Now Performing in the Rocky Top Theater
167 East Wears Valley Road Suite #17 (Shops of Pigeon Forge) Pigeon Forge, TN 37863
Batman Television Show of the 60's
In the early 1960s, Ed Graham Productions optioned the television rights to the comic strip Batman and planned a straightforward juvenile adventure show, much like Adventures of Superman and The Lone Ranger, to air on CBS on Saturday mornings. Former American football linebacker and actor Mike Henry was set to star as Batman.
Rumor has it that DC Comics commissioned publicity photos of Henry in a Batman costume. Around this same time, the Playboy Club in Chicago was screening the Batman serials, 1943's Batman and 1949's Batman and Robin, on Saturday nights.
East coast ABC executive Yale Udoff, a Batman fan in his childhood, attended one of these parties at the Playboy Club and was impressed with the reaction the serials were eliciting. He contacted ABC executives who were already considering developing a television series based on a comic strip action hero, to suggest a prime time Batman series in the hip and fun style of The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
DC Comics quickly reobtained rights and made the deal with ABC, who farmed the rights out to 20th Century Fox to produce the series. ABC and Fox were expecting a hip and fun—yet still serious—adventure show. Batman comic books had recently experienced a change in editorship which marked a return to serious detective stories after decades of tales with aliens, dimensional travel, magical imps and talking animals. Eventually, two sets of screen tests were filmed, one with Adam West and Burt Ward and the other with Lyle Waggoner and Peter Deyell, with West and Ward winning the roles.
Below is a partial list of cast of characters:
Adam West as Batman/Bruce Wayne, a caped crusader whose parents were murdered when he was a child and has devoted his life to fighting crime.
Burt Ward as Robin/Dick Grayson, Batman's faithful partner and "boy wonder".
Alan Napier as Alfred, Batman's loyal butler.
Neil Hamilton as Commissioner James Gordon, Gotham City's Commissioner of Police.
Stafford Repp as Chief Miles O'Hara, Gotham City's Chief of Police.
Madge Blake as Aunt Harriet Cooper, Dick Grayson's maternal aunt.
The Joker, the Penguin, the Riddler, the Catwoman, Mr. Freeze, and the Mad Hatter, all of whom are regular Bat-Villains, appear in the series, which was deliberately villain-driven as well as action-comedy-heavy. There had been plans for Two-Face to appear, depicted as a news anchor who was disfigured when a camera blew up in his face. Though Clint Eastwood was discussed for the role of Two-Face, the show was cancelled before any appearance by this character was made.
In Season 1, Batman and Robin are super crime-fighting heroes, contending with the villains of Gotham City. It begins with the two-parter, "Hi Diddle Riddle" and "Smack in the Middle", featuring Frank Gorshin as The Riddler.
Season 2, the show suffered from repetition of its characters and formula. In addition, critics noted that the series' delicate balance of drama and humor that the first season maintained was lost as the stories became increasingly farcical. This, combined with Lorenzo Semple, Jr. contributing fewer scripts and having less of an influence on the series, caused viewers and critics to tire of the repetitive structure of the show. After the third season the show was cancelled. NBC offered to pick the show up for a fourth season and even restore it to its original twice-a-week format, if the sets were still available for use. However, Fox had already demolished the sets a week before. NBC had no interest in paying the $800,000 for the rebuild, so the offer was withdrawn.
Remember watching Batman in the 60's?,... then you probably remember watching Red Skelton. Check out the only Pigeon Forge Show paying tribute to the late great Red Skelton.
CLICK HERE or on the Show Schedule link above to make reservations to see the show. We look forward to entertaining you. "Goodnight now and may God bless"
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