Batman TV Series / Open Lines

Hosted byRichard Syrett

Batman TV Series / Open Lines

About the show

Since he first debuted in DC Comics in 1939, Batman has become a global phenomenon, and there have been many different iterations of the character over its 80-plus year history. Pop culture historian and illustrator Arlen Schumer joined guest host Richard Syrett (Twitter) to discuss the depiction of Batman presented in the 1960s live action television series, and the cavalcade of colorful characters and villains that were brought to life on the small screen.

Schumer described his adoration for the 1960s Batman drawn by artist Carmine Infantino, often comparing the coolness of Infantino's Batman to James Bond. "That was the Batman I was exposed to and fell in love with - that's the Batman we Batman comic fans... were expecting was going to show up on TV," he said. The show's producer, William Dozier, had other plans for the character, however, and created a campy version of Batman based more on the 1940s serials and the "very cardboard... stiff and awkward" 1950s comic Batman, Schumer explained.

While Schumer is not a fan of any live action incarnation of the Caped Crusader, he did note how much he enjoyed the first few minutes of the first episode of the 1960s TV series, including the animated opening credits. The show ultimately fails for Schumer because Batman's costume had eye holes in the cowl instead of white lenses (a complaint he leveled at every live action version), the Batman and Robin characters were treated as a joke, and the first villain, Frank Gorshin's Riddler, was not relevant to Batman comic book fans of the time. "We expected Batman to be as serious as Connery's Bond," he lamented.


Open Lines followed in the latter half of the program. Jeremy in Jamestown, North Dakota, phoned in on the 'Brushes with Death' hotline. He told Richard about an incident that nearly claimed his life 17 years ago as he was attempting to navigate an icy hill. According to Jeremy, as he was climbing the iced covered incline a pickup truck slid down and struck his vehicle. Neither the air bag nor the seatbelt worked to soften the blow of the impact and Jeremy went into a coma for two and half months. When he awoke, doctors told him he had broken both femurs, shattered his knee caps, cracked his foot, and injured his brain. Jeremy also admitted he had in OBE in which he was walking up a mountain with his ex-wife and heard a voice say, "You're time is not done yet."

Mark from Phoenix, Arizona, shared some 'Brushes with Greatness' which took place when he was in high school and attended various drum clinics in Chicago. Through these clinics he was able to witness drum greats Buddy Rich, Max Roach, Barrett Deems, and others, and was introduced to Slingerland endorser/clinician, Jake Jerger, who became his drum teacher. Mark credits the lessons with Jerger for getting him into college. Victor in Palm Springs, California, claimed to have lived in the same neighborhood as Batman and Robin in 1973. "I became friends with Batman and Robin, and they surprised me... in the Batmobile," he said. According to Victor, they drove him into the city where he witnessed Batman attempt to break up a fight. It was a draw, Victor recalled.

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