Classics Review: Batman (1966)

In 1966, a television series based on “Batman” starring the late Adam West & Burt Ward aired on ABC. The show became an instant classic aiming young viewers and fans of The Caped Crusader. The show’s format is basically The Dynamic Duo attempting to prevent a villain from succeeding his/her grandmaster plan. When The Dynamic Duo defeat a villain’s henchmen, they stumble upon a trap, before the episode ends & a second part of the previous episode shows the villain leaving the area to let them die by his/her. Unbeknownst to their clever tactics, Batman & Robin managed to escape a death trap, they eventually apprehend the villain. The formula is repeated many times without any variation whatsoever. Basically the same plot over and over again like a James Bond movie, except Daniel Craig’s rebooted take of 007.

The show featured recurring guest stars as villains like Cesar Romero as Joker, Burgess Meredith as Penguin, Frank Gorshin as Riddler & Julie Newmar as Catwoman. The latter actress was replaced by Eartha Kitt in The third season & Lee Meriwether played the character in the film. Besides villains, many famous people appear in cameos when Batman & Robin climb to the top of a building using a rope. Notable guest stars like Bruce Lee as Kato from “The Green Hornet,” Jerry Lewis, Dick Clark & Sammy Davis Jr.

Other recurring elements from the show featured a catchy opening theme song, a narrator ending the show saying, “Same time, same Bat-Channel,” ridiculous yet cool moments like a dance scene with Batman showing off his dance skills & the villains act incompetent without actually killing the heroes, but unintentionally buy them time to escape a death trap.

The show also introduced Batgirl for the first on television in Season 3 as a newcomer helping out The Dynamic Duo. Sadly, the show didn’t last that long due to production problems, budgetary constraints & disputes with the actors and producers. Batman aired from 1966-1968.

Six Months Later, after Batman first aired, a film based on the show was released on July 30. Which is Christopher Nolan’s birthday before he was born in 1970. Holy Plot Twist Batman! A meaningful birthday of a man destined to direct a highly acclaimed trilogy based on The Caped Crusader! . The Prophesy has been fulfilled! Adam West’s version of Batman earned positive reviews from critics, movie goers and fans of the show. Besides good reception, the film made enough money at the box office.

The show and movie remain as one of the best superhero shows adored by fans and viewers who grew up in The 60’s introduced their kids and grandkids to Adam West’s portrayal of The Dark Knight spanning one generation after another.

Famous celebrities who grew up watching Adam West’s Batman including Christopher Nolan, Drew Carey, Kevin Smith, Seth MacFarlane & Edgar Wright are devoted fans of the show. Chris Nolan went on to direct The Dark Knight Trilogy & Seth MacFarlane managed to hire Adam as a parody of himself as Mayor West from “Family Guy.”

With the highly anticipated Joker movie starring Joaquin Phoenix as The Clown Prince Of Crime, I’d like to share my thoughts about this classic Batman movie as a sign to spread word of mouth in preparation for Joker’s movie coming out this October.

The following review does not contain any SPOILERS whatsoever. Feel free to read my non-spoiler article.

Positive & Negative Elements

Positive: Adam West & Burt Ward reprise their roles as The Dynamic Duo. They both did a great job for their respective performances.

Other Cast Members including Cesar Romero, Burgess Meredith & Frank Gorshin reprise their roles as Joker, Penguin & Riddler. They all did a decent job for their respective performances. Lee Meriwether replaced Julie Newmar as Catwoman. She did a decent job as the other three bad guys.

Costume Designs are retained from the show such as Batman’s purple cape, huge briefs on the outside of his waist & hand-drawn eyebrows on his mask.

Practical Effects were used to orchestrate the action, gadgets and set pieces.

Vehicles like The Batmobile, The Batcopter & The Batcycle are used in prominent scenes for The Dynamic Duo to travel The Villains’ whereabouts.

The Tone of the film and series reflects the campy nature of The Silver Age Of Comics. Cartoon Network’s “Batman: The Brave And The Bold” was inspired by Adam West’s film and show.

I didn’t mind the humor, at least it wasn’t like “Teen Titans Go!”

Fight Scenes retain the famous “POW” “BAM” words to make it resemble a comic book.

Before “The Dark Knight Rises,” nuclear weapons play a pivotal role. This was back when The Cold War was around back in The 60’s.

Not really a spoiler, we all know the infamous shark repellent scene is the most notorious moment in the film. My personal favorite scene is when Batman is having a hard time trying to dispose a bomb.

My favorite line is, “Somedays you just can’t get rid of a bomb!”

The Villains’ grand master plan has something to do with an experimental weapon by turning a person into dust.

Negative: Like the show, Dutch Angles are present in certain scenes. I know this was back in The 60’s, but I don’t like the way a camera is titled like a person’s neck slouching. This predates Battlefield Earth’s poor cinematography.

The film and show are obviously dated. This was before Batman acquired bulletproof armor, a Batmobile resembling a tank among other gadgets Batman will use in many iterations.

The Final Verdict: B, FOR BRILLIANT!

The 1966 version of Batman remains as a classic among old and young fans of the Batman franchise. I didn’t mind this version of Batman, Unlike “Teen Titans Go” it never appealed to the Lowest Common Denominator. I thought the humor reflected The Silver Age Of Comics similar to Batman: The Brave And The Bold cartoon. If you’re very excited to see Joaquin Phoenix as Joker, I highly recommend the old school Batman. Don’t forget to introduce your kids and grandkids to Adam West’s portrayal as The Dark Knight.

R.I.P. Adam West, thank you for entertaining many generations of Batman fans for your portrayal as The Caped Crusader. Your legacy will never be forgotten.

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