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Trivia / Batman (1966)

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  • Acting for Two: Liberace (yes, Liberace) once played both an Expy of himself as well as his own Evil Twin brother.
  • Actor-Inspired Element: Burgess Meredith had not smoked in 20 years when he was cast as the Penguin. He came up with the Penguin's distinctive squawking sound because the cigarettes were irritating his throat. Like his trademark "quack", the Penguin's waddling was largely a result of improvisation by Burgess Meredith, as he found it difficult to stand and walk straight while wearing the rubber padded fat suit that was part of his costuming.
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  • Awesome, Dear Boy: The reason several of the guest-stars took the gig as villains. Victor Buono as King Tut is the best example: he was a huge (no pun intended) fan of the comics, and was so into the series he made more appearances than any other guest-star outside of Newmar, Romero, Meredith, and Gorshin.
  • Beam Me Up, Scotty!: Sort of. Robin's infamous "Holy [relevant phrase]!" Catchphrase was used constantly, but he usually didn't end it with "Batman!". He did occasionally, but not nearly as much as the phrase's popularity would make one think he did.
  • Big Name Fan: According to Adam West, Robert F. Kennedy was a fan of the show. Attempts were made to have him make a cameo as a character named Attorney General, but details could not be worked out.
  • Briefer Than They Think: The series only ran for two and a half years, from 1966-68, but since most of the series' stories were two parters, that means 120 episodes were produced for a suitable syndication package.
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  • Cast the Expert: Burt Ward got the part of Robin based on his martial arts and tumbling experience, meaning he could do his own fights and stunts.
  • Cast the Runner-Up: Zsa Zsa Gabor wanted to play Marsha the Queen of Diamonds, but Carolyn Jones got the part. Gabor later got to play the final villain in the series, Minerva.
  • Celebrity Voice Actor: A very interesting case happens in both Japanese dubs (see below) and both cases involves the narrator: In the Japanese dub done by Fuji TV in the 60s, the narrator was voiced by the Turkish-Japanese actor Roy James (real name: Abdul Hannan Safa) better known for non-Japanese audiences as for playing William Lister in Sanshiro Sugata Part II. In the one done in the 2000s, the same role is voiced by the singer Kenji Ohtsuki, better known for anime fans for singing the many of the opening themes of Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei.
  • Creator Backlash: "True or False Face/Holy Rat Race" were William Dozier's least favorite episodes, referring to them as "a bomb."
    • Likewise, Malachi Throne, who played the titular villain, while still enjoying being on the show, was unhappy with his performance in said episodes, (due to the mask he had to wear) and requested he not be credited. note 
  • Dawson Casting:
    • Burt Ward was twenty, married, and had a kid on the way when he took the role of fifteen-ish Robin.
    • Yvonne Craig was thirty, and already divorced when she was cast as Barbara Gordon / Batgirl, who was just out of college.
  • Dear Negative Reader: Adam West was not amused by people referring to the show as "campy," upset that all the hard physical work the cast and crew put into the show was shrugged off in favor of mocking its (intentional) silliness.
  • Descended Creator: William Dozier, to Lemony Narrator.
    • Writer Stanley Ralph Ross appears uncredited and with no lines in "The Bird's Last Jest" as Ballpoint Baxter.
  • Executive Meddling
  • Dueling Dubs: A very odd case happens in Japan: There's two Japanese dubs, one done in the 60s and broadcasted by Fuji, and another one done in the 2000s done by the cable network WOWOW. While the 60s version was a straight dub, the 2000s one was basically a borderline Gag Dub.
  • Exiled from Continuity: It is one of few DC Comics-based media barred from Warner Bros.' DC Universe and HBO Max streaming platforms, due to Disney owning the series. This was underscored by a list HBO Max released for Batman Day 2020 showcasing all the various Batman media available to stream on the service that day: Batman '66 and its movie were nowhere to be found, as were the Batman serial films from Columbia Pictures (those are owned by Sony).
  • Fake Brit: Lord Ffogg was played by Rudy Vallee, an American born in Vermont.
  • Fake Irish: The aggressively Irish Chief O'Hara was played by born-and-bred Californian Stafford Repp.
  • Fake Nationality: British actor George Sanders played Mr. Freeze with an exaggerated German accent. However, it was averted in the character's next apperance, when Otto Preminger played Freeze with his native Austrian accent.
  • Fan Nickname: This incarnation of Batman is often referred to as the "Bright Knight" or "Camp Crusader" to distinguish him from darker, more serious takes on the character.
  • Hostility on the Set:
    • Adam West described Neil Hamilton as somewhat difficult to work with, due to him taking his work very seriously, even on a silly show like this.note 
    • Otto Preminger, best known as a director but also an actor played Mr. Freeze in a Season Two story, was known for being very difficult to work with as both an actor and director. West commented that when the time came for him to pick up his unconscious body that he wouldn't offer any subtle assistance, forcing West to pick up dead weight. It's no surprise that Freeze was recast for his next appearance.
  • I Am Not Spock: Adam West was so strongly associated with the role of Batman that it permanently typecast him and killed his then-fledgling acting career. After failing to distance himself from the series, he eventually got over it (even naming his autobiography Back to the Batcave) and not only embraced this reputation, but even managed to partially escape it by turning into a parody of himself.
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: The series was notorious for the numerous rights problems preventing any home video release for many years. This article on explains a lot of the issues surrounding the show. Finally, in 2014, Warner Home Video announced all 120 episodes would be released in a complete box set later in the year.
    • When the series finally saw the light of day, it was revealed exactly what the holdup was: the rights to the characters were owned by DC Comics, which is owned by Warner Bros., but the rights to the TV series, including its iconic elements like the costumes, Batmobile design, and the music, were split between 20th Century Fox and Greenway Productions (William Dozier's production company). Classic Media (now DreamWorks Classics) had to buy out Greenway's share of the rights by negotiating with each and every one of William Dozier's heirs. They also attempted to buy out Fox's share and sell everything to Warner, but Fox instead chose to buy out Classic Media's share themselves. This lead to a dispute between Fox and Warner on who was going to release the series before Fox finally gave in and licensed the show to Warner.
    • The series might be at risk of falling into limbo yet again, as Disney, parent of DC rival Marvel Comics, now owns all of Fox's entertainment assets, including the rights to the Batman series. Better get a copy of the series if you have a chance! FilmRise is licensed the streaming rights to the series by Disney for the moment, though time will tell how long that lasts.
  • Money, Dear Boy: Alan Napier (Alfred) admitted that he'd never read the Batman comic books and only took the part because of the high salary. That said, unlike some examples of this trope Napier enjoyed working on the show and got along well with his costars.
  • No Budget: The third season was embarrassingly cheap-looking; the majority of the sets (apart from already-built ones like the Batcave and Commissioner Gordon's office) were simply cardboard scenery in front of stark black backgrounds.
  • No Stunt Double: Burt Ward was required to do his own stunts. This was partly because Robin's Domino Mask would make hiding a double's face harder, and partly because the studio wanted to save money by not having to pay another stunt double. Burt was a legitimate martial artist, but by the time the show was over, he had been hospitalized over a dozen times.
  • The Other Darrin: For a relatively short-lived show, this had a surprising number of examples:
    • Julie Newmar (Catwoman) was replaced by Lee Merriwether in The Movie, as she was busy filming another project at the time. Newmar returned for the role in the series, however, she was again replaced, this time by Eartha Kitt for the final season, as again, she was busy elsewhere (shooting the western Mc Kenna's Gold with Gregory Peck).
    • The Riddler was played by John Astin in his only appearance in the second season, after a salary dispute between the producers and Frank Gorshin. However, Gorshin returned for the third season after the dispute was resolved.
    • Mr. Freeze had it the worst however, as he had a different actor every time he appeared; George Sanders played him in his first appearance, Otto Preminger played him the second time, and Eli Wallach was the third and final actor in the role.
    • A PSA about equal pay featuring Batman, Robin and Batgirl was produced in 1972. Burt Ward and Yvonne Craig returned to reprise Robin and Batgirl, but Batman was played by Dick Gautier, as Adam West was trying to distance himself from the role.
  • The Other Marty: Robert Morley was originally supposed to play the Sandman, but he quit after the episode was rewritten to include Catwoman note . This led to Michael Rennie getting the part, whom the co-writer felt was "too stiff," resulting in him disowning the episode.
  • Promoted Fanboy:
    • Adam West was a fan of Batman comics in his childhood.
    • Burt Ward was a fan of superhero comics in his childhood.
  • Real-Life Relative:
    • Shame's fiancee in "The Great Escape"/"The Great Train Robbery" was played by Cliff Robertson's then-wife, actress Dina Merrill.
    • Kathy Kersh, who played Cornelia in "The Impractical Joker"/"The Joker's Provokers" was married to Burt Ward.
  • Reality Subtext: The Penguin's constant squawking came from the fact that the character's cigarettes were irritating Burgess Meredith's nose and throat and he would squawk to cover up a cough and save the take.
  • Recursive Adaptation: 2013's Batman '66 comic book series is an adaptation of this series, which of course was itself an adaptation of the Batman comics that had been printed up to that time.
  • Recycled Set:
    • The Batcave set was built on the exact spot where the Skull Island Gate was located in King Kong (1933). This was pointed out by a visitor to the set who had served as a technician on "Kong".
    • 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!
  • Romance on the Set: Kathy Kersh, who played a Joker henchwoman named Cornelia, ended up marrying Burt Ward shortly after meeting him on set.
  • Science Marches On: In the third episode, when Batman was afraid a collection of umbrellas were going to explode, his immediate (and based on the knowledge of the time quite reasonable) decision was to gather them in the middle of the room and cover them with an asbestos pad.
  • Short-Lived Big Impact: This show pretty much defined the Caped Crusader in the public eye for decades (and seemingly permanently in Japan), but the TV show itself only ran for two years. Additionally, Na Na Na Na Batman is the most well-known Batman theme song (yes, even more so than the Danny Elfman theme of the Burton films). The spinning fanfare that introduces the theme is also still familiar.
  • So My Kids Can Watch:
    • Otto Preminger was locked out of his house by his grandchildren until he said yes to playing Mr. Freeze.
    • Eli Wallach chose to play Mr. Freeze so that his three children, Peter, Roberta and Katherine, could watch him.
    • Tallulah Bankhead saw appearing on the series as an opportunity to entertain her grandchildren.
  • Stunt Double: Rather blatantly so in most of the fight scenes. note  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.
  • Technology Marches On: One of the reasons the show used the Bat-phone far more than the more well-known Bat-signal was because it was supposed to be cool that Batman would have a phone in his car and would let the show seem more high-tech. More recent comic storylines even lampshaded this, with Commissioner Gordon asking if he could just have Batman's cell phone number instead of having to turn on the Bat-signal every time he needed help.
  • Throw It In!:
    • Burgess Meredith made up The Penguin's squawking laughter to mask the cough smoking gave him.
    • Cesar Romero's Joker laugh was created almost by accident. Shortly after being cast, Romero met with producers to discuss his role on his series. While waiting to meet with them, Romero happened to see conceptual art of Joker's costuming. Romero felt the pictures almost looked absurd, and as a result spontaneously broke out into a playfully loud and almost manic laughter. A producer overhearing it responded by telling Romero "That's it, that's your Joker's laugh!"
  • Underage Casting:
    • Victor Buono was only twenty-eight when he was cast as King Tut, an established (and possibly middle-aged) university professor of Egyptology.
    • Shelley Winters was only forty-six when she played Ma Parker, the old lady gangster boss. Her hair way dyed grey for the part.
  • Unfinished Episode: Harlan Ellison wrote an unproduced script for the show with Two-Face as the villain. The script revealed that his origin in the show was that he was a TV news anchor who had a TV set blow up in his face. Clint Eastwood was even considered for the role, but the character was ultimately dropped because he was considered "too gruesome" for such a light-hearted show. The episode finally saw the light of day when it was adapted into "The Lost Episode" of the Batman '66 comic book.
  • Wag the Director:
    • Cesar Romero refused to shave off his moustache to play the Joker. It was painted over with makeup and it's quite noticeable.
    • Likewise, The Riddler's now-iconic suit and bowler combo came about because Frank Gorshin really didn't care for the original form-fitted bodysuit he had to wear.
    • In The Green Hornet crossover, Robin was originally going to defeat Kato in battle, but Bruce Lee got really angry and reportedly even threatened to beat Burt Ward up for real (Ward has claimed this was a joke on Lee's part). To placate him, their fight was turned into a draw.
  • What Could Have Been:
  • 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. (Perhaps Zelda didn't reform after all!)
    • 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" Bakalyan 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 Meriwether 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 Glacia Glaze 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.
    • Neil Hamilton and Yvonne Craig had appeared together several years earlier in the 1958 Perry Mason episode "The Case of the Lazy Lover." The latter played Patricia Faxon, while the former filled the role of her stepfather Bertrand Allred.


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