show episodes
 
Like many who grew up in the '60s and '70s (and perhaps even '80s and later), Tim and Paul had the course of their lives changed by the 1966 Batman TV show, from the types of play they did growing up to their present-day interests. In this series, they discuss the show's allure and its failures, the arc of the show from satire to sitcom, its influences (the '40s serials and the comic books themselves) and the things it, in turn, influenced. SUPPORT "To the Batpoles!" and DeconstructingComics ...
 
Join Adam and Davis in their brand-new podcast, where they discuss famous celebrities, how they made their names known, and the people who just happen to share their monikers. They talk to people from different walks of life and decide who should be the better known holder of their namesake: the celebrity or the civilian.
 
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show series
 
One of our favorite Batman arcs growing up was the three-parter “The Zodiac Crimes” featuring the mind-blowing combination of Joker and Penguin! But when Stephen Kandel wrote it, it was a two-parter introducing a new villain: The Astrologer. Why might it have been switched to a three-parter starring established villains? How much in the script did …
 
Alan Napier was the third-billed star of Batman, and is, somewhat remarkably, the only series regular who has a memoir currently in print. The book, Not Just Batman’s Butler, was written by Napier around 1970, and writer James Bigwood has edited and annotated it. At some points, Bigwood has filled in some quite large gaps that Napier left concernin…
 
You know about the 1966 Batman at Washburn fan film, made by students at Minneapolis' Washburn High School. (If you missed it, listen to episode 146!) But questions remained unanswered. How did the students get the school to let them shoot the film at school? How did they come up with the idea, and determine the casting? Why did they go with origin…
 
Most TV writers don’t become stars. If we’re fans of a show they wrote for, we probably know their names, but nowhere online can we find most writers’ photos or dates of birth, let alone anything about their inner thoughts. Especially not writers who did their work decades ago. Collector Mitch Kaba has come along to help us get some insight into on…
 
Breaking bat-news! The earliest-known Batman ’66 fan film has been revealed! It was made by students at Washburn High School in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in the spring of 1966. As Batmania raged nationally, these kids decided to celebrate their school by making a Batman film in and around their school, with the cooperation of the school, including sc…
 
Director Leslie Martinson, in his TV Academy interview that we explored last time, kept coming back to the question “What is the director’s input” in a TV show or movie? When he pointed out his input to the famous “bomb” scene in Batman: The Movie, we became curious to see what other aspects of the film might show signs of “the director’s input.” S…
 
Leslie Martinson was the director of “The Penguin Goes Straight”/“Not Yet He Ain’t” and “Batman: The Movie.” He was a good friend of Adam West’s (but thought Burt Ward was “adequate”). As a director, how much impact did he have on the Batman legacy? For one thing, he played a big role in shaping the “bomb” scene into a signature scene of Adam West …
 
Nelson Riddle’s score for Batman, including the 1966 film Batman: The Motion Picture, features energetic, swing-influenced cues that adhere to the action like a Carl Stalling Looney Tunes score, and opera-esque motifs for each villain and each Bat-vehicle. As incidental music tends to be, it’s probably the most underappreciated aspect of the series…
 
When you see a script marked “FINAL,” you probably assume that it’s word-for-word the same as what was shot. In the case of “The Penguin Goes Straight”/“Not Yet He Ain’t”, it’s not even the final script! It was followed by a “revised final” script, which still varies significantly from what was shot. Many lines are changed, scenes are tightened up,…
 
This time we resume reviewing the Batman '66 comic book series, with issues 3 and 4, featuring Joker, the Red Hood (huh? Isn't that Joker?), Egghead, the Mad Hatter, and Clock King. We discuss why Robin had two "holys" in a row, the mysterious floating egg-hat, Londinium suddenly becoming London, an unexpected kinship between villains, and more. Pl…
 
Julie Newmar appeared as Catwoman in six two-parters during the first two seasons of Batman. During that time, the show and her character evolved, and while some might not agree with the direction they took, it’s hard to deny that Julie did both the evil, whip-snapping Catwoman and the Batman-besotted, comic Catwoman-of-a-thousand-disguises very we…
 
Batman Meets Godzilla issue 2 is out! You may recall we previously reviewed issue 1 of Eric Elliot’s labor-of-love project, with contributions from numerous artists (including Ian Miller, who drew the above panel), to bring life to a movie pitch from the ‘60s. Issue 2 manages to noticeably top issue 1 in numerous ways. In this episode, our review. …
 
Is Batman Forever a comedy? Or is it an action movie with a few funny parts? Is it a throwback to the ’66 series, or a blend of every iteration of Batman? Is it camp? And the cut scenes regarding Bruce’s memories of his father’s diary prompt us to consider: is it better to have a lame payoff, or no payoff at all? Meanwhile, “Holy Deja Vu!” is back,…
 
Yvonne Craig’s memoir, From Ballet to the Batcave and Beyond, poses quite a contrast to those by Adam West and Burt Ward. Batman takes up much less space in it, and recountings of sexual adventures take up no space at all. What emerges is a very practical woman who sees herself as a geek, is surprised to find herself typecast as “sexy” as she appro…
 
Penguins live where it’s cold, but somehow the pairing of the Penguin and Mr. Freeze never came about on the TV show. But Jeff Parker made it happen in the second issue of the Batman ’66 comic book! In the same issue, he gave us another logical pairing, Chandell and the Siren. This time, we review the issue. Also, we take a closer look at the 1966 …
 
This episode: BECAUSE YOU DEMANDED IT! We discuss two topics often suggested by listeners: In 2013, not long before Batman finally came to home video, DC Comics began the Batman '66 comic book series with Jeff Parker and Jonathan Case's "The Riddler's Ruse." In a comic whose main reason for existence is nostalgia, is it forgivable to take advantage…
 
Scripts are back! After many months resting our script-research muscles, we're back to tackle the first two drafts of Robert Dozier's The Joker is Wild — originally called The Joker's Utility Belt, after the comics story the script is based on. Oddly, this first draft seems to also have scenes that are based on Lorenzo Semple's Hi Diddle Riddle! Ho…
 
Hey Batfans! Want details on what kept the show out of home video for so long? Want to know where the building called Gotham Plaza was, and what other shows that same structure was used for? Wondering about the background on the missing narration at the start of Hi Diddle Riddle? Have questions about the history of the all-seeing, all-knowing 66 Ba…
 
TV in the '60s was, of course, dominated by male characters. It'd be tough to find a series that would pass the "Bechdel Test." How does Batman fare from a woman's point of view in the year 2020? To help us investigate this question, we invited novelist Nancy Northcott to join us this time and screen selected episodes from the first season. Plus, T…
 
The 1964 "New Look" facelift and, of course, our beloved 1966 TV show created a boom in Batman comics... briefly. The sales numbers dropped to their lowest point yet after the show was cancelled. Meanwhile, diehard fans of the comics, whose vision of Batman couldn't have been farther from how he was portrayed on the show, were fed up and demanding …
 
In 1966, one sure way to make money was to tie your product to the Batman TV show in some way. Bill Adler was an expert at riding the latest wave, and in that year he released Bill Adler's Funniest Fan Letters to Batman, a collection of real (?) fan letters sent by fans (mostly kids) of the Caped Crusader's TV show and comic books. In this episode,…
 
At last, we're back! Week-to-week Neilsen ratings info isn't easy to come by, but some research on the ratings has been shared on the all-seeing, all-knowing 66 Batman message board by Bob Furmanek. This time we examine Bob's research and how it puts another nail in the bat-coffin of the pervasive fourth season myth. 2015 4th season myth thread 201…
 
This time, a double-header! First, we finish what we started by discussing Legends of the Superheroes: The Roast. Was it a great achievement by West and Ward? (Um…) Was Frank Gorshin probably better off for having skipped it? Was the inclusion of Ghetto Man racist? Is it really a roast at all? Is it, you know, funny at any point? We discuss all the…
 
In January 1979, Adam West, Burt Ward, and Frank Gorshin reprised their '66 roles in two specials that barely registered in the Nielsen ratings. The first was "Legends of the Superheroes: The Challenge," in which Batman, Robin, and other DC Comics heroes went up against a group of villains (including the Riddler) who, for no clear reason, were plot…
 
We've finished season three (and the series), so it's time to examine the final year of Batman. It's not a task we relish; so much of season three is a disappointment, from the writing to the production values, the head-scratching cliffhanger-free episode tag scenes to the phoned-in acting. And then there's the introduction of Batgirl. While Yvonne…
 
And so we arrive at the last episode of Batman. Of course, the show didn't get a spectacular sendoff; they didn't even give us any of the major villains. Instead, Zsa Zsa Gabor, who had twice almost appeared on the show, finally gets her turn, as (relatively?) evil spa owner Minerva. ("How could she be evil? She's so beautiful!") What's perhaps mor…
 
How might a longtime Batman comics reader in 1966 have reacted to Burgess Meredith's portrayal of the Penguin? That's the question our friend Kyle hit on a few months ago, and in this episode he joins us to read pre-'66 Batman comics to compare how similar Meredith's Penguin was to the character in stories by Bob Kane, Bill Finger, Sheldon Moldoff,…
 
As Batman neared the end of its run, the budget situation got worse (occasioning the need for an invisible fight), and the writers threw caution to the wind: witness at least half a dozen double entendres in "The Entrancing Dr. Cassandra" — this at a time when most viewers who were old enough to get these naughty jokes had already bailed. In this e…
 
When Batman was the hottest show on TV, it naturally became a major target of humor and parody as well. In episode 115 we looked at a couple of contemporaneous Bat-parodies from 1966-67, and this episode we examine three more: The Adventures of Jerry Lewis no. 97, featuring the actual Batman and Robin, who are both dealing with the effects of West/…
 
In Cesar Romero's final appearance as the Joker, he seems hamstrung, and not only by the lousy plot and the single episode in which to tell it. Ken Holtzhouser, who grew up rating Batman episodes based on their Romeroian content, joins us to identify the problem, separate out the chaff from the episode, and see if there's any Bat-wheat left. Plus, …
 
While Batman and Robin never had their own show back in the "Golden Age of Radio," they did appear from time to time on The Adventures of Superman. Sometimes it was because Superman actor Bud Collyer was taking the day off, but in the case of "Batman's Great Mystery", he appears in all eleven episodes as Batman (Stacy Harris) has disappeared, and S…
 
Victor Buono's final appearance as King Tut is, while hardly the Semplian ideal, plenty enjoyable on its own merits - for Buono, for the unusual situation the Dynamic Duo find themselves in, for some well-thought-out camera work. But what's up with Adam West's line delivery? We've never heard him sound so grouchy and cynical before. Also, how does …
 
What does the movie Flash Gordon (1980) have to do with Batman '66? Simple: a guiding force for both was screenwriter Lorenzo Semple, Jr.! What can we learn about Semple's approach to Batman by comparing it to his work on Flash Gordon 15 years later? What was his approach, and what other factors skewed the results? There's no walkthrough of the plo…
 
"Come back, Shame!" In season three, come back he does, and seemingly stupider than ever! And yet, Shame's plotting for his caper seems oddly smart. Meanwhile, Stanley Ralph Ross goes all-in on gags that are gleefully at odds with the template set by Lorenzo Semple, Jr. in season one. In this episode, we examine the final two-parter of the Batman s…
 
One question on our minds almost since the beginning of To the Batpoles! has been: Just how much did Victor Buono, as King Tut, ad lib on the show? In this episode, we answer that question by comparing the final script to King Tut's Coup/Batman's Waterloo to what was broadcast, helping us to see the difference between Buono's sense of humor and Sta…
 
When something becomes popular, it's likely to get parodied somewhere. In the 1960s, the parodier-in-chief was MAD Magazine. Meanwhile, at Marvel Comics, a new parody comic series began in 1967, Not Brand ECHH, which followed the lead of MAD's 1950s incarnation as a comic book. In 1966, MAD published "BATS-MAN", followed about a year later by ECHH'…
 
In The Penguin's Clean Sweep, Burgess Meredith's final appearance on "Batman" (but not the last time as the Penguin!), Stanford Sherman's script has its moments, and so does Meredith, but… if you look closely, something just isn't up to snuff. And if you scratch the surface, there are way more inconsistencies and goofiness in the script than meets …
 
Without a doubt, one of the most maligned Batman episodes is Nora Clavicle and the Ladies' Crime Club. The episode's sexist portrayal of women obviously wouldn't fly today, but do the men in this episode fare any better? It seems to have been another of Stanford Sherman's satirical Batman episodes, arguably a failed one. But every episode has its f…
 
Batman and Robin are "duly deputized agents of the law." Law comes up on the '66 show on a number of occasions, including two courtroom scenes. The very first episode features the Riddler filing a lawsuit against Batman. But, you might ask, how accurately is the law portrayed on Batman? In this episode, lawyer Jim Dedman is here to fill us in. How …
 
What's this? An episode of To the Batpoles that isn't about Batman? Well…on the surface, no, it isn't. But in Ahoy Comics' series The Wrong Earth, Dragonflyman and Stinger act an awful lot like the '66 versions of Batman and Robin, and the Dragonfly seems very similar to Frank Miller's Dark Knight! Liberated of the copyright owner's limitations on …
 
In 1965, as production of Batman was starting to get rolling, Lorenzo Semple was having some difficulties in getting across to writers his vision for the show. Leonard Stadd's "The Secret of the Impossible Crimes," a script that Semple rejected, shows Stadd's take on Semple's vision after reading the script for "Hi Diddle Riddle." The result is a f…
 
One of the reasons often given for the quality dropoff in Batman season three has been that, in one-part episodes with so many characters, time is tight. So how to account for Louie's Lethal Lilac Time, a one-parter that seems not to even have enough story for 22 minutes!? And yet, we seem to be missing things, as scenes are cut off before they app…
 
We all have our favorite characters and actors from Batman, but how many of us are fanboys for Executive Producer William Dozier? Well, for one, there's Oscar Lilley, proxy researcher at the American Heritage Center in Laramie, Wyoming. In the process of working with Dozier's papers, Oscar has grown intrigued with Dozier's backstory and impressed b…
 
A double-header for our 4th anniversary (and, we forgot to mention, Batman's 80th!). First, we review the recent six-issue series Archie Meets Batman '66. How does the Caped Crusader end up joining forces with America's favorite teenager? Then, listener Chris Cavanaugh joins us to talk about his Bat-fandom growing up, fueled as much by Silver Age D…
 
Stanley Ralph Ross's treatment, draft, and final scripts for The Funny Feline Felonies two-parter reveal a number of surprises: inconsistent concern for not doing the same gags twice, the death of the budding Batman-Batgirl romance, Ross errors that sometimes made it to the screen, a Ross gag that was, er, stubbed out like a cigar, and much more. T…
 
In the Funny Feline Felonies, Joker fakes getting kidnapped by Catwoman, only to then let her lead him around by the nose. He seems more childish than evil. What's wrong with season three Joker? That's one issue on our minds as we go through this two-parter. We also explore the provenance of the "Kitty Car," the ways in which this arc displays both…
 
In 1992, Batman returned to movie theater screens, more Tim Burton-y than ever! His faceoff with Penguin and Catwoman contains numerous hallmarks of a Burton film, from the themes to the camerawork. Childhood friend Kyle joins Tim and Paul to (once we've wallowed in reminiscences quite enough) give Batman Returns the To the Batpoles treatment, incl…
 
Bring your Coleman stove! Grab your sleeping bag! "Go to the creek and brush your teeth!" It's time for a serious "Camping Trip"! Back in episode 12, we took time to examine the idea of "camp" and why Batman '66 is often described as "campy." Producer William Dozier and others involved with the show rejected that label because of its "gay" associat…
 
In what we promise will be our last Egghead and Olga episode (maybe), we dig into the script for the original three-part version of their third-season story featuring Vincent Price and Anne Baxter. Because of an apparent aversion to running a three-part story (besides Londinium, that is), Batman's producers chopped part one, The Ogg Couple, and ran…
 
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