This week, Sky Movies are launching the ‘Batman Boxset’, where viewers can watch all Batman movies, which are being broadcast at various intervals.
Eagle-eyed Batfans will notice that there is one shocking omission, the 1967 movie spin-off from the TV series.
Sadly, the TV series and associated spin-offs appear to be written out of Bat-History by Warner Brothers, which is sad, as it’s the one thing I often associated when I think of the portrayals of the caped crusader.
It’s a show which brings back memories from my childhood, which is probably why I love it so much.
When the Tim Burton 1989 movie was released, it gave the TV show a new lease of life.
For some random reason, my dad used to always record it for me, as it was on during the wee small hours, as part of ITV Nightscreen, and I would then watch it the following day after coming home from school.
I used to love Chief O’Hara struggling to work out which criminal they were dealing with, despite it being so blindingly obvious.
“They’ve left us a clue ……….. in the form of a joke, who could it be?” he could be found screaming at the crime scene, painfully trying to work out which criminal in Gotham City specialises in jokes, before Batman suggests that it is possibly the work of The Joker.
O’Hara would then usually ask “Why didn’t I think of that?” as Batman politely ignores the opportunity to point out that it’s because he’s a complete idiot.
I suppose that’s why Chief O’Hara is such an endearing character, because we all know someone like him.
We’ve all work with a ‘O’Hara’, someone who has managed to get into a position of authority, despite seemingly being a halfwit who can’t even spot a problem when it is staring right in front of them.
O’Hara however, has a heart of gold, as he once stated during the show that he is “Violently opposed to police brutality”
With this guy the second most senior police officer in the city, it was no surprise that Gotham City was over-run by criminals, especially with criminals being released seemingly every six weeks going by the recurring nature of the casting.
To combat this, the producers began inventing characters such as Egghead, played by Vincent Price and whipping up an array of bad egg-based yokes, sorry, jokes.
There was once a simpler age when you would put your coat hood on your head, using it as a cape to recreate the slapstick fight scenes (The A-Team had by now replaced as the TV show to recreate in our school playground)
This wasn’t case of children copying something violent they seen on TV. It wasn’t violent you see, as made up words such as KER-POW!!!!, BIFF!!! and ZOINK!!!! would appear on screen.
It might have been violence, but it was comic violence, like Stan and Ollie, especially as Batman and Robin were usually defeated by their own stupidity, but never violently.
Having scored an own goal through their own stupidity, the bad guys usually left them in an easy to get out of trap before leaving them unsupervised in order to escape, and them having the cheek to be shocked, usually asking “I thought you were dead”
Batman’s escape was usually aided by one of the various bat-branded products in his utility belt, with Robin usually exclaiming “Holy ………”.
He might have been generally useless when it came to fights, but at least he had a way with words and a “Holy ………..!!!!!!” for any occasion.
Comedy was an essential part of the show, and the worse the punchline, the better.
To rank alongside O’Hara’s remark about police brutality, Batman once memorably declined the offer of a VIP table in a nightclub (where he was staking out a criminal) as “He didn’t want to attract attention”, because a man dressed in tights and cape wouldn’t attract attention.
Incidentally, for that scene, Robin was outside as he was too young to be in the nightclub. Despite being a masked crimefighter, Robin has to obey the laws of the land, it’s called Good Citizenship.
Memorably, Batman once took time out after parking outside a villains lair to pay the parking metre despite Robin pointing out that no parking attendant would dare to give the Batmobile a parking ticket.
That wasn’t the point, Batman was using the facility, and felt obliged to pay for it. After all, his money would go towards building better roads and improving the transport infrastructure in Gotham City.
Thanks to a combination of Batman and Mr T, I don’t speed, I pay parking tickets, I stay in school and say no to drugs. Ahh, the power of television.
The legend of Adam West lives on with his cameo appearances on Family Guy, playing himself as the O’Hara-esque Mayor of Quohog, lampooning the Bruce Wayne character in the role.
An under-rated Batman movie is ‘Return To The Batcave’, where Adam West and Burt Ward player their older selves in a biopic of the TV show.
West demonstrates his comic ability which made him so loved as Batman by constantly called his butler ‘Alfred’ when his name is Gerry..
After having this pointed out, West apologises, saying “Sorry Alfred” before using a switch hidden underneath a statue to open a book cabinet which revealed a pole.
“A nostalgic nod to that TV show you were in Mister West?” asks Gerry, before Adam West replies, with a straight face, “No Alfred, it was part of the house when I bought it”.
Some actors often battle typecasting but Adam West thrives on his fame. For many people, Adam West IS Batman, not Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, George Clooney or Christian Bale.
As Adam West asked during his Simpsons guest appearance, why doesn’t Batman dance?
Where is the fun? Where is the colour? Why do the Batman movies have to be so dark?
And most importantly, why do the marketing men feel the need to write Adam West and the 1960s TV show out of Bat-History?
It could be best summed up, as Heath Ledger once remarked when playing The Joker, Why so serious?