With this edition of The Legacy of the Batman, take a close look at the influence of the Batman comics of the time on the world and style of the TV Batman.
The death of Thomas and Martha Wayne was first shown in Detective Comics #33, November 1939. But the death of Bruce Wayne’s parents wasn’t something that was properly explored until the 70’s, when various writers attempted to give Batman a sense of inner darkness.
In this panel from the same comic the origin of the batsuit was first explained.
The origin of the batsuit would be explained by Commissioner Gordon in Season 1 episode 4 ‘‘Penguin’s A Jinx.’’
“The origin of the bat costume ladies and gentlemen is simple. As Batman realized when he set out on his crusade, nothing so strikes terror into the criminal mind as the shape and shadow of a huge bat.”
As for the batsuit itself, the one worn in Adam West’s screen test, was the costume that Batman wore in comics from the mid-40’s to the early 60’s.
The batsuit worn in the series was the “New Look” costume, which was introduced by Julius Schwartz in Batman #164 “Two-Way Gem Caper!, 1964.”
The TV Series is often credited for the solution to any problem take on Batman’s utility belt. But this is something that originated from the comics, because Batman’s utility belt initially was just a regular belt that didn’t have much significance, but in Detective Comics #29, the use of Batman’s utility belt was revised, when he used it to carry some choking pellets that he needed on a case. From then onwards the importance of the utility belt grew, as it would be used to contain whatever appropriate item that Batman needed for his current mission.
Some people have said that Batman does not do enough detective work in the series, but he does a lot of detective work in the Zelda The Great episodes. Yet those episodes are considered by some to be the most “boring” episodes of the first season.
In some comics Batman is referred to as “The Batman” to make him sound more ominous and menacing. This aspect of the character was influenced by the 1930’s pulp magazine character The Shadow, who was one of the main influences in the creation of Batman. In reference to this, Batman in some episodes of the series is also referred to as “The Batman.”
And like Batman in the earlier comics, Adam West’s Batman on occasions would use his shadow to instill fear in villains. This was something that Batman creator Bob Kane had requested for him to do.
Batman fans who have grown accustomed to Batman’s dark, brooding demeanor have often criticized Adam West’s Batman for his jovial demeanor. But the dark, brooding portrayals of Batman didn’t really come around until the 70’s, so Adam West’s Batman, who can sometimes be seen smiling and is known for saying things that are considered to be funny is actually true to how Batman had been portrayed in the comics.
Adam West (On exploring the character’s wilder side): Oh yes. But not with our Batman. It would have violated the tenor – or as you put it – the tone of the show. I think our Batman had to be fun, light-hearted, funny, tongue-in-cheek…and I think that made kind of an homage to those earlier comic books, where Batman always had a quip or something. (Den of Geek June 2008)
Adam West’s comments in the above interview do not only apply to the period of Batman’s history when he became more of a lighter character, it also applies to a few of the first issues of Detective Comics when Batman was still being written as a grim avenger of the night. Batman in some of those issues could not only be seen smiling on occasions, he could also be seen making a few jokes as well.
And despite what some people may think about Adam West’s Batman being a deputized officer of the law, it was also true to the comics because Batman in the early issues of Detective Comics was a murderous vigilante who worked outside of the law. This was yet another aspect of the character that was influenced by pulp magazine characters like The Shadow.
There is a belief that Batman only became a lighter character when the Comics Code was established in 1954. But his characterization changed in the aftermath of “The Giants of Hugo Strange” Batman #1, June 1940. There was a backlash from Batman fans or parents of Batman fans in regards to Batman reluctantly killing two henchmen in a truck with a gun from his Batplane. In addition to killing two escaped mental patients that had been turned into monsters by Professor Hugo Strange.
This reaction and the potential attack on Detective Comics from critics would lead to an editorial policy being created by National Periodical Publications editor Whitney Ellsworth. Who promised that Batman would never kill or use a gun again.
However, writers were allowed to ignore Batman’s no killing rule from time to time. But unlike before when Batman was written as a vigilante who worked outside of the law, he now had to work within the law as he had been turned into a deputized officer of the law.
With Batman now working with the police, they needed a way to contact him if things went wrong which happened more often than not. So the bat-signal was introduced in Detective Comics #60 (February, 1942), and was the primary way of getting Batman’s attention. But during the “New Look” era this all changed when the bat-signal was replaced by the hotline phone. This change is obviously reflected in the TV series as the main method of contacting Batman was via the hotline phone.
But the Bat-Signal is still used in a handful of episodes as well as in Batman: The Movie.
During this period Batman’s image as a creature of the night was being phased out, because he was turned into a friendly, open, polite, public law-abiding citizen; who would mostly appear in broad daylight, who would teach criminology at Gotham University, and who was someone that had a very strict moral code about what was right and what was wrong, etc.
Even though Batman in the comics and Adam West’s Batman were deputized officers of the law, there were times when they didn’t have the support of the general public and even Commissioner Gordon himself.
And while the TV series has been called stupid for the absurd situations that it put Batman in, it actually draws from the inherent absurdity that could be found in comics. It might not have been how Bob Kane had originally intended to portray the character, but the idea of Batman taking part in public events had been used on a number of occasions.
The idea of strange transformations for Batman was also used on a few occasions in the series, but Batman in 50’s and 60’s comics wasn’t exactly a stranger to strange transformations either.
The show’s dialogue which has been called cheesy or corny, is no less corny or cheesier than some of the humor that be could be found in the comics.
Certain elements of dialogue (like Robin saying Golly Batman/Gosh Batman, and Batman calling Robin chum) were taken from the comics.
As for the Bat Prefix it existed in the comics in many different forms. And referred to his vehicles such as the Bat-Tank, his allies like Ace the Bat-Hound and Mogo the Bat-Ape, as well as some of his gadgets like the Bat-Signal, and his transformations into things like a Bat-Baby and a Bat-Merman.
So when William Dozier and company came up with such things as a Bat-Zooka, an Alphabet Soup Bat-Container, Shark Repellant Bat-Spray, etc., they were acknowledging something that had already existed in the comics.
The show’s labelling of items was seen by some to be an unnecessary addition to the show, but films, TV shows, and even comic stories would sometimes use what’s called an expo label to highlight things that the viewer or reader could clearly see for themselves.
Their comic counterparts have been criticized for not doing enough to socialize with women. In addition to that, certain panels from the comics have sometimes been taken out of context when viewed with modern eyes. But in Golden Age and Silver Age Comics Bruce Wayne and Batman did have love interests though some were more short lived than others. As for Dick Grayson his only Golden Age or Silver Age love interest was Kathy Kane’s nice Bette Kane, who he was initially reluctant to have a relationship with.
Adam West’s Batman has similarly been criticized because he is the object of the affection of many of the villainesses and molls in the TV Series. While he does show an interest in the women who are pursuing him, he generally pushes them away as his one true love was crimefighting. Though he did controversially date Catwoman in full costume in Season 2 Episode 83 “Catwoman Goes To College.”
And Dick Grayson and Bruce Wayne did date women in the series. In fact Dick Grayson is seen on a date with a girl called Sally in Season 2 Episode 49 “Devil’s Fingers.” And Bruce Wayne dated Lisa Carson in Season 2 Episode 88 “Batman’s Waterloo.”
Although the series is generally regarded as being a good lighthearted adaptation, it sometimes crossed the line with what is acceptable. Like in “Batman Displays His Knowledge” when Batman tells Catwoman that she has a quality that’s rare in women, to which Catwoman replies what’s that Batman?, Batman replies you’re ready on time.
In “The Ogg Couple” after saving Batgirl, Batman tells her that perhaps crime fighting is better left to the men, because this isn’t exactly women’s work. And in “Nora Clavicle and The Ladies Crime Club” female rights crusader Nora Clavicle takes over Gotham City with a bunch of female officers who are armed with rolling pins instead of truncheons. This is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of some of the sexism that can be found in this episode.
But some women in comics weren’t portrayed much better either. As they were generally portrayed in a manner which made them look annoying, inferior, vain, etc.
Like the comics that they were drawing from the Batman TV Series tapped into pop culture for settings, characters, and other things. One example of this is the Ma Parker character that was played by Shelly Winters. The Ma Parker character was a parody of a real life mob boss called Ma Barker. For a comparison from the comics the last Egyptian Pharaoh of Ptolemaic Egypt, Cleopatra was used in Detective Comics #167 January, 1951.
In some episodes members of the public are seen complaining about how Bruce Wayne is nothing more than a disconnected playboy. This is in line with the comics as Bruce Wayne is portrayed as a disconnected playboy.
And like Bruce Wayne in the comics, Adam West’s Bruce Wayne uses this to his advantage by making people think that he isn’t Batman. But because he uses his vast resources as the head of Wayne Foundation to help out those who need it most.
Some people naturally work out that he is Batman, because they narrow it down to who could possibly be Batman. And Bruce Wayne tops that list as his height and physique obviously matches that of Batman’s, and he also has the money that would be needed to fund a career in crime fighting. But just as Bruce Wayne does in the comics he protects his secret identity. By convincing people into thinking that while he may not be Batman, Batman is a very close personal friend of his.
However, some characters in both the comics and TV series manage to work out that this is far from the truth. But these characters are either convinced otherwise, made to forget after suffering amnesia, etc.
With that said, there are occasions in both the comics and series when Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson have to go undercover to investigate locations that they couldn’t possibly go into while being dressed as Batman and Robin.
This has led to people saying that Adam West never really changed his voice when playing Bruce Wayne or Batman, but in pre-crisis comics Batman’s voice was described as being calm and masterful which is exactly how Adam West sounded as Batman.
Over the years, Adam West has been mocked for his physique when playing Batman. As many observers of the series have said that he didn’t bother to get in shape for the role. But it was actually the bat costume that was making him appear this way.
The problem was, the waistband of the tights was designed to stop-your-breathing tight, to keep them wrinkle-free as I moved. Anything covered with skin cells was going to spill over, especially after lunch. The Newsweek article was typical of the media seeing “camp”-an out-of-shape Batman-where there wasn’t any. (Adam West on being called a flabby travesty of muscle beach by Newsweek, Adam West back to the Batcave)
Because Adam West’s 20th Century Fox press bio suggests that he was in better shape than people have given him credit for as he is described as having an athletic build.
“He is personable, tall, with an athlete’s physique, a warm voice, expressive green eyes and a conversational style very much his own.” (Adam West’s 20th Century Fox press bio)
It may not appear that way to some people, but depending on the artist, Batman in some comics from the 40’s, 50’s, and the early 60’s, is drawn with a physique that wasn’t too different to Adam West’s. And at 6’2 Adam West is also the only actor to match Bruce Wayne’s actual height in the comics.
The Batcave in the TV Series is located underneath Wayne Manor, much like how it is in most interpretations of the character. And it could be accessed through entry into Bruce Wayne’s private study room.
But while the main way of getting into the Batcave in the TV Series was by sliding down the bat poles, it could also be entered via a service elevator like the Batcave in the comics at the time of the series. Also like the Batcave in the comics at the time of the series, the TV Series Batcave has a computerized crime file, an area for Batman’s laboratory, and a turntable for the Batmobile.
Speaking of the Batmobile, the first Batmobile with any kind of bat features on it appeared in Batman #5. Interestingly, it’s this Batmobile that Bob Kane wanted the TV Series Batmobile to be modeled after, but George Barris decided to modernize the look of the car by incorporating the bat features into the car instead.
The Grill Cavity was the Mouth, The Headlights/Fenders were the Eyes and Ears, and The Chain Slicer was the Nose.
The focus on the features of the TV Series Batmobile, like the focus on features of the Batmobile in the comics, varied from story to story to fit the requirements of what it needed to do for each story.
Robin (Dick Grayson)
While Burt Ward has often been criticized for the energy that he shows as Robin, he apparently was told by William Dozier not to act, but to just be himself since he already fit Dozier’s vision of what Robin would be like if he were to exist in real life.
The number of times that Robin was captured in the series is often highlighted by critics of the series. But Robin in the comics was also captured quite often as well. It was believed that it added dramatic tension to Batman stories.
There are occasions in which the comic book version of Robin is shown to be a capable crimefighter in his own right. In stories in which he worked with Batman and in his own adventures in Star-Spangled Comics. In regards to this Burt Ward’s Robin isn’t always captured in the series. He at times was called upon to to save Batman or Bruce Wayne in some episodes. Like in “The Wail of the Siren” episode in which Siren tries to lead Bruce Wayne to his death while he was under the influence of her melodic charms.
Burt Ward’s Robin often comes up with the answers to The Riddler’s Riddles, and he also helps Adam’s Batman to solve cases in a way that is very similar to how Robin helped Batman to work out clues to crimes in the comics.
In the final episode of the series Minerva mistakenly refers to Robin as Batman’s son. Which might seem stupid to some people, but Robin in the comics had often been described as being somewhat of a son to Batman. Because of this kidnapping or harming Robin in either the comics or the TV Series brought out the worst in Batman.
On a few occasions Lorenzo Semple, Jnr claimed that the idea for Robin’s holyisms were inspired by a similar habit that Damon Wakefield a supporting character from the Tom Swift novels was known for. But the idea of Robin using holyisms actually originated from the comics Holy Cats, Holy Smoke, and Holy Smokes, all started off as commonly used expressions in surprise in comics.
After a while those sayings appear to have become things that only Robin would say. In 40’s, 50s, and 60’s comics Robin can be seen saying either or all of the aforementioned things. For the Batman TV Series over 300 different holyisms were used.
In both the comics and TV series Alfred proved on many occasions that he was so much more than just a butler, as he at times is called upon to impersonate Batman. Or he even (as himself) has to step in as an extra in the-field crime fighter. This doesn’t come as too much of a surprise as Alfred in the comics had previously fought in the war, so it’s understandable that he would be able to take care of himself when called into action. In connection to this Alfred in the episode “Hot Off the Griddle” makes a reference to the fact that he once fought in the war.
In Detective Comics #351, 1966 Dick Grayson’s Aunt Harriet Cooper, who was somewhat of an amateur detective deduced the secret identities of Batman and Robin, after stumbling across the elevator leading to the Batcave.
Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson managed to convince her that they’re not Batman and Robin. By telling her that the Batcave is underneath Wayne Manor because they’re good friends with Batman and Robin.
In comparison Aunt Harriet in the TV Series was pretty clueless. She would’ve only discovered their secret identities by entering Bruce Wayne’s private study room. Which was the location of the hotline phone and the sliding bookcase entrance to the Batcave. But she was never allowed in Bruce Wayne’s private study room. Though despite not being allowed in the room, she came close to entering it on a few occasions.
She was always prevented from entering the room in some way. However, in ‘‘That Darn Catwoman’’ she finally asks why she isn’t allowed in Bruce Wayne’s private study room. To which Alfred replies because it’s Bruce’s way of retreating from the opposite sex.
Later interpretations of the character get more involved with police work, but Commissioner Gordon in Golden and Silver Age comics did his work at the office. Which is exactly how he was portrayed by Neil Hamilton.
And much like how he is written in the comics Commissioner Gordon in the TV Series is also unaware that Bruce Wayne is Batman, so Bruce Wayne in the TV Series is able to maintain a close friendship with Commissioner Gordon in the same way that Bruce Wayne does in the comics.
The Green Hornet and Kato (Visiting Heroes)
Despite not being owned by DC Comics the Radio, Movie Serial, and Comic Book stars The Green Hornet and Kato were used in the series, because William Dozier had also acquired the rights to produce The Green Hornet TV Series. And since The Green Hornet and Kato hadn’t had a comic book series in years, Gold Key Comics acquired the rights to publish a comic that was based on The Green Hornet TV series. Nowadays, though the comic book publishing rights for The Green Hornet and Kato are owned by Dynamite Entertainment, so the episodes “A Piece of the Action” and “Batman’s Satisfaction,” are equivalent to company crossover stories that are seen in the comics.
Batgirl (Barbara Gordon)
Barbara Gordon is a librarian and Commissioner Gordon’s daughter in both the comics and TV Series. And she is a red head in both the comics and TV Series as well. Although in the comics she is a natural red head. In the TV series, she was a brunette who wore a red wig as Batgirl.
Though it may seem silly that Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson were unaware that Barbara Gordon was Batgirl, and that she was unaware that they were Batman and Robin, it was in line with what was going on in the comics at the time. As Bruce and Dick hadn’t found out that Barbara Gordon was Batgirl, and she hadn’t found out that they were Batman and Robin in the comics yet either.
The vanishing act was something that Batman first did in “The Case of the Chemical Syndicate,”(Detective Comics #27, November 1939), and it’s something that’s most commonly associated with the character today. But it’s one of the few earlier character traits that was never performed by Adam West’s Batman. But it was something that Batgirl did throughout Season 3 of the Batman TV Series.
After the 1941 editorial policy had kicked in, Gotham City wasn’t presented as being as nasty of a place as it had once been. But crimes were still being committed in it, which is why Gotham still needed Batman because the GCPD couldn’t be relied on as they were useless. This is exactly how Gotham City is presented in the TV Series. Even though Gotham was presented as generally being a nicer place in both the comics and TV series, some characters were still actually killed off from time to time. And whenever death wasn’t used in comic stories or episodes of the series it was referenced instead.
Although Cesar Romero refused to shave off his mustache which he always had throughout his career, his portrayal of The Joker reflected what the character was like in the comics. The Joker had been noticeably softened since his first appearance in Batman #1; this was as a result of editors and creators reacting to the public outcry to violence in comics. So by the time the 50’s and 60’s rolled around the character had essentially become a goofy prankster with no homicidal tendencies.
Burgess Meredith took everything that the Penguin was known for in the comics. Like his habit of smoking, his variety of trick umbrellas, his love of birds, and really brought the character to life. But a lesser known fact is that he also tapped into the character’s tendency to pretend that he was a reformed criminal.
Catwoman in the comics first used cat pun dialogue in Detective Comics #203 “The Crimes of the Catwoman” (Jan 1954). In reference to this cat pun dialogue was a common theme for the three actresses that played Catwoman in the 1966 Batman franchise. The weapon of choice for Catwoman in the comics was a cat o’ nine tails Julie Newmar and Lee Meriweather were the only actresses who played Catwoman in the 1966 Batman franchise to use a cat o’ nine tails.
On occasions, Julie Newmar’s portrayal of Catwoman was somehow able to survive certain death situations. Not only was this a reference to the nine lives of a cat myth, it was also a reference to the Golden Age Catwoman story “Nine Lives has the Catwoman.”
Julie Newmar’s also portrayed Catwoman’s complex relationship with Batman, where they both have feelings for each other, but they could never be together as they were on opposite sides of the law.
This aspect of the Catwoman’s relationship with Batman was going to lead to a storyline where Catwoman would force Batman to marry her. However, when Eartha Kitt had taken on the role in Season 3 of the series, this plan was dropped due to possible racial controversy. What’s interesting about this is that in the same month that Eartha Kitt had taken on the role of Catwoman, Catwoman in the comics had also been trying to force Batman to marry her.
There is a difference, though, Catwoman in the comics thought that Batgirl had a romantic interest in Batman, which is why she was treating her so badly in “Catwoman Sets Her Claws For Batman” (Batman #197, December, 1967). Whereas Batgirl in the TV series did have a romantic interest in Batman, but Eartha Kitt’s Catwoman wasn’t interested in Batman at all. Instead, she did have a rivalry with Batgirl, which started when she took offense to the fact that Batgirl was given an award for being the best dressed crime-fightress in Gotham City.
It has often been asked why Eartha Kitt was chosen to play Catwoman. It was her natural catlike qualities that land her the role.
“We felt it was a very prov-active idea. She was a cat woman before we ever cast her as Cat-woman. She had a cat-like style. Her eyes were cat-like and her singing was like a meow. This came as a wonderful off-beat idea to do it with a black woman.” (Assistant Executive Producer Charlie Fitzsimmons, Cinefantastique – Volume 24, Issues 6-26 – Page 54)
Frank Gorshin did a very good job portraying The Riddler’s obsession with trying to outwit people with his riddles. His performance in episode 24 “Give Em the Axe,” is a perfect example of how seriously The Riddler’s need to leave a riddle behind after every crime was taken.
Moth (The Riddler’s Moll): Why take time for that?
The Riddler: Looking visibly upset at this stupid question replies, A crime is no fun without riddles. I’ll have you know that’s the main reason I took up this crime game.
Frank Gorshin even looked like The Riddler from the comics as well.
Frank Gorshin’s portrayal of The Riddler is known for his tendency to switch from manic laughter to grim seriousness. This aspect of Gorshin’s portrayal of the character is been said to be more like a character trait of The Joker’s. As the switch from manic laughter to grim seriousness is something that is more commonly associated with The Joker than it is The Riddler.
Mr. Freeze (Originally named Mr. Zero in the comics)
Otto Preminger the second actor to play Mr. Freeze looked exactly like Mr. Zero.
But George Sanders the first actor to play Mr. Freeze in the series, actually portrayed Mr. Freeze in a way that was similar to how Mr. Zero was written in the comics. Which isn’t a surprise as the George Sanders episodes draw from “The Ice Crimes of Mr. Zero” (Batman #121 February, 1959), which was Mr. Zero’s only appearance in the comics prior to the series.
Mad Hatter (The Impostor Version)
There were two versions of Mad Hatter in the comics. Both of whom had completely different motivations. Though the one thing they had in common was that they both had an obsession with collecting headwear. With that said David Wayne’s appearance and personality were based on the 2nd version of the character, who wasn’t interested in having an Alice like the first version of the character was. Instead, he was only interested in collecting hats of all shapes and sizes from all over the world, but the one hat that he most desired to add to his collection was Batman’s Cowl.
Some of the Created for TV Villains like Archer and The Puzzler have namesakes in the comics. My guess is that the writers of the series were unaware of this. When they created their own villains for the show. But not everybody agrees with this theory.
Created For TV Villains Or Tweaked Pre-Existing Villains?
Eivol Ekdal – Eivol Ekdal the inventor who tested Batman’s ability to escape traps in the “Zelda The Great” and “A Death Worse Than Fate” episodes was actually a villain from the comics. His only appearance in the comics prior to the series took place in “Batman’s Inescapable Doom-Trap!” from Detective Comics #346.
False Face – False Face is sometimes wrongly thought to be one of the shows Created for TV Villains. But he actually first appeared in Batman #113 (February, 1958). In this issue, he mimicked the appearances and personality traits of wealthy people. When he was unmasked and his real face was revealed, we learned that he was white haired and toothless.
In the TV Series False Face also mimicked the appearances and personality traits of people, but he was never unmasked and Malachi Throne who played the character wasn’t even credited for the role until the credits of the second episode.
Clock King – Walter Slezak’s portrayal of Clock King was an amalgamation of two clock themed characters from the comics. His appearance and personality were characteristics that were taken from a one-shot Batman villain called The Clockmaster. Who had a clock symbol on his tie, a will to use trick clocks to announce his crimes, and a desire to never participate in fights as he preferred to let his henchmen battle on his behalf.
The idea for the giant hourglass deathtrap and clock tower with moving figures was first used by a Green Arrow villain also called Clock King in Worlds Finest Comics #111, August 1960.
Archer – Even though Stanley Ralph Ross the writer of the Archer episodes insists that Archer was one of several villains that he created for the show. Comic book fans are convinced that he is the Superman villain with the same name. The aforementioned Superman villain like Archer from the TV Series was a Robin Hood type character with a twist in that he stole from the rich to give to himself.
The Puzzler – The Puzzler episodes were originally written for The Riddler. They were re-written for The Puzzler due to Frank Gorshin’s financial dispute with the producers of the show. Fred De Gorter the writer of these episodes was originally going to call him Mr. Conundrum before he finally settled on the name The Puzzler probably because he thought that it sounded a lot better.
Something else to mention is that The Puzzler character that was played by Maurice Evans often quoted lines from works by Shakespeare. This was a reference to the fact that he was partially best known for his interpretations of Shakespearean characters. So I don’t think that he was supposed to be the Superman villain of the same name.
Egghead – Egghead was one of the show’s Created For TV Villains. But it has been pointed out that he has similarities to a one-shot Batman Villain called Barney Barrows. Who like Egghead has an oversized head and he also works out Batman’s secret identity through deductive reasoning. While that seems like an obvious connection to make one also has to take into account that the term “Egghead” refers to a person who is thought to be rather intelligent. The size of Egghead’s head could be an exaggerated way to emphasize that fact.
Bookworm – There was actually a villain called Bookworm in the comics before the Batman TV Series had aired. He was actually a Golden Age one-shot villain for The Sandman. Like Bookworm from the TV Series his motivation was to steal rare books.
While there are many examples in this and the next two entries that highlight the fact that the producers took elements from various comics. I’m not convinced that they wouldv’e looked at non-Batman related comics for villains that could be used in the show.
So I believe that the Bookworm character played by Roddy McDowell is genuinely a villain that the producers created for the TV series without prior knowledge of any similar pre-existing villains from the comics.
The Sandman – The Sandman character that’s played by Michael Rennie is clearly a villain. But The Sandman in the comics prior the series was actually a Golden Age and Silver Age Superhero. Further research shows that Michael Rennie’s portrayal of Sandman was based on Dr. Caligari from the 1919 German Expressionist Film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.
William Dozier’s narration for the series is comparable to the narration that can be found in comic stories.
The tilted camera angles weren’t just used to show that a villain was crooked. They were also capturing the way that some comic book artists drew comics.
The bright colors that were seen on the show were an attempt to mimic the vivid color combinations that are used in comics.
Some of the concepts for the Created for TV Villains had similarities to things that were previously done in the comics.
In the TV Series it’s said that William Omaha McElroy the professor of Yale University became King Tut after being hit on the head with a rock, and the idea of a person becoming a villain after being hit on the head with a heavy object was previously used in “The House of Batman” (Batman #102 September, 1956).
The idea of a villain using an Egyptian motif was used in “The Fox, The Shark, and The Vulture” (Detective Comics #253 March, 1958).
The comic book sound effects seen mostly during the fight scenes were reminiscent of the comic book sound effects which had always been a part of comics.
The giant deathtraps and props seen on the show can be traced back to comics as well, because they were a frequent part of Batman stories in Golden Age and Silver Age comics.
Episodes that feature a cliffhanger can be compared to comic stories that carry over into other issues, while episodes that don’t feature a cliffhanger can be compared to comic stories that are finished in a single issue.
The miraculous escapes that were often used on the show are very much like comic book Batman’s narrow escapes from certain death.
And the formulaic idea of Gotham’s villains being sent to the Gotham State Penitentiary, only for them to repeatedly break out of it was also an idea that comes from the comics.
During the development stages of the TV series the longtime sole credited creator of Batman, Bob Kane offered his services as a consultant for the series. He would go on to become one of the two creative consultants for the series.
Whitney Ellsworth the creator of National Periodical Publications 1941 Editorial Policy. Had also been a consultant for the movie serials of a handful of National Periodical Publications characters. And he was an author of the Superman radio show and a producer of the Adventures of Superman TV Series. For the Batman TV Series he was actually a one week only consultant to producer Howie Horwitz.
The previously uncredited Batman co-creator Bill Finger was offered the chance to be a consultant for the series in Season 1. For whatever reason he turned the role down, however, he co-wrote The Clock King episodes in Season 2 of the series, and he did contribute many of the things that I have mentioned in this entry.
Sources: SuperHeroHype forum users theMan-Bat and The Joker, PART ONE OF THREE The BATMAN’S UTILITY BELT! – dialbforblog.com, Another BATMAN ’66 Blast! Set Designs! The Riddler! Julie Newmar! See AND Hear! – bigglee.blogspot.co.uk, Bob Kane to Wiliam Dozier, November 29th 1965, box 6, Coll. 06851, William Dozier Papers, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming, Adam West’s 2008 Den of Geek interview, BATMAN, PART VII – IT’S EVOLUTION, BABY By Scott Tipton comics101.com, 66batman.com users Scott Sebring and Andy Fish’s posts from the Who Really Created Batman??? thread, Comics in which Batman kills By Silver Nemesis from batman-online.com, An image of Batman’s Strange Transformations – TerryMC from comicvine.com,
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