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  1. #1
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    Default The Ongoing Relevance of Adam West's "Batman"

    Once reviled for its campiness, the 1960s TV series is a testament to the character's limitless versatility and the importance of comics in pop culture.


    Full article here.

  2. #2

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    I'm glad that the show is finally out on video. Maybe this is the perfect time, now that Blu-Ray is a thing. If the show came out during the VHS era that would have been ostentatious with all the multiple video cassettes.

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    Satellite Monitor Duty AirDave's Avatar
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    I liked Keaton and Bale. Having said that, the films that they played Batman in my kids won't watch. I hope that there is a way to balance what Bruce Timm and Paul Dini did with Batman in the animated universe and what Keaton and Bale did in the live action films. Bale came pretty close in Batman Begins. At the same time, I wish Adam West and Burt Ward had faced rogues like Two-Face, The Scarecrow and Poison Ivy.

  4. #4
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    I don't think any version of BATMAN in 1966 would have been different from the Adam West incarnation. Even if the TV show had played the character more seriously--it would still have been a joke to the adult viewers. The GREEN HORNET series that followed had much less humour, but it still wasn't taken very seriously by our parents. Us kids took all of these shows very seriously, of course. But the Adam West Batman was only a little more obviously camp than the comic book adventures of Batman at the time.

    And as much as I love Adam West and the BATMAN TV show, I think it's important to recognize that this was not the first super-hero TV show (remember THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN, with George Reeves) nor was West the first actor to play Batman--that was Lewis Wilson, followed by Robert Lowery. Nor should we forget all those other trailblazers that voiced and performed the roles of many childhood heroes, on the radio, the big screen, or the TV screen before the 1966 BATMAN--Douglas Fairbanks, Bud Collyer, Jackson Beck, Errol Flynn, Basil Rathbone, Kirk Alyn, Gordon Jones, Buck Jones, Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Dale Evans, William Boyd, Clayton Moore, Buster Crabbe, Orson Welles, Johnny Weissmuller, Hugh O'Brian, Fess Parker, Guy Williams and others.

    As for the costumed villains, the BATMAN TV show is probably responsible for many of them being revived at all. At the time the series first aired, the Riddler had just recently been revived after remaining nearly defunct for almost two decades. The Penguin had been revived not long before that, after almost a decade of disuse--and the Mad Hatter had been brought out and refurbished only to be put back again. Only the Joker had remained in almost continuous publication since his debut. The TV show revived Catwoman well before the comics got around to it.

    For good or ill, because of the TV show--those weirdly costumed crooks are now closely associated with the Caped Crusader and have become virtually a requisite for any screen adaptation.
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  5. #5
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    Default Grim and Gritty Enough Already

    The revival of interest and respect for Batman 66 a healthy sign that the pendulum has swung away from the limited, boring dourness of the Bale Bats to something more nimble and expansive. Props to The Brave and The Bold for sparking off this appreciation.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by solo500 View Post
    The revival of interest and respect for Batman 66 a healthy sign that the pendulum has swung away from the limited, boring dourness of the Bale Bats to something more nimble and expansive. Props to The Brave and The Bold for sparking off this appreciation.
    Yep my thoughts exactly.

  7. #7
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    Does Batman still carry shark repellent? Cause that stuff's awesome.

  8. #8
    Veteran Member PretenderNX01's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AirDave View Post
    At the same time, I wish Adam West and Burt Ward had faced rogues like Two-Face, The Scarecrow and Poison Ivy.
    I had read once they wanted Clint Eastwood for Two Face.

    I think Adam West's Batman has always been popular, it's wild 60s mod/psychedelic stuff and for whatever reason those things like Flower Children and The Beatles stick with us. There's something in the style and the color of it all. It's only now that WB is realizing they're sitting on potential cash and selling all things Batman that they finally got around to it. But as a Bat fan I can tell you the desire from fans was always there. Nothing in it needed discovering, no one forgot it.

    We still have gritty Bat movies and "Gotham" kinda straddles the line between the absurd and darkness so I don't think anyone's moving away from it. I just think people still have a craving for candy-colored 1960s now and then.

    I wouldn't doubt that Andy Warhol went to a party for the show, he had a thing for stuff the dynamic duo:
    ab2.jpg
    Last edited by PretenderNX01; 11-12-2014 at 11:46 AM.

  9. #9

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    Cesar Romero talks Red Hood, The Joker, 1966 series + a nice excerpt with Adam West & William Dozier (all done 'in character')

  10. #10
    King of Wakanda Midvillian1322's Avatar
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    I cant watch the show it comes off as a Comedy to me but i dont find it funny. I wont say its an age thing because i know ppl my age(Late 20s) that love the show. Iono i also cant watch the Ferigno Hulk show. But i can respect the important part they played in pop culture. My mom grew up watching batman 66. Talks about the whole family getting together to watch it. Similar to what my family did when i was young and we watched Smallville together i guess

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Midvillian1322 View Post
    I cant watch the show it comes off as a Comedy to me but i dont find it funny. I wont say its an age thing because i know ppl my age(Late 20s) that love the show. Iono i also cant watch the Ferigno Hulk show. But i can respect the important part they played in pop culture. My mom grew up watching batman 66. Talks about the whole family getting together to watch it. Similar to what my family did when i was young and we watched Smallville together i guess
    I was around 13 years old when Batman first aired on TV and after a while even I felt it was too silly. I preferred The Green Hornet. The only part I liked was Julie Newmar's Catwoman.
    I had remembered her playing Rhoda the Robot on the TV series "My Living Doll" prior to that, so by then I had a crush on her. The Batman episodes with Julie Newmar's Catwoman in them
    seemed just a little bit more mature. By the time Eartha Kitt came along I had already dropped the show, so don't really have an opinion of her, and at the time didn't know who she was anyway.
    Time hasn't really mellowed me that much. I still think it is too silly, but now I appreciate what they were trying to do. Do still like the Catwoman episodes though. Julie Newmar is still as sexy
    in them as I thought she was at the time.

  12. #12
    Astonishing Member Powerboy's Avatar
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    I can't judge the continued relevance too much as I was eight years old when the show started and it was my introduction to Batman. So I can't much judge how people take it today although I will say that a lot of parents have the problem of the current live action Batman toys being marketed to kids and they get the Affleck and Bale versions of action figures and the kids don't understand why they are not allowed to watch the movies. But their parents let them watch the Adam West Batman and they love it. I know the animated Batman/ Two-Face movie is out now with the voice of Adam West and DC/ WB was really surprised at how big the DVDs and blue-rays of the series sold.

    Whenever people say the show was not true to Batman and he shouldn't be presented like that, I call BS. There's even a collection called "Batman: the Television episodes" which is a collection of stories that were adapted and used as episodes of the show. They are every bit as silly as the episodes because that's what Batman was at the time. The show was very true to the comics of the time, the caveat being that it was presented tongue-in-cheek with a wink and a nod to the grownups so they'd watch it too. And, as someone else pointed out, I don't think any attempt to do a truly serious Batman would have worked at that time. Someone pointed out that the Green Hornet show presented itself as much more of a serious crime drama with people being murdered and everything and it lasted one season. The public just wasn't ready to take a guy dressed as a giant bat as a serious drama.

    At the risk of being nostalgic, for a long time, we had the opposite problem, people who couldn't admit for anything that serious dramas about guys dressed in circus outfits is just a little bit inherently silly.

    I do like the Batman '66 and Wonder Woman '77 comics, especially the latter. They both stay true to the original style but add just a bit more substance. Basically, they've taken it from the Silver Age to the Bronze Age, especially WW '77.

    At the time of the show, Batman was fading. That show revived interest in the character and took it to the Nth degree. The show only made it three seasons because you've got to hook the adult audience to maintain a prime time show. The kids loved it but that kind of campy comedy tends to be great for adults at first but they quickly get bored with it, kind of like hearing a joke and thinking it's hilarious but then hearing it over and over and over. But it was that show that revived interest in Batman and it hasn't faded since. It allowed him to still be around for the "Creature of the Night"/ "Early Dark Knight" stories of the 1970s and the Frank Miller stuff that put Batman at Number One.

    Interesting note that, in his autobiography, Adam West said that "The Dark Knight Returns" was the best thing ever done with Batman and, if he had a choice, that would be the version he would most have wanted to play but he knew he never would because the typical typecasting mentality goes that because he once played Batman as campy, that means it's the only way he could have played him.

    I remember an article where someone pointed out that if you think of the Joker, Riddler Penguin and Catwoman as Batman's four main opponents, you are feeling the influence of the show right there. In the comics, the influence of the show at least helpled maintain them as his four top opponents.

    I love a lot of the modern stuff like Bale's Batman and Cavill's Superman but a little secret: the Adam West Batman will always be the "real" Batman for me.
    Superman was a beacon to the world.

  13. #13
    Astonishing Member AJBopp's Avatar
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    I agree with pretty much your entire post, but this bit seems a bit of a stretch.

    Quote Originally Posted by Powerboy View Post
    They are every bit as silly as the episodes because that's what Batman was at the time. The show was very true to the comics of the time, the caveat being that it was presented tongue-in-cheek with a wink and a nod to the grownups so they'd watch it too.
    I don't think there was every any comic representation of Batman that would have had him delivering many of his best lines in the show.

    "Do you know why we always escape the clutches of our opponents?"

    "Because we're smarter than they are!"

    "No, Robin. I prefer to believe it's that our hearts our pure."

    Perhaps this is what you meant by the "tongue-in-cheek" part, but this sort of thing is well beyond what any version of Batman outside of this one would have said.

    It's one of the best lines of the series though.
    Why yes, I AM a Mark Goodson/Bill Toddman production.

  14. #14
    Astonishing Member Powerboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AJBopp View Post
    I agree with pretty much your entire post, but this bit seems a bit of a stretch.



    I don't think there was every any comic representation of Batman that would have had him delivering many of his best lines in the show.

    "Do you know why we always escape the clutches of our opponents?"

    "Because we're smarter than they are!"

    "No, Robin. I prefer to believe it's that our hearts our pure."

    Perhaps this is what you meant by the "tongue-in-cheek" part, but this sort of thing is well beyond what any version of Batman outside of this one would have said.

    It's one of the best lines of the series though.
    Yes that's exactly what I meant by the "Tongue-in-cheek" part of giving a wink and a nod to the grownups as their kids set on the floor watching the show and the parents smiled and laughed and the kids couldn't understand why. I remember my Mom laughing a lot during the show and me assuming it's just that she couldn't take superheroes seriously like I was doing.

    Indeed the show had such great lines. Batman walks into a bar. Bartender says, "Can I get you something, Batman?" Batman replies, "Please. I don't want to draw attention to myself."

    I take the superhero genre as such a normal, everyday part of my entertainment that it actually took me a minute to get what a huge and hilarious joke that was. Basically, a guy dressed like a bat walks into a bar and says, "I'm not doing this to make myself the center of attention."
    Superman was a beacon to the world.

  15. #15
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    Grew up on reruns since i was 8 in 1989 when the 89 movie made me a Batman fan after being a Superman and Swamp Thing fan but i dug those heroes still until Batman came along and i watched/taped reruns of this show.

    Glad i own it on blu-ray.

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