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With: Adam West, Burt Ward, Alan Napier, Neil Hamilton, Stafford Repp, Madge Blake, Art Carney, Julie Newmar, Van Johnson, Victor Buono, Shelley Winters, Walter Slezak, Vincent Price, Liberace, Burgess Meredith, Otto Preminger, Cesar Romero, Carolyn Jones, Cliff Robertson, Sid Haig, Edward Everett Horton, Edy Williams, Marie Windsor, Woody Strode, Carolyn Jones
Written by: Lorenzo Semple Jr., William Dozier, Stanley Ralph Ross, Francis M. Cockrell, Marian B. Cockrell, Robert C. Dennis, Earl Barret, Henry Slesar, Bill Finger, Charles Sinclair, Ed Self, Stanford Sherman, Max Hodge, Jay Thompson, Charles Hoffman
Directed by: Sherman Marks, Don Weis, Murray Golden, Larry Peerce, Oscar Rudolph, James Neilson, George Waggner, James B. Clark
MPAA Rating: NR
Running Time: 755
Date: 02/10/2015

Batman: The Second Season, Part 1 (1966)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)


By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Last year came the great news that, at long last, the original 1966 Batman TV series was finally debuting on DVD and Blu-ray. (A rights haggle had kept it off the market for ages, though bootleg copies were widely circulated.) Unfortunately, the gigantic Blu-ray box set, entirely remastered, was prohibitively expensive. Now, Warner Home Video is releasing the series in smaller chunks, such as Batman: The Second Season, Part 1, which contains 30 half-hour episodes (15 full stories), on four DVDs.

It's much more affordable, and a great sampling. We get the Joker (Cesar Romero), Penguin (Burgess Meredith), Catwoman (Julie Newmar), Egghead (Vincent Price), Mr. Freeze (Otto Preminger), The Archer (Art Carney), and Chandell Harry (Liberace), among others. Many fans are against this series for the way it took the Dark Knight into colorful camp territory, but watching the shows again reveals a deep affection for the character, and a kind of respect amongst all the silliness.

Batman (Adam West) is extremely upright, stopping to put a nickel in the parking meter before rushing to the scene of a crime. In one clever episode, he runs for mayor opposite the nasty Penguin; Penguin wins over the masses by gives empty speeches, passes out buttons and glasses of champagne, while Batman's adamant focus on the issues puts voters to sleep. (Although he eventually wins the day without compromising.) Indeed, the writing in most of the episodes is much smarter than it may seem.

The show also has a carefree attitude, as if the makers could try just about anything and get away with it. I never noticed before that Cesar Romero never shaved his mustache and simply painted his white Joker makeup over it. On top of it all is the show's bright color scheme, the exciting fight scenes with their printed sound effects ("Oof!"), and the "window cameos," whenever the caped crusaders scaled the side of a building (of course, merely walking along with the camera tilted sideways). The Green Hornet and Kato (Bruce Lee) make one window cameo in this set, and they would go on to be guest stars in a later episode.

I used to love watching reruns of this show as a kid, and it's safe to say that I'm having just as much fun with them now. (See also: Batman: The Second Season, Part 2.)

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