27 March 2012 | rcj5365
One of the biggest TV phenomenon of the mid-1960's....Batman
Premiering on ABC-TV on January 12,1966,the television series BATMAN took America audiences and television by storm. While the show stayed true to the origins of Bob Kane's classic comic strip and went up the alley with all the non-stop thrills,high action and adventure it can muster and so much more. For the three seasons and a half that it was on the air,the show premiered in mid-season for the 1965-1966 season,producing 120 episodes,all in color under executive producer William Dozier(who also served as the narrator) under his production company Greenway Productions and Twentieth Century-Fox Television for ABC. From it's premiere episode,the series took America by storm and by the end of 1966 BATMANIA was everywhere from merchandising to rare appearances and even ending up during the halftime show of the First Super Bowl! BATMAN was so successful on television,producer William Dozier brought the Dynamic Duo to a bigger audience in a full length theatrical feature film based on Bob Kane's comic strip and the television series of the same title that roared into cinemas in August of 1966 released by Greenway Productions and Twentieth Century-Fox.
What made BATMAN so successful during it's first two seasons was the general structure of the series stayed true to Bob Kane's original comics. Millionaire Bruce Wayne/Batman(Adam West),and his young ward Dick Grayson/Robin(Burt Ward)were individually as the Caped Crusader and the Boy Wonder as they waged an endless battle against the villains who plagued Gotham City. The only person who knew there true identity was Alfred Pennyworrth(Alan Napier). In addition to the underground Bat Cave,where every device was carefully labeled with it's function along with the fabulous Bat Lab,they used a marvelously equipped car,the Bat Mobile to chase and apprehend criminals. Whenever there services were needed,Police Commissioner Gordon(Neil Hamilton),along with Chief O'Hara(Stafford Repp) could summon them with the searchlight-like Bat Signal or call them on the special Bat Phone. There were other devices that Batman and Robin used to defeat criminals such as the Bat Shield just to name a few. There was also the Bat Boat and the Bat Copter as well. BATMAN became an overnight sensation when it premiered on January 12,1966 with the first episode "Hi Diddle Riddle"(with special guest villain Frank Gorshin) and the conclusion "Smack In The Middle"(airing January 13,1966),aired in two-part stories that ran on Wednesday and Thursday nights for all of Season 1 and most of Season 2. The climax of the first part left the pair being captured by that week's diabolical villain or villainess where they are left in a dire predicament or cliffhanger from which they would managed to extricate themselves from on the following night. From there,it became a monster hit. For it's first season,it was one of the top ten highest rated shows on television (It was in the top five of the Nielsens during its first 2 seasons),making huge stars of both Adam West and Burt Ward during it's era.
Appearing as a guest villain or villainess on the show became something of a status symbol. Out of the 30 or so villains that were guest stars on the show,only three were with it from the beginning to the end. Stars like Burgess Meredith(Penguin),Cesar Romero(Joker),Frank Gorshin(Riddler,and later on was played by John Astin). Other villains were Julie Newmar(Catwoman,and later on was played by Eartha Kitt),and Vincent Price(Egghead),and even the diabolical King Tut(Victor Buono). By the start of the third season,the ratings were slipping and the novelty was about to fade where the format was cut to a once a week format. A new superhero,Batgirl(Yvonne Craig) who regularly team with Batman and Robin to fight the villains and not to mention facing the villains wrath,didn't help in the ratings. By March 14,1968,the biggest television phenomenon of the mid-1960's was gone. NBC was set to pick up BATMAN in the fall of 1968 after ABC canceled it. NBC was ready to put the show back to a twice a week format for it's 1968-1969 season. The second format that NBC had for BATMAN was expanding the show to a full hour and having Adam West and Burt Ward in and Yvonne Craig out. There were other plans for turning this campy superhero show into a serious crime drama,which basically fell through by the executives at NBC. However,that plan also failed,and NBC rejected the idea of picking up the series from ABC. For the 1968-1969 season, ABC didn't waste any time finding a replacement for the now canceled BATMAN. The show that replaced it? The Ugliest Girl In Town.