When the 1989 big screen version of Batman came out, it was immediately clear the film was a very different take on the caped crusader.
Even though director Tim Burton understands light, campy and fun, the ’89 model Batman was obviously much more serious and brooding than his previous TV incarnation.
Still, no matter how hard you try to resist it, the Batman TV series, which ran from 1966 to 1968, was the point of entry for many of us Bat-fans like myself, and as JJ Abrams who 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.”
And as Adam West recalled at Comic Con, “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.”
So now Eddie Deezen, who has played uber nerd roles in a number of films (Grease, WarGames, Polar Express) recently recounted some interesting facts about the Batman TV show for Mental Floss.
First of all, I didn’t realize Batman was a mid-season replacement show, and as Deezen recalls, it was going to be a serious series at first. Two versions of the show were done up, with with a laugh track, one without, and the one with the laugh track played better.
I also didn’t realize that the show saved the comic book from extinction. According to Deezen, “The show’s success gave the slumping Batman comics a much-needed boost in sales.” And like the ’89 movie, the Batman comics got more serious post the Batman series. Deezen also said there were measures taken to prevent bulges in Batman and Robin’s crotches out of fear that decency groups would complain, much like Barbara Eden couldn’t show her belly-button on I Dream of Jeannie.
A few other bits I also didn’t know, the Batmobile, designed by famous custom car designer George Barris, was based on a 1955 Lincoln Futura, Lyle Waggoner from The Carol Burnette Show was up to play Batman, and Frank Sinatra was a fan of the show and wanted to play The Joker. Who knew? As much as I love the Batman show, Eddie Deezen is clearly the Batman trivia master.