I believe it's time for a re-examination of this groundbreaking, but much-maligned series. Batman was meant to be good, silly fun- no more, no less. If you come to this program expecting the Dark Knight of our current cynical time, you will probably be highly disappointed.
This was a different era: the mid 60's. JFK had been assassinated, so our long period of national innocence had been wounded, but not yet dealt the killing blows of the RFK and MLK murders. The Summer of Love had not yet happened, but the seeds of counterculture had been planted and were sprouting up all over the place. Batman, with its bright, cotton-candy set decoration color scheme and pre-psychedelic sensibilities, presaged the carefree attitude and relaxed cultural mores that were to follow. The series’ often-derided irreverent take on Gotham City’s iconic Caped Crusader was a reflection of the general rejection of Establishment values that was going on in the country. Tongue firmly in cheek, this show broadly winked at the audience. And the cast was obviously was in on the joke.
Watching the show now, in reruns, I can appreciate even more the amazing characterization created by Adam West. This was uncharted territory, this spoofing of a superhero, especially an all-business one like Batman. But West left an indelible mark on pop culture with his fearless immersion into the role, impeccable reading, and crack timing. The supporting cast members were also impressive, and the guest stars were to die for. Frank Gorshin, Burgess Meredith, Caesar Romero, Eartha Kitt (sorry, Julie Newmar, she was the only Catwoman for me), and numerous others. Watching these seasoned pros gleefully sink their teeth into their roles was one of the highlights of the entire series for me.
Well, that’s it for my little review. Will I write another one? Will anyone even read this one? Stay tuned next week- same Bat Time, same Bat Station!