The 1960s Batman TV series celebrates its 50th birthday today!
Holy Bat-Birthday, Batman! The 1960s Batman live-action TV series starring Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward as Robin turns 50 today, as it’s premiere episode “Hi Diddle Riddle” aired January 12, 1966 on ABC. While I’m personally not a fan of the series (and more specifically the image of Batman that it cemented into so many people’s minds up until Frank Miller corrected it 20 years later), it certainly has its place in Batman history.
The series is still the only live-action TV show starring Batman ever, and many people still cite it as having given them their start as a Bat-fan. It deserves a lot of credit for turning Barbara Gordon’s Batgirl into a staple of the Bat-family in its third season, which then carried over to the comics. The show sparked the first full-length theatrical Batman film in which most of the show’s cast reprised their roles and also inspired three comic series set in its universe. Batman lasted three seasons, ending its run on March 14, 1968.
DC Comics has some big plans to celebrate the series’ 50th. First off, a Batman Batcave Retro Playset is now on sale from Figures Toy Company, and a LEGO Batcave will be available starting in March, both based on the show. On the comics front, one of the series inspired by the show, Batman ’66 Meets the Man From UNCLE, has its fifth issue (of six) going on sale on January 20. And finally, the biggest event is the animated movie based on the series that is on the way this year, which features West, Ward, and Julie Newmar (Catwoman) reprising their roles. Let me know in the comments what part of the birthday celebration you’re most excited about, and be sure to keep it locked to Caped Crusades for all your Batman news!