Sunday, January 10, 2016

Holy 50th Anniversary, Batman!

1 comment:

  1. I don't really remember a lot of hype before the show premiered, but then, I wasn't reading the newspapers or TV Guide when I was seven. I do remember everybody at school (the teachers as well as the students) talking about it the next day.

    The first news clipping mentions "The Green Hornet" and "The Perils of Pauline." I remember seeing the latter; it was a made-for-TV movie (and, presumably, series pilot) starring Pamela Austin, and it was very much in the camp style.

    There was also a campy "I Love a Mystery" TV movie/backdoor pilot, based on the old radio show. It was made in 1966 or '67, but was not aired until the 1970's.

    I don't know if the Batman show started the camp fad, or if it was part of a trend that had already started. The James Bond movies were getting more and more tongue-in-cheek, and the various Bond imitations and parodies (Matt Helm, Our Man Flint) made Bond look like Shakespearean tragedy. There were also campy movies based on Barbarella, Diabolik, and Modesty Blaise.

    A lot of spy-fi and sci-fi series (Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Lost In Space, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., The Wild Wild West, and even The [British] Avengers, had started as fairly straight action-adventure shows, but became increasingly silly and campy in the 1966-67 season. Most of them tried to tone it down in '67-68, when the camp fad was obviously passing.

    The comic books themselves were influenced, and there was increased comedy relief, although they didn't get quite as self-consciously campy as the TV series.

    Oddly, The Green Hornet was played relatively straight, even though it was produced by Dozier and was the most similar to Batman in its premise.

    But then, my classmates and I never noticed the difference at the time. To us, Batman seemed just as dramatic as Gunsmoke and Dragnet.