This is the campy, colorful, comedic adaptation of the titular comic book character, produced for ABC from 1966 to 1968; it featured Batman (played by Adam West) and Robin (played by Burt Ward) foiling daffy and innocuous criminals via detective work and slow fist-fights which were punctuated by large comic-style POW!s, BAFF!s and ZONK!s. Producer William Dozier and head writer Lorenzo Semple Jr. were assigned to create a Batman TV series; not being big fans of the comics, they hit on the idea of lampshading and parodying the over-the-top tropes of comics and the square humorlessness of superheroes. The result was an instant smash hit in 1966 that appealed to both kids and adults: children tuned in for the superhero adventures, while adults caught the jokes and satirical humor.With its intentionally absurd writing (particularly Batman's array of gadgets, which seemed large enough to cater for any given situation — the legendary Shark-Repellent Batspray comes to mind) and shonky production values, this was more like a televised pantomime than anything resembling portrayals of superheroes in modern day media. The series managed to become something of a cultural icon, but it is also partly responsible for the general public's dim view of comic book writing and comics in general today (though, at the time, it was a pretty faithful adaptation of the comics).For most of its run, Batman aired twice a week, on successive weeknights (which was unusual at the time). The episodes were two-parters; a cliffhanger punctuated the end of the first episode and the narrator iconically told the audience to "tune in tomorrow — same Bat-Time, same Bat-Channel!" The series switched to airing once a week in the final season.Batman: The Movie, an original theatrical feature film based on the series, was released in 1966. Among other things, the movie's larger budget provided the Dynamic Duo with some additional vehicles that stuck around for the remainder of the TV series (by recycling footage from the film): the Bat-Boat, the Bat-Copter, and the Bat-Cycle.The series still tends to be polarizing. Many enjoy it for its sheer farce and surrealism — or for its nostalgia value — but at the same time, many modern Batman fans consider this Batman to be the opposite of the Batman they know and love. Many comics fans also consider the show to be responsible for tainting an entire medium in the eyes of the general public; to this day, mainstream news stories about comic books are likely to have headlines like "Pow! Zap! Wham! Comic Books Aren't Just For Kids Anymore!" The series is sometimes blamed for causing the Batman comic line to adopt a "campier" tone as well, but in truth the main difference between this series and the "New Look" Batman comics that immediately preceded it was that the TV show was intentionally funny. The series did play a key role in the continued existence of the entire Bat franchise, however; comics sales had been in a serious decline, but the series provided a great deal of publicity, which led to a much-needed sales boost in Batman comics.The show's legacy continued long after its cancellation. Almost a decade later, Adam West and Burt Ward would reprise their roles on The New Adventures of Batman, a Filmation animated series which competed with Hanna-Barbera's Super Friends. West would eventually wind up voicing Batman on the last two "Super Powers" branded seasons of Super Friends. (Robin continued to be played by his longtime Super Friends voice actor, Casey Kasem.) The show's style also influenced Superman The Movie, the first ever big-budget superhero film.West and Ward would play Batman and Robin in live action one final time (joined by Frank Gorshin as the Riddler) in the 1979 TV Legends of the Superheroes specials. In the early 2000s, West and Ward (again joined by Gorshin) portrayed cartoonish versions of themselves in a CBS movie Beyond The Batcave, consisting of a modern day plot to find the stolen Batmobile mixed with flashbacks to the events behind the scenes of filming the series in the 60s.In 2013, DC announcedBatman '66, a digital-first comic based on the series, with license to the rights for all the actors on the show, and written by Jeff Parker of Aquaman and Marvel's Agents of Atlas.For many, many years, the show was never given any sort of proper home video release, which was especially awful in light of the TV-on-DVD boom. Reasons for this varied, with some of the issues cited being music licenses, royalties for the numerous "Bat-walk" cameos, and the fact that Bat-media as a whole is owned by Warner Bros. while the series and its various elements are owned by 20th Century Fox. (Batman: The Movie has no such issues.) Fortunately for fans, the series is currently airing on Creator/IFC and on MeTV. Finally, on January 15, 2014, Warner Home Video confirmed the entire series would be released in one gigantic box set later in the year. Burt Ward later confirmed that date would be November 11, 2014. The news comes just in time for Batman's 75th anniversary.If you want Batman played Darker and Edgier, see Tim Burton's 1989 film (and its 1992 sequel), Batman: The Animated Series or Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Saga. For a more modern take on Batman that retains the Silver Age fun-factor/Camp absurdity combo of the series, see Joel Schumacher's Batman Forever. For Silver Age fun-factor with more tasteful Camp absurdity, see Batman: The Brave and the Bold. For a Darker and Edgier take nonetheless heavy on Camp, see All-Star Batman & Robin The Boy Wonder. And for camp absurdity minus the Silver Age fun-factor, see Schumacher's Batman & Robin.
"Holy trope lists, Batman!":
Abandoned Warehouse: Including, but not limited to, abandoned factories for surfboards, umbrellas and launching pads. For such a candy-colored town, Gotham City has an awful lot of abandoned buildings. It's no wonder there's such a rise in crime.
Sometimes averted when villains like Joker and Catwoman use active businesses such as a printing company and a restaurant respectively as a front.
Affectionate Parody: This article argues that the mere fact of playing a relatively ambitious live-action production of a superhero (viewed at the time as an inherently worthless material) had to be played as a superficial, deliberately light self-parody devised by mainstreamers who never even suspected that a rich timeless fantasy was lurking underneath.
Air-Vent Passageway: Batman and Robin infiltrate a building via air ducts in "A Riddle A Day Keeps The Riddler Away".
All Issues Are Political Issues: Inverted by the Penguin when he runs for Mayor of Gotham City; his campaign features 'plenty of girls and bands and slogans and lots of hoopla, but remember, no politics. Issues confuse people.'
In the classic form of List of Transgressions, the list of Joker and Catwoman’s crimes includes “overtime parking”.
King Tut's line in one episode: "My Queen is disloyal, my handmaiden is a traitor... and everybody's being mean to me!" It's made all the better by the fact that Victor Buono is one of the hammiest hams in the entire series.
Tut's crimes are at one point listed as "Kidnapping, murder, grand theft, and malicious mischief." The latter is a term for willful or wanton destruction of other people's property (i.e., vandalism).
Ascended Extra: The Riddler. Before 1966, he had only appeared in three stories total, two of which were in the 1940s. But his 1965 revival story caught the eye of the TV producers, who made him the series' first Special Guest Villain, and ultimately one of the top four.
Also in a meta sense - the popularity of Gorshin's Riddler led to the character becoming a prominent member of Batman's Rogue's Gallery in the comics, where he remains to this day.
As You Know: Utilized heavily when discussing villains, especially the few who have origin stories (namely, Mister Freeze and King Tut). Few, if any villains are "introduced" in the series; even when the audience meets them for the first time, it's established that Batman and Robin have had many previous encounters with them.
Batman Gambit: Alfred, Batman, and Robin pull one on Joker in "Flop Goes The Joker" with some paintings.
Battle Butler: Alfred shows himself to be a surprisingly good fighter on occasion, able to deliver solid punches to henchmen and once single-handedly defeating the Joker in a fencing duel. And then single-handedly trapping him in the Batpoles (conveniently unlabeled since Alfred had just repainted them), and sending him repeatedly up and down the poles with the Bat-elevator until the Joker was begging him for mercy. And then having the childish paintings he'd created to foil the Joker's art heist scheme be praised by the art world and sold for big bucks... which he donated to a children's charity. A whole string of Crowning Moments of Awesome in a row.
Beach Episode: "Surf's Up! Joker's Under!" features Batgirl wearing a sexy one-piece bathing suit... and Batman and the Joker wearing swim trunks over their regular suits for a surfing contest.
Bedlam House: Averted. Arkham Asylum was not introduced in the comics until several years after the TV series' end. In any case, the show typically represents the villains as flamboyant, but sane, crooks (even The Joker!), with King Tut (who has a form of insanity that presents itself as a Split Personality) being the only notable exception.
The Joker did put white makeup over a mustache, so there is that.
Big Good: Batman is this for Gotham, owing to an extremely cordial relationship with the police and citizens, who hold him in awe. One episode in which he went missing lampshaded this, as Commissioner Gordon and Chief O'Hara were paralyzed, reeling in horror at the prospect of actually having to try solving a case themselves.
This was double subverted at least once. In the episode where the Mad Hatter was using radioactive chemicals to terrorize Gotham, he locked Batman and Robin inside a "fluoroscopic cabinet" to have their flesh burned off by deadly radiation. His plan appeared to have worked: we saw two skeletons (actually dummies) wearing the heroes' costumes inside the cabinet. Once the "bodies" were discovered, a wave of horror and grief swept the entire world; even Commissioner Gordon and Chief O'Hara burst into tears. Finally, in a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming, Batman and Robin came out of hiding and explained that they had indeed escaped; they had left the skeletons behind as decoys in order to fool the Mad Hatter and his goons.
Also Lampshaded in the beginning of the second season. After the customary near escape, Robin exclaims that this time, he was really worried. Batman replies that he himself was not scared one bit. Has Robin not noticed how every time a criminal puts them at mortal peril, they escape? Robin concludes that they must be smarter than the criminals. Batman, in a crowning moment of narm, says that he prefers to believe it's because they're pure at heart.
There's a lot more tied-up scenes for Batgirl. Plus, it's not like the Dynamic Duo aren't exempt of getting tied up... even BEFORE Batgirl showed up.
Brainwashed: It happened a few times with other villains, but it was the main gimmick for The Black Widow and Marsha, Queen of Diamonds. Averted with the Mad Hatter, who did not use mind controlling hats in the comics until years after the end of the TV series.
In "Pop Goes The Joker", Dick noticed the Batpole signs were missing, as Alfred had removed them for repainting. "In "Flop Goes The Joker", Alfred trapped Joker in the Batpoles after a Hostage Situation at Wayne Manor when he accidentally went into Bruce's studio and found the button in Shakespeare's bust. Not only were the signs still not there, but Alfred deactivated the automatic Bat costume change mechanism, preserving the Dynamic Duo's secret identity.
From the same two-part episode, Bruce mentions The Man Who Laughs before the opening credits. Later, that's the only painting that Joker doesn't damage at the art gallery.
Bruce Wayne Held Hostage: Happened a couple of times to Bruce, and also to Barbara Gordon, who is kidnapped by the Penguin in her debut episode and manages to change into and out of her Batgirl outfit twice over the course of her "captivity."
Of course, Batman knew that this would happen to him eventually, which is why Bruce Wayne never goes anywhere without dehydrated Batsuit tablets.
In one episode where "Bruce" was left in the death trap, a mook laments it's not "Batman".
The Cameo: In many episodes (particularly during the second season), Batman and Robin would find an excuse to climb a wall. Inevitably, a celebrity would open a window and exchange dialog with them. A far-from-exhaustive list of "Bat-Climb Cameo" characters:
Howard Duff in character as the hero of The Felony Squad, another 20th Century Fox show airing on ABC at the time (this series started its run a few months before Batman, which would make this a plug for the other show).
In a particularly memorable example, the Dynamic Duo encountered The Green Hornet and Kato in the window, greeting them as fellow heroes. In a later episode, these heroes were full-fledged guest stars, but now Batman and Robin believed them to be criminals, as they pretended to be in their own series. (Although it didn't go both ways; in the universe of The Green Hornetnote from the same producers, Batman was a fictional program that various characters were occasionally seen watching on television.)
The final "window cameo" was by Cyril Lord, a well-known British floorcoverings distributor of the time, who got a moment in the Bat-spotlight (using his nickname of "Carpet King"), after selling TV producer Howie Horwitz a fine Persian rug, and did so at a discount in exchange for his time onscreen.
Camp: Practically the Trope Namer, insofar as it popularized the use of the term in the mass media.
Canon Immigrant: Quite a few characters and concepts introduced for the show ended up in the comics. DC Comics does not have the legal right to use characters explicitly created for the show, however, so many of these are unofficial:
The Barbara Gordon incarnation of Batgirl was introduced in the comic version in collaboration with the writers for the TV series, as a ratings stunt for its third season.
There's also Chief O'Hara. Though mentioned in the 1960s, he first appeared on panel in the comics during the Steve Engelhart/Marshall Rogers run in Detective Comics.
This series actually invented Riddler's "less silly" bowler-hat-and-suit look.note Specifically, it was designed by Frank Gorshin, the actor who played the Riddler. He seriously hated the tights he was originally forced to wear. In fact, it's only because of Frank Gorshin's Emmy-winning performance on this show that you've ever heard of the Riddler, who appeared a grand total of twice in the comics (both in 1948) prior to 1965.
The show also brought Mr. Freeze, a formerly obscure villain, back into the comics (and created the name Mr. Freeze, since he was Mr. Zero in the comics). In much the same way, Batman: The Animated Series brought Mr. Freeze back into the modern comics decades later after a long absence, and introduced the tragic characterization that's defined him ever since.
King Tut finally appeared in the comics in 2009.note Batman Confidential #26 (April 2009) As a 40-plus year journey, this may be one of the longest canon immigrations on record. Technically, however, the comic book King Tut is a different character from the one owned by 20th Century Fox and Greenway Productions, with a different personality and visual look. Since King Tut is a historical figure (and thus in the public domain), this is kosher, but DC would not be legally allowed to publish a character similar to Victor Buono's.
Egghead had an unofficial cameo as an Arkham Asylum inmate,note Shadow of the Bat #2-3 and also showed up in issue #16 of the Batman: The Brave and the Bold tie-in comic.
Aunt Harriet is often incorrectly thought to be a Canon Immigrant, but she was introduced in 1964, replacing the dead Alfred (he got better.)
A great many of the villains originally created for the show make unofficial cameos as prisoner "extras" in the Batman: The Brave and the Bold animated series, including King Tut, Egghead, Archer, Bookworm, Black Widow, Siren, Marsha: Queen of Diamonds, Louie the Lilac, Ma Parker, Shame, False Face and the David Wayne version of the Mad Hatter.
Much as with Gorshin's Riddler, Burgess Meredith's Penguin is so iconic that it's still not only referenced (The Daily Show drew comparisons between the character and Dick Cheney), it's also arguable that Penguin's the Bat-Villain least changed since the 60s depiction. He still does the laugh in the comics, too.
Subtler than most, but a few moments in The Dark Knight have Heath Ledger's Joker laughing rather like Cesar Romero's, most notably in the video he sends to police. Ledger famously locked himself away in a hotel room trying to find a laugh unlike Jack Nicholson's, and the effect of the campy Romero laugh is unsettling in context.
Another inversion from the comic: Waylon Jones shows up as a King Tut henchman who drinks a powerful crocodile syrum. He has yet to fully appear as Killer Croc though.
Can't Get In Trouble For Nuthin': The Penguin, acting as a respected restaurateur as part of a Civilian Villain scheme, has considerable difficulty when he actively tries to get thrown in prison so that he can consult an expert forger criminal colleague. (Although this is because Batman recognizes that he's trying to get sent to prison and convinces the cops not to arrest him.) When he was finally sent there, the criminal he wanted to meet got reformed.
Batman: "According to my Bat Compass, north-by-northeast is in a general north-northeasterly direction."
Cats Have Nine Lives. Catwoman died on two occasions including her very first appearance because she considered her loot more important than her life. The second time is when she willing fell to her death when she realized a life with Batman would be impossible.
Chekhov's Skill: Batman had mastered an Indian rope trick called Ruszííí Szidááá Rákóóó years ago. It came handy in the third season.
Robin's bird call skills save them from a balloon in "The Duo is Slumming".
City of Weirdos: The citizens of Gotham City were pretty blasé. The Batmobile could screech to a halt in front of City Hall and the Caped Crusaders dash up the steps in their colorful costumes without so much as a second glance from passersby. Even looking out a window and finding Batman and Robin walking up the side of your building was treated as routine. Then again, given how often they climb buildings...
Civilian Villain: Very common, particularly with the frequently recurring Special Guest Villains. Sometimes played straight (e.g., "Catwoman Goes To College"), but frequently, the trope is only implicit. At the beginning of an episode, (for example) the Joker is allowed to move about freely and lay the groundwork for his next scheme, Batman and Robin being helpless until he commits an actual crime. The details of Joker's parole status, rationale for lack of outstanding arrest warrants, etc., are generally unspecified.
Clark Kenting: Here, it's very notable. As Bruce Wayne, Adam West uses a more laid-back, natural delivery, as opposed to Batman's intense, melodramatic manner, but it's still very recognizably the same voice. And Dick Grayson and Robin sound and act almost exactly the same.
Because Batman's costume had no pockets, Adam West developed an 'arms folded' stance so that he could still look dignified in the costume. Occasionally (notably when on his date with Kitka in the movie), he forgets and uses the same body language as Bruce Wayne.
It gets a little unbelivable, when even Aunt Harriet, who lives with Bruce and Dick, doesn't even suspect a thing when they walk into the house, and give her a kiss for her birthday. Saying that "Bruce called in a favor".
Clown Car: It turns out that the Batmobile's trunk is spacious enough to hold The Joker, the Penguin, and six of their henchmen.
Comic Book Adaptation: Although the various Batman-related titles were adjusted a bit to match the tone of the series (leading to serious Mood Whiplash later when the comics turned serious again), it wasn't until 2013 that DC Comics launched an actual comic book version of the TV series, titled Batman '66.
Comically Serious: Practically Batman's defining characteristic. He never has any idea that anything he's saying is funny, and Adam West has said that the key to the comedy of the show was saying the ridiculous lines with a straight face.
Companion Cube: In A Piece of the Action/Batman's Satisfaction, Pinky Pinkston much prefers to converse with her sub-ordinate, Colonel Gumm, by pretending to talk to or explain things to her dog, Apricot.
Continuity Nod: In "Ring of Wax" Riddler is careful to deactivate the Batmobile security system before driving it away. This seems to nod to his intro episode, in which he set off the security system trying to steal it.
The Joker/Penguin teamup three-parter during the second season also references the fact that it's not the first time that Joker has tried to contaminate Gotham's water supply - previously, he'd tried to do it in "The Joker's Provokers".
Cool Car: The Batmobile, almost to the point of being a metal Iconic Outfit. There have been plenty of other Batmobiles before and since, but in car-guy circles the George Barris version for this series is the Batmobile.
Even cooler if you see the real thing in person, since EVERYTHING on the car is meticulously and hilariously labeled, like the bat-accelerator, bat-radio, bat-emergency brake... it's cool because audiences watching would never be able to see the various labels and buttons.
Criminal Amnesiac: King Tut, owing to a simple blow to the head. Unlike most cases of this, the "good" identity knows what happens when bumped on the noggin, and takes steps to avoid it. Not that it helps.
Cross Over: The Penguin is shown at a table in a nightclub scene in an episode of The Monkees, and 40 years later in a Family Guy episode for a nuns/penguins joke.
The series itself had a two-part crossover with The Green Hornet. Most notably, at the end of Part 1, Batman and Robin square off against The Green Hornet and Kato. The fight ends on Bruce Lee whooping the ever-loving shit out of Burt Ward... I mean: A "tie"...
Cut Lex Luthor a Check: "The Joker's Flying Saucer". The Joker creates a flying saucer that can (based on the Joker's comments) travel through outer space to other planets. He decides on the standard "conquer the world" strategy when he could have just sold the design to NASA for billions of dollars.
Also applies to Catwoman who if she used her intelligent productivley could easily become as rich as she desires.
Dance Battler: Batgirl, as portrayed by former professional ballerina Yvonne Craig.
Deus ex Machina: Lampshaded when their Bat-chopper gets shot down and they just happen to land on the mattress factory. "Hand me down the shark repellent Bat-Spray!" Anti-[fill-in-the-blank] pills were commonplace, including Anti-Penguin-Gas (taken before attending a town hall meeting held by The Penguin) and Anti-Hypnosis (to block the effect of The Joker's hypnotic music box) pills.
Diamonds in the Buff: The Penguin seems to have had this trope in mind for the movie he directed starring Batman and Marsha, Queen of Diamonds.
Distaff Counterpart: In the comic book story that inspired the first Zelda The Great episode, the "magician" role was played by a man named Carnado.
Batgirl to Batman, in-universe.
Domino Mask: Various criminals like the Riddler and Catwoman wear one.
The Door Slams You: In "King Tut's Coup", two of Tut's henchmen do this to Robin, knocking him silly.
Dutch Angle: Used extensively. The wall-climbing scenes were filmed at an angle to make them look convincing. Meanwhile, the scenes set in villains' hideouts were filmed at an angle to emphasize how "crooked" the criminals were.
Early-Installment Weirdness: Batman dancing the Batusi, which only happened in the pilot episode (and likely because Batman had been slipped a mickey by Riddler's moll Molly and likely wasn't in his right mind). Despite what detractors and spoofers suggest, this wasn't a Once an Episode event. Later episodes tended to avoid making Batman himself look this overtly ridiculous.
The episode also ends with "Same Time, Same Channel". No "Bat-".
In addition, the second half of the episode had the recap shown with still frames, when all the later second-part episodes' recaps would show an actual clip of every important scene before freezing it.
Eek, a Mouse!!: In "Nora Clavicle and The Ladies' Crime Club." Nora exploits it by replacing the men on the police force with women and releasing mechanical explosive mice all over Gotham City. All the policewomen couldn't do anything about it since they fainted. Justified as the women chosen for the police force are all housewives, while an episode from a previous season shows the force does have women on it.
Election Day Episode: In one episode, the Penguin runs for Mayor of Gotham against Incumbent Mayor John Linseed, who in turn runs as the running mate of Batman. Linseed in turn returns as Mayor following Batman's successful election and subsequent resignation at the end of the episode.
Even Evil Has Standards: Done with a Riddler Expy called Puzzler when it's suggested they sell a prototype plane to a foreign government:
Puzzler: Have you taken leave of your senses?! I may be an Arch Villain, but I'm a American Arch Villain.
This may have been the basis for a line in a Captain America/Batman crossover in the 90's. When Joker discovers Red Skull's affiliation with the Nazis, he flat-out refuses, saying, "I may be a criminal lunatic, but I'm an American criminal lunatic!"
In the movie, when the Penguin was implementing a plan to get mooks inside the Batcave, he told the other mooks to be careful with their handling because they have mothers.
Shame uses this at one point saying he isn't all bad, just mostly bad.
Joker even shows signs of this by wanting to safely pump out the gas he used in a Death Trap in case an innocent passerby ran across it.
Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Try to count the number of buildings, sets, and objects humorously labeled with the same titles the dialogue just gave them. You will give up. This even occasionally extends to henchmen with "Henchman" written on their shirts.
Occasionally subverted, as in the Liberace episode, where a strong bare bulb in police headquarters is labelled "Subtle Interrogation Lamp"
News Boy (handling the Gotham City Times Extra with the lines: “Big joke on bank bandit: stolen cash was counterfeit!: Extra! Extra! Get your newspaper here! Read about the bandit’s stolen counterfeit money, Yes that’s all what he did, steal counterfeit money!
Face Nod Action: Two of the Bookworm's henchmen in "The Bookworm Turns", before taking a swing at Batman.
Fatal Flaw: Catwoman's greed led her to death in her first apperance as she refused to give up her loot, even though it could save life. Since cats have nine lives she gets better. She nearly made the same mistake in her second appearance, expect this time Batman helped her come to her senses.
Film Felons: In a three part adventure, the Penguin is pretending to be producer and director of a film. Batman is not fooled for one second, but plays along to find out what his ultimate scheme is.
Film of the Book: Many of the early episodes are adapted very closely from stories in the comics.
Frivolous Lawsuit: This is the plot of the pilot episode; the Riddler invokes this when he cleverly tricks the Dynamic Duo into falsely arresting him and then demands Batman pay him a million dollars (in the sixties!). The point is not only the money (Bruce Wayne can afford it) but the fact that Batman must reveal his Secret Identity, thus ruining his Super Hero career.
Full-Name Basis: Bruce is almost always referred to by the narrator and other characters as "Millionaire Bruce Wayne" and Dick as "his youthful ward Dick Grayson." Contrast No Name Given and Only One Name below.
Gadgeteer Genius: Batman, probably even more so than his mainstream counterpart. Batgirl has an impressive repertoire as well. Not to mention the fact that all the villains can get their hands on or design weird gadgets and can assemble deathtraps.
Gallows Humor: Surprisingly enough, this happened in "An Egg Grows in Gotham." During the Bat-climb scene, no less - as Batman and Robin climb down the building, a jury foreman note Bill Dana, playing his famous Hispanic character Jose Jiminez sticks his head out the window, and informs them that they've almost decided on a criminal's sentence. A few seconds later, he pokes his head back out, and asks the Dynamic Duo, "Can you leave the rope"?
Gang of Hats: Henchmen always have themes related to the Special Guest Villain. In the case of frequently-recurring villains, the theme may be more related to the villain's latest scheme than to the villain's own motif. A few illustrative examples:
In "Catwoman Goes To College"/"Batman Displays His Knowledge," her henchmen wear Gotham City University sweaters and "freshman beanies," and are named Penn, Cornell, and Brown.
In "That Darn Catwoman"/"Scat Darn Catwoman" her goons are named after famous literary detectives (Marlowe, Spade, & Templar).
In "The Ring of Wax"/"Give 'Em the Axe," the Riddler's henchfolks have candle-themed namesnote Tallow, Matches & Moth, in case you were wondering in keeping with the wax-museum theme of the caper.
The Puzzler's gang, unusually for a one-shot villain, isn't named after puzzles, but rather various modes of flight, due to his plan to steal a high-tech plane. This actually isn't surprising if you know that his episode was originally written for the Riddler.
The Mad Hatter's goons are a literal example.
In "Joker's Flying Saucer" his gang are all named after different shades of green.
Subverted in the pilot, where the henchmen are just generic gangster types.
Genre Blind: The villians are astounded that the Dynamic Duo escape their death traps on a weekly basis.
More tragically is Warden Crichton, who makes earnest attempts to rehabillitate his inmates, with little success.
Getting Crap Past the Radar: Even this show has a few. One is in the Ma Parker episode - her daughter's prison number is her measurements!
Then there's La Maison du Chat, literally The Cat House.
In one episode "‘The Joke’s on Catwoman", the charges against the criminals in front of a literal Joker Jury include "mayhem", which is an actual felony (effectively "permanently mutilating someone"), a very violent crime by the show's standards.
In one episode Batman says he likes Catwoman because she gives him "curious stirrings in my utility belt."
One episode ends with a woman inviting Bruce into her apartment for "milk and cookies". Before going in he looks at the camera and says "man doesn't live by crimefighting alone."
One episode had a villain named Dr. Cassandra fire at Batman, Robin and Batgirl with a alchemical ray gun that would render them two-dimensional. (Just go with it.) When Batgirl commented "I'm getting flat!" Dr. Cassandra's husband responded with "What a pity!" Later in the same episode, Robin admires a sleeping Batgirl and Batman says something about "the first thrust of manhood"...which might be slightly less unsettling if her sleep weren't drug induced.
Hammerspace: Batman is able to store objects of any size in the small pouches in his belt or hide them under his cape, even the massive Bat-shield or the Empty Alphabet Soup Bat-container and Batfunnel. Occasionally the pouches are briefly much larger or even suddenly covered in controls or labels if he has to use gadgets from his belt on-camera, but by the next shot, the belt is back to normal. This is even more the case with Robin's utility belt, which doesn't even pretend to have pouches yet still holds all necessary gadgets.
Riddler's belt/girdle on his unitard also seems to store things despite having no pouches and being flush against his skin.
While relaxing at the beach when the Joker shows up, Barbara Gordon, dressed in a skimpy one-piece swimsuit, rushes into a changing booth, and emerges in Batgirl's full costume. She was hiding that where?
Harmless Freezing: Partially averted with Mr. Freeze's Freeze Ray. In the his first appearance those who a hit by it are nearly killed. In later appearances Freeze rarely uses it thanks to precautions taken by Batman. In his second appearance, Miss Iceland is put in a block of ice, and when she comes out, she is ok.
Have a Gay Old Time: In "The Joker Trumps an Ace" Joker labels his van as "Let Gayfellow Take You To The Cleaners!" to disguise it. Obviously 'gay fellow' was meant to be a pun on the Joker's cheerful nature, but given that his actor was a "confirmed bachelor" it does make one chuckle.
Hellhole Prison: Averted. Warden Crichton is known for his earnest attempts to rehabillitate the inmates.
Human Knot: Robin and Batgirl are tied in a "Siamese Human Knot" by Nora Clavicle.
"The slightest move by any one of you will only draw the Human Knot tighter, crush your bones and strangle you!"
Humiliation Conga: "Flop Goes the Joker": Alfred utterly schools Joker at fencing with a fire poker, then traps him on the Batpole elevators and sends him shrieking up and down for a good five minutes.
Kick Chick: Batgirl specialized in ballet-flavored high kicks. She was effectively limited to kicks and Improvised Weapons by the producers, who wouldn't let Batgirl give or receive punches, as well as her actress actually being a former ballerina.
Knockout Gas: An extremely common weapon on the show, in a variety of forms and colors. Most often used by the villains, but Batman and Robin use it too, in the form of "Bat-Gas," most often to transport characters to and from the Batcave without learning its secret location.
Not so much with Alfred, though he does have his moments.
Penguin's comparatively subdued, too, and comes off as more of a serious threat because of it.
Latex Perfection: Although False Face is supposed to be an expert at this, pretty much anyone in this series can pull it off.
"Smack in the Middle". The Riddler's henchwoman Molly puts on a mask made from Robin's face and masquerades as him.
Laughing Mad: The Joker (of course), but especially the Riddler.
Laugh Track: Used in-universe by The Archer. He stole it from a producer "of so-called comedies".
Lawful Stupid: The police. They're stupid in general, really, but there's an episode where Egghead becomes Commissioner (It Makes Sense in Context) and forbids them to arrest any of his friends. They go along with this to the extent that when someone reports a theft, the officer in question charges him with jaywalking. Not to mention Chief O'Hara's casual mention of how if he sees Batman and Robin he has orders to shoot.
Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Often when praising Batman, Commissioner Gordon would often look right into the camera. Batman sometimes did so as well when speechifying.
Leitmotif: Most of the major characters (including the villains) have one.
Love Makes You Stupid: Bruce Wayne is on the local parole board, so he uses his influence to get Catwoman an early release, and oversee her case personally as her parole officer in hopes he can finally rehabilitate her. Sadly for both parties in doesn't work.
Love Redeems: Batman really wants to use Catwoman's feelings for him to turn her good.
MacGuffin Girl: A meta example. This blog explains that the first few episodes (like "Fine Feathered Finks/The Penguin's a Jinx") were lifted directly from the comics. Those episodes' story was taken from a February 1965 Penguin comic. The only marked difference was that Penguin attempts to steal the giant jeweled meteorite that is only mentioned in the show. Dawn Robbins does not appear in the comic story. It was easier and cheaper to kidnap the girl than create a meteorite for television, so the writers introduced Dawn Robbins.
Mad Artist: Bookworm is an author variant. His Berserk Button is his inability to get published, due to his lack of creativity. In one episode, the Joker inadvertently starts his own art movement and then runs with it.
Magic Countdown: In "While Gotham City Burns" Batman and Chief O'Hara have only a minute to save Robin from being killed in a Death Trap.
Magical Database: The Bat Computer and Batman's own impressive scope of knowledge—-both general and esoteric.
Mood Killer: Episode "The Bat's Kow Tow" concludes with Batman and Catwoman almost kissing when Robin off screen shouts out something along the lines of "C'mon, Batman! The police are here!" Catwoman, in a contained fury, says "Boy Blunder!"
Mooks: They're lousy fighters, with only the occasional one ever landing a punch. On the other hand, they ARE snappy dressers, with cute Halloween costumes and even nicknames that play off the villain's gimmick or the theme of the show (resulting in a Gang of Hats).
Although the Mooks often manage to get in decisive blows when it counts, i.e. when it's near the end of part one and the Caped Crusaders have to be knocked out and placed in the deathtrap du jour.
Ms. Fanservice: Batgirl was added in the third season in large part for this.
One shouldn't discount the lovely Julie Newmar either.
Nor should they discount Eartha Kitt. Purrr...
Every villains seems to have one female henchperson who provides nothing else to the plot.
Murder by Cremation: One of the cliffhangers had Bruce Wayne captured in a net and put on a conveyor belt to be run into a 10,000 degree furnace.
Mysterious Past: Averted. The Joker's past is well-known to Batman and the police department, though the viewer is only told that he was once a conjurer and hypnotist of repute.
Batman and Robin were never given an Origin Story, oddly enough, aside from a brief mention in the pilot that Bruce Wayne's parents were killed by "criminals". Granted, their origins are pretty dark and likely unfit for a show like this.
Mythology Gag: In "Pop Goes The Joker", Bruce even mentions The Man Who Laughs, the painting that inspired Bob Kane to create the Joker.
Nepharious Pharaoh: King Tut, one of the supervillains. He wore clothing appropriate for a pharaoh and liked to use Eygptian-themed dialogue. He was actually Professor William McElroy, an Egyptologist at Yale University. Every time he gets hit on the head he develops a split personality that thinks he's a reincarnation of the original King Tut. Hitting him on the head again restores his original personality.
The typical gun moll in the series typically stands around during the fights like a complete ninny. Even Catwoman and the other female villains (as well as older villains who wouldn't be expected to be physical) stand back and let the Mooks do the fighting. The only woman who actively participated in the fisticuffs was Batgirl. (Or footicuffs, since as noted above she was limited to kicks.)
Averted once with a moll who stole a cop's gun and tried to shoot the Dynamic Duo, and in the Pilot, where the Riddler's moll, Molly, actually tries to shoot Batman.
Chandell (Liberace)note or, technically, Chandell's Evil Twin brother, being more savvy that your average criminal mastermind, had a trio of female henchmen. When it came time for Batman and Robin to fight the male Mooks, the women did everything they could to get between the Dynamic Duo and the Mooks. Batman and Robin had to pull their punches to avoid hitting the women, leaving them open to the Mooks' attacks.
Averted in another episode where instead of standing around she decides to run away during the fight.
Shame's moll Oakie Annie averts this; she has a gun, like the rest of Shame's gang, and during the first fight with Batman, she contributes heavily to Shame's victory by shooting a chandelier than drops on Batman's head.
Never Recycle a Building: Gotham City had some serious problems with abandoned factories and warehouses. It's almost like they wanted them to be taken over by criminals...
Nice Hat: The Mad Hatter's hat looks good and shoots stun beams. What more could you ask for?
No Name Given: Most of the villains, mooks, and molls went exclusively by their villain names, even when they'd supposedly reformed (the Penguin ran for Mayor as "Penguin"). The real names we know from the comics (Oswald Cobblepot, Edward Nygma, Selina Kyle, etc.) were never used. Two rare exceptions are King Tut, whose harmless professor alter ego was named William McElroy, and the Mad Hatter, who was frequently referred to by his real name, Jervis Tetch. Other aversions: Mr. Freeze was identified once as Dr. Shivel (it was Batman: The Animated Series that coined the Victor Fries identity), and Black Widow was Mrs. Max Black, widow. Of course, Lord Marmaduke Ffogg and Lady Penelope Peasoup had no villain names at all, although they hardly needed them. Also, we never know Miss Iceland's real name.
No Seat Belts: That was a early criticism about the show with the Dynamic Duo never belting up in the Batmobile. Considering that kind of car safety feature was still relatively new, the producers thought the heroes taking the time to belt themselves would be funny enough to fit their goodie two-shoes shtick and included a quick scene of them doing so in the car. As it happens, the joke's effect was lost and the show was praised widely for encouraging the use of such an important auto safety function.
Noodle Incident: In "A Penguin Is A Girl's Best Friend", a movie-making Penguin puts a scene in his script that is censored at the last moment on grounds of being indecent. It's never made clear exactly what was there, but it involved a milk bath, Batman, and Marsha Queen of Diamonds wearing exactly three large diamonds in parts unknown.
Not My Driver: Egghead does this to Bruce Wayne in "An Egg Grows in Gotham".
Odd Name Out: "Marsha, Queen of Diamonds" features police officers O'Hara, O'Toole, O'Rourke, O'Leary, and Goldberg.
Only One Name: Alfred was never given a last name (since the character's official last name of Pennyworth wasn't established in the comics until 1969). Commissioner Gordon and Chief O'Hara had no first names, nor did recurring characters Warden Crichton and Mayor Linseed.
Percussive Pickpocket: "The Joker's Last Laugh". The Joker (a "master conjurer", according to Batman) bumps into Commissioner Gordon on the subway and manages to not only switch his cufflinks but also wraps several feet of antenna around Gordon's waist and down his pants leg!
Pragmatic Adaptation: Presumably since exploring the origin as present in the comics would be too dark, Bruce Wayne's parents are merely stated as having been killed by "criminals" (possibly multiple ones), rather than going into detail. Also, curiously, Thomas Wayne is implied to have been a lawyer, not a doctor, in the pilot.
It Makes Sense in Context. Given that the show was all about squeaky-clean heroes, the son of a doctor shouldn't be someone engaging in violence constantly.
Pretty in Mink: A few furs, such as a white mink worn by Marsha, Queen of Diamonds.
Psychic Static: Egghead tries to use a mind reading machine on Bruce Wayne, looking for proof that he is Batman; instead, all he reads is inane trivia, so he decides Bruce can't possibly be Batman.
Public Secret Message: Batman talks to one of the villains over a broadcast radio station, but requests that all other citizens of Gotham switch off to avoid hearing his private message. Naturally they oblige.
Punch Clock Villain: Zelda the Great only steals (and quite reluctantly) to pay for the amazing devices she uses in her act. She ultimately performs a sincere Heel-Face Turn.
Put Their Heads Together: "The Penguin's A Jinx". During a fight Batman takes out the Penguin and one of his henchmen by knocking their heads together.
Recycled Set: Superintendent Watson's office at "Ireland Yard" in the "Londinium" three-parter is an obvious redress of Commissioner Gordon's office set. So obvious that Gordon lampshades the similarity, noting that due to the similar demands of police work worldwide, all police commissioners' offices are essentially the same!
Redheaded Hero: Batgirl; subverted, in that the red hair was actually a wig to help disguise her real identity.
Remember the New Guy: Almost every villain that appeared on the show, since Batman frequently mentioned having fought the episode's villain before even when it was said villain's debut. Notable exceptions include the Minstrel and Ma Parker.
Reverse Polarity: Batman does it in the 1st season episode "Better Luck Next Time".
Rich Idiot with No Day Job: Averted, unlike many comics depictions before and since in which Bruce Wayne is the poster child for this trope. In this series, Bruce Wayne is nearly as beloved and respected in Gotham City for his philanthropy as Batman is for his crime-fighting. In fact, he has been asked to run for mayor several times. He's also on the locale parole board.
Robotic Reveal: "The Joker's Last Laugh". Batman twists the nose of a bank teller and the top of the teller's head blows off, revealing springs and other mechanical parts. The teller was actually one of the Joker's android robots.
Rogues-Gallery Transplant: The Clock King was originally an enemy of Green Arrow in the comics and the villains Puzzler and Archer started out as minor Superman villains.
Unlike many examples of the trope, however, Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson seldom feign weakness. Wayne in particular is quite capable of handling himself in a scrap. Although in one case where Bruce went undercover as an ally of the Joker, he pretended to join ineptly in a fight against Robin and "clumsily" did more damage to the Joker's goons instead. In a later Joker caper, Bruce fought the mooks but pulled his punches just enough that they wouldn't suspect him of being a fighter on Batman's level.
Batman and Robin's secret identities are a frequent plot point. Batman's identity was actually uncovered by King Tut on two occasions, but his Easy Amnesia saved the Dynamic Duo.
Oddly enough, doubly played straight with Batgirl — Batman himself has no idea who Batgirl is, and vice versa, despite Alfred's knowledge of both secrets. Batgirl doesn't suspect Alfred knows who Batman is (and she can't think of two people more different than "Batman" and "Bruce Wayne") and Batman figured out Alfred is keeping secrets from him about Batgirl but he won't force Alfred to betray her trust.
In "The Cat and the Fiddle" Catwoman's thugs are crawling around the outside of the Gotham State Building. Commissioner Gordon says "Are they birds?" and Chief O'Hara says "Are they planes?", a reference to the signature line from Superman, "Look! Up in the sky! Is it a bird? Is it a plane? It's Superman!"
"An Egg Grows in Gotham"
Chief Screaming Chicken is the sole remaining representative of the Mohican tribe, making him "The Last of the Mohicans" (a reference to the James Fenimore Cooper novel The Last of the Mohicans).
At one point Chief Screaming Chicken says the phrase "Kemo sabe". When Egghead's goon asks him what it means, he says he doesn't know - he heard it on the radio. This refers to the The Lone Ranger radio show, in which Tonto regularly used that phrase.
An unnamed police detective played by Ben Alexander tells a woman to "Give me just the facts", a reference to Sergeant Joe Friday's "Just the facts, ma'am" line from Dragnet and to Alexander's character on the show, Frank Smith.
So Last Season: Happens to Mister Freeze's signature Freeze Ray — in Freeze's first appearance, Batman and Robin getting hit with the thing was considered a big enough deal to form that storyline's Cliff Hanger, and they didn't outsmart their way out of that one — they were only saved thanks to the Gotham City police thawing them out. By Freeze's final appearance in "Ice Spy", Batman and Robin know to be prepared with specially-treated suits; the Freeze Ray gets all of five seconds of screen time before Freeze realizes it's useless, and tosses it aside.
Special Guest: At least one "Special Guest Villain[ess]" in every episode. If there were two, the second was billed as "Extra Special." The one exception was the Green Hornet crossover, where the credit read "Visiting Hero" for Van Williams and "Assistant Visiting Hero" for Bruce Lee, while the actual villain of the piece was relegated to the end credits.
Straw Feminist: Nora Clavicle, who takes Commissioner Gordon's job, then replaces all of Gotham City's policemen with women, as part of her villainous plot.
Strictly Formula: Pretty much every two-part episode had the same basic formula: Batman and Robin try to thwart the latest scheme of one of their enemies in part one, but end up in some kind of death trap. Then in part two, they escape the death trap, pummel the bad guy's minions, and defeat the villain and turn him in to the authorities.
Stun Guns: In "That Darn Catwoman", Catwoman's goons use electric cattle prods to stun Batman into unconsciousness.
Stunt Double: Rather blatantly so in most of the fight scenes.note Though one should bear in mind that what's obvious on a 21st century big-screen TV in high-def wouldn't necessarily have been so obvious in 1966. Robin's stunt double doesn't look much like him at all. Averted toward the end of "The Ring of Wax," where Burt Ward enters the shot as Robin, is confronted by a Mook, and gets into a fairly lengthy fight with him in a single continuous take, a fairly impressive stunt performance by the actor himself.
This trope is deconstructed in the pilot episode when the Riddler makes a Frivolous Lawsuit for a million dollars after he cleverly tricks the Dynamic Duo into falsely arresting him. Batman must reveal his Secret Identity in court, ruining his Super Hero career.
And, the plan would have worked, too! Riddler just got arrested before the court date!
The Tape Knew You Would Say That: In "The Great Escape," when Commissioner Gordon calls the hotline with Bruce Wayne right next to him, Alfred hooks it up to an answering machine that then carries on a conversation with Gordon.
A villain called Bat's bravery into question in one episode.
In "Pop Goes The Joker/Flop Goes The Joker", Joker calls him "chickenhearted" for letting Robin show up alone to rescue hostages and later talks smack about him with Batman listening behind him and Gordon on the line. Led to a Crowning Moment of Funny with the Joker Out-Gambitted and utterly humiliated.
Theme Tune: Dadadadadadadadada... Also doubles as Batman's leitmotif.
There Was a Door: In a variant of Batman's usual Stealth Hi/Bye, Batman and Robin practically always enter buildings through the window, even if this is unnecessary.
Think of the Children!: Invoked by name by Aunt Harriet in protest to the Marsha/Batman love scene in Penguin's film.
Third Wheel: As far as Catwoman is concerned Robin is this to her and Batman, and she wants him gone.
Throw a Barrel at It: Occurs in "Ice Spy", "The Foggiest Notion", "Penguin's Disastrous End", "A Riddling Controversy" and "The Spell of Tut".
Title Theme Tune: Indeed, it's the only lyric (if you don't count "Da"). Contrary to one rumor (believed and spread by Adam West himself, among others), the word "Batman" was indeed sung by vocalists, not created by horns.
The Joker, particularly when he enunciates "Batman and Robin" (probably due to the fact that the actor playing him was Hispanic).
Catwoman purrs hers, especially when Eartha Kitt plays herrrrr.
Lord Ffogg also has a propensity for this.
Uncanceled/Channel Hop: Aversion. After ABC canceled the show, NBC offered to pick it up for a fourth season if the studio sets were still available. However, by that time all the sets had been demolished and NBC didn't want to pay to have them rebuilt, so they withdrew their offer.
Under Crank: Used frequently, particularly in Batmobile scenes.
Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: Unlike the creepy but sympathetic portray of the character in other continuities, David Wayne's Mad Hatter is a humorlessly vicious psychopath who tries to flay Batman and Robin alive to make hats out of their bodies and then attempts to burn the flesh off of their bones with concentrated radiation. He's easily the series' nastiest villain.
Villain Team-Up: The third season was built heavily on this. Two three-part episodes in the second season each had the Penguin team up with another villain (The Joker in the first one and Marsha, Queen of Diamonds in the second). Batman: The Movie had the Joker, the Penguin, the Riddler, and Catwoman all work together.
Villainesses Want Heroes: Catwoman got's it bad for Batman, to the point where she'd give up being a criminal if he would marry her. Sadly her desire to murder Robin put the cork in that proposal.
Visual Pun: The crooks' lairs are always shot in crooked angles.
For the most part, Gotham City seems to be New York under an assumed name. It seems to be in Gotham State and is adjacent to New Guernsey. It has a Queen of Freedom statue which is an Expy for the Statue of Liberty. Gotham's Mayor Linseed is an expy for New York City's Mayor John V. Lindsay (1966-73), and the state's chief executive Governor Stonefellow is a pun on New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller (1959-73). Establishing shots of the city are often Stock Footage of recognizable New York locations like Central Park or the Flatiron Building. But there's also evidence pointing to alternate locales, and at least one reference to New York as another, separate, city from Gotham.
Adding another level of confusing, The Movie has numerous shots that are recognizably around Greater Los Angeles...
William Telling: Alfred attempts to show off his archery skills and places an apple on Dick Grayson's head. Bruce stops him saying it's not worth taking the risk so Dick places the apple on a stationary target. Alfred shoots and misses. Had they gone through with it the arrow would have hit Dick right between the eyes.
Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Strongly enforced at all times. In addition, Batgirl could neither throw nor receive punches (But nobody said anything about kicks). There was one exception to this: Batgirl took several punches in one fight... against Dr. Cassandra's invisible henchmen.
You Just Ruined the Shot: Batman and Robin foil a bank robbery... but it turns out to be part of a completely legal and authorized location shoot for the Penguin's movie. The Penguin shot the scene specifically to invoke this trope and entrap Batman. Batman told Robin he intentionally fell into the trap to find out what the Penguin was up to.
You Look Familiar: This was used quite frequently, with several actors or actresses appearing more than once. Several examples include:
After playing Zelda the Great in the first season, Anne Baxter returned for season 3 as Egghead's partner/love interest Olga, Queen of Cossacks.
An uncredited Milton Berle plays one of the prisoners ("Lefty") replacing the guards in the episode Ma Barker, a season before he played Louie the Lilac.
Character actor Richard "Dick" Balaykan appeared on the show a total of four times, playing henchmen to Riddler ("Death in Slow Motion/The Riddler's False Notion"), Louie the Lilac ("Louie the Lilac") & Joker ("the Joker's Flying Saucer") as well as an Egyptian pantomime expert ("King Tut's Coup"/"Batman's Waterloo").
Similarly, Joey Tata appeared in three different episodes ("The Ring of Wax"/"Give 'Em the Axe", "Hizzoner the Penguin"/"Dizzoner the Penguin" & "I'll be a Mummy's Uncle") as three entirely separate henchmen.
In separate episodes, James Brolin played a cop who tried to write Batman a parking ticket, an armored truck driver, and a boxer.
After playing Catwoman in The Movie, Lee Merriwether played Lisa Carson, one of Bruce Wayne's Love Interests in "King Tut's Coup"/"Batman's Waterloo". Doubles as Actor Allusion, as Movie-Catwoman had tried to seduce Bruce under the civilian identity of Kitka.
Leslie Parrish appeared as heiress Dawn Robbins in "the Penguin's a Jinx", then appeared a season later as Mr. Freeze's (Eli Wallach) moll Gilda Glide in "Ice Spy"/"the Duo Defy"
In a case of You Sound Familiar, mixed in with Hilarious In Hindsight, Bob Hastings plays a supporting role of a gormless major who is gulled by Penguin's fake movie company. 25 years later, Hastings would be hired to voice Commissioner Gordon in Batman: The Animated Series.
The king of this was actor James O'Hara, who appeared in at least seven or eight episodes, always playing a different police officer.