Cesar Romero's Joker laugh was created almost by accident. Shortly after being cast, Romero met with producers to discuss his role on his series. While waiting to meet with them, Romero happened to see conceptual art of Joker's costuming. Romero felt the pictures almost looked absurd, and as a result spontaneously broke out into a playfully loud and almost manic laughter. A producer overhearing it responded by telling Romero "That's it, that's your Joker's laugh!"
The "Giant Lighted Lucite Map of Gotham City" is a reverse image of St. Louis, right down to Forest Park, Fairground Park, Tower Grove Park, Lafayette Park, and Horseshoe Lake on the Illinois side, as well as the other river and road networks.
Famously, Otto Preminger was kept locked out of his house by his grandchildren until he agreed to be cast on the series as Mr Freeze. Likewise, Eli Wallach successfully sought his guest role on the series at the urging of his children, and Tallulah Bankhead saw appearing on the series as an opportunity to entertain her grandchildren. Julie Newmar was visiting her brother at his College in New York when first contacted with the offer to play Catwoman. A group of her brother's friends were regular watchers of the series and after consultation convinced her to take the part.
The Batmobile was a customized 1955 Lincoln Futura, which had been used in the film It Started with a Kiss (1959). According to Barris, there were five Batmobiles made during the 1966-1968 run of the Batman series.
Because of a contract dispute, Frank Gorshin missed one episode and was replaced by John Astin. Also, the episode featuring the villain "The Puzzler" was originally written to feature The Riddler. Gorshin did return for one episode in the final season.
When the series premiered, Alfred had been "killed off" a few years earlier in the comic book series. However, when the producers announced that they intended to make Alfred a regular character, he was brought back to life in the comic book as well.
According to Adam West, then US Attorney General (later Senator) Robert F. Kennedy was a fan of the show. Attempts were made to have him make a cameo as a character named Attorney General, but details could not be worked out.
The Batcave set was built on the exact spot where the Skull Island Gate was located in the original King Kong (1933). This was pointed out by a visitor to the set who had served as a technician on "Kong".
After ABC canceled the series, the producers waited to see if anyone else would pick it up, then bulldozed the Batcave set when it appeared nobody would. Two weeks later, NBC offered to pick it up, unaware that the set had already been dismantled; unwilling to invest in the high cost of rebuilding the entire set, NBC ultimately declined to acquire the series.
The Shakespeare bust used to slide open the bookcase and expose the Bat-poles had an electric switch that couldn't open the bookcase, but it did turn on a light behind the set to signal the crew to slide it open.
The scene of the Batmobile leaving the Batcave was filmed at Bronson Cavern in Hollywood Hills. A problem run into when filming the scene was that the Batmobile was just about the same width as the cave entrance. To keep from ripping the fenders off of George Barris' creation, they undercranked the cameras so it could come out slowly and then later sped up the film to give the illusion of speed.
The Batmobile turntable in the Batcave was not powered, as watching the show would have you believe. It did rotate, but only with the help of six crewmen out of camera range. They pushed the car around 180 degrees on the platform. As with most of the effects, they only had to shoot the scene one time then added it where needed.
The National Safety Council brought up the safety issue in the Batmobile. They wanted to know why the Batmobile was not fitted with seat belts. The producers answered that question by having Batman and Robin "buckling up" before they tore out of the Batcave.
Originally conceived by ABC as a serious dramatic show, at one point Mike Henry (best known as one of many actors to play Tarzan) did publicity photographs in the role. According to Adam West, a nervous ABC required the producers to hold test screenings of the show, one with a laugh track added, the other with additional narration. Neither alteration was successful.
Burgess Meredith had not smoked in 20 years when he was cast as the Penguin. He came up with the Penguin's distinctive squawking sound because the cigarettes were irritating his throat. Like his trademark "quack", the Penguin's waddling was largely a result of improvisation by Burgess Meredith.
Some of the jokes in modern-day culture about Batman being gay started with Dr. Frederic Wertham's book in 1953 that claimed that comic books were teaching immorality to children and targeted Batman and Robin as symbols of homosexuality. Adam West strongly rallied against these insinuations and insisted that it was never on any of the show creators' minds.
Three major villains from the comic book were never used in the television show: Poison Ivy, Scarecrow, and Two-Face, although the latter was almost used. He was considered for the show before its cancellation. The theme of the character was to be a TV commentator who has a TV tube blow up in his face (as the character's original origin - Gotham D.A. Harvey Dent has a vial of acid hurled at his face in court by volatile mob boss Salvatore 'The Boss' Maroni during his trial - would have been too gruesome for television at the time). Ultimately, the character did not appear on the series. Eventually, all of them would see live-action incarnations: Ivy in Batman & Robin (1997); Scarecrow in Batman Begins (2005); and Two-Face in Batman Forever (1995) and The Dark Knight (2008).
In 1974 Yvonne Craig and Burt Ward reprised their roles as Batgirl and Robin for a US Department of Labor PSA advocating Equal Pay for Women. Adam West, wishing to distance himself from the role, turned the PSA down, and Batman was played by Richard Gautier.
This was one of the "in" shows to appear on if you were a big name in Hollywood during the 1960s, and many top names guested on the show, including many who didn't do much TV otherwise. Those performers who weren't cast as guest villains could frequently be seen popping their heads out of windows to exchange a few words with Batman and Robin when the latter would be climbing up a building wall. Frank Sinatra, Natalie Wood, and Cary Grant were all fans of the show, and wanted to be on it, but the producers were never able to come up with the right roles for any of them. During the run of the series, this show crossed over with The Green Hornet (1966). The Green Hornet (Van Williams) and Kato (Bruce Lee) teamed up with the Dynamic Duo in one episode, and did a window cameo in another.
Batman creator Bob Kane noted that this series saved the Batman comic series from cancellation when the show revived the character's popularity. Despite this, most comic fans despised this series for stereotyping superheroes and comics as campy nonsense. Furthermore, soon after the show was canceled, the character's comic series took on a dark and deadly serious tone that was reminiscent of the original comics in the late 1930's as a reaction to the TV show's light touch.
Before season three, a promotional short was filmed with Yvonne Craig as Batgirl and Tim Herbert as Killer Moth. The short was convincing enough for ABC to pick up Batman for another year with the thought being that Batgirl would attract more female viewers.
Chief O'Hara's first name is never revealed on the series. According to some sources his first name is either Miles or Clancy. Likewise, Commissioner Gordon's first name (James/Jim) is never used. Alfred's last name was never revealed on the show. In the comics, and other adaptations, his last name is established as Pennyworth. The real names of the Riddler, Penguin and Catwoman (Edward Nigma, Oswald Cobblepot and Selina Kyle respectively) were never used or referred to. The only villain who was ever called by his real name (Jarvis Tetch) was the Mad Hatter.
During the show's run on The Hub, the episodes An Egg Grows In Gotham/The Yegg Foes In Gotham and The Great Escape/The Great Train Robbery were not aired by the network. This was likely due to sensitivities regarding the depiction of Native American characters in the episodes.
While most of the villains were from Batman comics, a handful originated as enemies of other heroes. The Archer and The Puzzler were villains from Superman stories, and Clock King was originally an enemy of Green Arrow.
Aired from January 12, 1966 to March 14, 1968 on ABC for 120 episodes. It was one of few TV series to be seen on 2 different nights a week: 7:30 Wednesdays AND Thursdays. It remained there for a season and a half (Jan. 1966-Aug. 1967) until it was moved back once a week (Thursdays 7:30) for its final season. The episodes were generally two-parters: Wednesday's episode was a cliffhanger, resolved in Thursday's episode. The 1966-1967 season had 2 3-parter episodes ("The Zodiac Crimes/The Joker's Hard Times/The Penguin Declines"[ep. #2.37-9, 1/11-12 & 18/1967] and "Penguin is a Girl's Best Friend/Penguin Sets a Trend/Penguin's Disastrous End"[ep. #2.42-4, 1/26/, 2/1 & 2/1967]) which left cliffhangers that would be solved the following week. When the series was reduced to (mostly) one part episodes during season three, the cliffhanger death traps and threats were still used, but greatly scaled back and occurring at the middle commercial break.
Madge Blake became seriously ill just before filming on the third and final season commenced, causing her to leave the series. However, she is briefly seen as Aunt Harriet in th "Ring Around the Riddler" and in the three-part Lord Ffogg/Londinium story arc. Aunt Harriet was written out during season three for a number of reasons; one was declining health of Blake, who was also continually frustrating producers and directors with stammering or forgetting her lines. Blake was also let go due to the budgetary cutbacks that occurred for that season. For the most part, Aunt Harriet was said to be away on various overseas vacation trips during season three.
At the end of season three, ABC planned to cut the budget by eliminating Chief O'Hara and Robin. Batgirl would then become Batman's full-time partner. Both William Dozier and Adam West were opposed to the idea. ABC canceled the show a short time later.
According to Adam West, because of the show's popularity, he was offered the role of James Bond for On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969). He declined because he felt the role should go to a British actor. Ironically, the role wound up going to Australian actor George Lazenby.
Cesar Romero guest-starred on Bonanza: The Deadliest Game (1965) as the head of a trapeze troupe; moreover, he does his act as a clown. Romero's most infamous role as the Joker, Clown Prince of Crime, in Batman (1966), whose second main hero, Robin had origin in a trapeze troupe with his family, The Flying Graysons.
Despite the show's popularity, it has never been released on DVD. This is due to a rights dispute between 20th Century Fox, who produced the show, and Time-Warner, who own the character's publisher, DC Comics. Recently, rumors have speculated that Fox has no dispute with Warner Bros. or visa versa regarding the release of the series on DVD, the problem seems to stem from the work-for-hire companies the producers brought in to build the sets, among them being George Barris who designed the Batmobile. Their consent would be needed.
Chief O'Hara was a creation of the producers for the TV series. DC Comics would eventually adapt O'Hara for use in the Batman comics as well. DC Comics adapted King Tut, created for the television series, for use during the 2000's. In addition, King Tut likely inspired Maxie Zeus, a villain introduced in the comics during the 1980's.
Shortly after the series began to air in England, several children were hurt while "flying" out of windows trying to emulate Batman. An announcement by Adam West in the role of Batman was filmed to discourage children from the practice, and made it clear he himself could not "fly".
No origin story was shown as Batman and Robin were portrayed as established crime fighters from the start of the series. The pilot and a couple of other early episodes made references to Batman's origin story, though never to that of Robin.
Batman was not the first, or only, choice of character when producers decided to do a TV series based on a comic book or strip. Producers surveyed the public about which character they'd like to see a TV series based on, and other options included Superman, Dick Tracy, The Green Hornet, The Phantom, and Little Orphan Annie. Batman finished highest on the list among characters whose rights were available and obtainable at the time.
ABC initially ordered the series for the 1966-67 TV season. However finding themselves in desperate need of programming, the network decided to add the show as a mid-season replacement in January 1966.
The role of Mayor Linseed, played by actor Byron Keith in 10 episodes of the series, was a play on the name of John V. Lindsay, who was the mayor of New York City (i.e., the real Gotham City) during the time this show was on the air.
In some episodes, references are made to an unseen Governor Stonefellow, who at times Commissioner Gordon is seen on the phone with, or having said to have been in contact with. Governor Stonefellow's name was a play on that of then Governor Nelson Rockefeller of New York, as Gotham was based on New York City.
Based on a comic book or strip. Producers surveyed the public about which character they'd like to see a TV series based on, and other options included Superman, Dick Tracy, The Green Hornet, The Phantom, and Little Orphan Annie. Batman finished highest on the list among characters whose rights were available and obtainable at the time.
Debuted as part of ABC's "Second Season" promotional campaign for four new series that replaced recently canceled ones. However, it was the only one of the four to be renewed for another season. The other three series were The Double Life of Henry Phyfe (1966), Blue Light (1966) and The Baron (1966) (a British import whose first season was carried over into 1967). All four series were presented in color. The "in color" aspect of this campaign resulted in no new ABC series being broadcast in black and white from January 1966 on. (Although any series that were already in black and white before 1966 continued until September.)