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Batman (TV Series 1966–1968) Poster

(1966–1968)

Trivia

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.
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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.
A total of 352 "Holy" words were used by Robin from "Holy Agility" to "Holy Zorro".
The Riddler was just a minor and forgettable villain in the comics. This series is responsible for turning him into one of the most popular villains in Batman's rogues gallery.
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!"
Mickey Rooney turned down an offer to play The Penguin. Spencer Tracy was offered the role, but he said he would only take the part if he could kill Batman.
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 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".
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.
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, as he found it difficult to stand and walk straight while wearing the rubber padded fat suit that was part of his costuming.
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.
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.
Batman: The Animated Series (1992) did a tribute to Adam West called Batman: The Animated Series: Beware the Gray Ghost (1992). West portrayed an actor that was known for the superhero role he played a long time ago but has been struggling to find work ever since that series ended because of producers typecasting him.
Each main villain had their own theme music.
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.
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.
Before going on the air, this show received the worst audience test scores in the history of ABC. It only went on the air because so much money had already been invested in it.
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.
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.
In all the scenes of the villains' hideouts, the camera filmed at an angle or "crooked". This shot is known as an "oblique" or "dutch" angle. This was because all the villains were also crooked and it gives a sense of something being wrong in the scene/shot.
Frank Gorshin disliked wearing the Riddler's skin-tight outfit and a Riddler business suit was designed for him to wear. This suit was later incorporated into the Batman comics.
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.
84 different word overlays were used during the fight scenes from "Bam" to "Kapow".
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.
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".
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.
Burt Ward has stated that he was badly injured several times while filming the show. He asserts that on numerous occasions he was burned and or struck by shrapnel when ill-conceived pyrotechnic effects went awry. In at least one other memorable incident, he was flung out of the Batmobile after his door flew open during a high speed turn.
In 1974 Yvonne Craig and Burt Ward reprised their roles as Batgirl and Robin, and William Dozier returned as narrator, 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 (still known at the time as "Dick Gautier").
Adam West has often referred to Batman as one of three big B's to made an impact during the sixties, the other two being The Beatles and (James) Bond.
Eartha Kitt took over the role of Catwoman in the final season because Julie Newmar was busy filming Mackenna's Gold (1969). Some of ABC's southern affiliates objected to the casting of Kitt, but Charles B. Fitzsimons' said he and the show's other producers didn't care about the issue.
The props used in this show (such as the computers and guns) also were used in Lost in Space (1965), The Time Tunnel (1966), Land of the Giants (1968), and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1964).
Mary Ann Mobley was the first choice to play Batgirl. Originally, the character was to have her own TV series which would lead-in to Batman each week.
Television shows of the era that filmed at the same studios often shared minor cast members. It is common to see familiar faces in episodes of Star Trek (1966), Batman (1966), Mission: Impossible (1966) and The Wild Wild West (1965).
In his autobiography, Adam West recalls that he became good friends with Frank Gorshin and Cliff Robertson (who costarred as Shame) and had a great deal of respect for Cesar Romero, Vincent Price, and Burgess Meredith. He described Alan Napier (Alfred) as a quiet and reserved man and found Neil Hamilton somewhat difficult to work with.
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.
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.
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.
Mr. Zero was renamed Mr. Freeze for this series. The named change eventually made its way into the comics as well.
Tallulah Bankhead's role as the Black Widow was her final on screen appearance.
When playing The Joker, Cesar Romero painted over his mustache rather than shave it off.
Burgess Meredith's role as The Penguin was one of the more popular guest roles, so much so that the producers actually had a script ready for him whenever he was in Los Angeles.
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 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 the first season, Burt Ward (Robin) was paid $350 per week.
Despite the show's popularity, it was not released on DVD until late 2014. This was supposedly due to a rights dispute between 20th Century Fox, who produced the show, and Time-Warner, who own the character's publisher, DC Comics.
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.
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.
The first show to hold two spots in the weekly Neilsen ratings every week, a feat not duplicated until Who Wants to Be a Millionaire (1999) over 30 years later.
José Ferrer and Gig Young were considered for the role of the Joker. Frank Sinatra also expressed interest in the role.
Suzanne Pleshette was one of the original choices to play Catwoman before Julie Newmar landed the role.
The uncredited narrator for the series is voiced by producer William Dozier. On the 1966 Original Televison Soundtrack Album, the narrator is identified as "Desmond Doomsday".
The character of Aunt Harriet was introduced in the comics in 1964 - eighteen months before the show first aired. Her appearance coincided with the killing off of Alfred the Butler.
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.
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.
Of all the villains portrayed on the television series, Mr. Freeze had the most actors portraying him: George Sanders, Otto Preminger and Eli Wallach. Catwoman had three actresses as well - Julie Newmar, Eartha Kitt, and Lee Meriwether (in the movie version).
The Joker and the Penguin are tied for the most stories written for them (10 each, with multi-episode stories counted as a single story). 19 villains, on the other hand, appeared in only one story.
Yvonne Craig has stated that she briefly did have a stunt double, but did most of her stunts herself. She actually operated the Batgirl Cycle herself as well. She was an accomplished biker at the time, and actually owned a bike.
Adam West, Burt Ward and Neil Hamilton are the only actors to appear in all 120 episodes of the series.
Adam West, Roddy McDowall, Bob Hastings, Barry Dennen, Steve Franken, Michael Pataki and Judy Strangis are the only actors to appear in both this series and Batman: The Animated Series (1992).
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.
Prior to his being cast for the show, Alan Napier had never heard of Batman and didn't know who the character was. As such, Napier was highly reticent to the idea of playing Alfred in a TV series that sounded ridiculous. However, when his agent mentioned the role could pay over $100,000, Napier immediately changed his mind and accepted the role.
During Season Three, each episode ended with a teaser featuring the next episode's villain.
Catwoman was the only major villain whose costume was completely different from the one seen in the comics. For a brief time, her costume was drawn in the comics to resemble the TV costume.
José Ferrer was originally cast as the Joker, but turned the part down shortly after. Ferrer was an uncle by marriage to George Clooney who played Batman/Bruce Wayne in Batman & Robin (1997).
Lesley Gore, who played one of Catwoman's Pussycats, and a "love-interest" for Robin in two episodes, had a Billboard hit with "It's My Party", and was the niece of one of the producers of the show.
Some of the 1966-7 episodes paired super-criminals with one another, following in the pattern of the theatrically released version of the series, Batman: The Movie (1966).
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Writer Stanley Ralph Ross named many characters (and settings) after friends and family members. In addition, Ross would use foreign words and phrases, some of them subtly dirty, in many scripts.
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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.
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The rotating "blur"/fanfare that occurs just before the opening "Batman" theme song is actually a rotated picture of the "START BUTTON" on the Batmobile's instrument console.
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Decades after the show's end, Cesar Romero claimed he had done the Joker's laugh so many times that it permanently altered his natural laugh.
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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.
The series was rushed into production, with props from one episode finding their way (sometimes erroneously) into another.
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Burt Ward often complained about personal safety issues, as he was often located near explosive effects and other pyrotechnics, with his costume offering little protection from any debris related to the effects. Ward also claimed that the flash from one onset explosion almost left him permanently blinded. Producers downplayed Ward's injury claims, feeling he was immature, and saying he would milk any injuries he suffered during the making of the series. Producers also believed that Ward's concerns about any damage to his body (particularly his face) were connected more to personal vanity rather than personal safety.
Three major villains from the comic book were never used in the television show: Poison Ivy (who was only introduced in the comics during the show's run, and was thus not one of the "major villains" at the time) 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).
Two sets of screen tests were filmed for the series, one with Adam West and Burt Ward, the other with Lyle Waggoner and Peter R.J. Deyell. The roles went to West and Ward. Waggoner would go on to star in another live-action adaptation of a DC comic, Wonder Woman.
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Batman and Robin's next seven television appearances (excluding shows that didn't follow this one) - The Batman/Superman Hour (1968) (and a cameo from that in Sesame Street: Pilot (1969) and two in The New Scooby-Doo Movies (1972)), Super Friends (1973), The All-New Super Friends Hour (1977), Challenge of the Superfriends (1978), Legends of the Superheroes (1979), Super Friends (1980), SuperFriends: The Legendary Super Powers Show (1984) - were based on theirs here.
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In 2013, DC Comics published Batman '66, a series of Batman comic book stories set in the continuity of the TV series. Some stories included the first comic book appearances of villains who had been first created expressly for the TV series.
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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 the "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.
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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.
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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.
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Frank Gorshin's maniacal high-pitched laugh as The Riddler is greatly influenced by that of the character "Tommy Udo", played by Richard Widmark, in Kiss of Death (1947).
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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.
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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.
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Two-Face was not a recurring villain in the show, because it was felt he would be too frightening for younger viewers and was dropped. The character of Two-Face had never been played on-screen, Batman Forever (1995), where Tommy Lee Jones took the role of Two-Face/Harvey Dent and was succeeded in the role by Aaron Eckhart in The Dark Knight (2008). Billy Dee Williams had played Harvey Dent in Batman (1989), prior to the District Attorney becoming the criminal.
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Burgess Meredith made a brief cameo appearance as The Penguin in The Monkees (1966) episode, The Monkees Blow Their Minds in 1967. However, he wore a black top hat instead of the purple one, and his prosthetic nose wasn't worn.
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Two of the actors who played villains both died on the same day only 12 years apart. Victor Buono who was King Tut died on January 1 1982 and Cesar Romero who was The Joker died on January 1 1994.
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The interior shots of the Wayne Manor were all done on a very detailed set at the studio.
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In two episodes, Catwoman appeared to fall to her death, only to appear in future segments as if nothing ever happened. In the comics, it came to be a longstanding routine for The Joker to be presumed dead at the end of a story, and reappearing later as though nothing happened.
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The steps leading to Commissioner Gordon's office, seen in every opening of every show, was shot on the Warner Brothers lot and are still standing. It is a façade of a triangular shaped building attached to a sound stage. The triangular shaped building houses every single wardrobe that Clint Eastwood has worn in every one of his movies.
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The business about adding the character of Aunt Harriet to the cast of the Batman Comics series in 1964. By this time two occurrences converged to give a shot in the arm to the comic strip and put Batman on top of the popular culture world.

First of all, an editorial change by Batman's publisher and copyright owner, National Comics/Periodical Publications (now known as DC Comics) was initiated; with the object of revitalizing Batman's slumping performance and sales at the newsstands. Longtime Editor, Jack Schiff was relieved of his duties with the feature in the two publications it appeared in; namely the monthly anthology DETECTIVE COMICS and the eight times a year BATMAN Comics, which featured all of its stories as adventures of Batman & Robin.

One incredibly severe change came very early by having longtime confident and supporting character, Alfred the Butler killed! In that very same story, Dick Grayson's Aunt Harriet arrived on the scene to both take up residence and to put a female character in the hallowed house of stately Wayne Manor; thus defusing the accusation of a "homosexual dream" that was advanced in the 1950's by psychiatrist, Dr. Frederic Wertham in his anti-comic book diatribes in the book, Seduction of the Innocent (1954).

The second great external force on the Batman feature came from Hollywood. Having obtained the rights to do the now famous series, Producer William Dozier's Greenway Productions, 20th Century-Fox and ABC TV apparently found in their researching the comic strip that they needed some of the recently excised elements of the comic book stories. This included the Batcave, the Bat Signal and Alfred! Through the magic of the comic book story, Alfred's demise was found to have not really happened.

But Aunt Harriet remained in the cast, with those accusations of latent homosexuality continuing to haunt the feature.
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Anne Baxter is the only actor/actress, during the run of the series, to play two different villains: Zelda and Olga.
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According to Adam West, Cesar Romero wore his own watch while filming the show. The watch was a gift to Cesar from the president of Mexico.
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In 2016, the year of the show's 50th anniversary, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) will feature the Superman villain Doomsday, who battles Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. The narrator of this show was ironically named Desmond Doomsday.
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Alan Napier was a friend of Michael Gough, who would later play Alfred in the Tim Burton/Joel Schumaker Batman movies.
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Contrary to some belief, Neil Hamilton is not related to John Hamiton, who played Perry White on the 1950's Superman TV series. In the comics, Comissioner Gordon and Perry White were often seen as counterparts in the respective Batman and Superman supporting characters.
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Staff Writer Stanley Ralph Ross would later work on the Wonder Woman TV series, also adapted from DC Comics. In addition, Ross voiced characters in the Superfriends franchise, which featured Batman and Robin as regular characters.
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The three primary cast members of The Addams Family each made appearances on Batman. Carolyn Jones played the villainess Marsha, Queen of Diamonds, and John Astin played the Riddler during the second season. Additionally Ted Cassidy had a window cameo, appearing in his part as Lurch from The Addams Family. Interestingly, Cassidy's cameo took place in a story involving the Penguin, with whom Jones' character Marsha teamed up in one of the three-part stories.
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At 6'3", Cesar Romero is the tallest actor to play the Joker onscreen. Jack Nicholson was 5'9", Heath Leadger was 6'1", and Jared Leto was 5'9"
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See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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