On this day 52 years ago, ABC debuted the campest version of the Caped Crusader with Adam West in the title role of Batman and Burt Ward as the Boy Wonder, Robin himself and because of that, now seems the perfect time to kick off my episode reviews for the series that I rewatched properly a couple of weeks ago.
1x01: Hi Diddle Riddle
I'm a fan of the Riddler as a villain but I have to admit to being genuinely surprised that he was the first choice of antagonist for the Dynamic Duo to face off. I'm not saying that's a bad thing but it did surprise me a little. Anyways, Frank Gorshin is fantastic in the role from the off and the Riddler's scheme to have Batman brought to court to unveil his true identity is a stroke of genius. Keeping with some popular tropes, the cliffhanger to this first episode resulted in Robin being captured and nearly operated on by the Riddler and his henchmen while a surprising highlight was seeing some of Batman's dance moves in a nightclub. 7/10
1x02: Smack In The Middle
The second part to this opening two part story keeps the pace of the story going well. Having poor Molly (who will be in a long line of misguided female assistants for the villains of the week) disguise herself as Robin, only to die a quick death in the Batcave was actually pretty shocking. The show's violence has at best edged on the cartoon end of the scale but this was one of the rare times where someone actually died on the show and it's suitably grim as well. Of course, Robin is rescued himself and the Riddler is promptly defeated. The interesting thing about this opening story aside from the swift introductions to recurring characters Alfred Pennyworth (Alan Napier), Dick's aunt Harriet Cooper (Madge Blake), Commission Gordon (Neil Hamilton) and Chief O'Hara (Stafford Repp) is that Riddler like nearly every enemy that appears in the series already has a pre-existing history with the Dynamic Duo. 7/10
1x03: Fine Feathered Finks
For the second two parter, it was the turn of the Penguin (Burgess Meredith), who to be honest, was probably the villain that showed up the most in the show's three season run. For his first story, the Penguin has been released from prison and wants revenge, so he tries to get Batman to choose his crimes. This then led to Bruce Wayne (and not for the first time in the show) going undercover and visiting Penguin's KGBird store to try and ruffle his feathers, only to end up getting netted and left to nearly roast in a furnace. This show certainly knew how to do a cliffhanger. 7/10
1x04: The Penguin's A Jinx
The second part quickly resolved Bruce's fiery dilemma while at the same time moving the action towards the Penguin setting off his true goal - kidnapping movie starlet Dawn Robbins (Leslie Parrish) and this was certainly the episode where the Penguin's many umbrellas came into play in a big way. I do like the back and forth double crossing as the Dynamic Duo and Penguin tried to outsmart the other while the latter's plans came afoul at the last minute. There's also a nice little bit where Commisioner Gordon explains to the audience the reason behind Batman's costume. 7/10
Next blog will delve into The Joker Is Wild/Batman Is Riled and Instant Freeze/Rats Like Cheese.