Friday, July 19, 2013


Yes, I was a bat-kid. I remember all the hype leading up to the series. On the night it premiered in January of 1966, I managed to be at my friend Jeff's house. Jeff's family had a color TV whereas mine did not. I was immediately hooked for life on the series with its magical, colorful, indefinable "camp" that worked so well here by accident that the producers were never able to duplicate it on purpose. With Batmania peaking by the end of the series' abbreviated first season, a big budget movie was quickly rushed into production. It was produced, directed, edited and released before the end of the year. It's surprising that it's any good at all!

But it is! Taking the most popular villains of the TV series and teaming them up was a smart move, even though Julie Newmar's Catwoman was replaced  by Lee Meriwether due to the suddenness of the production. Lee plays her as a very different sort of character and it's clear Batman has never before seen her without a mask. So it's sort of an "else worlds" thing, really. 

The producers wisely used the bigger movie budget in order to get props such as the Batboat, Batcycle and the Batcopter with the intent of reusing them in the series itself. Oddly, they rarely turned up there. In some cases, not at all in fact. 

For some reason, various foreign versions of the poster often colored Batman in red and black. It's a look but...

By the time it opened, I was, of course, even at age 7, begging to see it. Oddly enough, it opened locally as part of a "bat" double feature with Hammer's DRACULA: PRINCE OF DARKNESS! When I convinced my babysitter to take me one day whilst my parents were at work, we arrived just as the Christopher Lee opus was beginning. It was my very first encounter with vampires and, in particular, with Count Dracula. A bit too explicitly violent to have been tied to what was ostensibly a kids film, though!

Although the TV series has yet to surface as a legal release, this movie was released on DVD a while back (and several times since) with a fun running commentary by Adam West and Burt Ward themselves. 

The poster below clearly ripped off its art from Adam West's famous LIFE magazine cover of ear;ier in the year.

This was one of two BATMAN novels of the time written by William Woolfolk as "Winston Lyon." The first one featured a team-up of three villains. This one naturally followed up with four as an adaptation of the film's script.


No comments:

Post a Comment