.Batman on TV.

Compiled, edited, spindled & mutilated by Bill Laidlaw
Episodes of the series can occasionally be seen on the Sci Fi Channel but none are scheduled this month
Batman (1966) is currently showing on American Movie Classics occasionally
Newer Batman movies & the animated series show on other channels from time to time
Batman was created by Bob Kane in 1939 (Detective Comics), inspired by The Shadow pulp novels and radio series. Though there was never a Batman radio series to compete with The Shadow, the character did guest star occasionally in the 1940s Superman radio series (in some cases, the actor who played Superman was away, so there were Batman-only episodes of the Superman radio series). Stacy Harris, the actor who played Batman on radio, went on to star in "This Is Your FBI" on radio starting in 1945. For more info, check out the Radio page or go to the RadioSpirits.com website, I think it's currently the "Old Time Radio" button at www.Mediabay.com

By 1966 the comic book was in decline and a Batman mid-season replacement tv series (in January) played the character as a campy semi-spoof that was quickly embraced by college students, becoming an overnight sensation. Most of the episodes were an hour long, shown in two 30-minute segments on Wednesday & Thursday nights. Like old movie serials, Batman & Robin were always in some "dire predicament" at the end of part 1. The series ended its first season with both the Wednesday and Thursday episodes in the Top 10 ratings.

In September, a third half-hour was added, on Friday nights: spin-off series The Green Hornet starring a rather stiff Van Williams as the Hornet and a young kid named Bruce Lee as his crime-fighting assistant Kato (Bruce Lee choreographed the fight scenes and tutored Burt Ward in karate). Green Hornet only lasted one year however, so in September the following year (1967) a new character was added to Batman: that of Batgirl. Batgirl had been added to the comic book to cash in on the popularity of Wonder Woman. The series was now a single, self contained 30-minute episode per week until March 1968, and wasn't renewed

Was Batman ahead of it's time? Not really. But there was an episode in which King Tut steals an amber necklace. When they find his abandoned headquarters, they find the remains of the necklace. He has smashed open the bits of ancient amber and brought to life the extinct insects trapped inside...

During the 2+ year run of Batman, it became one of the hottest tv series in Hollywood. Actors that did little or no tv agreed to play villains on Batman. Cliff Robertson even spoofed his Western movies, playing an evil cowboy named Shame (more recently, he played the nasty President in Kurt Russell's "Escape From L.A.")
Some of the other villains in the tv series:
The Penguin..............Burgess Meredith
The Joker................Cesar Romero
The Riddler..............Frank Gorshin in several eps
                         John Astin in one
Egghead..................Vincent Price
King Tut.................Victor Buono
Catwoman.................Eartha Kitt
                         Julie Newmar
Mr. Freeze...............George Sanders (actor & former movie director)
The Mad Hatter...........David Wayne (Ellory Queen's dad in 1970s tv series)
Bookworm.................Roddy McDowell (star of Planet Of The Apes)
The Archer...............Art Carney (the Archer would've killed Ralph Kramden)
Lola Lasagna.............Ethel Merman
Minerva..................Zsa Zsa Gabor (former "Queen Of Outer Space")
The Devil................Joan Crawford 
The Black Widow..........Tallulah Bankhead (of Hitchcock's "Lifeboat")
Lady Fogg................Joan Collins
Lord Fogg................Rudy Vallee (who also guested in Night Gallery)
The Puzzler..............Maurice Evans (the master warlock TV's in Bewitched

1960s Batman Cast

Batman Adam West Robin Burt Ward Alfred the Butler Alan Napier Aunt Harriet Madge Blake Chief O'Hara Stafford Repp Commissioner Gordon Neil Hamilton Barbara Gordon Yvonne Craig TV themesong Neal Hefti
By the way, on radio Vincent Price (Egghead) played "The Saint," based on the novel series, while George Sanders (Mr. Freeze) played the Saint in a Hollywood movie series, and Roger Moore of the James Bond movies played the Saint in a tv-series.
Trivia question: was Adam West ever in a spaghetti western? Come back on a future date for the answer. Same bat website, same bat webpage

Batman Movies & Serials

Batman (1943), 15 awful episodes (he wears black long-underwear, grey swim trunks, a viking helmet, and drives a Model-T batmobile) were nevertheless well-received as Plan 9 From Outer Space type camp when an edited feature-length version was re-released in 1965.
Batman & Robin (1949, aka The Return of Batman), 15 more episodes. A hooded villain is The Wizard.
Batman (1966) movie based on the tv series
Several of the Batman tv series villains also appeared in this movie. Eartha Kitt was seen as somewhat controversial for her support of black activists and was replaced as Catwoman in the movie by Lee Meriwether (her only time as Catwoman, she later costarred with Burgess Meredith in the high-tech spy series "S.E.A.R.C.H.), and in the rest of the tv series by Julie Newmar. In the movie, Penguin kidnaps the world's leaders from the U.N. Building in his submarine and uses a device to remove all moisture from their bodies, reducing each to a pile of dry chemicals (an idea later used in a Star Trek episode). Batman, Robin and the others were played by the same actors from TV. The Admiral is played by Reginald Denny.
In 1977, Adam West & Burt Ward reprised their roles in a Saturday morning cartoon series The New Adventure of Batman, which used the newly-perfected Rotoscope process for more fluid animation.
Previous cartoon series were The Batman-Superman Hour (1967-68), which replaced The Superman-Aquaman Hour (1966-67), and Superfriends starting in 1973.

Legends Of The Superheroes (1979 tv-movie in 2 parts).
In part 1, superheroes competed against supervillains in offbeat "Battle of the Network Stars" type games of skill. In part 2, Ed McMahon hosted The Roast, a mild battle of wits.
Characters/actors who took part:
Batman/Adam West
Robin/Burt Ward
Captain Marvel/Garret Craig
Hawkman/Bill Nuckols
The Flash/Rod Haase
Huntress/Barbara Joyce
Retired Man/William Schallert
Solomon Grundy/Mickey Morton
Mordu/Gabe Dell
Black Canary/Danuta
Giganta/A'Leshia Brvard
Dr. Sivana/Howard Morris
Weather Wizard/Jeff Altman
The Riddler/Frank Gorshin
Sinistro/Charlie Callas
In the 1990s, a gritty new animated series was started by the Fox network, reflecting the new Dark Knight Batman comic books, then went to first-run syndication starring mostly unknown actors, and with Mark Hamill as The Joker. Adrienne Barbeau (last seen on the Sci-Fi channel as Swamp Thing's girlfriend) is the voice of Catwoman both in the broadcast animated series and in a continuing online series that changed it's name recently to GothamGirls.com after Stan Lee's website disappeared. The online episodes run 2 to 3 minutes and feature Batgirl fighting with Catwoman and/or Poison Ivy and/or Harley Quinn.

The third Batman hollywood movie didn't do so well, and there is serious talk of releasing a feature-length animated Batman in theaters (previous animated Batman features were seen only on tv or in video).

Batman Beyond (1999)
Adventures of Batman & Robin: The Joker (1994)
Adventures of Batman & Robin: Two-Face (1994)
Adventures of Batman & Robin: The Riddler (1994)
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993)
Batman Returns (1992)
Batman (1989, also available on DVD)
Batman (1966, also available on DVD)
Batmania: From Comics to Screen
The Green Hornet (1940)
The Green Hornet Strikes Again (1940)
Bruce Lee and the Green Hornet (1960s)


. Books available include:
Batman books
Batman & Robin
The Green Hornet
Superman books & video
Books about Bruce Lee (Kato in the Green Hornet tv series)

1960s Batman episodes, all 3 seasons

Green Hornet episode titles (the spinoff series)

Adam West Videos

Superman Videos and/or DVD


Official 1960s Batman page on the SciFi Channel website

Doc Savage
What would John Wayne, Kurt Russell, or Xena say to Osama Bin Ladin and his terrorists? Click here and find out

Previous year's episode schedule (2001) on the Sci-Fi Channel (no episodes are scheduled after 9/17/01), Batman moved to TV Land channel
Email: tvg@bat.cave

If anyone has seen Harley Quinn, please notify Batgirl, Batman, the Tick-Tock Man, or Harlan Ellison

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