"To the bat poles, Robin!"
"Atomic batteries to power, turbines to speed!"
"Holy Bargain Basements, Batman!!"
The Batman television series that ran from 1966-1968 and then in syndication for many years forged the cornerstone of my personality, my sense of humor, and my ideas about popular culture.
I owned many of the toys (seen in today's blog entry). I dressed as Batman not only for Halloween but for playtime in a cape my mother made for me.
Even better, my house had bat poles.
When my father designed our West Gull Lake Drive house, he added a 43-foot sliding pole (37 feet from the floor of the fourth floor to the basement floor). The house was finished in 1979 and where I lived (except for my years in college) until 2003, and then again with my wife and kids from 2009 to 2011. I have added pictures here. For 26 years of my life, I could say "to the Bat Poles, Robin" and actually take the slide. I miss that house. I miss the bat pole. My father used the Tower room as his office for most of the years we lived there, though originally (for the first year or three) it was a TV room. From 2009-2011, I made my office on the fourth floor or the "Tower" room. When the washer or dryer buzzed or my wife came home, I could skip the stairs and shoot down the bat pole. Such, a great life.
To examine the importance of the Batman TV show I present the top ten reasons that I loved the show. These may work for you, too, if like me, you grew up with this show.
TOP TEN REASONS TO LOVE THE BATMAN TV SHOW (circa 1966)
- BATMAN THEME SONG
- "HOLY EXPLETIVE, BATMAN!"
- EVERYTHING NAMED BAT - BAT GADGETS - THE BAT POLES
- THE SECRET ENTRANCES & OTHER COOL STUFF
- BAT GIRL
- THE VILLAINS (& cliffhangers)
- SCALING THE BUILDINGS
- THE TOYS - MERCHANDISING
- BATMAN AND ROBIN (CAPES ARE COOL)
TOP TEN REASONS TO LOVE THE BATMAN TV SHOW (circa 1966)
EXPOSITIONS AND RHETORIC
1. BATMAN THEME SONG
Written by Neal Hefti, the song captured the Zeitgeist of the times with its guitar hook bringing together soy film scores (such as James Bond films) and surf music. I remember frugging out hard to the song every time the show came on the air. I would flail about the room like a spazz. Come on, I was only four years old when this show debuted. But between its original run and syndication, and then later covers by bands such as the Who and the Jam, I have always had this song in my life.
It is definitely one of the best theme songs in TV history/
READ MORE: Bat Theme Wikipedia
Of course, someone has collected all of Robin's sayings at an Internet site. Such resources. Back in "the day," we would have to do this ourselves. I have partial lists of these and McCoy's "I'm a doctor not a..." in my journals.
"Holy Bargain Basements, Batman!" is one of the best.
Robin's wacky sayings have been collected here: Holy Smokes, Batman!
Okay, I am just going to write this one statement and leave it alone without further embellishment.
Julie Newmar's Catwoman had a profound effect on my views about sexuality, femininity, and my attractions to women.
This video is an interesting tribute. Give it a look. Some fans wrote their own song, which seems dedicated to Newmar's Catwoman. Though other actresses played Catwoman in the original TV Series and the movie, and those these actresses (Lee Meriwether and Eartha Kitt), it is really no contest. Julie Newmar was the best.
But I promised not to elaborate.
I will let the pictures and the video speak for themselves.
Okay, one other thing, during these formative years, my views about women and sexuality were also affected by Batgirl (see upcoming item below) and the women of Star Trek.
For more of Julie Newmar without the over-dubbed song:
4. EVERYTHING NAMED BAT - BAT GADGETS - THE BAT POLES - Secret Entrances etc.
As I mentioned before, we had bat poles at my house in Richland. The "bat pole" is pictured here. In the first photo, I tried to capture its length with what it looked like before you hopped on to slide down it.
In the second photo, I shot the top of the pole where one hopped on in the "Tower" room, the fourth floor of the house.
When I was younger, in the house before this one (the West Gull Lake Drive house), in the 7070 Hazelwood house, I always talked about having a trap door in my room and either a rope ladder to my "secret room" in the basement or just a bat pole behind a secret door in a bookcase, very much like the set up in the Wayne Manor of the Batman TV series.
Obviously, these influences are clear. Bat poles, the secret bookcase, the trip switch in the bust of Shakespeare, the secret entrance to the Bat Cave covered by the detour sign. All these things were what I wanted in my own house some day. I think it's great that my father architect decided to install a bat pole in our house in 1979.
Everything named "Bat" was also a very powerful motif from the show. The idea was simple enough that it was easily imitated by children playing everywhere. If you're a super hero like Batman, and you invent cool gizmos and gadgets, you're going to name them all with the "Bat" brand: Bat Phone, Bat Signal, Batmobile, Bat Helicopter, Batarang, and my personal favorite: the Bat Shark Repellent.
This is a link to the serious Batman gadgets, with more emphasis on the recent Dark Knight films.
But there are sites devoted to the old show, too, such as
THE BAT BLOG
or for those who like chat:
THE 1966 BATMAN MESSAGE BOARD
Supposedly, the good people of the message board created a video of all the gadgets. Drill into the site if you want to know more.
There's also a good list of gadgets in the BATMOBILE in the BATMAN WIKIA.
The original Batmobile was auctioned off in January of 2013. Read about it here.
How cool to have one's name on everything. Kind of like "Tower Room" and "Tower House" and "Tower Phone" and...
5. DEATH TRAPS AND CLIFFHANGERS
The original Batman TV shows were very formulaic. Often Batman and/or Robin were caught in a death trap at the end of the episode. The cliffhangers would often be resolved in the next episode. This motif kept viewers watching and arranging their days and nights to catch the next episode at "the same bat time and same bat channel."
Comic books often use the same idea to keep people reading.
6. BAT GIRL
You know what I wrote about Catwoman? Ditto Batgirl. Yvonne Craig who played Batgirl also played the green skinned Orion Slave girl in the original Star Trek episode "Whom the Gods Destroy."
But with Batgirl, the comic book company and TV show created a crime fighting girlfriend for Robin. How cool would it be to have a crime fighting girlfriend?
Great video collecting Batgirl clips for the third season of the Batman TV show.
7. THE VILLAINS
The Batman show featured all sorts of wonderful villains with great performers playing them. In addition to the great Julie Newmar as Catwoman, there were the others for the big four: The Joker (Cesar Romero), the Penguin (Burgess Meredith), and the Riddler (Frank Gorshin and John Astin).
There were many other greats who appeared on the show, such as Milton Berle, Michael Rennie, Anne Baxter, Joan Collins, Eli Wallach, Tallulah Bankhead, Art Carney, Roddy McDowell, Liberace, Shelley Winters, Vincent Price, and so many more.
Life is always interesting with such interesting people in it. This is also true of the next item.
8. SCALING THE BUILDINGS - CAMEOS
Of course, someone has collected all the window cameos. Hilarious!!
|Also, my picture.|
|This is a picture of my toys. CLOSE UP.|
I still have the Bat Cave playset pictured here, which is currently on display as a cool pop culture artifact in my step-son's bedroom.
I shared pictures of myself with the Bat Phone. I also own the Bat Utility Belt pictured here on the entry elsewhere, though I am not sure where it is, though I kept the bat cuffs hanging from a light fixture for many years.
This kid in the photo with the Bat Cave could have been me.
I played with Bat toys for countless hours as a child.
The Batman and Robin figures feature wonderful detail in the way they are painted. I am sad that the uniform emblems have worn away.
10. BATMAN AND ROBIN (CAPES ARE COOL)
The toys in the play set show Batman's plastic cape and its cool curve that makes my point well.
But the capes are cool as the flow and fly. My mother made me a Batman cape and I used a small yellow baby blanket when I wanted to be Robin. I still have the bat cape somewhere.
I was Batman many times for Halloween.
MORE BATMAN TV SHOW RESOURCES
BATMAN 1966 WIKI
BATMAN 1966 IMDB
A GREAT FAN SITE: Bat Mania
BATMAN 1966 YOU TUBE CHANNEL
Note - there are many videos of these shows on You Tube because for a long time since there were no commercial releases of the episodes.
For instance, this appears to be the first episode.
DC is doing a 1966 Batman comic and then there will be new TOYS. They are already solicited.
Do you have great love for this old show? Leave a comment.
- chris tower - 1306.23 - 11:24