In Adam West’s 1994 book, Back to the Batcave, the actor revealed that Batman‘s pilot episode scored in the high 40s, “the worst score in the history of pilot testing.” (The average score for pilots was in the 60s.) The producers made adjustments, adding such things as narration and a laugh track, but the test scores remained unchanged after the show was retested. New special effects were added to the production, and ABC decided to stick with it. In 1966, the same year that the show debuted, a Batman film was released. The first full-length Batman movie, it premiered in theaters two months after the first season of the TV show concluded. Almost all of the show’s regulars starred in the film; Adam West played Batman, Burt Ward played Robin, Cesar Romero played The Joker, Burgess Meredith played The Penguin, and Frank Gorshin played The Riddler.
Lee Meriwether, who got the role of Catwoman — Julie Newmar played Catwoman in the first two seasons of the show — later appeared in two episodes of the series as Lisa Carson. Batman consisted of 34 episodes per season, with two episodes airing each week. This meant a heck of a lot of work for West and Ward. Even so, Ward was upset to discover he was only being paid $350 a week, which was pretty meager in comparison to his co-star. The Batman comic books had been running since the 30s, and were still in full swing when the show was airing. The character of Alfred the Butler had been killed off in the comics a few months before the series premiered, but when the producers revealed they were including Alfred and Aunt Harriet in the show, he was resurrected for the comics.
The actor who played Alfred, Alan Napier, had never heard of Batman before taking the role.
If you remember the scenes with the villains on Batman — and let’s face it, the villains were the real scene stealers — then you will remember the slanted camera angles. Every time the viewer is taken into a villain’s lair, the camera angle becomes tilted or crooked. This was in order to show the crooked nature of these dastardly criminals. Another memorable trope from the series is the never-ending stream of crazy gadgets Batman used, and they usually had the word “bat” attached to them. There was the “brain wave bat analyzer,” “bulletproof bat shields, “bat shark repellent,” and “batcillin,” the hilarious Batman version of penicillin.
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By John Spearman