Batman (TV series)
|Country of production||United States|
|Episodes||120 in 3 seasons ( list )|
|First broadcast||January 12, 1966 (USA) on ABC|
|October 1, 1989 on Sat.1|
Batman is a US television series from the 1960s. The series consisted of 120 episodes with a duration of 25 minutes each. The main characters in the series are the "dynamic duo" Batman and Robin . In 1976 the series was continued with a case for Batman (original title: The New Adventures of Batman ) in cartoon form, the cartoon characters in the original were spoken by the respective actors of the real series.
The series first aired on ABC from 1966 to 1968. The station needed a special television series and had a choice of three superheroes to bring to the screen: Superman , Dick Tracy, and Batman , whichever was chosen. The series was initially very complex and expensive to produce and celebrated great success. As the ratings got worse towards the end of the second season, the budget for the third season was cut. The sets were equipped more Spartan and the cast was expanded to include Batgirl as a new character. This should bring a breath of fresh air into the series. After the third season, it was canceled.
In 1966, a feature film called Batman Holds the World in Suspense was shot with the original cast of the series. The series was first broadcast in Germany in 1989.
The synchronization of the series was created at Studio Hamburg Synchron based on a dialogue book and under the dialogue direction of Matthias Grimm . In the German version of the series, he also acted as the off-narrator of the plot. In the original version, producer William Dozier did this.
Heroes and their allies
|Batman / Bruce Wayne||Adam West||
Michael Chevalier (film)
|Robin / Dick Grayson||Burt Ward||
Ulli Lommel (film)
|Batgirl / Barbara Gordon||Yvonne Craig||Gabriele Libbach|
|Alfred Pennyworth||Alan Napier||
Helmut Heyne (film)
|Commissioner James Gordon||Neil Hamilton||
Kurt Waitzmann (film)
|Chief O'Hara||Stafford Repp||Harald Halgardt|
|Aunt Harriet Cooper||Madge Blake||Verena Wiet|
Each episode basically has the same sequence: A normal story always begins with the villains committing a crime ( bank robbery , burglary , robbery , etc.). This is followed by a cut to the police headquarters , where Commissioner Gordon is discussing with Chief O'Hara which criminal they are facing this time. Gordon then presses the Batphone to call Batman aka Bruce Wayne at Wayne Manor. There the butler Alfred takes the call (the Batphone, a red device with a call button, is like a normal telephone on the desk in Bruce Wayne's study!). Alfred hurries to get "Master Bruce" and his "ward", that is, adoptive son, Dick Grayson, who are mostly busy with Aunt Harriet (talking, playing chess , etc.). The two heroes disappear into the study under a pretext, press a hidden button in the statuette of William Shakespeare , whereupon the bookshelf shifts and two rods, the batpoles, appear. Bruce and Dick slide down this into the Batcave, where they arrive in their hero costumes thanks to an automatic dressing device. Mostly the opening title now follows.
In the Batcave, Batman and Robin jump into the Batmobile and rush into Commissioner Gordon's office. In a short conversation the heroes find out where the villain's hiding place is or what he is aiming for next time. The villains are usually made up of the main opponent, a woman acting as a gangster bride (who usually has a name that matches the hiding place, topic or main opponent; if the opponent is a woman, this part is not applicable) and at least two henchmen. The shelter is almost always in closed or closed institutions (factories, shops, public institutions, ...). Batman and Robin set the villain, but are initially lured into a nasty trap. With this cliffhanger, the episode often ends at the moment of greatest danger for the two heroes. Otherwise, the heroes can break free and escape at the last second at the beginning of the following episode. The dynamic duo then exposes the real plan of the crooks and puts it into practice. Finally, in the finale, there is a big brawl, with the villain and his gang being defeated.
In the third season Batgirl was introduced due to falling audience figures, she should inspire more female fans for the series. Batgirl was Barbara Gordon, the daughter of Commissioner Gordon. Only Alfred knew of their secret identity, but did not tell Batman and Robin about it. At the same time, the role of the simple-minded Aunt Harriet was reduced.
Self-irony of the series
The series shows a not inconsiderable amount of self-irony and many allusions to the invincible series and film heroes, who were more and more popular in the mid-1960s.
The equipment of the bat belt, its helpful equipment such. B. the baterang were taken from the comics, takes on oversized proportions. Whatever danger Batman and Robin are confronted with, the Bat Belt provides the right antidote. The anti-shark bat spray is used against a stuck shark, a hinged bat armor shield protects against the machine gun volleys from a penguin trick umbrella (with enough space for Batman and Robin); The Bat handkerchief brings relief even with a cold. Many of these devices are allusions to James Bond, who was becoming increasingly popular at the time, and his weapons (inventions by Q).
Even if the bat belt does not offer a suitable defense against a super villain, the subtle authors come up with other absurd ideas for saving Batman and Robin, such as Bat thermal underwear against the frost attacks of super opponent Mr. Freeze or Batman's acid-resistant cloak for a bath To escape sulfuric acid.
Another, recurring stylistic device that is borrowed from the picture comics is onomatopoeia : colored speech, thought and noise bubbles such as "OUCH!", "BOING!", "CRUSH!", "SPLAT!" “... to visually dynamize the cinematic plot.
End of series
At the end of the third season, ratings dropped and ABC was forced to cut costs.
Already at the beginning of the third season, the respective actions were tightened, with the result that the double episodes, which were otherwise divided into two episodes, were limited to a half-hour episode. In addition, at the end of each episode there was a reference to the main opponent in the next episode. Double episodes were rarely filmed, and the number of external shoots was reduced to a minimum. In some cases, scenes that were actually played outdoors were shot in a black studio equipped with sparse props. The interior shoots were handled in a similar way - the sets looked downright spartan due to the few accessories. All in all, the innovations increased the series' trash factor many times over.
It was also planned to delete Chief O'Hara and Robin without replacement and make Batgirl Batman's only partner. Inventors Dozier and Adam West spoke out against it, and so the show was canceled entirely. NBC wanted to save the series, but the sets have already been torn down. The cost of rebuilding the sets was too high for NBC; so there was no new edition of the series.
- For the cast of the series, the producers went through various options. In addition to Adam West, Lyle Wagoner was also intended for the part of Batman, Peter R. J. Deyell should play Robin. However, both could not prevail after test shots. Actress Mary Ann Mobley has been considered for the role as Batgirl. On the side of the opponents, plans were made for a while with Spencer Tracy and Mickey Rooney for the part as Penguin, but both refused. José Ferrer , Gig Young and Frank Sinatra were discussed as jokers, and Suzanne Pleshette, among others, for the role of Catwoman .
- Robin says a sentence several times in each episode, beginning with "Saint ..." and ending with "Batman".
- Batman wears an almost unbelievable variety of devices in his belt (including the Batarang and the Bat-Anti- Shark Spray ).
- Almost all the heroes' equipment are labeled with signs and all have the addition "Bat-", such as B. the "Batleiter", "Batbrush" or the "Batschaufel". However, this also applied to the rest of their series universe: so were u. a. Rear exits of prisons and secret access hatches are marked accordingly.
- The Batmobile is actually a 1955 Lincoln Futura that was converted for the series and optically upgraded with superhero gimmicks. A total of five copies were built for the shooting. The Batmobile was also powered by a (not real) nuclear reactor . The series also made reference to the importance of seat belts , although it was not until 1968 that seat belts were compulsory in the USA. Because of this, the scenes were shot where you can see that Batman and Robin always buckle up before starting their journey.
- While Batman and Robin climbed along the walls of houses, the two often encounter a few guest stars (e.g. Jerry Lewis , Dick Clark , Bruce Lee , Sammy Davis Jr. , Werner Klemperer , Ted Cassidy (Lurch from the Addams Family ) and Edward G. Robinson ). This went down in television history as the "Batclimb".
- Cesar Romero refused to shave off his mustache for the role of the Joker, as this was characteristic of his image as a "Latin lover". So the beard was simply whitewashed with white make-up.
- Riddler actor Frank Gorshin was not available during the filming of the second season - rumored to be due to contractual inconsistencies. Since at least two episodes had puzzles, they had to improvise: in Riddler's secret weapon (Batman's Anniversary / A Riddling Controversy) his part was played by John Astin . And the script for Über den Wolken (The Puzzles are coming / The duo is slumming) also originally envisaged the Riddler as Batman's opponent. Here, however, Gorshin's role was completely deleted and instead the "Puzzler" embodied by Maurice Evans (actually a villain from the Superman universe) was introduced as a one-off opponent. The original idea shimmered through again and again: As a puzzler, Evans had a character like the Riddler. When Jim Carrey wanted to use an alias as Edward Nygma in Batman Forever , he also called the name "Puzzler".
- William Dozier and Howard Horowitz both made cameo appearances on the very last episode of the series.
- In the series, many at the time unknown actors appeared in minor supporting roles, including Jill St. John , Nancy Kovack , James Brolin , Grace Lee Whitney and Danny Aiello . In addition, there were several guest appearances by well-known greats in the music business: in addition to Liberace as an opponent in a double role, the well-known pop duo Chad & Jeremy also appeared as they themselves in the double episode Der Voices (The Cat's Meow / The Bat's Kow Tow) . The famous singer Lesley Gore ("It's my Party") played a special part . She played "Pussycat", one of Catwoman's assistants.
- At the same time as “Batman”, many other well-known television series were shot in the same studios at the time of production, for example “ Raumschiff Enterprise ”, “ Kobra, you take over ” or “ Crazy Wild West ”. Therefore, some of the actors worked many times in the series mentioned.
- Tallulah Bankhead can be seen in her final role as the super villain "Black Widow".
- During the shooting, there were efforts to integrate the villain " Two-Face " into the series. However, not as in the comics as the alter ego of the disfigured public prosecutor Harvey Dent, but as a crippled television reporter whose face has been disfigured by an exploded studio spotlight . These plans could no longer be realized because the series was discontinued. Interesting in this context: the character was supposed to be played by Clint Eastwood . Two-Face was not used as an opponent until the 1995 and 2008 films .
- Real criminals were also hinted at in the series. "Ma Parker," a crook who commits crimes with her children, was inspired by Ma Barker , who ran a real criminal family in the United States in the 1930s .
- In the double episode The False Face (True or False Face / Super Rat Race) appeared as Batman's opponent "False Face", a criminal with changing masquerades, whose true face was never seen. A big secret was made about the character in advance, as the production company obviously wanted to create tension around a possibly important actor behind the mask. Therefore, instead of the name in question, there was only a question mark in the initial credits. In the credits, however, Malachi Throne , a well-known supporting actor, was revealed to star in False Face. Throne can also be seen unmasked as one of False Face masquerades.
- In the double episode The Green Hornet (A Piece Of The Action / Batman's Satisfaction) there is a crossover with the series The Green Hornet . Van Williams and kung fu legend Bruce Lee alias Green Hornet & Kato meet their "colleagues" in the dynamic duo as crime hunters. At first thought to be villains by Batman, both sides come together.
- The villain "Clock King" was taken from the Green Arrow comics.
- Catwoman actress Julie Newmar dropped out of the series after the end of season two and was replaced by Eartha Kitt. For the penultimate episode of the series, Dr. Cassandra's witch kitchen , in which all of the major opponents Batman's cameo appearances (though not played by their original actors), Catwoman was modeled after Julie Newmar.
- Magde Blake, who played Aunt Harriet, suffered a serious illness towards the end of the second season, which is why she left the series before the third season began shooting. However, she completed two guest appearances this season: in the episode "Ring free for the Riddler" and the three-part series "Fog over Londinium".
- The theme tune of the series was used in the popular arcade game City Connection .
- Hans Sievers, the German voice of the Joker, also speaks the part of the "clown prince of crime" in the Batman cartoon series. Rolf Becker also spoke the penguin in both series. The same applies to Manfred Reddemann (Riddler). This is probably also due to the fact that both series were edited by the same dubbing director, Matthias Grim.
- The original scenery of the police station and the courthouse is still in the Warner Brothers Studios in Hollywood.
- In the English original, Adam West and Burt Ward took their roles as Batman / Bruce Wayne and Robin / Dick Grayson, respectively, in the animated sequel A Case for Batman again. After the short-lived series A Case for Batman was discontinued , Adam West also took over the English original in the last two Super Friends seasons Super Friends: The Legendary Super Powers Show (1984/85) and The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardian (1985 / 86) the dubbing of Batman. The German version of Ein Fall für Batman also has the original voice actors for all characters in the series.
- Because of a legal battle between 20th Century Fox and Time Warner , the series was only released on Blu-Ray and DVD in November 2014.
In 2003 , decades after the series ended, the television special "Return to the Batcave: The Misadventures of Adam and Burt" was shot for American television . In the film, the aging Adam West and Burt Ward play themselves. They are lured at short notice with a fake invitation from a conspicuously giggling stranger to a charitable event at which the original Batmobile from the 1960s is to be auctioned. When the Batmobile was stolen during the event, the former dynamic duo took on the matter themselves and went looking for it. In doing so, they have to think back to the production time of the series to find clues about the crime. The flashbacks range from the casting to the cancellation of the series and offer an amusing glimpse behind the scenes of the series. In addition to West and Ward, the special, which parodies and pokes fun at the series at the time, also features original riddler Frank Gorshin and the Catwoman actresses Julie Newmar and Lee Meriwether.