Batman has undergone several transformations in the 70 years of his creation. One of the most debated is the television series that ran on ABC television from 1966-1968. It was an all-out camp version of the Dark Knight that at first delighted fans and was an instant smash, in fact it spawned a theatrical version that did not do well. Stars Adam West and Burt Ward were forever typecast in the roles of the dynamic duo.
The formula for the first season of Bat-episodes was the same throughout. One of Batman’s colorful adversaries would commit a heinous crime. Commissioner Gordon would use the red bat-phone to call the caped crusader for help. Bruce Wayne and his “youthful ward” Dick Grayson slid down the batpoles to the mysterious Batcave in the catacombs beneath Stately Wayne Manor to instantly change into the crimefighters. Then would race in the Batmobile to police headquarters and learn what problems had befallen the good citizens of Gotham City. Shortly thereafter, the heroes would follow the clues to the hideout of the villain of the week which usually led to a cartoonish Bat-fight full of “Biff”s, “Bam”s, and “Crash”s. Then, the villain would place the duo in a seemingly unescapable trap and leave. TO BE CONTINUED. In the conclusion, the heroes would escape the deadly trap with the aid of their utility belts, hunt down the evildoers, and stop their dastardly plot.
By the mid-point of the 2nd season, the formula was becoming weak, the creators of the comic book were becoming increasingly embarrassed by the campiness. Batgirl was introduced, but she did little to improve things (although Yvonne Craig did fit the costume very well, thank you very much) and the series was soon canceled.
The best thing about the series was the rogues gallery of supervillains who would attempt to bring chaos and destruction to the fair metropolis 😀 . The Riddler, The Joker, Catwoman, and The Penguin were the main adversaries carried over from the comic book adventures. During its heyday, several stars of the 60s wanted to cash in on the series popularity and new (often forgettable) villains were created. Dastardly nogoodnicks like Egghead (played with egg-cellent deliciousness by Vincent Price), King Tut, Shame, Bookworm, and Liberace (?) as Chandel are but a few of the one or two time villains of the week.
Then we had the ridiculous phrases uttered by the Boy Wonder… “Holy (…), Batman!” Some of the more ridiculous utterances:
Holy uncanny photographic mental processes
Holy one track batcomputer mind
Holy priceless collection of Etruscan snoods
Holy interplanetary yardstick
In total, the Boy Wonder made 356 of the goofball, but at times timely, observations.
Only the theatrical Batman movie has ever made it to DVD. However, if you follow one of these two links, you two can have hours of entertainment or at least a few laughs at the campiness that was Batman of the 1960s.