17 September 2009

Evolution of the Batman (and Robin) - Batman '66 T.V.

Holy cultural impact!
-Robin, 1966

The 1966 Batman series was one of the most influential shows in comic book history. It introduced Batman and Robin to a very broad audience, but did so in a way that associated camp with superheroes - a stereotype that would take years to be overcome.

The world of the 1960's Batman was bright, colorful, silly and full of onomatopoeias, and it was a world were the villains got a chance to shine and where the hero played the straight man.

The series started off a huge hit, even spawning a feature film in 1966, but by season 3,the formula had run stale and ratings were down. Batman and Robin were not enough to keep audiences attention, enter Batgirl.

Although the series was always over the top, the surfing Batman in season 3 demonstrated just how zany the show got by the end. After 120 episodes (a decent run) the series was canceled, although a 4th season would have been ordered had the sets not already been dismantled. Had season 4 happened, it most likely would have saved costs by axing Robin and Commissioner Gordon.

Rumors of a Batgirl pilot spin-off are likely untrue in spite of unaired Batgirl footage. The Batgirl footage is more likely just a screen test made when adding the Batgirl character to the existing show's third season.

The characters would return to TV a few years later in 1972 to promote equal pay for women in the workplace.

"Tune in next week— same Bat-time, same Bat-channel!"

Up Next: Batman '66 Movie

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