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Christopher Crank
Christopher Crank

Batman (1966) - Season 01

For the first two seasons, Batman aired twice a week on consecutive nights. Every story is a two-parter, except for two three-parters featuring villainous team-ups (the Joker and the Penguin, then the Penguin and Marsha, Queen of Diamonds) in the second season. The titles of each multi-part story usually rhyme. The third and final season, which aired one episode a week and introduced Yvonne Craig as Barbara Gordon/Batgirl, consist of self-contained stories. Each third-season story ends with a teaser featuring the next episode's guest villain, except for the series finale. The cliffhangers between multiple-part stories consist of villains holding someone captive, usually Batman or Robin, with the captive(s) being threatened by death, serious injury, or another fate. These cliffhangers are resolved early in the follow-up episode with Batman and Robin getting themselves out of every trap.

Batman (1966) - Season 01

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The Joker, the Penguin, the Riddler, Catwoman, Mr. Freeze, and the Mad Hatter, villains who originated in the comic books, all appeared in the series, the plots for which were deliberately villain-driven. According to the producers, Frank Gorshin was selected to portray Riddler due to the fact that he was a Batman fan since childhood. Catwoman was portrayed by three different actresses during the series run: by Julie Newmar in the first two seasons, by Lee Meriwether in the feature film based on the series, and by Eartha Kitt in the third and final season.

By season three, ratings were falling and the future of the series seemed uncertain. To attract new viewers, Dozier opted to introduce a female character. He came up with the idea of using Batgirl, who in her civilian identity would be Commissioner Gordon's daughter, Barbara, and asked the editor of the Batman comics to further develop the character (who had made her debut in a 1966 issue of Detective Comics).[13] To convince ABC executives to introduce Batgirl as a regular on the show, a promotional short featuring Yvonne Craig as Batgirl and Tim Herbert as Killer Moth was produced.[14] Batgirl was the first Superheroine to appear in an ongoing capacity on television. The show was reduced to once a week, with mostly self-contained episodes, although the following week's villain would be introduced in a tag at the end of each episode, similar to a soap opera. Accordingly, the narrator's cliffhanger phrases were mostly eliminated, most episodes ending with him encouraging viewers to watch next week.[notes 1]

Aunt Harriet was reduced to just two cameo appearances during the third season, due to Madge Blake's poor health and the issue of trying to fit so many characters (Batman, Robin, Batgirl, Alfred, Commissioner Gordon, Chief O'Hara, and a guest villain) into a half-hour episode. Another cast change during the final season was replacing Julie Newmar, who had been a popular recurring guest villain as the Catwoman during the first two seasons. Singer-actress Eartha Kitt assumed the role for season three, as Newmar was working on the film Mackenna's Gold at that time and thus unable to appear. In the United States, Kitt's performance in the series marked the second mainstream television success of a black female, following Nichelle Nichols as Lt. Uhura in Star Trek and continued breaking the racial boundaries of the time. Kitt's performance as Catwoman would also, later, inspire Halle Berry's portrayal of the character in the 2004 film Catwoman, in which Berry would mimic Kitt's purrs. Frank Gorshin, the original actor to play the Riddler, returned after a one-season hiatus, during which John Astin made one appearance in the role.

The nature of the scripts and acting started to enter into the realm of surrealism. In addition, the third season was much more topical, with references to hippies, mods, and distinctive 1960s slang, which the previous two seasons had avoided.

Near the end of the third season, ratings had dropped significantly, and ABC cancelled the show. NBC agreed to take over the series, but before it could do so, it was discovered that hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of Batman sets had been destroyed. Rather than rebuild the sets, NBC dropped the project.[16] Reruns of the series have been seen on a regular basis in the United States. They are currently shown on the classic TV networks TeleXitos, weekdays dubbed in Spanish, as well as Saturday mornings on IFC. As of 2022, the series can be found on the streaming app Tubi. It also appears Saturday nights on most MeTV stations in the U.S.A.

In January 2014, television host Conan O'Brien posted on his Twitter account, and Warner Bros. later confirmed, that Warner Bros. would release an official DVD and Blu-ray boxed set of the complete series sometime the same year.[22] In April, the website quoted Burt Ward in saying that Warner Bros. would release the complete series on November 11, 2014, in time for the holiday season under license from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment and that Adam West and he were doing special features for the release.

Warner Bros. released the full 120-episode Batman collection on Blu-ray and DVD on November 11, 2014 (under license from 20th Century Fox) with a variety of extras including a miniature Batmobile, a 32-page episode guide, and The Adam West Scrapbook.[30] A second box set released on Warner Bros.' own "batmanondvd" website replaces the Batmobile, The Adam West Scrapbook, and the trading cards with a letter from Adam West, a script from the episode "The Joker is Wild" and a bonus box containing the movie and the "Adam West Naked" documentary. This series is also available at the Google Play Store, and iTunes Store.[31]

On review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes, the series as a whole has received an approval rating of 72%.[32] Additionally, the first season received an approval rating of 50%, based on twenty-two reviews, its consensus reads, "Holy mixed reception, Batman! - this deadpan farce translates the beloved comic strip with the punch of an onomatopoeia panel, but its overload of camp can be as grating as it is amusing."[33] While the third season received an approval rating of 94%, based on sixteen reviews, its consensus reads, "Fierce females shook up the dynamic duo in the final season of Batman with plenty of technicolor "POW!""[34]

A film based on the television show, Batman, was released in 1966. The film was originally intended to be produced before the series as a way to introduce the series to the public. However, the series' premiere was moved up and the film was forced to wait until the summer hiatus after the first season. The film was produced quickly to get into theatres prior to the start of season two of the television series.

The film did not initially perform well in theaters. Originally, the movie had been conceived to help sell the television series abroad, but the success of the series in the United States was sufficient publicity. The film was shot after season one was filmed. The movie's budget allowed for producers to build the Batboat and lease a helicopter that would be made into the Batcopter, both of which were used in the second and third seasons of the television show.[citation needed]

Van Williams and Bruce Lee made a cameo appearance as the Green Hornet and Kato in "window cameos" while the Batman and Robin were climbing a building. This was in part one of a two-part second-season episode of the Batman TV series, "The Spell of Tut", which aired on September 28, 1966.[56]

One of the most desired collectibles involves the episodes introducing Catwoman ("The Purr-fect Crime"/"Better Luck Next Time"), which were the subject of a View-Master reel & booklet set in 1966 (Sawyers Packet # B492). While the series was first-run on ABC, packet cover indicia reflected the "Bat Craze" cultural phenomenon by referring to the booklet as a Batbooklet, Dynamically Illustrated. By the time the television series was cancelled in 1968 and GAF had taken over the View-Master product, Batbooklet was removed in favor of then-standard View-Master packaging for all future releases in the decades to follow, right up to the period when the standard packet line was discontinued. The first season's superimposed fight onomatopoeias were not used for the View-Master's scenes of fights. Instead, black-lined "blast" balloons (transparent inside), and series-like onomatopoeias were illustrated and superimposed over fight images.

The other major enduring reference is Radioactive Man. Though he appeared in comic book form during some season one episodes, his first major appearance is in the episode "Three Men and a Comic Book" which tells of his origin story. In the season 7 episode "Radioactive Man", Tim Burton, shown directing a Radioactive Man reboot, tells his staff that he doesn't want his film to be like "that campy 60s series", and he shows a clip parodying a Batman fight scene and Paul Lynde playing special guest villain The Scoutmaster.

A couple of months after the first season finished airing, a cinematic feature film of Batman premiered in theaters on July 30, 1966, featuring four of the most prominent villains, and new Bat Gadgets that were enabled by the bigger budget of the film. Julie Newmar, who had played The Catwoman in Season 1, was unavailable to act in the film due to a back injury, and was replaced in the role by Lee Meriwether.

Despite being the most prominent villain during the first season, Frank Gorshin was completely absent as The Riddler during season 2, as Gorshin was holding out for a salary increase for continuing on in the role, which the studio refused to comply with. As a result, a storyline in season 2 that was originally intended for the Riddler was instead given to a character called The Puzzler, while another storyline later on in season 2 saw John Astin replace Gorshin in the role of the Riddler.

After her absence in the 1966 film, Julie Newmar returned to the role of The Catwoman in season 2, becoming the most prominent villain during the season. Although Barbara Gordon / Batgirl would not be depicted until Season 3, Barbara is discussed in the late season 2 episodes "Batman's Waterloo" and "The Duo Defy", foreshadowing her debut months later. 041b061a72


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