Thanks, CollegeGirl, for the link.
Saturday, February 16, 2008
One of my favorite TV series as a kid was the live-action "Batman" starring Adam West. The show debuted in 1966 as a two-night-a-week mini-serial, and immediately became a hit with both kids and adults. Top celebrities of the day fell over themselves trying to get a guest spot as one of the show's many villains, who were the real stars of the show.
But the glow wore off after just three seasons, and Batman was cancelled due to poor ratings in 1968. The show lives on in syndication, which is where I saw it, but it's hard to find on the air anymore, and it's not on DVD yet because of legal battles between Fox and DC Comics.
A list of villains from the show:
A whip-carrying burglar with the hots for Batman. Newmar did more episodes but was replaced by Kitt in Season Three because she was shooting a movie.
Romero was surprised when the producers approached him for the role, since he'd mostly played Latin lovers. He took the part, but refused to shave off his trademark mustache, so it had to be covered with heavy makeup. You can often see it under the makeup if you look closely.
A waddling, quacking super criminal with an affection for umbrellas and birds. Appeared in 21 episodes, more than any other villain.
(Frank Gorshin/John Astin)
The villain in the first episode. Wears a green jumpsuit (or suit and bowler hat) and loves riddles and word games. Gorshin originated the role, but was replaced by Astin ("The Addams Family") briefly in Season Two before returning in Season Three.
A professor of Egyptology who gets knocked on the head during a student riot and wakes with the delusion that he is the ancient monarch. Tut was the first villain created specifically for the series, not taken from the comics.
(George Sanders/Otto Preminger/Eli Wallach)
Ice-loving mad scientist from the Batman comics, created when Batman spills a jar of Instant Freeze on him. Now he must wear a special refrigerated ice suit to survive. Played by three different actors: Sanders (All About Eve, the voice of Shere Khan in The Jungle Book), director Otto Preminger, and Eli Wallach (Tuco in The Good, The Bad & The Ugly), but the temperamental Preminger was by far the crew's least favorite.
Uses her beauty and magic potions to turn men into her love slaves to carry out her misdeeds. Jones is best known as Morticia from "The Addams Family" TV series.
A Robin Hood wannabe who, along with his gang of merry criminals, stole from the rich and gave to the poor. Carney was Ed Norton on "The Honeymooners."
A world-famous singer who could put men under her spell by singing a note three octaves above high C. "When they told me they had Joan Collins," said writer Stanley Ralph Ross, "they said create a character for her. I thought Siren was perfect."
Read lots of crime books and stole ideas from them, as he was incapable of coming up with anything original. The character appeared only in Season One.
A master of disguise who posed as others, including Chief O'Hara, to carry out his crimes. Portrayed by veteran actor Throne but listed as "?" in the show credits. My parents made my sister and me stop watching this show after my sister starting having nightmares about False Face (but we sneaked and watched it anyway).
A lute-playing electronics genius who threatens to sabotage the computerized Gotham City Stock Exchange. Johnson played a war hero in many WW2-era films after a car accident left him physically unfit for active duty.
Based on real-life criminal Ma Barker, Parker and her sons were a family of criminals. The Batman cast and crew didn't like Winters, whose incessant complaining drove everyone nuts. She appeared in only one (two-part) episode.
A world-famous magician, escape artist and bank robber. Baxter (All About Eve) also appeared in several episodes as Olga, Queen of the Cossacks, an accomplice to Egghead (Vincent Price). Both Zsa Zsa Gabor and Bette Davis were reportedly considered for the role.
A flower freak who tries to brainwash Gotham's flower children and kill the Dynamic Duo with man-eating plants. Berle was so funny off camera that members of the crew had to be thrown off the set because they couldn't stop laughing when the camera rolled.
Dumped by her rich husband and left with only a racehorse. Teams up with Penguin to fix a race and become rich again.
(Rudy Vallee and Glynis Johns)
British siblings and thieves who train young women in the ways of crime under the guise of running a girls' finishing school...until Batman, Robin and Batgirl travel to Londinium and thwart them. Yvonne (Batgirl) Craig called showbiz veteran Vallee "one of the worst people I've ever worked with. An absolute churl...just awful."
Batman producers let Robertson (Uncle Ben Parker in the Spider-Man movies) create his own character: the dumbest cowboy outlaw in the West, and a spoof of classic Western Shane.
Toy-lover and Shakespeare-quoting thief Puzzler was created to appear in an episode originally written for The Riddler. Evans is best known as Samantha's father in "Bewitched."
A famed pianist trying to steal the Wayne family fortune by wooing Aunt Harriet. The Batman cast recalls that on lunch breaks from shooting, Liberace would sit at the piano and take requests, and could play any song flawlessly.
A Eurotrash sleep expert who teams up with Catwoman to steal a rich widow's fortune. Turned people into zombies to carry out his crimes.
Lover of timepieces and time-based crimes, Clock King originally appeared in Green Arrow comics, not Batman. Slezak comitted suicide in 1983.
A bank robber who could short-circuit men's brains and make them do anything she wanted. Tried to kill Batman and Robin with giant man-eating Black Window spiders. Batman was the final performance of Hollywood veteran Bankhead; she died a year later.
Another criminal taken from the Batman comics, the Hatter steals valuable headwear and wants Batman's cowl. He also uses hats to commit crimes.
Dr. Cassandra Spellcraft and Cabala
Thieves who could make themselves invisible, they tried to steal the Mope Diamond at Spiffany's Jewelry Salon. Lupino and Duff were real-life husband and wife.
The last villain to appear in the series. Owned a mineral spa that catered to millionaires, including Bruce Wayne, and had a device that could pick their brains to find out where they hid their riches.
A women's rights advocate who replaces all Gotham city officials, including Commissioner Gordon, with women who will help her rob the Gotham National Bank.