Batman aired on ABC beginning January 12, 1966 and ran for 120 episodes over 3 seasons. The last episode aired on March 14, 1968. I never missed an episode. It was intentionally humorous, simplistic morality that included championing the importance of using seat belts, doing homework, eating vegetables, and drinking milk.
The show starred Adam West as Bruce Wayne/Batman and Burt Ward as Dick Grayson/The boy wonder, Robin. Alfred is played by Alan Napier and is the only person who knows the true identities of Bruce Wayne, Dick Grayson, and Barbara Gordon.
Neil Hamilton played Commissioner Gordon who would summon the Dynamic Duo via the red Batphone or the Bat-Signal. His daughter, Barbara Gordon was played by Yvonne Craig and was Batgirl (season 3). During the run of the Batman television series,
DC editorial was approached about adding a female character back into the Batman family. Julius Schwartz, a comic book editor, science fiction agent, and prominent fan, created Barbara Gordon. Gotham’s Chief of Police was Chief O’Hara played by Stafford Repp. He was with the Commissioner in the office and was a comic relief character. Madge Blake played Harriet Cooper, Dick Grayson’s maternal aunt. William Dozier was the series narrator. He also narrated The Green Hornet.
Gotham City was full of a variety of archvillains. Cesar Romero (known for his Latin lover roles, played the Joker, Batman’s archenemy. Burgess Meredith was the Penguin making 21 appearances on the show.
He also made a brief cameo appearance as the Penguin in the 1968 episode of The Monkees titled “Monkees Blow Their Minds”. The Riddler was played by Frank Gorshin in seasons 1, 3, and the movie. He was a character actor, impressionist, and comedian who appeared many times on the Ed Sullivan Show
John Astin, Gomez from the Addams Family, played the Riddler on season 2. The Riddler always left riddles to solve his crimes. Victor Bruno, who released several comedy record albums which poked fun at his large stature, played Professor William McElroy / King Tut, the split personality villain. A hit on the head would switch his persona from
a university professor and a reincarnated version of the pharaoh Tutankhamun. Vincent Price played Egghead, a smug, bald-headed genius whose crimes and speech patterns involve eggs.
The Catwoman (my favorite villain) was played by Julie Newmar in seasons 1 and 2. Lee Meriweather played her in the movie and Eartha Kitt in season 3. A cat burglar jewel thief with a love/hate relationship with Batman. Carolyn Jones was Marsha, Queen of Diamonds,
a criminal with a fondness for jewelry. Actor and comedian Milton Berle was Louie the Lilac,
a gangster with a fondness for flowers.
Dr. Art Schivel/Mr. Freeze a mad scientist who, after exposure to a freeze solution, now needs below-freezing temperatures to survive. He was played by George Sanders in season 1, and Otto Preminger and Eli Wallach in season 2. David Wayne was Jervis Tetch/Mad Hatter, a formally dressed villain with an obsession for collecting hats (he steals the hats from his victims, then knocks them out with a mesmerizing ray that pops out of the top of his hat).
One of the kings of horror, Vincent Price played Egghead, a smug, bald-headed genius whose crimes and speech patterns involve eggs (“egg-zactly”, “egg-cellent”, etc.). Cliff Robertson was Shame, a Western-themed villain, whose partners at various times include Okie Annie and Calamity Jan Dina Merrill). The three of them spoof famous Western characters from the movies (namely Shane, Annie Oakley, and Calamity Jane).
Anne Baxter was Olga, Queen of the Cossacks, a Russian-accented, redheaded villainess often paired with Egghead. Baxter had earlier appeared in one story as “Zelda the Great”, a master of illusion whose crimes are tied in with magic tricks.
False Face, who looked different nearly every time we saw him was played by Malachi Throne who also made appearances in Star Trek: The Original Series, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Lost in Space, The Six Million Dollar Man, Babylon 5, etc.
Planet of the Apes star Roddy McDowall played Bookworm, the original to the TV show villain, Committed crimes inspired by literary works. The Honeymooners, Art Carney was the Archer, did his own brand of robbing the rich to feed the poor along with two henchmen (and one henchwoman) cleverly named Maid Marilyn, Big John, and Crier Tuck.
Van Johnson played the Minstrel who would sing songs about the crimes he had committed (or was about to commit). Shelly Winter’s played Ma Parker who committed her country-themed crimes along with her sons Pretty Boy Parker, Machine Gun Parker, and Mad Dog Parker, and one daughter named Legs Parker.
Walter Slezak played the Clock King, using an antique clock to loot a jewelry store before Batman and Robin are on his tail. Piano great, Liberace played Chandell the piano player who committed crimes along with his twin brother.
Maurice Evans played the Puzzler confusing the dynamic duo with clever puzzles, word games, and tricks. Michael Rennie played the Sandman working alongside Julie Newmar (Catwoman). He had the power of sleep on his side. Roger C. Carmel played the very pink Colonel Gum. His episodes featured crossover appearances by Green Hornet (Van Williams) and Kato (Bruce Lee).
Stage and screen actress Tallulah Bankhead played the Black Widow. She was a bank robber who had a spider-themed lair. Joan Collins, a soap opera and Dynasty star who played Siren, had the ability to mesmerize men with her high-octave tunes.
Ethel Merman played Lola Lasagne who used her parasol as a weapon and hung out with the Penguin. Rudy Vallee played Lord Marmaduke Ffogg and Glynis Johns played Lady Penelope Peasoup. These two, brother and sister, appeared together committing crimes that he could cover their get away with white, puffy smoke.
Barbara Rush (It Came from Outer Space) played Nora Clavicle who, in season 3 episode 19, convinced Mayor Linseed (Byron Keith) to give her the Commissioner job from where she tried to take over Gotham with mechanical mice.
Ida Lupino played Dr. Cassandra Spellcraft using her alchemist skills to bring down the Bat. Howard Duff played Cabala, her sidekick, spent a lot of time checking himself out in the mirror. Glamorous Zsa Zsa Gabor played Minerva. She opened a spa in Gotham and used her Deepest Secret Extractor to pull off robberies. The villains were campy but unmemorable especially for me as a child. I never missed an episode.
The original Batmobile from the 1960s TV series was auctioned on January 19, 2013, at the Barrett-Jackson auction house in Scottsdale, Arizona. It was sold for $4.2 million. A film based on the television show, Batman, was released in 1966 after season 1 ended.
Times used in the series:1
Kapow (50 times)
Pow (49 times)
Boff (43 times)
Zap (42 times)
Sock (41 times)
- Jerry Lewis
- Dick Clark
- Green Hornet and Kato (Van Williams and Bruce Lee)
- Sammy Davis Jr.
- Jose Jimenez (Bill Dana – comedian whose Jimenez character appeared on many shows Ed Sullivan, Steve Allen etc.)
- Sergeant Sam Stone “Felony Squad” TV Show (Howard Duff)
- Colonel Klink “Hogan’s Heroes” TV Show (Werner Klemperer)
- Lurch “The Addams Family” TV Show (Ted Cassidy)
- Don Ho (Hawaiin singer)
- Santa Claus (Andy Devine)
- Art Linkletter (TV host and author)
- Edward G. Robinson (the legendary actor was a well known and avid art collector who was on the 20th Century Fox lot to do makeup tests for the movie Planet of the Apes as Dr. Zaius, a role he eventually turned down, and decided it would be fun to appear on Batman)
- Suzy Knickerbocker (pen name of Aileen Mehle, society columnist and writer)
- Carpet King (Cyril Lord carpet merchant who was known for his TV ads. He traded some carpets to Batman producer William Dozier for the cameo spot on Batman.)