Batman (1966–1968)
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While Gotham City Burns 

"While Gotham City Burns" is an episode of Batman starring Adam West, Burt Ward, and Alan Napier. To steal the Batmobile for a grand scheme, the Bookworm prepares a bizarre deathtrap for the Dynamic Duo.



(as Rik Vollaerts), (based upon characters appearing in "Batman" and "Detective" comics magazines created by)

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Episode cast overview:
... Batman
... Robin
... Alfred
... Commissioner Gordon
... Chief O'Hara
... Mrs. Cooper
... The Bookworm
... Lydia Limpet
Tony Aiello ... Pressman
... Printer's Devil
Jan Peters ... Typesetter
... Police Sergeant (as Jim O'Hara)


Batman saves Robin from the Wayne Memorial Clock Tower at the last possible Big Benjamin second. While they are busy in the Batcave, The Bookworm steals a priceless cookbook from stately Wayne Manor. He then lures the Dynamic Duo into an oversized cookbook on display in the middle of Gotham city and steals the Batmobile. Can Batman and Robin escape before their goose is cooked? Written by The TV Archaeologist

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Release Date:

21 April 1966 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)


Aspect Ratio:

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Did You Know?


According to Roddy McDowall, it was originally intended for him to appear again as Bookworm later in the series, but the plans never materialized. See more »


Both in the previous episode and at the beginning of this episode, the Bookworm's gang contained 5 male thugs beside Bookworm himself and the girl. In the final fight in the alley, there are only 4 male thugs. See more »


Batman: Chief O'Hara, we haven't one Big Benjamin second to lose!
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User Reviews

The Worm squirms
14 May 2016 | by See all my reviews

"While Gotham City Burns" begins with Batman tipped off by Chief O'Hara (Stafford Repp) about Robin's potential fate, racing toward Big Benjamin to use positive charges of electricity to make the clapper and bell repel each other and halt the midnight toll. This doesn't sit well with The Bookworm (Roddy McDowall), whose frustrated screams again leave his fellow worms in a squirm, resorting to a new chapter to eliminate the Dynamic Duo. Overplotting as usual, he invades Wayne Manor to steal a priceless cookbook, then leaves a gigantic cookbook in the middle of downtown traffic, an open invitation for the curious bats to enter: "curiosity killed the bat!" The book closes on Batman and Robin, as steam enters and proceeds to literally cook their gooses, until Batman finds the solution in communications with Alfred in the Batcave. The Bookworm's ultimate goal required the demise of the Caped Crusaders so that he could use the powerful Batbeam in the Batmobile to bore a hole in the back wall of the Morganbilt Library, home to thousands of priceless literary treasures, but when Batman and Robin step through the opening the twisty worms realize the jig is up. The final scene has Bruce Wayne allowing Dick Grayson a look at the captured Bookworm, who believes himself to be 'so much cleverer' than everyone else, until corrected on a quote by know it all Wayne: "this fellow, he is almost as obnoxious as Batman!" Roddy McDowall is such a joy to watch, the script as deliciously serious as the show could be, that it's a shame that the actor was too busy to reprise a successful character.

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