157 Holy Archives Batman
December 21, 2018 9 a.m.
Episode 157: Holy Archives Batman
Cinema Junkie is on holiday break but you can enjoy this archive episode dedicated to the 1960s Batman TV show and movie that is featured in an exhibit at The Hollywood Museum. For this clip-filled episode I speak with the curators of the exhibit, fans and the Boy Wonder himself Burt Ward.
Related Story: Podcast Episode 157: Holy Archives Batman
Welcome back to another edition of listener supported KPBS cinema Junkie podcast Beth Accomando cinema junkie is taking a holiday break but we'll be back with new episodes in February to tide you over. I've pulled out some popular archives for you to listen to. It seems only right that since I started the year with Batman I should end the year with him. So from the archives here's holiness Dalga looking at the Batman exhibit at the Hollywood Museum. On January 12 1966 this happened. Saw.
How. That's right. The Batman TV show arrived and delivered a pop culture burst of sensory overload.
Amazing. The colors were like wow it was done in such a way that nobody had ever seen anything like that before. You know even the bat fight wars that were in the Bursill those colors you know coming out on the screen.
Also canceled after just three energetic Tonin Cheek's seasons. The show has remained a fan favorite. Last month on the 50 second anniversary of the show's premiere on ABC the Hollywood Museum opened its Batman 66 exhibit an eye popping explosion of pop culture goodness. Conceived by Roger Neil Holy Hollywood.
One of my best memories of Batman is when we got our first color television set. I was in second grade and the first show I watched in color was Batman and it was always a two parter Hans's.
I mean this be happening that can be made into a pineapple frosty breezy and Robin as the diabolical Mr. Freeze out which is the dynamic duo drawn with some nice work and I would get so nervous at the end of the first part of the episode Batman and Robin were oh no something gonna die. I'm going to have to then I had to tune in the next Thursday night to see if they were gonna be okay hope for a miracle and stayed in your seat. Until tomorrow. Same time. And that was need to having that cliffhanger that you don't know Batman and Robin will escape was trapped.
And ready for the barbecue. It. Was getting very warm. But wait the worst is yet to come. If.
You tune in tomorrow night same bedtime same bad shadow you'll find out if they get out and how they get out of their paper. She flipped. Each cigarette lighter like a moose needs or.
Let's hope it's a lifetime supply of gas compressed inside.
If that is the case in 1966 ABC launched the Batman TV show starring Adam West and Burt Ward as DC Comics Batman and Robin a.k.a. the caped crusaders or the dynamic duo. And audiences when that crazy kids were dressing up like Batman teenagers were dancing the B2C and you could hear people employing Robyns wholly whatever exclamations or signing off with same bat time same bat channel. It was so popular that a Batman movie was conceived and released in between seasons 1 and 2.
Tell them Robin please approach them. Batman is really excited. Very soon Batman and I will be better pulling right out of your TV set and onto your theater screen. That's right. Our first full length motion picture feature in color opens a whole new world of thrill.
This podcast is dedicated to Batman 66. The exhibit and the show and how both elicit a sense of joy.
I'll be talking to Exhibit organizers including collectors who loaned objects to the museum plus some fans who relive the show's impact on them. And finally to the boy wonder himself Burt Ward who played Robin in the TV show and into recent Warner Brothers animated features Holy Resurrection the evil extractor Robert to get out of here which I don't think so. But to start I'm going to let Roger Neil give you a quick tour of the exhibit which you can see a video of at PBS dot org slash Junkie podcast.
Hey I'm Roger Neal. I am the exhibit organizer for the Batman 66 exhibit here at the Hollywood Museum in Hollywood California. Take a tour and I'll show you around our exhibit first this is we wanted to recreate Wayne Manor but recreate the study because that's one of the most famous parts away manners when you see Bruce and Dick go into the study of the library and then they get the call from the commissioner and then they open the famous Shakespeare bust and then the bat polls open and we wanted to show the bad polls and I never realized actually until this exhibit that Bruce Wayne's bad poll was bigger than Dick Grayson's and why was that because Dick was a teenager and Bruce was an adult.
So let's go over to the Bat Cave shall we. I think the centerpiece is Adam West original costume which is here and Burt Ward's original costume which is there now Burt people may not know Burt was allergic to wool so in his vest and his vest they had to put liming in the vest and that's how we know that this is Bird's original costume because the vest has a lining in it and of course his initials earned from wardrobe as are Adams the Batmobile haha. Who doesn't love the Batmobile. This is a screen accurate replica of the Batmobile collector graciously loaned out and it's street legal by the way.
This was driven here. Down down Hollywood Boulevard. And it was caused quite a stir back there. The original that computer that is the Bat computer the original one used in the show on all these areas. If you read too long when you come back you relax along the wall you'll get a lot of information about Batman that you may not have known and if you think you know all about Batman there's always something new to learn and as you come around the back hey we see the cycle. And then of course that 66 is not complete without those heinous villains those heinous villains that we we just we love hate them didn't we.
Catwoman Riddler Joker Payne 1. It's awesome. I love it. I love it. I just love it. Come on over to see the collectibles from 1966 original collectibles that when I was a kid in 1966 and probably when you were a kid or your grandparents or your parents were kids. This is what you could buy at the store because Batman was just that huge. Then we come over to our smaller or smaller collectible cases. There are some great things in here like this is a this is the actual script from 1966 from the Batman movie and you see it has a burgess Meritus autograph on it.
Lee Meriwether Frank Gershon as the Riddler Burt Ward and he he signed it is. Adam West signed it. So that's a really great item to have right there. And these production call sheets are from the estate of Maj. Blake and Harriet. These are her actual call sheets. This is a Neil Hamilton script for Neil Hamilton's notes or inside the script he played Commissioner Gordon of course. I hope you've enjoyed this tour of the Batman 66 exhibit here at the Hollywood Museum and on behalf of Danelle that again the owner of the hallowed museum so please come on out and see this incredible Batman 66 so all bet fans the bat signal is out and it's calling you.
Come on. Thanks for taking the tour.
Neil had to tap fans who were collectors to get some of the items in the exhibit like a screen accurate and street legal Batmobile and some original costumes.
Some of these collectors are very nervous about letting these items out of their possession especially like the original Batman and Robin costume. Mark hardmen who has those that collector did not want to ship them. So he drove them in here.
Neil also went to Alex sold for help. Love for the show proves its longevity because salt wasn't even born when Batman debuted on ABC.
It was actually my brother's fault because we went to the 1989 Tim Burton movie and I was 9 years old at the time and that giant black bat scared me. And so I went home and on the Family Channel they were showing the TV series The nine year old. I didn't realize it was in reruns by loved it I loved the action adventure. Yeah you know it was so colorful so many different props and that's why I started collecting on the props or even building some of them because it was so neat to see this giant bat shield like this one here that Batman would take the utility belt and then he'd hold it like this and would repel the bullets or anything coming at them.
So that someone just you know from the gadgets to the cars everything was labeled batarang back computer. That was just fun. And then like you said later hearing Adam deliver the lines something that is so funny. But he did it so incredibly straight and it was just a fun show on so many different levels.
But Zolt has since become a devout fan and collector he contributed some items to the exhibit and then that's a bet she'll write down there which I love and I'm a pianist.
And so what was fun for me with the best deal was it actually uses piano hinges and then I riveted together so that's what my profs that I may. Knowing that I have some of my collection in here. It's exciting. It's honoring to be able to be a part of it but at the same time it's a little weird because I'm able to at home go off and enjoy my collection if I want to hold something I can. But right now everything is behind glass.
Usually that stuff sitting in his office.
They say your office should be a fun area and so mine is so I have a Batman a robin a backroad replica. So when you walk into my office I've never not had anybody not smile.
The exhibit was curated by Wally Wingert who's not just a fan but also a voice actor who's done work for the Batman videogame. He recalls how he was introduced to the Batman 66 show.
Details are sketchy but I do remember watching the show originally when it came on the air. Back in 1966 I was five years old. Everybody was watching it in the neighborhood everybody at school was watching and it came on January 12 1966. I have photos of me shortly after that time in my homemade batman costume with a bath towels safety pinned around my neck and gloves on my dad's work gloves and that was my homemade batman costume but by my fifth birthday in 1966 may I had been given by my parents and official Ben Cooper batman cape and mask set.
So I pretty much remember it almost to the day that it began airing. Upon reviewing some of the episodes on Blu ray recently there is certain imagery that pops up where I can remember that as a kid. Things that were particularly disturbing like Bruce Wayne strapped to a gurney barreling down a mountain road and about ready to careen off of a cliff.
I also remember Bruce Wayne being strapped to some sort of conveyor belt heading into the fire. The caped crusader. Can possibly escape.
For Batman's sake. Keep your fingers crossed until tomorrow. Same time. Now remember that as a kid and I.
Saw the stuff on the Blu ray going oh my gosh I totally remember this as a kid and it did frighten me. So yes I have a pretty good memory for that.
What do you think it was about the show that captured your imagination and captured the imagination of kids and adults all over the place.
Since I wasn't watching it initially in color we had a black and white set. I can't say the color. It was the action and it was the performances of the cast. They had a wonderful ensemble cast with great chemistry between of course Batman and Robin but also between the villains in Batman and Robin. And it was it was the performances that shot right through that black and white fuzzy black and white image on my television and just grabbed my attention once of course I saw it in color. My life changed considerably but it was it wasn't about the color it wasn't about the clarity because I was watching it.
Neither of those circumstances it was simply the performance of the actors the chemistry the writing and the adventures that they went on. So what was it like to be approached to guest curated a show on Batman 66 being asked by Roger Neill and the Hollywood Museum to do this was a bit of a dream come true. About 30 years ago in 1987 88 I was a big fan of the Movieland Wax Museum down in Voynov park and they said boy they really need a Batman and Robin Batcave display as part of their television tribute.
So I sketched up a a rough Batman and Robin Batcave with the bat computer Batmobile everything idea and sent it to them as a pitch saying you know I can help you with this if you want. I know how to make the costumes and I know guys that don't Batmobile and so forth. But of course they never responded and then the museum went out of business shortly thereafter. So it was an idea that I had had to do something like this for 30 years so when the Hollywood Museum came up with the actual idea to do it but needed the contacts to the collectors to actually make it happen.
I said Oh yeah no I haven't. I've been trying to do something like this for 30 years so I'm I'm I'm with you.
Now you are not just a fan. You've also gotten to kind of partake in the Batman universe as well. Tell people where they can hear you some of these characters.
Well as a voiceover actor I've gotten to do a lot of different things including working without the West on the Family Guy TV show.
I've known Adam since 1980 when he came to visit Sioux Falls South Dakota and a show called World of wheel so I had been friends without him for about 37 years and he was very complimentary and very encouraging for a young guy and a young radio deejay at the time in the Midwest. I was 19 at the time for you know following your dreams and coming out to Hollywood. So eventually get into a radio and get into voiceover doing characters and I started doing a character called The Riddler for the Batman Arkham videogames which was a quite different Riddler from the one on the TV show played by so brilliantly by Frank Gershon.
But I would do occasional nods to him in my performance as this Arkham City Riddler and then later when I found out that they were going to do animated films based on the old TV series are loosely based inspired by the original TV series. I said boy I really want to be the Riddler but I want to be that Riddler.
I auditioned and got the role and in the first film I was the Riddler and in the second film Ben inverses to face I got to be the ringer and King Tut. So it was another yet another dream come true to be in this with with Adam West and Burt Ward Julie Newmar Lee Meriwether and William Shatner. But you know now in retrospect to be involved in what will become Adam West's final appearance as Batman was a mix of emotions. It was it was a weird weird mix of emotions. I was proud to be involved but yet sad under the circumstances that it was going to be Adam's last appearance.
What did you tap into further Riddler. Can you give us a little sample of people out there hear what your Riddler sounds like Frank Goschen had such an amazing energy as that character.
He was the first villain in the series and I believe that he very much set the tone for all subsequent villains that would happen throughout the course of the remaining 120 episodes. Dropping.
My fondest dreams come true. Batman Robin.
Frank was a great impressionist and when I was trying to lock into his Riddler voice because I've been listening to it since I was a kid on not only the episodes but also the record album that I had of the soundtrack from the series so I always loved his Riddler voice. But as an impressionist I was always trying to figure out who he was impersonating as the Riddler because first I wanted to lock into that. And then I could probably add his other little nuances on top of that and I never really did figure out who he was impersonating his Riddler characterization but Frank had a very unique cadence and the way he would speak you know cowled so he wouldn't just say his lines he would.
There was as Adam West had with his cadence when he would perform he had a very specific way of talking and it gave that character life. And Frank pretty much the same way where he wouldn't just blow through a line he would add nuances and pauses and stretch certain words out and very unique characterization that wasn't wasn't easy to come by. But once I lucked into it I said Yeah I think that's I think that's pretty much it.
You got the laugh down and yeah well it was it was really all about the laugh and it was the laugh to a lot of people just think it's a laugh.
But the way Frank would go into it would almost be like a slight cough. You have how that happens with this like you know going into it and I and I said Oh that's that's a neat little nuance of of how he would do that and of course he would he would vary it it would go really high pitched and then he'd go.
So he would go down low and then he go high depending on what was going on in the scene but he was absolutely brilliant in putting together the exhibit.
It's really fun for somebody who loves the show because you've kind of divided it up into some sections and scenes so explain kind of how you laid out how you wanted this laid out and how you want to be like specific areas.
Well we first I assembled a really great group of people who not only know this show frontwards and backwards as well as I do but also cost play these characters at conventions. And once I assembled the crew I said well let's go up and see the space that we will be given to fill the areas. And they said Well all right what logic would dictate that you have to have the Wayne Manor study. So Pat Evans immediately said well I can make bad poll that's easy get some PVC pipes and I knew we had to have the famous Shakespeare bust with the red Batstone and we'd have a mannequin there with Bruce Wayne attire and a mannequin there with Dick Grayson attire and then we moved on to the next area which was slightly bigger.
And I said well this would be a great Batcave for Batman and Robin both replica Batman and Robin mannequins but also original Batman Robin mannequins wearing the original costumes that a friend of mine has in San Francisco that he agreed to loan so you can compare when you go what the costumes would have originally looked like back in 1965 when the costume designer named Jan Kemp who was a friend of mine very brilliant costume designer that did not get enough credit for his creations on that show how he would have constructed them back then vs how they look now fifty two years later.
So we also added Batgirl we had a bad cycle bat mobile. We had a an original bad computer that was actually on the set back in the day and then on this much much bigger area. This is where all the villains will be the rogues gallery of villains the United underworld today Gotham City tomorrow the world you know of course. Also with the villain props that people had made the dehydrator and we have an original penguins nest sign from one of the episodes that a collector loaned us. So we filled the area pretty well and we have one of the original dresses worn by Ida Lupino as Dr. Cassandra in an episode called the entrancing Doctor Cassandra.
So it's a pretty colorful setup. Then the museum came in with photos and signage and monitors and video clips and kind of peppered that around those mannequins as well to really fill the area. We wanted it to be really super busy just so overwhelmingly dazzling that you just couldn't take your eyes off it. I made it a really really great job and then I said Well you know as a kid the toys and collectibles that came out in relation to the show back in the 60s were such an integral part of the success of that show.
There were two main companies doing Batman toys that were licensed to Batman toys. Strangely enough none of them were Mattel which was the big toy company at the time. There's a toy company called ideal that that came out with a lot of Batman stuff puppets cost whom's masks and there was another company called Marcs and they are actes which came out with a bad phone and several other plastic oriented collectibles so the other triangular area were filled with large toys and collectibles. Some of the larger ones like a ride on Batmobile where it was where a kid could actually drive it through the neighborhood and some other costumes and different things and then of course the small jewellery cabinet was for the smaller toys and collectibles where people would really want to get a close up view of some of these like flicker rings that you get out of a 1 cent gumball machine.
Some of the little buttons that you would wear this as a charter member of the Batman fan club you know that kind of thing.
Well walking through there I was reminded I had completely forgotten about the color forearms those vinyl stickers.
I saw that and was like oh my god I remember the color formes was actually from my collection actually so thank you for noticing that.
Yeah that brought back memories I have to say. I mean one of the things I appreciate it is that either as a fan or even as somebody who may not know that much about the show there's some really fun information that you share through a lot of signs and stuff that are in the exhibit.
Thank you. Yeah the signage was an extra added feature that I got to do they said we needed not only toys collectibles and costumes and props but we also needed some signage that explained what people were seeing and I said Well you've come to the right guy. It tickles me to see pictures online that people have taken on the the at the exhibit and you can see people in the background actually reading the signs and like yes they're reading the history behind it they're not just going with the eye candy they're actually learning about how this was created and concocted in the ideas and concepts behind it.
Well it's fun to get all the fight words in one location to compare.
My favorite is Waqas when they had like the the C Archer which was a very medieval kind of vibe. They put an s on the back of like you know whack slam bang it's you know that's pretty funny.
And I had actually forgotten a couple of the villains when I looked through your list. It was fun going through that I completely forgotten about the puzzler.
Yes well the puzzler was an actual Riddler episode that they had wanted to do but Frank Gordon was having contract problems with the show.
So they changed the puzzler. But if you really look at that episode you can see where it would have been a Riddler episode. I think the only Riddler episode they did in the second season was with John astand and his one time only appearance as the Riddler. Now he knows and we know that Crusader's I. Did. It. Like. Batman and Robin are. Impossible dear Graham and John Aston's a terrific actor and I love everything he's done but he just really was not a red letter.
Hard hard to top that Frank Gore's performance.
But Frank actually settled everything in my third season he had come back as the Riddler for a couple of episodes.
And you also have a nice list of the I believe the bat mobile specifications too for anybody who's to particularly nerd out about that.
Yes. We were lucky enough to get a lot of signings from the Beris family from the George Beris family who brought in posters and specs on the original Batmobile that it was you know an original Ford future. Because George was on some board of Ford Motor Company and it allowed him access to some of these experimental prototype cars actually allowed him to buy the prototype car for a dollar the best dollar ever spent and he turned it into the Batmobile and became the most famous movie in TV Car in History in putting this together.
Did you have a favorite item that you were able to track down something outside of your own collection. But it was there something that you were just like Ah yes I'm so glad we got that.
Well here's here's how things work in the scheme of things. I have a friend named Rob Kline who is a collector like myself he collects all sorts of different things. And I said oh by the way Rob let me show you what we're doing and I broke out the water colored conceptual sketches for the museum and I knew that he was a Batman fan as well. And I said Yeah we have this is where you have this area as Wayne Manor we're going to this is the Batcave and he says well you know I have one of the original bad computers.
And I said What is it yeah I found it rotting in a field somewhere at electronics store. And I said is this for sale and if it is how much and the guy told him the price and said Get it get a truck over and get out of here. So the guy wanted to get rid of it. It was one of the original console units. I think it wasn't the bad computer was the the bat scope the scope where it was like the radar the big circular radar panel that would go around like it was tracking the radar and that he has that.
So it was I said oh my gosh would you consider loaning he's like Yeah so terrible this is terrific. So that was that was the big surprise. And it just made me go Yup that's how things work in this business.
He was meant to be curating something at a museum where I mean when you're dealing with something that's pop culture related you have to go to the fans to get the items kind of you know because the fans are the ones who sometimes recognize early on that something might be worth keeping. They're the ones you kind of hold on to things and allow you to have kind of this wealth of stuff to dig into.
Well thankfully it was due to the inside of a couple of felonious individuals back in the back in 1968 when the show was canceled. They were you know shredding a lot of the stuff and just throwing it away. And a few insightful people said well this is this is going to be valuable I'm going to take this batman and robin costume and smuggle it out of the studio. Well I'm going to take this piece of equipment and I'm going to smuggle it out of the studio. So it's only because of those people that that stuff is even still around today.
It was because they basically broke the law and stole stuff but it was in the interest of history. And in the long term it's kind of forgivable because a lot of stories like that we've got to get another show in here. This is counsel with class downstage Teret all down throw it all away. Some of it of course was given a western costume for rentals which you know really put the wear and tear on the on the pieces because you'd have different sized people pulling it on and pulling it off for Halloween and renting it.
Other movie companies renting different things. So it's amazing that the stuff that has survived is still around anyway.
So we're happy to have what we can find and have your own collection of Batman items.
What was the thing that kind of you really wanted to make sure got in the exhibit are a couple of things that you were really excited to show to other people.
Well I do my own personal experience. The two things that I really wanted to convey in this exhibit were were first of all to recognize finally after all these years the incredible work of my friend Jan Kemp who we became friends in 1989. Jan was an unassuming British gentleman and I asked him I said did you keep anything from the show. And he says oh no that wouldn't have been proper. He didn't even keep his own drawings his own conceptual sketches that he did for the costumes because it was the property of the studio.
He wouldn't even he wouldn't dream of taking that stuff with him. So unfortunately he didn't have anything but I really wanted him to get the esteem and respect that he deserved. His name was never on the end credits as being the designer of the costumes in a show so heavily costumed like Batman. It's really strange that he wasn't given a credit but he is now and he's a focal point of that exhibit at the museum because his name is all over the place there and I threw a couple of friends and contacts I was actually able to find a couple of photos of him on the set dressing.
Alan Napier Alfred the butler as Batman when he would have to sub in as Batman and Bruce Wayne and Batman needed to be seen in the same place at the same time.
Alfred bravely to your great Alfred you even sound like small wonder master of it. That was my voice Robert remember those lessons and ventriloquism cash. Yes I should have thought of that. Don't blame yourself Robin it's sometimes difficult to think clearly when you're strapped to a printing press and also him working on dressing Victor Bono as King Tut.
So those like I said he was very unassuming British gentleman he didn't want to have his face out there. He wanted the stars to be the star so finding photos of him on the set and at work was a pretty difficult task because there because of the scarcity of photos of him on the set. But we did find some through the grace and friendship of some other collectors. I also wanted to exhibit a piece that had been given to me by a guy who worked at the Colver Studios back in the 60s and when Adam West bicycle he had a had a role fast sting ray bicycle.
Well when that bicycle when the show was cancelled that bicycle had to be reassigned to another actor. So he took off the little hand painted wood name plaque the wind between the sissy bar in the lower bar down by the gears. He kept that name plaque that was bolted on. Adam West bicycle so he said I'm going to give this to you this is my gift to you. So I have Adam West's personal hand painted wood plaque that was on his bicycle that he would ride around the studio lot for three years.
So it's such a rare thing it wasn't ever screen used but just the back story to it is so interesting I said yeah I want to I want to definitely get this in to the to the exhibit.
Boy that if that sign could talk what do you think it is about the Batman show and that Batman movie that has given it this longevity that people can come to it.
Decades after it came out and still find it appealing and fall in love with it the overall thing that makes that show appealing is they didn't just present the children and they didn't just present to adults. They wrote it on two separate levels so the adults would get a joke occasionally and the kids would get the action and the colour and the crazy villains and the and all of the excitement. But they they put just enough in it for the adults to enjoy as well. And there's very few shows that families can enjoy together.
When you have a good safety but you're only going a couple of blogs it won't be long until you're old enough to get a driver's license Robyn and you'll be able to drive the Batmobile and other vehicles. Remember motorist safety Doszpot. Now when you put it that way.
There is enough in there for kids. And there was enough in there for adults and they could all sit down and watch it together. The adults got their jokes. The kids got their action in color and the band power and Whams and zap and it all worked and that's why it's still living to this day because it's pretty much the ultimate family friendly television series that everybody can enjoy together and get something out of it in their own unique way.
And do you have a favorite episode or villain.
I do it's probably true or false face hole the rat race boys.
We are about to see Batman and Robin until the dextrous duo is called upon to be destroyed. I have the greatest creation of my call to the notorious. Will stopped his disguise demijohn on Gotham City.
It was a one time only villain played by Malakai throne. But just everything in that episode works down to the creepy Halloween mask that Malakai throne wore as this master of disguise known as false face to the way the costumes looked and the way the acting was in the way it was shot. It just kind of the darker semi darker tone that it took on as opposed to the second season and beyond episodes that got kind of silly. And I love I love the falsies character. I was disappointed that it never came back because he had this great voice that was projecting behind this Halloween mask and it was like we just never really saw his face because it was hidden behind a series of masks and there was so much mystery created by that character.
This guy is a person. And I I became friends of Malakai thrown you know years later of course and he's like oh I hate that character and they made me wear that stupid Halloween mask and I wanted to do prosthetics and do all these characters. And they said Malakai was the only favorite characters. I love that Halloween mask and the fact that you can see your mouth moving behind the translucent Halloween mask. It's extra extra creepy and of course the amazing voice. So then once he realized that the fan following a false face was actually pretty enormous then he started to kind of embrace it more.
And one time it was a proud moment of his life. I think when he was at a convention and my friend Adrian his his his false face costume as the old lady is actually on display in the museum. And I saw the false face old lady character at a convention and he leaped up from his table and he ran out of the floor and he grabbed Adrian's face and gave him a kiss right on the mask. He was so happy that somebody was caught playing him for once.
Well I want to thank you very much for taking some time to talk about the Batman 66 exhibit.
Oh thanks. My pleasure. Go see it it's there through April I believe. And a lot of people complain it's nowhere near me and it should come to me. No no no. That's why they create airplanes. That's why people fly you fly here to Hollywood this is where the show was filmed while you're here. If you really want to you can go up to Branson cave and see the actual bat cave you can drive around and see a lot of the other locations they used during filming Rancho Park the golf course where they filmed a lot of the Archer episode a 20th century FOX The Culver Studios it's all here.
So if you want to do a huge Bat Tour heck you can even take a tour of the Warner Brothers lot and drive by the steps to Commissioner Gordon's office. So it's all here come come to Hollywood come to the Hollywood Museum see the Batman 66 wholely Hollywood history Batman 66 retrospective and you'll be glad you did.
That was voice actor and Batman fan Wally Wingert. He also guest curated the Batman 66 exhibit at the Hollywood Museum. David Glanzer a spokesperson for Comecon International a mecca for pop culture fans and a place where fans of Batman 66 have had opportunities to meet actors and creators from the show Glanzer recalls how he came to the TV show.
I don't remember if I saw it first run I'm sure it didn't but it was a huge fan of George Reeves in Superman. I loved superheroes and I happened upon this TV show which was I mean I don't know. It was like a comic book come to life because it was so dynamic. I mean the colors and the the action and the dialogue and the all of that was just like it was like going to the park you know going to the zoo going to Disneyland or whatever.
But on television and I watch how we can all sleep peacefully at our patch secure in the knowledge that as a short by small son Harold just eight years. Yes Harold I said there is a Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder when I watched the show.
I can think it was campy. I mean you look back on it now and there's sort of a camp element and I think that's an element that people really enjoy. But I don't think they recognize it as such. I recognize it as being a really over-the-top fun exciting thrilling half hour of television. I mean it was it really was. I mean look the costumes look at the color. You know I look at Star Trek Star Trek and with their bright blue and red there was a lot of color in the late 60s I guess.
And for a little kid that that was certainly an attraction. But that don't hold my attention from the stories they did good versus evil and even the evil had shades to it. I mean Eartha Kitt. Right. I mean there's just so much about that that's wonderful. I'm glad that there are young people today who really appreciate it.
Well it seemed to have struck the perfect tone in that everybody in it appeared to be taking everything very seriously. And yet from above that you could tell that the show wasn't taking itself seriously so it had this perfect kind of you could take it as a kid and totally get sucked into the kind of the believability of what those superheroes were doing. And then as an older person you could look at it and go like oh they're kind of doing a little wink.
Well you know the observation when I was younger I did some acting and I really enjoyed acting. And one of the things as an actor you really have to commit to the role you're playing whatever that character happens to be good bad whatever. And you're absolutely right. I think each of those people and they had some really stellar actors on that show I mean it's it's amazing to think back on that that the caliber of talent that they had and not only were those really great actors they took these roles that would be really a challenge to I think you know anybody and they committed to it 100 percent.
And so as a kid I think you're caught up into that. I believe them because they believed in themselves. So far as to say I don't think anybody really realizes when they're working on something whether it's the Rocky Horror Picture Show whether it's Star Wars whether it's Batman what the longevity of that will be is it something that will be successful and that people forget is is something that won't be successful and people will forget. But I think you have to commit to it and hope that what you're doing resonates at least during the first run.
And so I think that the cast Adam West and the rest. I think they really committed to it. And it shows you for all of us.
Our only hope is that incarcerating just keep pushing and you don't want to to look back on it today.
Yeah there is probably a camp element but there's you can still see their commitment to it and they work really well together. It was like magic.
I mean they really turned to like these Hollywood legends like Vincent Price and Ida Lupino and George Sanders like these amazing people and these are people who have like real acting chops playing these kind of ridiculous characters.
Well you know I wonder about that if the directors of the creators had like an inside joke but an inside feeling that you know what there are these great talents that are out there that may not be working as much as they used to. We've got the show. Let's let's see if they'll come on and if they do. I mean it's a win for everybody. But how amazing that you have. Like you said I love the piano and and all these other people who were really incredible talent who the television audience may not have remembered.
And yet here they were on this hit show. And and and of course they would be spectacular and they all really were spectacular.
This says that kicky is whether you have a Dombeck. My own patented Alvino ray gun and it's the last thing you're about to see.
And it also seemed like they cash in on the fact that they were kind of allowing these people to play against type or play that types of characters that they may not have ever tackled before.
I'm sure that's the case and how great is it for Cesar Romero or for you know Eartha Kitt or whoever to be able to to really be as big as they could be.
You know it used to in acting class you know the instructors would always say it's easier to bring somebody down. Build them up. And here was these incredibly talented people who were just so over the top.
And you know and it worked. It really did. And I have to tell it to this day. Eartha Kitt you know every time I would hear her I mean when she spoke she purred right. And even that you know later on throughout her career and my life watching her I couldn't help at the back of my mind think of you know of Catwoman she was she was just perfect.
The media a lot of pulling a caper without Max meddling would be most perturbing to me. Perfect.
Exactly exactly. Did you have a favorite villain. You know what I think. Well you know what. That's a great question. I was going to say the Joker but the Riddler.
I think you know Grishin was was incredible. And of all the characters I think I thought they were all kind of a fun in a villainous way but coercion was the only one that was a little scary to me because he just seemed so not right you know and a testament to his talent that as a little kid watching this as enthralled and amused entertained I was by it. There was still an edge to it too that made me a little uncomfortable. Glass boy wonder when the.
Boy wonder around you keep crusader now as a kid were you also attracted to the gadgets and the Batmobile and those kind of elements you just brought a number.
I totally forgot about the everybody wanted to have some of his gadgets and it reminds me now that a girl who lived up the street from me had a little Batmobile like a pedal Batmobile and I preached about this memory she let me drive it once and I was like you know it was the best thing in the world it was fantastic.
Were you on your own. No batteries needed the power bring. Really. Your own.
And did you have any favorite episodes from that man.
I think you remember a scene with Batman and I want to say was Julie Newmar Catwoman where there was a scene where they almost I think were going to kiss.
And I think when I saw it I was like What if I were to kiss you. Would you think I was.
Bad girl. No. No of course not. Katleman. Kissing is one of the most natural things in the world the. Some people kiss almost every day. I'm told. Come on around the place are here.
Why blunder Catwoman. I take a rain check on that kiss. Certainly. Time.
Even today I'm transfixed by that. It makes me not want to go watch that episode to see if my memory serves you know accurately but that was something that really just took out of my mind that you have the epitome of all that's good and you are the epitome of it's bad. And yet there is this connection. And you know what. I think for a kid that was a very adult thing you know and it was a fun thing and today I was smiling thinking about it.
I want to watch that episode. That was David Glanzer spokesperson for Comic Con International.
One artist you can find at Comic Con every year is Dan Boyce and his work has clearly been influenced by Batman 66. He too came to Batman through his love for the George Reeves Superman TV show.
I love that show. I love it so much that off the kitchen we in the house we had Knowshon Beach was a little doorway little room off the driveway that we had our sparkling water. So I would put my superman costume on underneath my clothes and I put my clothes on and then I'd go out and two men would come on and they'd have the little teaser about you know and then after the commercial I'd run into that little room and take my clothes off and go watch the episode in Superman. So I was just really tuned into Superman and I thought Superman was real because he was on the I Love Lucy show.
And I thought I Love Lucy. I just thought TB was real people doing their life. I didn't know it was a script. So I thought Man Superman must be real because he's talking to Lucy and Lucy and Ricky. You know they're real people so but then they start having advertisements for Batman and it's like oh I can't wait you know the it's going to be so exciting. Week after week the Caped Crusader copes with the tricky props of bishes villain.
Will the time arrive when the prime fighters come close to the jaws of death. No. Wow. The player piano rolls. And in color on the BBC.
So Batman 66 came on January 12th 1966 and we saw it unforeseen black and white but oh man it really got me.
But the thing that got me the most was the Batmobile. I love the Batmobile and I loved the batcave better.
All the gadgets has always been a gadget guy like robots and gas. But the Batmobile. Was great and Batman was just you know his costume and the music and it's great but then you know the cliffhanger.
Man what's going to happen. So the next night you watch it and it's kind of like those Flash Gordon serials where they leave something out but then the next episode they show the little old this is how he saved himself like by nut Rock was a trap door that flash and Dale died. Oh so you know my most emotional episode was the Mr. Freeze one and I love George Sanders Mr. Freeze and I liked how he had a little freeze sections in his layer that he could make the air warm for his thugs and and Batman when he captured him.
But he could keep it cold for him.
What are you waiting for Christmas. You forgot to turn on my hot pass him cough. I forgot that you have not seen us. Nice warm kitchen too.
But I found out later that was too much expensive special effects cost too much so that's why later on it just put the guy in a helmet and he stayed there. So at the end of the first episode they froze he froze Batman and Robin. I cried. I could I could barely get through school the next day. I thought Batman and Robin were dead. I couldn't you know I couldn't believe it.
Can no one save our noble pair of human popsicles.
Answers tomorrow night same time same channel.
And then so Thursday night comes and they had their bad thermals on is saved you know. So that was that was the most dramatic one. Yeah it was bad. Mania was real it was crazy you know. And then I I sent away for the Birrie through Barry Pye's the Aurora Batmobile and I got that and I built it. Oh man I played with that too. I played with that till it's destruction. So I always had a strong connection. I just love that show. And then later on though it got the third season.
It just got kind of silly but then on Craig came along and oh yeah as long as you're holding costs. Shooting from. Girl to. Girl. That. Girl. Scout bad girl. I'm sorry by. When I started going to Comic Con and started doing art and and saw my art. I just had a I love the Batmobile. So I had picked up up a fan made a book a guy had done about the Batman 66 show it had good drawings of all of his equipment and the costumes and the Batmobile.
So I used that as a reference and watch some episodes and got some callers and I made that Batman print of the Batmobile print and then the thing the thing sold like hotcakes. I couldn't print enough of them. Then I met Scott Sebring and Wally winger and Adam Zolt and they were Wally Wingert had helped produce the costumes for the return of the bat cave movie and he was really worked with Adam West on family guy. And Scott was Batman cos player 66 Batman cos player and he had a down perfect. He had the Adam West.
I would say do the voice and do the Adam West voice and the same stutter or mannerisms so and Adam. I mean Alex Zope he's a pianist like a classical pianist and he but he wears the robin costume he's you know he's he's actually Robin. So when him and Scott are together they're like the dynamic duo. And then I got to have him on Craig played Batgirl at my table in 2006 through you know knowing what Wally and Scott and I got in contact with her and she was just wonderful.
What do you think has given the show its longevity because there are fans now who are you know in their 20s who obviously weren't around when the show first came out but what do you think it is that has made the show last so long as a favorite.
I think just the color and the production and they shot everything on a dutch angle because they were crooked.
You know the bad guys and ah oh that's just Guymon that's just magic. And the Batmobile and the dialogue and the just the tongue in cheek and the goofiness of it I mean you know I always say it was on two level as the kids we just ate it up because it was Batman and as the adults it's funny. I mean it's funny the stuff he says and you know later on when he meets Catwoman. And just all the in you know Vincent Price's egghead everything is exactly as you expect and you know it's just funny it's just funny I think it just has legs because it was done so well you know in the first the first season is the best because it is based on actual comic scripts and now and plus you can watch it anywhere anytime.
Mean TV online if you buy the Blu ray set you can digitally download it. You know it's just I know it's just it's got some it's just something that's that enjoyable no matter how old you are or what what you what you like and for people who want to check out your art.
Can they find you online.
Yeah I'm on Instagram I'm at Daniel our boys and my etsy store is W WW. Dan Boyce graphics dot Etsy dot com.
That was artist Dan Boyce another artist you'll find at Comic Con is Batton Lash. He recalls the impact the Batman TV show had on his young life.
For one day and one day only in St. Thomas Aquinas a Catholic school I was the big man on campus because I was the only one that read comics. In those days so everyone rushed up to me and said Did you see Batman last night. To their credit they all knew it came from the comics. They were all my age and they were all enjoying it whether they thought it was Kampl ridiculous or took it seriously.
But then the following day it was business as usual and I was the class schlub now part of what the exhibit has is a lot of collectibles things that people bought as kids or as collectors Batman skates Batman puppets. Do you remember it being this kind of phenomenon where there is all this kind of merchandise around.
There was a toy store called Christie's on Avenue in Brooklyn. And we would go. Me and my best friend would go and just ogle all the Batman stuff wishing we could afford Batman helmets Batman utility belt. The most we could afford is Batman trading cards. So I think I have a couple here so and they were only in Nicols so I think the Batman utility belt was something like a whopping nine ninety nine. So yeah and that was out of our price range. By March the show premiered in January.
By March everyone suffered from Batte mania especially when Adam West was on the cover of Life magazine. I mean that was maybe the the high point of BET mania living things that's fun about going through the exhibit is that it does have a lot of props.
And one of the things about Batman was not only did they have props but they were all exceptionally well labeled in the show as to what they were.
What use are anticrime computer in the Batcave right Robin when you see bad computer you'll sit back and you go Oh yeah yeah because the comics did the same thing at least in the 50s.
But when you had that shark repellent come the utility belt it go a little really ridiculous. Did you enjoy those gadgets as a kid. I loved the batarang and I wish I had one. And that's from the comics too. You know the the batarang the smoke bombs the stuff from the cops. I mean I'm a comics person first and foremost. So anything from the comics I have of saying all roads lead to comics and tell people about your comic supernatural law. Oh it is. Beware the creatures of the night.
They have lawyers will and bird counselors of the mob deal in a specialized field of war. The supernatural and supernaturally afflicted. So who's scarier than Frankenstein.
His attorneys. Why was Batton Lash creator of supernatural law comics Adam West passed away last year.
But Burt Ward the actor who created Robin on the TV show is still alive and well and acting as an ambassador for the show. He recently completed voice work for the Warner Brothers animated film Batman vs to face featuring the last performance by Adam West as Batman and with Wally Wingert voicing the Riddler and King Tut. I began my interview with Burt Ward by asking what opening night at the exhibit was like.
It was fantastic. First of all the big Libicki from the little things like the actual scripts and the you know all of the details and the Batmobile and to the bad cop to that. I mean it is everything. It's a recreation of 1966. I mean there were for example one of the things that was fantastic is they had all of the villains costumes.
Now as you know over time things age. All right. So but and they were pristine you know. But still they beach next to those were new recreations so that you could see not just the real one that was huge but what it looked like back in 1966 67 68. I mean it really makes you feel like you're there and it's a beautiful exhibit. I mean thousands of bad things and it just so great with so many villains and villains is until you really see them in totality you can't really grasp how spectacular it was.
I mean and what a gigantic thing. I mean 120 episodes. That's a big deal.
Were you surprised by anything that some of fan collectors who contributed stuff were you surprised by any of the things that they brought to the exhibit.
Well I'm amazed that anybody would would have it. You know I mean you just don't think that so much could be you know it is still maintained and the collectors. I mean they they provide an incredible I mean some of them have special rooms were you know the filtered air and all of this kind of stuff to to maintain this. It's just fabulous and there's so much to see. I mean it's one of those things you can be there for three days and still see everything.
Now a couple of the collectors that I met who were there are young so they weren't around when the show first started back in 66. What do you think has contributed to the longevity of this show and to its ability to win over new fans decades after it was done because there was no other show on television like it.
You see it especially at that time in 1966 when we came out. If you were watching television say you were watching police show or something you know they were trying to apprehend some real life villain type thing. Very words recreated to look like it's real life you'd be watching a medical show they're trying to save somebody's life and everything is so serious and all of this. But here it comes. Batman where you have such color such unbelievable colors that I've never seen any television show or movie have the brightness of the colors and the momentum from the you know the Batmobile rushing down with the sound effects in the turbine engine and the fire coming out of the back and the Batman theme music and the power that hitting the villains.
You know I mean this was just like like total sensory overload.
And for kids because it was we played it very straight.
The kids loved the hero worship. I mean who wouldn't want to be riding in the Batmobile climbing walls fighting heinous villains saving damsels in distress. I mean it was every kid's dream. Now for the adults it was the nostalgia comic book they grew up reading a two dimensional comic book and on paper and all of a sudden now it's brought to life. And then there was that third audience which at the time it was almost impossible for any of the networks to get teenagers and college kids to watch television television at that time was just not something that people wanted to watch.
These people want to go out and you know go skiing or boating or jogging or whatever they do. But but that man drew them in because we took the stuff that was written and we found ways to give a double meaning and insinuations and all kinds of stuff that these kids who were so rebellious in 1966 everybody was rebellious. Even if you're a good kid you were rebellious and they ended just this irreverent fun although we did get a lot of trouble with the censors at the time. But nevertheless it was something for everybody.
And that's what made it so big so why is it continuing. Well the people that were children that watched it then are now grown up they have their own children. And they introduced it to their kids. And you know our action was wholesome. There was no blood from the fight scenes. There was nothing that really made you feel somebody was really hurt even though tables and chairs were broken over people's heads people popped up again. You know I mean it was just a hoot. So much fun for the whole family.
While it seemed like it nailed the perfect tone because it was all everybody in it is taking it seriously. The show itself never takes itself too seriously and that helps it too I think. Not feel dated because it feels kind of like it's clever.
Yes. But I will tell you this my dear friend Adam West was a master at comedy. You know you can have comedians who tell jokes OK to make people laugh. But that's not in my mind. Real comedy real comedy is is things that are physical and mental that are just amazing ways to look at life and find humor in it. You know what I mean. I mean Adam I mean Adam was just a most wonderful man. We were dear friends for 52 years. And you put the two of us together and we wouldn't even have to say a word.
And people start laughing. There's just something about the extreme nature of my character as Rob and full of energy boyish you know. You know wild and crazy. But but it you know all-American apple pie way. Then you have Batman the stoic I mean and Adam was really like dead easy. I mean for example he thought of himself like Winston Churchill you know I mean he he he once said to me that he probably understood what it was like to play Batman. OK. When he watched Charlton Heston play Moses in the Ten Commandments and part the Red Sea.
I mean oh my gosh. And people say to me Well wait a minute you know that very stilted kind of strange way that he he was Batman. Was he really like that off camera. And the answer is yes. He was exactly on camera when he was on camera which made him hilarious. And yet he knew everything that was going on. He just had a way of amazing way of of of chemically creating this illusion that made every people. Everybody was saying is he putting me on. I can't tell if he's serious or not and it.
They loved people loved it you with Harry.
What's so important about Chopins music is important dick.
It's the universal language. One of our best hopes for the eventual realization of the Brotherhood of Man is yes you're right.
Well the other element the show had to is for the villains. A lot of times you guys turn to actors who are kind of old school Hollywood and had genuine acting chops like Ida Lupino and George Sanders and Vincent Price and that role of lewdly.
Every one of these. Burgess Meredith you know Frank Gershon and Julie Newmar. And then we have some of the very classic I mean Tallulah Bankhead George Raft. I mean these were stars when I was a kid growing up watching him on television and or in movies and it was just an absolutely a every one of these actors I mean Cesar Romero oh my gosh and these people these great actors loved doing Batman because it wasn't the typical acting gig. They could be bigger and better and grander and you know and everybody loved that about the show.
It was just so much bigger than life. When you do you want to do my father and I will.
Become my bride which is.
And it got to such a point where you had people clamoring to do those cameos when you did the walk up the walls and people they created that the cause of the demand.
Every celebrity actor who had a child were being pounded by their children. You know on that show. Oh my gosh pounded. So what the producers did because there's only so many villains you know a hundred and twenty episodes you can't have more than 120 villains and you've got the superstar actors and actresses that wanted to be on our show so they created this scene where in every show we'd be walking up the side of the building and the window would open up you know only about 80 stories tall. It wasn't too high.
Now I'm being facetious but seriously you know Sammy Davis Jr. would open up. I mean the great Sammy Davis Jr..
Batman. What are you guys doing just rooting on Friday. Would you like to come inside rehearsing.
Thank you Citizen. But our pursuit of justice allows us to diversions.
DC Hey you guys come and get my act sometime I think yours or Colonel Klink or Lerche or Don Ho we're Betty White are all these people that everybody knew. And now you know what I mean. They have their moment that they and their kids loved it. Everybody everybody loves it. I mean that man is so funny because when I meet people you know it. Lot of people are like celebrities but when you see Batman there's a twinkle that gets in people's eyes. And there's that special smirk that comes across their face because they know we were different than every other television show.
And do you remember getting called in to do the show. How did you get cast as Robin.
Yes I remember very exactly. There was I would say a pretty good amount of competition there was 11 hundred young actors interviewed for this role. I remember when the executive producer William Dozier came to me and said We decided to pick you and would you like to know why. I said yes I would sir. And he said because in our mind forget the television if there really was around that. I mean real the real thing. We think you Burt Ward would be it. So we don't want you to quote act.
You really just want you to be yourself and be enthusiastic.
And how was it to play a character that was so iconic and became so popular so fast at that young age.
Well you know for me I guess maybe because I hadn't been turned down a thousand times and didn't have you know I mean a grudge or a chip on my shoulder for me. I just I don't think I changed at all. I was the same person before and after. And I saw everything in a very sincere you know kind of healthy light. You know I've never been involved with any kind of drugs or alcohol or smoking. I mean I always wanted to you know be aware of my senses and my wife Tracey you were married 28 years incredibly happy.
She's very health oriented and we just just go out and try to do make a good life. And in fact you know I like to say I was the Caped Crusader. And now I am the canine crusader because as part of what my wife and I do is that we rescue dogs and anything that I do I guess I do to the extreme because my wife and I now operate the world's largest giant breed dog rescued called Gentle giants. I mean it's just something we love to do. And in fact I would like to add one thing I have a brand new movie out from Warner Brothers called Batman vs to face.
And now this isn't a full length animated feature fabulously done. It does have the voice of Adam West playing Batman. My voice is Robby and portraying two face is none other than William Shatner who is fabulous in this in looking at the exhibit when you were there.
Did anything spark any particular memories about an episode or about one of the actors that you worked with.
Well one thing that sparked something when I saw those types of mine and I started to break out in a rash. No I've been real you know I must tell you man was not built for tights and I used to call him my Python pants because they nearly strangled me to death so I'll never forget for my screencast. I actually screen tested with Adam West which is really kind of unusual. They told me all you have to go back here is that these two worlds wardrobe to help you get dressed so I could get dressed by myself.
Oh you don't understand Bert. You go back there you're going to put this thing on you. Well they put this most incredibly horribly uncomfortable costume on me and I remember distinctly I could barely walk. Everything hurt. Everything hurt. And I turned to these men as I was stepping out of the dressing room and said it's a good thing that I'm doing this screencast and it'll be done in 15 minutes and I'll never have to wear this costume again. But you know. And yet at the same time I love the show.
I loved it. It was so much fun to do with the people everybody the crew everybody had as much fun as Adam and I did and I loved working with Adam. Oh my gosh. He can make you laugh. He even. And you know what I look at him and his cape and cowl. I don't know if you ever noticed but his eyes were crossed when he had that Coulon and I could hardly keep from laughing. Every time I looked at him and the directors would say wait a minute you Adam Bert stop laughing.
You're going to laugh me out of the business. I've got to get the show shot. But we just laughed at and had such a good time.
And you know something people knew that what we were doing was in a relaxed wonderful fun and loving way as opposed to something that you know you don't want to do you just want to go in and do it.
Get it done. Oh no. We love making bathmat. Loved it.
What proved to be the greatest challenge in shooting the show.
The greatest challenge in shooting this show was in a one word answer survival. Let me explain. This was incredibly dangerous incredibly dangerous. The first four of the six days that I worked in the show I went to the emergency hospital with either second degree burns a broken nose in gas inhalation. Oh I had never even been in an emergency hospital.
For example they want the very first shot they Seeberg to get in the Batmobile is in this Bronson cave now and you're going to come out you know at 55 miles an hour. And then you know they're going to be a fast turn and we're going to see you. You know upclose so you just go ahead and get in the Batmobile. And so I went and got in the Batmobile. I'm wondering jeez what this is going to be you know and I looked over and I thought I saw Adam but it was it was somebody else dressed in a bat costume.
I said Who are you. He says My name is Hubie I said why are you here. He says because this is a very dangerous stunt. They don't want to take a chance of Adam West getting hurt. I said oh really dangerous. Oh yes. We have to come out at 55 miles an hour. We have to make a sharp turn. I've got to make sure the cart isn't roll over and he's telling me this stuff is. Wait a minute. Do I have a stunt man. He says Oh yeah you do.
I said Well where is he.
That was the last time I saw him. He was having coffee with Adam West. And now I can hear him say OK roll up the beach. Let's go. Wait a minute where events in the system director came over and the bird what's the problem. I said man is telling me that this is a very dangerous shot. He said it is. I said yeah but he's telling me I have a stunt man and he's over drinking coffee with Adam West. He says that's true. Well why isn't he here sitting in his seat risking his life instead of me.
He's a we can't use him. What. Why can't you use him. Well he doesn't look like you. I like. Why would you hire a stunt man to be my stunt man if he doesn't look like me. And an honest beetle wonderful stunt man. But he looked like Cyrano de Bergerac. I mean not like me he said. You have a very small mask. We can see your face clearly. Anyway long story short I had to do with about 55 miles an hour. They made that sharp turn but unfortunately unexpectedly my door flew open and when it flew open I nearly fell out of the Batmobile.
I managed to catch my little finger on the gearshift knob which pulled my finger out of joint. The door flew and knocked the cameraman off his camera truck knocked a big arc lamp over somebody could have been killed by those that giant arc lamp. Anyway they rushed over and they they picked me up because I was like hanging out of the car and they said oh my gosh bird you know somebody run with your hands I said You look down and my little finger was twice the size that it normally should be. They said we got to get you to an emergency or something like that.
Great. Show me where do I go. And they said oh we can't do that. I said what you made they said we got to get the shot. We are not going to go to a hospital. We got 80 guys on the crew. Cost is too much money. That was it. Seven thirty in the morning at noodled I left for the hospital. I'll tell you after the third day at that same hospital with the same doctor he kept saying to me if you think you might be accident prone I don't think of accident prone.
I think I'm doing a very dangerous job. I didn't know any better. But I tell you this studio was very smart. What they did after the first week they took out a gigantic life insurance policy on and I'll tell you by the end of the third season I could swear they were trying to collect on that policy.
And so you know it from cars that were had to be in a burning car and I was supposed to jump out and just when I started to jump out car exploded and all I remember is coming my face thrown at the ground like incredible speed you know. Wow.
I mean these are things that I mean I was tied down on the table. OK. And there in the first show that Robert Butler directed and my arms are tied down on my sides. Batman is supposed to break through this subway wall with a small charge to rescue me. And they were supposed to build what they call a breakaway sect where it looks just like a real building. But it's made with balsa wood so that you know it comes apart easy. But guess what. Whoever built it forgot to build a breakaway set they built it with two by fours like building a house.
And there was no two weeks or three weeks to rebuild it. They had to have it done right then. So what did the special effects guys do. They used to have sticks of dynamite and nearly blew the entire soundstage down. And my arms were tied at my side and a two by four came down hit me on the nose and broke my nose. Back to the emergency hospital but I'll tell you one thing I should have been suspect is something going to happen because let me tell you it was 8:00 in the morning.
I'm tied down on a table and as these special effects guys were walking past me I could smell liquor on their breath. That's a bad sign.
So aside from the accidents that happened do you have a favorite show that you remember shooting or one of the episodes that you enjoyed working on were you maybe didn't get injured.
Very few. But no but seriously I actually I guess I'm one of these people that are so happy go lucky that even with the injuries they still manage to have fun. You know what I mean. And I love working with all these great stars. Oh my gosh like Vincent Price. He came on the set and I remember as a child watching him in a movie that just scared me to death I think it was the raven or something. And when I first saw him I had that tingle you know what me were fear and then I realized that it was a really nice man and it was you know it was it was fun to work with him.
But but you know it's it's amazing how as a child if you watch television or movies you can be so affected by what you see and it gives you a preconceived idea of what that actor is like and because it wasn't him what the actor was like it was like the role of the actor.
And you have memories of any of the other guest villains that you worked with.
Oh every one of them I mean this is like I mean Joan Collins was siring and Zsa Zsa Gabor. And Cliff Robertson was shame.
And I mean just so many great actors and actresses Barbara Rush was Nora clavicles and she was there at the museum. I mean this lady is in her 90s an amazingly beautiful and just very sharp mentally so. Oh it was fabulous. This museum. I mean it was like it was so crowded you could barely move an inch in any direction. There's so many people there to see the exhibit and to enjoy the memory of recreating the hotel was creating the batcave in the Wayne Manor. And the villains hide out and you know they had a whole collector's section for all the various things collected and was there much of a difference.
Shooting the TV show versus the movie or did it feel kind of like one continuation of the Batman movie we shot in 1966 was you know it was it was a bigger budget it was more time. It's much more involved. More special effects. It was. But you know our characters were our characters. And for me and for Adam it was very easy for us to do those characters so easy. And I think part of the fact that we were so comfortable in doing it that it resonated with the audience.
Well I want to thank you very much for taking some time to speak with me and I got to go to the exhibit and it was so much fun.
I have to say Yeah and you know it's like outside with the bat signal projected on the two of them on the building and the way they had lit it that it was just a fabulous exhibit. And the Hollywood Museum is a very special place with so many memories and so many you know authentic articles from the past it's like like a whole history lesson in motion picture and television makes.
I was fortunate enough also to after going to the exhibit my friend knew where the Bronson caves were and so we made a little side trip out there and got all that great.
Yeah that was you know that was that was really something you know it's funny at the time I felt that I didn't think too much of it. And yet you know it's practically in the opening of just about every show whenever we leave the batcave they use that as oh my gosh it's so famous. And there they had. Speaking of that at the museum they had that famous sign that was the original sign. Gotham city 40 miles away. It was just for me. So wonderful. And you know I was very touched people that came there the celebrities the press everybody was so kind and it was like very touchy feely you know being kind of like you know we lost Adam but we still have you and we want you to know how much all of us grew up loving Batman and how much it means to us.
I was very touched I was very very touched by that.
Well I was six years old when the show came on and I immediately fell in love with it. And I remember singing that batman theme all that well it just shows you have excellent taste.
Well thank you. Yes.
I mean the music everything. It all worked together you know in a way that it just became magical and children. I mean for all over the world I don't know if you know this that we got to 55 share on opening night that Mitt in North America which includes not just the United States but Canada and Mexico that 55 percent of all the TVs that were turned on at that time were watching Batman and all the other local syndicated stations national stations all the others were sharing 45 percent. And how this translates is that this was bigger than the Super Bowl on opening night.
Four hundred million people worldwide watch Batman. I was there too. I was home watching other TV. I had not seen it put together. Remember as an actor you just do a little tiny pieces. 30 seconds at a time and I didn't know about the music. I didn't know about the colors. And the House and the ZAP's and the sound effects and I mean every body that was involved whether you were the person doing the sound effects or you the person doing the optical those zaps and Paos or you were the person writing the music perform.
Everybody got into it and everybody did their best and it just like just took off like a rocket.
After seeing the first finished episode where you got to see all those elements combined did it change the way you were playing the character did you feel like more a sense of how your performance was going to play and kind of the bigger picture of the series.
Well it didn't change how I portrayed Rob but it did give me a complete in light of how it fit into my performance and Adam's performance in the totality of the show. And it just if anything made Adam and I love the show more and realize how what we did and the nature of the double meaning that they can't be style it was carried through not just by the actors but by the directors by the wardrobe people. I mean everybody got it you know. Everybody did their best and it just was fantastic.
I don't know if if ever there'll be another show like it really you know although I will tell you our new Batman movie that's animated has not only got the very feel of what we did back in 1966 but it's updated to include references to the movies which are a little darker and as a combines it in a way that is very up to date. I was very very impressed and people the reviews have been just spectacular. And this is now out on DVD and Blu ray in a Batman versus two face so you know your viewers really say what great entertainment this very current.
Go and pick up a copy and have a lot of fun.
All right well thank you very much.
It is said that the Batmobile atomic batteries to power turbines to speed to Batman 66 before it leaves. And if you want to extend the tour check out Bronson caves just a few miles away. It's the location for the Batcave and you can get your keep on walking through.
Right I'm going into that cave. Check out the podcast page at Cape PBS dot org slash Junkie podcast for video of the exhibit and Bronson caves. Thanks for listening to another edition of PBS cinema Junkie podcast.
Cinema Junkie will be back with new episodes in February to get you through the month of January. I have two popular archived episodes picked out the first one is going to be real science where scientists talk about movies and the second one is a focus on ACE editors.
When an editor does their best work nobody noticed nobody should notice because that is the editing is that element which Colling even visibly string together.
And these are Oscar nominated editors who can kind of get you in the mood for the Oscar nominations that'll be coming out later in January. So thanks for listening. Until our next film Fixx Comando your residence and I'm a junkie.