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Ask Chris #273: The Very Best Of Batman ’66

Ask Chris #273, background image from Batman

Q: It's the 50th Anniversary of Batman '66! Can you rank the best episodes? -- @TheKize

A: I wrote a fair bit about Batman on Tuesday to mark the actual day that it made its debut back in 1966 --- and, you know, I've written a whole bunch about it in general --- but you know what? You're right. The 50th anniversary of what is arguably the single greatest superhero show ever produced is something that's worth celebrating for a while yet. But ranking the best episodes? That's a tough one.

It's not that I don't have my favorites, you understand, but with 120 episodes produced over three seasons, mostly divided into the two-part adventures punctuated by a deathtrap that would serve as the show's trademark, there's just too much to choose from. Even at its worst, the show was still fun, and with that many great performances and ludicrous plots, narrowing it all down to a top five is a pretty difficult task. Difficult... but far from impossible.

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Dutch Angles And Deathtraps: Celebrating The 50th Anniversary Of ‘Batman’ ’66

Batman, Episode 1: Hi Diddle Riddle

The camera, tilted diagonally, pans across the crowded dance floor of a nightclub called What A Way To Go-Go as Batman casually walks in through the front door. The music continues, but the dancing stops, as Gotham citizens take notice of the world's most famous crime-fighter in their midst. One of them shouts and points, almost fainting, a cigarette girl offers to check his cape, and the club's owner comes over to personally welcome him, asking if he'd like a table. "I'll stand at the bar," replies Batman, standing in the middle of the crowd in a cape, mask and tights, a bright yellow utility belt full of batarangs and explosives around his waist, "I shouldn't wish to attract attention."

That, according to interviews, was the scene where Adam West understood exactly how to play the role that would make him famous: Reserved and stilted and almost painfully square despite the inherent ridiculousness of everything around him. And fifty years ago today, on January 12, 1966, that scene was broadcast as part of the debut of Batman, the television series that would define not just its title character, but --- for better or worse --- the place of superheroes in American pop culture for at least a generation.

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Filed Under: , , , Category: Anniversaries, DC

Gallery: Best ‘Batman ’66’ Art Ever

bat66-feat

From 1966 to 1989, as far as the world of popular culture outside of comics was concerned there was only one Batman, and his name was Adam West. Though the show only originally ran for three seasons before it’s cancellation, reruns of the series’ 120 episodes have been in continuous television rotation throughout the world to this day almost fifty years later.

In the spirit of nostalgic fun we’ve compiled a cavalcade of some of our favorite art from the Batman '66 comics and the creative works of many other Bat-fans from around the internet.

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Filed Under: , , , Category: Art, DC, Galleries, Television

The Batman 66 Episode Guide 1×06: Batman Is Riled

Batman 1x06: Batman Is Riled

The 1966 Batman television show was one of the most successful and influential adaptations of comic books to mass media of all time. Over the course of three seasons and 120 episodes, the series became a cultural force with its unique combination of tongue-in-cheek humor, thrilling superhero adventure and celebrity guest stars, and shaped the way the public would view the Caped Crusader for the next five decades. Now, in the midst of a well-deserved renaissance of the show, ComicsAlliance is proud to present The Batman '66 Episode Guide, an in-depth examination of every single adventure, arch-criminal and deathtrap cliffhanger of the series.

This week, the Joker launches an unstoppable crimewave that hits below the belt!

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The Batman 66 Episode Guide 1×05: The Joker Is Wild

Batman 1x05: The Joker Is Wild

The 1966 Batman television show was one of the most successful and influential adaptations of comic books to mass media of all time. Over the course of three seasons and 120 episodes, the series became a cultural force with its unique combination of tongue-in-cheek humor, thrilling superhero adventure and celebrity guest stars, and shaped the way the public would view the Caped Crusader for the next five decades. Now, in the midst of a well-deserved renaissance of the show, ComicsAlliance is proud to present The Batman '66 Episode Guide, an in-depth examination of every single adventure, arch-criminal and deathtrap cliffhanger of the series.

This week, the Joker makes his debut with a daring prison escape... and he has his own utility belt!

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The Batman ’66 Episode Guide 1×04: The Penguin’s A Jinx

The Batman ’66 Episode Guide 1×03: The Penguin's A Jinx

The 1966 Batman television show was one of the most successful and influential adaptations of comic books to mass media of all time. Over the course of three seasons and 120 episodes, the series became a cultural force with its unique combination of tongue-in-cheek humor, thrilling superhero adventure and celebrity guest stars, and shaped the way the public would view the Caped Crusader for the next five decades. Now, in the midst of a well-deserved renaissance of the show, ComicsAlliance is proud to present The Batman '66 Episode Guide, an in-depth examination of every single adventure, arch-criminal and deathtrap cliffhanger of the series.

This week, the Penguin's inaugural adventure continues with the perfect crime... planned by the Batman himself!

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The Batman ’66 Episode Guide 1×03: Fine Feathered Finks

Batman 1x03: Fine Feathered Finks

The 1966 Batman television show was one of the most successful and influential adaptations of comic books to mass media of all time. Over the course of three seasons and 120 episodes, the series became a cultural force with its unique combination of tongue-in-cheek humor, thrilling superhero adventure and celebrity guest stars, and shaped the way the public would view the Caped Crusader for the next five decades. Now, in the midst of a well-deserved renaissance of the show, ComicsAlliance is proud to present The Batman '66 Episode Guide, an in-depth examination of every single adventure, arch-criminal and deathtrap cliffhanger of the series.

This week, the Penguin embarks on a daring criminal plot... and not even he knows what it is!

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The Batman ’66 Episode Guide 1×01: Hi Diddle Riddle

The Batman '66 Episode Guide 1x01: Hi Diddle Riddle

The 1966 Batman television show was one of the most successful and influential adaptations of comic books to mass media of all time. Over the course of three seasons and 120 episodes, the series became a cultural force with its unique combination of tongue-in-cheek humor, thrilling superhero adventure and celebrity guest stars, and shaped the way the public would view the Caped Crusader for the next five decades. Now, in the midst of a well-deserved renaissance of the show, ComicsAlliance is proud to present The Batman '66 Episode Guide, an in-depth examination of every single adventure, arch-criminal and deathtrap cliffhanger of the series.

This week, the guide begins with the pilot episode, "Hi Diddle Riddle," in which the Prince of Puzzles has given up his life of crime... or has he?

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Watch The Complete Batman ’66 Press Conference With Adam West, Burt Ward and Julie Newmar [Video]

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Arguably the most anticipated home video release, like, maybe ever, Batman '66 has finally been remastered and slated for release this November. The television show is both a classic interpretation of the Dark Knight but also an influential and beloved pop culture phenomenon in its own right, but arcane rights issues kept the complete series from the home video market for decades.

As announced earlier this week, Batman: The Complete Television Series will be available November 11 on Blu-ray, DVD, digital, and, of course, a super expensive collector’s edition that comes with all sorts of groovy stuff, including a selection of photos from star Adam West’s personal archives (when you’re as mature and sophisticated as West, you get to have “personal archives”).

In observance of the news, series stars Adam West, Burt Ward and Julie Newmar sat for a press conference at Comic-Con International in San Diego over the weekend, and ComicsAlliance's Chris Sims was there to document the event for your immense pleasure.

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‘Batman ’66’ Is Officially Coming To Home Video, Finally

Batman 1966 Movie Poster

From the It's About Darn Time Department: In the midst of a renewed push that includes licensed toys and comics, Warner Brothers has confirmed that Batman, the 1966 television show starring Adam West and Burt Ward, will be released on home video some time this year. To say that this is pretty welcome news around here at ComicsAlliance is understating things quite a bit, since some of us have been waiting decades for a complete series set of Batman.

It's not entirely surprising news, though. With the licensing we've seen from the show over the past year, it felt like it was only a matter of time before everything was sorted out between Fox (the producers of the TV show) and WB (who own DC Comics and, therefore, Batman) to get the actual show back in the hands of fans. What is pretty surprising, however, is that the news was broken by Conan O'Brien on Twitter. Really.

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Filed Under: , , , Category: DC, News, Television

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