The Batman ’66 TV series premiered 50 years ago today!
BAM! POW! ZAP!!!
These words first appeared on television screens across the United States on January 12, 1966 as renowned comedian Frank Gorshin menaced Gotham City as “The Riddler“. Advertised as “in color”, this campy take on the superhero genre was chock-full of pop culture references, celebrity cameos, and social commentary. The result was a series that became an overnight pop culture sensation leading to the phrase that the top pop culture influences of the 1960’s were “the Beatles, Bond, and Batman.”
The series even spawned a 1966 feature film that pitted the Caped Crusaders against FOUR of their greatest foes! (Sadly, Julie Newmar was unavailable due to filming commitments and so Lee Meriwether took over the role of Catwoman.)
The series also put forth some of the most memorable super villain performances in genre history. From the aforementioned Frank Gorshin as the Riddler to Burgess Meredith as the DEFINITIVE Penguin to Caesar Romero’s laughing “Crown Prince of Crime” version of the Joker the series had no shortage of “criminal charisma.”
While many fans today might decry the show as “goofy” or “cheesy” there is an artistic brilliance to the series that cannot be denied. From its vibrant use of color (in 1968 only 25% of US households owned a color TV), it’s pop culture sensibilities, and the calibre of the celebrity guest villains, Batman was unlike anything that had hit the screens before and it made overnight sensations out of its leading duo Adam West and Burt Ward. Airing two nights a week with each story divided by a cliffhanger, audiences were powerless to resist the power of the Dynamic Duo. Continue reading →
I was in high school when Tim’s Burton’s 1989 Batman film exploded onto the big screen and took the nation, and the world, by storm! A marked contrast to the campy 1966 portrayal, the film which starred Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson presented the Dark Knight as just that– a dark brooding figure in a crime-filled world full of despair. It established Batman as a serious and complex character in the mind of many movie-goers and led to a pop culture renaissance of the character that included the debut of the seminal Batman: The Animated Series. Like many comic fans, I was hooked and the Keaton Batman became the benchmark by which all other cinematic attempts at Batman were measured.
Even better– good friend of JBL, The Breaux Show, managed to get his hands on one of these amazing figures and uploaded a brand new video review! Either check out the NECA 1989 Batman review on his YouTube Channel or embedded below!
Wednesday is not regarded as the most exciting of work days. It’s “Hump Day” and quite honestly my focus starts to shift more toward what I have to get done over the weekend. In other words, it usually is a day that has to be endured. As such– I wasn’t really prepared for what greeted me in the parking deck when I drove into work this morning:
The car in question belongs to Lenny Robinson of Baltimore County, Maryland. However, it isn’t the car that makes this man remarkable but rather his mission. Robinson, who gained notoriety for a moving violation that went viral back in March, travels the US in costume and visits sick children in hospitals. Using his own funds, he brings joy to children whose days are otherwise filled with doctors, medicine, and even surgical procedures. In my eyes, that makes him a true hero.
Like a lot of “genre geeks”, I was a huge fan of the Adam West series as a kid when it played in heavy syndication on a local ABC affiliate. It was my first live-action exposure to Batman outside of a water ski show at Sea World. I can still remember going to a local car show when I was 4 years old because my Dad wanted to take me to see the Batmobile. However, the crowds were thick and the red velvet ropes kept us all at bay. To be able to walk right up to this replica with no barrier, no security guards, and just appreciate it for the car that it is has made today 100% pure AWESOME!
Check out more pics below and be sure to give Lenny’s Facebook page a “Like”!