1966’s Batman: The Movie
By James O’Donnell
Justice League hits theaters this November and (please for the love of god let it be good) we here at the Geeked Gods thought it would be fun to run through the cinematic history of some of some DC’s biggest and brightest. As luck would have it I drew Batman, which has everything to do with my writing ability and nothing to do with the incriminating photos on my phone of GG’s CEO Ash Thomas that may or may not implicate him in the theft of the Declaration of Independence.
You can’t begin to talk about Batman in film without acknowledging his wonderfully campy beginnings and 1966’s Batman: The Movie (I am, of course, ignoring the ridiculously racist 1940’s serials). The movie that many considered to be a neigh death nail for the character when everybody got all grimdark in the 80’s has enjoyed a major resurgence in the last few decades thanks to its self deprecating humor and sprawling action sequences complete with every zip, pow and wham waiting in the caped crusader’s fists.
The film features performances from headliners Adam West and Burt Ward clashing against a supporting cast of silver screen and stage legends Frank Gorshin (Riddler), Burgess Meredith (Penguin), Lee Meriwether (Catwoman) and Cesar Romero (Joker). This is a must watch for Bat-fans old and young alike with family friendly action, a bevy of off-the-wall gadgets (ahem- Bat-Shark repellant) and a distinct lack of Bat-throat cancer voice and murder (aside from that poor, poor dolphin).
The plot follows a sinister plot to dehydrate members of a faux United Nations and, I don’t know…snort them? I honestly don’t remember if any reason is actually given for dehydrating the fake UN but between Catwoman posing as a Soviet Sleeper agent and the Batmobile breaking down at the exact right spot to intercept the Bat-cycle (cleverly hidden beneath piles of straw) I don’t think it matters.
It should be noted that this movie actually answers one of the great mysteries in Batman’s cinematic history…
(Spoilers ahead for the uninitiated)
In 2012’s The Dark Knight Rises, Batman may or may not have sacrificed himself to save the people of Gotham city from a big round nuke that Bane forces Morgan Freeman to arm after he kills most of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Debate has raged for years as to whether or not Christopher Nolan killed off the Caped Crusader but keen eyed viewers with knowledge of Nolan’s affinity for referencing the campy 60’s Batman knew for sure that the director likely drew inspiration for his climax from Batman: The Movie’s famous “some days you just can’t get rid of a bomb,” scene.
Just a small personal note here: I grew up watching reruns of the 60s Batman show on TBS and our mutual love of the show was one of the first things my father and I bonded over (I actually still have his Batman Pin from when he was a kid). A few years ago at Chiller Theater Expo in New Jersey I had the privilege of meeting Adam West and getting an autograph. It’s not every day that Batman shakes your hand and looks you in the eye, and it really was the most star struck I have ever been. I have faint memories of our brief conversation as his manager worked to keep the line moving but I really got the impression that he was as generous and kind as a kid with a love for Batarang’s and a major crush on Catwoman could ever hope for.