Comics On TV: ‘Batman ’66’

by Ryan Rigley

“I am vengeance. I am the night. I am… Ben Affleck.” That’s right, folks. Warner Bros. and Zack Snyder have officially announced who our next Dark Knight will be and it’s neither Josh Brolin nor Ryan Gosling. Apparently, Oscar-winning director Ben Affleck has officially signed a multi-film deal with Warner Bros., meaning he’ll play the Caped Crusader in the next few Batman films— including Snyder’s “Superman vs. Batman” and the highly-anticipated “Justice League.”

So far, reactions to Affleck’s new role have been pretty mixed with several online petitions being made to recast the Dark Knight. Lest we forget, there have already been a few different interpretations of Batman throughout the years, including Adam West’s Batusi-doing do-gooder. Speaking of which, here’s a look back on the super campy, yet super awesome “Batman” TV series from the 60’s.

Series Statistics
Network: ABC
Broadcast Date: 1966 – 1968
Seasons: 3
Episodes: 120

In the wake of successful juvenile adventure shows such as “Adventures of Superman” and “The Lone Ranger,” DC Comics made a deal with ABC who later passed the rights on to 20th Century Fox in order to produce a live-action “Batman” series. Originally intended to be a hip, fun, yet serious show, “Batman” was eventually transformed into a “pop art camp comedy” series by a man named William Dozier, who had only read a handful of the Batman comic books.

With Adam West and Burt Ward cast as Batman and Robin respectively, the series went on to become an immense hit with two new episodes premiering each week. At one point, “Batman” was even called the “biggest TV phenomenon of the mid-1960’s.” And how could it not be with such a catchy theme song?

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Notable Episodes

The Joker Is Wild/Batman Is Riled
After pitching in a prison baseball game, the Joker escapes and hatches a new plan to learn the secret identities of Batman and Robin. Bombarding the dynamic duo with sneezing powder, the Clown Prince of Crime plans on broadcasting the unmasking of Gotham’s famed heroes all across the city.

The Purr-fect Crime/Better Luck Next Time
Guest starring Julie Newmar as the Feline Fatale, Catwoman begins stealing jewelry all over Gotham causing Commissioner Gordon to seek help from Batman. However, before facing off against Catwoman, Batman must fight a full-grown tiger.

Death In Slow Motion/The Riddler’s False Notion
When Charlie Chaplin and the Keystone Kops rob the Gotham movie theater, Batman deduces that the culprits are actually the Riddler and his men in disguise. This episode marks one of the final appearances of Frank Gorshin as the Riddler.

Enter Batgirl, Exit Penguin
After Batgirl is kidnapped and almost forced into marrying the Penguin via blackmail, Batman and Robin are also captured and hung over a vat of acid causing Batgirl to come to the Dynamic Duo’s rescue.

A Piece of the Action/Batman’s Satisfaction
Guest starring Van Williams and Bruce Lee, as the Green Hornet and Kato respectively, this episode acts as a crossover between the highly successful “Batman” series and the “Green Hornet” series with the Dynamic Duo mistaking the Green Hornet and Kato for hardened criminals.

Still think “Batman” is all camp and no class? Well, you’re right. But hey, you should still watch this clip of Batman dancing for King Tut’s amusement:

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It’s hilarious!

This is Comics On TV, the column that celebrates the classic comic book TV series that blazed the trail for modern day hits like “Arrow,” “The Walking Dead” and “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” If you have any favorite episodes of this week’s series, let us know in the comments below or hit us up on Twitter!