

Until then, a number of full length episodes can be found on YouTube. Local 'Family Programming' channels may also broadcast the series in syndication, such as TV Land or the HUB.


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