Holy Bat Years! I can’t believe Batman is celebrating its’ 50th Anniversary. Even though I’m a baby boomer it still blows my mind how long ago since my childhood. (some would say I’m still living it – including me) 😄
The campy series starred Adam West and Burt Ward as caped crusaders, Batman, and Robin. The television show was created by William Dozier and based on the DC comic book character of the same name. It took place in Gotham City and featured a plethora of villains including the Joker (Cesar Romero), the Penguin (Burgess Meredith), Riddler (Frank Gorshin) and my fave, Catwoman. (Eartha Kitt’s version – season 3) Catwoman was originally portrayed by Julie Newmar (seasons 1 &2) and Lee Meriwether (movie). The series ran for one hundred and twenty episodes and aired on the ABC network for three seasons from January 12, 1966, to March 14, 1968, twice weekly for the first two and weekly for the third.
The “Dynamic Duo’s” alter-egos, Bruce Wayne (Adam West), and Dick Grayson (Burt Ward) usually only appeared to set up the caper for the episode. I always felt that Police Commissioner Gordon and Lieutenant O’Hara were worthless since they never solved a single crime, instead using the “caped crusaders” to do their jobs to defeat crime in Gotham City.
And let us not forget the keeper of the Batcave and ever faithful butler – Alfred. Where would the duo be without Alfred to answer the Batphone and cover for them with dear Aunt Harriet – who miraculously never caught on to the activities in her own home!
The other star of the show was the Batmobile!
In late 1965 20th Century Fox Television and William Dozier‘s Greenway Productions contracted renowned Hollywood car customizer Dean Jeffries to design and build a “Batmobile” for their upcoming Batman TV series. He started customizing a 1959 Cadillac, but when the studio wanted the program on the air in January 1966, and therefore filming sooner than he could provide the car, Jeffries was paid off, and the project went to George Barris.
What became the iconic Batmobile used in the 1966–1968 live action television show and its film adaptation was a customized vehicle that originated as a one-off 1955 Lincoln Futura concept car, created by Ford Motor Company lead stylists Bill Schmidt, Doug Poole Sr., and John Najjar and their design team at the Lincoln Styling Department.
In November 2012 Barris Kustom and George Barris announced the sale of the Batmobile at the Barrett-Jackson car show and auction held in Scottsdale, Arizona. The vehicle fetched $4.2 million on January 19, 2013. (Wikipedia)
Where Are They Now?
In 1994, Ward and his wife, Tracy Posner Ward, founded a charitable organization called Gentle Giants Rescue and Adoptions, Inc., which rescues giant breed dogs such as Great Danes and some smaller breed dogs. Their work with the organization has been featured in such outlets as People magazine, ASPCA Animal Watch, Hard Copy, Inside Edition, and Entertainment Tonight. Burt Ward was also seen in an episode of Animal Planet’s Adoption Tales. (Wikipedia)
Having a distinctive voice, West has built a career doing voice-over work on a number of animated series (often as himself), including appearances on The Simpsons, and Futurama. Since 2000, West has made regular appearances on the animated series Family Guy, in which he plays Mayor Adam West, the lunatic mayor of Quahog, Rhode Island. His role has given him a new wave of popularity since Batman, and lead writer Seth MacFarlane claims to have gone out of his way to avoid typecasting West by deliberately not making any references to Batman. (Wikipedia)
So, let’s toast to the ’60’s, my childhood and tv classic – Batman!