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60's Television Series

While most fans today prefer their Batman to be dark, brooding or a figure of the night, there are others who look back to the 60's when Batman was a happier gentler caped crusader. The Television series of the 60's is probably the most popular version of Batman in a non comic medium. Many people happily recall the shows by its theme song or its action words like "BIFF, POW" etc.. .

The origin for the Batman series began in the mid 60's when ABC was looking for a hit TV show. The network decided to go with a show based on a superhero and gave the task to known hit maker William Dozier. Dozier narrowed his search down to three Superheroes: Dick Tracy, Superman and Batman. Dozier selected Batman. Dozier began to learn more about Batman by reading some comics (Apparently he felt embarrassed when he was caught reading them in an airplane) and came to the conclusion that the only way the show would work on TV is if he "camped it up". Dozier and the other producers worked to make the show appealing to people of all ages. Adults would like it for its silliness and jokes while children would be satisfied by the endless bat-gadgets, heroism, and fight scenes. While the lightened tone may have turned off people who worked on the Batman comics and some fans, no one seemed to care and almost immediately the show became an instant hit. It spawned an era called Batmania where Batman was the in thing. Batman merchandise flew off the shelves and Adam West and Burt Ward became instant celebrities. The show was so popular that even famous actors began lining up for guest appearances on the show. Some of these stars often interrupted Batman and Robin as they climbed up buildings.

The show, which lasted three seasons and had 120 episodes, also spawned a movie and was strong in the ratings for the first season but around the second season began to sag. In an effort to win back audiences and gain a female following, Dozier asked DC to create a female character to use on the show. The answer was Batgirl. This wasn't the first time Dozier asked DC for a request. Previously he asked DC to bring back Alfred who was killed off by editor Julius Schwartz. Schwartz killed Alfred to silence critics who kept asking why three men lived together. Alas even Batgirl could not save the show. To make matters worse, Dozier refused to chip in extra money to improve the quality of the show. According to Adam West, Dozier had developed a disdain for the comic book medium and was trying to kill his show. With dwindling ratings and no guarantee of support from upstairs, the Batman series quietly ended.

Though the Batman TV series may have exited with a whimper, it still lives on in the form of reruns on stations in many countries and is fondly remembered by those who grew up with it. The show gave the comic Batman a new lease on life (At the time, they were on the verge of cancellation) and spawned a new generation of Batman fans.