Wild Wednesday and Terrific Thursday: ABC’s ‘Batman’

Adam West and Burt Ward in the 1960s "Batman" TV series.

Viewers got a “POW!” when Batman first aired on January 12, 1966.  

Campy, tongue-in-cheek, family-friendly, and completely over-the-top, the series followed the adventures of the Bright Knight (Adam West) and his sidekick Robin (Burt Ward), the heroic alter-egos of billionaire Bruce Wayne and young Dick Grayson.  Feared and loved by many as the Dynamic Duo, the Caped Crusader and the Boy Wonder keep the people of Gotham City safe from the evil likes of the Riddler (Frank Gorshin, John Astin), the Joker (Cesar Romero), the Penguin (Burgess Meredith), Catwoman (Julie Newmar, Lee Meriwether, Eartha Kitt), Mr. Freeze, Shame, and an endless rogues gallery of super-villains who are out to cause mischief and mayhem in Gotham.

For the first two seasons, Batman aired twice a week on Wednesdays and Thursday nights: spawning a big-screen movie that was released in the summer of 1966, where some days you just can’t get rid of a bomb.  By the third season, though, ratings began to plop, so Batman aired only on Thursdays.  However, the writers and producers tried to breathe new life into the series with the addition of Yvonne Craig as Barbara Gordon/Batgirl.  Now the Dynamic Duo began the Terrific Trio. Sadly, it wasn’t enough, as ABC canceled Batman in the spring of 1968 after 120 episodes.

However, the series maintained a cult fan following over the years thanks to reruns in syndication, comics, and DVDs.  West, Ward, and Newmar reprised their role for the 2016 animated Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders in honor of the show’s 50th anniversary.  A year later, West died from leukemia at the age of 88.  He played the Bright Knight one final time for the 2017 sequel Batman vs. Two Face, which was released four months after his death.  

You can signal Batman every Sunday morning on Heroes & Icons (H&I).  All three seasons can be found on HBO Max.

Video by IGN

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