At Comic Con this past July, there was a big Batman reunion featuring Adam West, Burt Ward, and Julie Newmar.
Obviously, Batman’s come a long way since way back when, but the ’60s ABC series was a lot of fun. I grew up with the re-runs, and like many kids of my generation was absolutely hooked.
JJ Abrams recently told Vanity Fair, “I was just out of my f*cking mind over Batman. I remember my first day of kindergarten and crying because I was so sad I was going to miss Batman.”
As reported on Reuters, Adam West told the Comic Con audience his Batman was “The Bright Knight” instead of “The Dark Knight,” and as West continued, “It was such a harmless show, and it was so much fun – absurd. I enjoy it so much more than any other series or movie I’ve done since.” (West also mentioned he’d love to play The Dark Knight’s father, and maybe this is where the cameo rumor for The Dark Knight Rises came from).
Batman aired on ABC from January 12, 1966 to March 14, 1968, on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 7:30 to 8:00. It was shown two nights in a row of course, because every show had a cliffhanger. It was the hottest thing since sliced bread when it first broke, and being a guest villain on the show was the sixties equivalent of being a guest voice on The Simpsons. (It would be great to finally have the Batman series on DVD and Blu-Ray, but reportedly there’s a rights stalemate between Warner Brothers and Fox.)
Screenwriter Lorenzo Semple Jr., who penned a number of Batman episodes, says nobody knew what to make of the show when it first came out. ”The reason why it was so popular its first few weeks is because people in colleges would stop everything to watch it, [as] they thought it was a terrible show. They thought it was written by idiots who didn’t realize they were being funny. It probably should have been better with a laugh track strangely enough, because it is a comedy.
“The campy things I did were not popular with serious fans. We were only on a year and a half regrettably. Probably because it was a one joke show and probably because it was such a success, it burned itself out. Also, nobody knew what they had in those days. But I really enjoyed Batman. It’s the best thing I’ve written by a long shot.”