“Forgotten Hollywood”- BAM! Batman at 50…

Posted on January 12, 2016 by raideoman1 | No Comments

Manny P. here…

   Batman lasted just three years and yielded 120 episodes. However, it created a whole new generation of fans for the crime solving comic book hero, first devised in 1939 by Bob Kane and Bill Finger, long before he became a much darker figure in big screen blockbusters (who indeed will return March 25th in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice). The colorful tongue-in-cheek superhero romp, aired twice a week — on Wednesday (with a cliffhanger) and Thursday nights — beginning in 1966, and became a quick sensation, with its campy tone and its catchy theme song.


BURT WARD                                           ADAM WEST

   The television version of Batman debuted January 12th with few expectations. Originally scheduled to join ABC’s lineup for the 1966-1967 season, it was rushed on air because of a hole in the network’s schedule. And, this was even after the show received, at the time, the worst audience test score for an ABC pilot in history. Little did executives realize they were on the cusp of a cultural phenomenon. The show became as big as The Beatles in music, and James Bond in films. The series created an enormous influence on pop culture. There were Batman fan clubs, lunch boxes, a dance craze, bubble gum cards, a motion picture, among other things. When ABC canceled the series in 1968, the Batcave set was demolished. Two weeks later, NBC decided to pick up the series, only to change its mind once executives realized they’d have to foot the bill for another set. By the way, Robin used 352 holy phrases during the course of the series. Holy multiple hosanna!

Batman_villains_The_Penguin_The_Riddler_The_Joker_1967   Series regulars, Neil Hamilton (Commissioner Gordon) and Alan Napier (Alfred), had long careers in cinema before Batman. George Sanders, Cliff Robertson, Eli Wallach, Eartha Kitt, John Astin, Tallulah Bankhead, Otto Preminger, Roddy McDowall, David Wayne, Shelley Winters, Liberace, Bruce Lee, Ethel Merman, and Vincent Price, among others, all guest starred on the show. Plus, Julie Newmar, Cesar Romero, Burgess Meredith, and Frank Gorshin made a number of appearances as Catwoman, Joker, Penguin and Riddler, respectively. In fact, Frank Sinatra, Natalie Wood, and Cary Grant were fans of Batman and wanted to appear on the show. But producers, unfathomably, could not find any roles that fit them. Eventually, Michael Keaton, George Clooney, Val Kilmer, and Christian Bale all took turns as the big black bat, with Ben Affleck in the upcoming production. BURGESS MEREDITH/CESAR ROMERO/FRANK GORSHIN –>

   Batman and Robin, as portrayed by Adam West and Burt Ward, are still strong draws at comic book conventions on the nostalgia circuit. The Dynamic Duo are scheduled to voice the characters in a new, animated 90-minute feature, set to be released sometime in 2016, to mark the series’ 50th anniversary. And, Julie Newmar has even donated her Catwoman costume to the Smithsonian Institute.


   I promise you another blog as early as tomorrow. Same Bat time… Same Bat Channel…

Until next time>                               “never forget”

This entry was posted on Tuesday, January 12th, 2016 at 4:39 pm and is filed under Blog by Manny Pacheco. You can follow any comments to this post through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

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