Batman TV Show - Adam West & Crew
The perennial pop culture TV show
For a long time you couldn't buy this TV show packaged onto VHS, then DVD and Bluray like so many other classic TV shows. The tangled legal issues involved would criss-cross between the production company, the licensing, and the many famous 1960s personalities that appeared on the show. Illegal sets of taped-from-TV versions were always popping up on ebay and around the edges of pop culture.
The show itself is sandwiched right in between Twilight Zone and Perry Mason for its classic TV bone fides. And like a small minority of classic TV programs, Batman still has plenty of traction in regular TV show broadcast schedules, and so Adam West, Burt Ward and Yvonne Craig continue to fight Gotham's criminals with all the gusto this time capsule of 1960s pop-culture mod-hipness can muster.
And there is a lot of it to go around, all wrapped around a campy attitude heavy with both action and comedy. The shows dialogue operates on two levels with a wink toward adults about the preposterousness of the the show itself, and the crime-fighting is played straight with an emphasis on comic book styled violence and adventure. Apparently this balance enables the show to gain new audiences generation-by-generation, as it is always in rotation somewhere around the globe, let alone just in America, and with online Youtube clips by the hundreds showing the highlights of the program for modern cyber-culture.
Though the show is sometimes considered the bane of the more serious-minded Batman product of the comic books (and the more recent feature films) marring the characters hagiography, the effect the TV show has had goes far beyond just Bruce Wayne, but has influenced comic books and television in equal measure. Many satirical tv programs (especially animated programs for the older audiences) employ heroic irony in a way directly fathered by the William Dozier produced / Adam West starring Batman TV program.
120 episodes were made in a very busy three season run from January 12, 1966 to March 14, 1968 on ABC TV. There would have been more except the show was cancelled after ratings dipped, and there was an effort to bring it back for one more season by NBC but this too was cancelled when it was discovered that the expensive sets had already been dismantled (a similar fate befell Star Trek and it's sets).
The actor Lyle Waggoner originally tested for the Bruce Wayne/Batman role, but lost the part to Adam West. Waggoner would later be Steve Trevor for the Lynda Carter Wonder Woman series.
Adam West Batman coming to Bluray & DVD
July 15, 2014: The Batman 1966 TV series is scheduled for a November 2014 release with remastered high-definition looks (now it makes sense: no wonder DC Comics was massively backing their 1966-style Batman title). Also high-def downloads will be made available.
20th Century Fox and Warner Bros have apparently worked out the legal kerfuffle that has kept the show off the retail store shelves and a mainstay of bootleg tape and disk releases for decades. Adam West, Burt Ward and Julie Newmar missed out on the VHS & DVD home video revolution, but they're in time for the streaming and download revolution.
The new set will contain 120 episodes, remastered in HD, with a various extra features. Promo footage looks clear and sharp, and presumably the sound will be the same.
(Photo images here from the Batman 1966 movie that starred Adam West and Lee Meriwether.)
Adam West Batman
More Adam West
Julie Newmar Catwoman
Revived Batman '66 comic book series
"New stories based upon the classiv TV Series"
Adam West Batman and Julie Newmar
Batman and Catwoman (Julie Newmar), from the Batman 1960s TV Show
Eartha Kitt - Catwoman
Episode: The Cat and the Fiddle - Broadcast September 15, 1966
Catwoman from the 1966 Feature Film Lee Meriwether
More Lee Meriwether
Adam West Batman
Adam West Batman and Yvonne Craig Batgirl
Batman and Batgirl, from the Batman 1960s TV Show
Adam West and Jill St. John
Jill St. John appeared as "Molly" in the Bridler episodes "Hi Diddle Riddle" and "Smack in the middle" - 1965
Adam West Batman and Burt Ward Robin
Adam West Batman 1966
The Batman Villains from the 1966 Film
Catwoman - Batman TV Show -Julie Newmar
From the Batman TV Show. More Catwoman
Batman TV Show 1966 & Feature Film
Burt Ward - Robin the Boy Wonder
More Dick Grayson
Original page November 5, 2013 | Updated July 2015