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Batman On Television

This entry is part 5 of 6 in the series Batman A History of the Dark Knight

Batman has appeared on television in various forms since the 60s. In addition to the live action series from the 60s there have been several animated appearances and also a number of cameos.

The Batman TV Series

In 1966 the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) launched the Batman tv series. The show ran for 2 and a half season from January 12th 1966 to March 14th 1968. For the first two years the series had two weekly half hour installments. For the final episodes it was a single hour long episode. Batman starred Adam West as Bruce Wayne and Burt Ward as Dick Grayson. Right from the beginning the show took an incredibly campy approach to the Batman mythos, playing it very much for laughs.

In the third season Batman and Robin were joined by Batgirl (played by Yvonne Craig). Aunt Harriet only apppeared twice in the third season due to the ill health of the actress Madge Blake.
Julie Newmar as Catwoman in the Batman television series.Image via Wikipedia
Part of the success of Batman was due to the special guest actors playing the super-villains. Cesar Romero was a regular as the Joker; as was Burgess Meredith as the Penguin and Frank Gorshin as the Riddler. Perhaps most memorable of all was Julie Newmar as Catwoman.

The tv show was popular enough to spawn a movie. However the 1966 Batman film did not do particularly well at the box office but was profitably re-released for many years afterwards.

Animated Batman

From 1969 through 1973 thirty three episodes of Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder were produced by Filmation for CBS. In addition from 1973 through to 1986 both Batman and Robin appeared in the Hanna-Barbera cartoon Super Friends. Adam West voiced Batman in the last two seasons of Super Friends.

West also voice Batman in the 1977 Filmation series The New Adventures of Batman. Burt Ward voiced Robin in the show which also featured BatGirl and Bat-Mite.

In 1992 we were treated to Batman: The Animated Series which took television animation to a whole new level. Stylistically inspired by film noire and Tim Burton's Batman movie, the animated series was like nothing that had been seen before. Running from 1992 through 1995 the series not only provided better animation than previously but a more adult tone and more sophisticated storytelling. It was successfull enough to produce a feature film release Batman: Mask of the Phantasm. An additional two seasons were made under the title The New Batman Adventures. These new episodes had a different animation style and a lighter tone than the previous seasons.

Batman Beyond was a futuristic followup to Batman: The Animated Series in 1999. In this show an aging Batman picks a young protege to take over as the Batman. The show was put on hiatus in 2001 in order to begin production of Justice League, which Batman also starred in.

Eoghann Irving is amongst other things the creator and Editor of Solar Flare. He has a life long interest in all forms of science fiction and fantasy and a pressing need to share this interest with anyone who will listen. Find out more at his his website eoghann.com.

Series Navigation«Batman's Biggest EnemiesBatman In The Movies»
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