web stats

CSBG Archive

Comic Book Legends Revealed #406

Welcome to the four hundred and sixth in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. Click here for an archive of the previous four hundred and five. This week, it is a special theme week! Another edition devoted to the 1960s Batman TV series! Learn whether Frank Miller’s Carrie Kelley was inspired by a minor character from the first episode of the Batman series! Discover whether Batgirl nearly had her own series before joining the cast of Batman in Season 3! Finally, marvel at the bizarre episode of Batman that worked in references to all of the sponsors of the series!

Let’s begin!

COMIC LEGEND: Frank Miller was inspired by the character of Molly from the first Batman episode in creating Carrie Kelley.

STATUS: I’m Going with False

Reader David G. wrote in with a question that I know many other fans have wondered over the years, namely, did the character of Molly from the very first episode of the Batman TV series…

influence the creation of Frank Miller’s Carrie Kelley, from the Dark Knight Returns?

Jill St. John’s Molly was an assistant to the Riddler in the first episode. She got a rare “Special Guest” credit in that episode (typically just the villain got a guest credit)…

Honestly, I was going to discount this possibility based on the simple fact that Frank Miller has been extremely vocal over the years about his distaste for the 1960s Batman TV series, so I highly doubt that he’d ever homage the series like that. However, as it turns out, we actually know where Miller got the idea to do a female Robin!

In a 1982 issue of the Comics Journal, Jaime Hernandez drew his character Maggie (from Love and Rockets) as Robin…

A few years later, Miller was beginning work on what would become the Dark Knight Returns when fellow superstar artist John Byrne told Miller that he HAD to have a female Robin in the series. To illustrate his point, Byrne showed Miller the above Hernandez drawing.

Miller went for it. Here are his first designs for Carrie Kelley….

Pretty cool stuff. But no, no connection to the Batman TV series.

Thanks for the question, David! Thanks to SuperHeroHype poster theMan-Bat for the scans!

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Check out some Entertainment Urban Legends Revealed!

Was the West Wing’s Matt Santos Based on Barack Obama?

Did Morey Amsterdam From the Dick Van Dyke Show Really Write “Rum and Coca Cola”?

Ten Months After Its Release, Was Paramount Pictures Over $60 Million in the RED on Forrest Gump?

Was Beverly Hills Cop Really Originally Written for Sylvester Stallone?

How Did a Misheard Word Lead to the Song “Edge of Seventeen”?
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________

COMIC LEGEND: Before becoming a cast member of Batman for Season 3, Yvonne Craig nearly had her own series as Batgirl.

STATUS: I’m Going with False

Yvonne Craig joined the cast of Batman in its third and final season as Batgirl…

There is a never-aired seven minute clip that introduced the character in a story that somewhat mimics Batgirl’s comic book debut…

Well, it has Killer Moth as the villain, at least…

Here’s Barbara Gordon in the clip…

and here she is as Batgirl…

and here she is on her bike…

Over the years, the story has become that this seven-minute clip (which you can see here…

was intended as a pilot for a Batgirl TV series that would be paired with Batman as a one-hour block.

This does not appear to be the case. First off, Batman’s ratings took a notable hit in its second season. ABC was not exactly compelled to give the show a third season, let alone give it a SPIN-OFF. No, what the above short was was an exercise by the Batman producers to give ABC a reason to renew Batman for a third season, with the addition of Craig as Batgirl as a reason to keep the show going.

It worked enough to get the show a third season, and actually, for awhile there, ABC was considering giving the show a FOURTH season, with Batgirl replacing Robin full-time. Instead, they just canceled the series.
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Check out some classic Comic Book Legends Revealed related to the Batman TV series!

Did Batman’s Shark Repellent debut in the 1966 Batman film?

How did the Playboy Club play a major role in Batman getting his own TV series?

Learn how four years after the Batman TV series finished, Yvonne Craig played Batgirl one more time in a public service announcement about equal rights for women!

What comic strip character did ABC consider for a series before going with Batman?

Was the musical “It’s a Bird…It’s a Plane…It’s Superman” inspired by the success of the Batman TV series?

What strange reason was behind the Batman series adopting the two episodes a week cliffhanger format?

Was Alfred made thin because of the 1960s Batman TV Show?

Did the phrase “grim and gritty” first appear in connection with Batman…on the 1960s Batman TV series!?!
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________

COMIC LEGEND: An episode of Batman worked in references to all of the series’ sponsors.

STATUS: True

In the second season, writer Robert Mintz came up with a bizarre series of easter eggs for the Batman episodes “The Black Widow Strikes Again”/”Caught in the Spider’s Den” starring Tallulah Bankhead as the nominal Black Widow, who brainwashes people to rob them.

You see, the entire two-parter contained references to all of Batman’s then-current sponsors.

First up, Black Widow goes to rob her first bank. Before she reveals her evil intent, she seems to just be making a deposit. The bank manager notes that that doing so is “An excellent way to start your day,” which was the then-slogan (and actually is STILL the slogan) for Kelloggs, a sponsor of the series.

Later, Batman wants to test the brain of one of the bank managers who was brainwashed and robbed. He is naturally worried…

but Commissioner Gordon notes to a worried bank owner “You can be sure if it’s Batman,” which is a reference to Westinghouse’s slogan at the time.

She then robs a Beneficial Savings and Loan bank, also a sponsor.

The brianwashed bank manager gives their slogan, “At Beneficial, we’re here to benefit you”…

Later, while Batman and Robin are staking out the Black Widow’s next bank to rob, Aunt Harriet comes by and tries to open a savings account for Dick. She is offended by the manager and leaves, noting, “There’s always Beneficial.”

Batman notes, “Good for you, Aunt Harriet.”

Black Widow eventually captures Batman and Robin. Batman access the Bat-Computer remotely and Alfred uses the computer to back-trace the signal and discovers that the signal came from 411 Lava Drive…

Lava Soap was another sponsor.

At the end, a captured Black Widow remarks “And only Batman knows for sure”…

a reference to Clairol’s then-slogan (“Only her hairdresser knows for sure”)…

I have no idea what Mintz’s POINT was, exactly, but it is still pretty darn neat!

Thanks to reader Jake S. for suggesting this one!
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Check out the latest edition of my weekly Movie/TV Legends Revealed Column at Spinoff Online: Did Steven Spielberg Really Win a Percentage of the Profits of the First Star Wars Film in a Bet with George Lucas?
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Okay, that’s it for this week!

Thanks to the Grand Comics Database for this week’s covers! And thanks to Brandon Hanvey for the Comic Book Legends Revealed logo!

Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is cronb01@aol.com. And my Twitter feed is http://twitter.com/brian_cronin, so you can ask me legends there, as well!

Here’s my new book, Why Does Batman Carry Shark Repellent? The cover is by Kevin Hopgood (the fellow who designed War Machine’s armor).

If you want to order a copy, ordering it here gives me a referral fee.

Follow Comics Should Be Good on Twitter and on Facebook (also, feel free to share Comic Book Legends Revealed on our Facebook page!). If we hit 3,000 likes on Facebook you’ll get a bonus edition of Comic Book Legends the week after we hit 3,000 likes! So go like us on Facebook to get that extra Comic Book Legends Revealed! Not only will you get updates when new blog posts show up on both Twitter and Facebook, but you’ll get original content from me, as well!

Also, be sure to check out my website, Urban Legends Revealed, where I look into urban legends about the worlds of entertainment and sports, which you can find here, at urbanlegendsrevealed.com.

Here’s my book of Comic Book Legends (130 legends – half of them are re-worked classic legends I’ve featured on the blog and half of them are legends never published on the blog!).

The cover is by artist Mickey Duzyj. He did a great job on it…(click to enlarge)…

If you’d like to order it, you can use the following code if you’d like to send me a bit of a referral fee…

Was Superman a Spy?: And Other Comic Book Legends Revealed

See you all next week!

61 Comments

Of course, another Batman/Clairol reference immediately springs to my mind. “Only your undertaker knows for sure…” “LOVE THAT JOKER!” :)

So Nicholson’s Joker didn’t make Batman’s first Clairol slogan reference.

Regarding Black Widow’s address: Neil Hamilton’s pronunciation made it sound like “Lava”, but immediately after that, Stafford Repp (Chief O’Hara) pronounces it “Larva”. Sponsor or no sponsor, Larva Drive would fit the whole spider theme much better than Lava Drive.

It would’ve been interesting to see what ramifications swapping out Batgirl for Robin on the TV series would’ve had as a ripple effect into the comics continuity for years afterwards. Possibly nothing major, but some future writer could’ve run with it and we’d have a completely different dynamic in the comics today.

About Frank Miller’s hate of the 1960 Batman TV show. It makes him seem like such a poser. He was 9 years old when it premiered on ABC. Was he so hard-boiled as a child that he didn’t like it? Weren’t the Batman comics selling better because of the show? What’s wrong with something that does not have to be all grimdark. Why can’t somethings be fun? The Batman TV show did not destroy Batman. It didn’t destroy him any more than ASBAR didn’t destroy him. Any personally, I rather watch the old TV show than read ASBAR.

Regarding Black Widow’s address: Neil Hamilton’s pronunciation made it sound like “Lava”, but immediately after that, Stafford Repp (Chief O’Hara) pronounces it “Larva”. Sponsor or no sponsor, Larva Drive would fit the whole spider theme much better than Lava Drive.

Alan Napier says “Lava Drive,” then Hamilton says “Lava Drive” and then Repp says “Larva Drive.” I imagine we’re supposed to believe O’Hara misheard it for the sake of the “larva” connection/joke.

Not a fan of flying but I’d have loved to be sitting beside Frank & John on that flight from Atlanta when they discussed using a female Robin.

Nothing to do with the creation because he did it in 2008, but John did his own version of Carrie Kelley in a commission once. Hope a link to my Tumblr is okay?

http://tmblr.co/Zs-VMteCatJF

If only someone would come and tell us what posters on some other message board once said about the Batman TV series. Otherwise I simply wouldn’t know what to think about all this.

Molly was the first popular version of a woman in the Robin costume, and it’s entirely possible that St. John’s portrayal influenced Hernandez, if not Miller directly. I had all but wiped the episode from my memory, but I recall finding the Carrie Kelley Robin familiar when first introduced, probably because as a kid I’d seen the TV series (and been slightly traumatized at the character’s death in such a ‘kid friendly’ show!).

The point is probably to sell the products through subliminal advertising. “Hey, I heard that phrase in Batman, I should buy the product.” Want to keep the sponsors in business and all.

Alan Napier says “Lava Drive,” then Hamilton says “Lava Drive” and then Repp says “Larva Drive.” I imagine we’re supposed to believe O’Hara misheard it for the sake of the “larva” connection/joke.

But bear in mind, Alan Napier was British and Neil Hamilton was from Massachusetts. Both of them had a way of speaking that would pronounce “ar” as “ah” – but only the script could reveal it for sure.

The point is probably to sell the products through subliminal advertising. “Hey, I heard that phrase in Batman, I should buy the product.” Want to keep the sponsors in business and all.

I dunno, all of the slogans were quite well known at the time, so it seems likely that he presumed everyone would get the references. I imagine it was intended as some sort of satirical commentary. What SORT of commentary, I dunno.

Hmm, I’ve never seen that episode w/Jill ST John, I’ll have to find it. Woman was, and still IS gorgeous.

i never knew about the Batgirl pilot!!! great stuff.

I feel a citation is needed for the female robin thing. I read an interview with Miller where he said that Byrne drew Batman with Robin to show how a sidekick made the main character huge, not that it should be a girl.

I feel a citation is needed for the female robin thing. I read an interview with Miller where he said that Byrne drew Batman with Robin to show how a sidekick made the main character huge, not that it should be a girl.

Sorry, I thought that the story of them on the plane talking about it was well known enough to not need a quote. But sure, from one of the various collections of TDKR, here’s Miller:

At 30,000 feet. I talk to cartoonist John Byrne about Batman. John talks to me about Robin. “Robin must be a girl,” he says. He mentions a drawing by Love & Rockets artist Jaime Hernandwz of a female Robin. To prove his point, John provides me with a pencil sketch of his own.

Is it well known that Carrie’s first and middle names are the are the pen name for the Nancy Drew series author?

That’s right, after getting into the Batcave and learning its secrets, Molly fell into the Bat-Atomic Pile. Every time they showed it afterwards, I wondered if they were able to get the body out.

Black Cesar, unless Miller specifically said he hated the show as a kid (and he may have for all I know) he may just have meant he hates it as an adult. A lot of adults who watched it back in the sixties looked back at it as an embarrassment, a reminder of how stupid other people thought comics were, and as an embodiment of how not to do Batman.Regardless of the merits of the show (or Miller) I don’t think he’s a poseur (at least not on this issue).

Fitting that this is dedicated to the ’66 Batman series, as today is Cesar Romero’s birthday!

Brian from Canada

February 15, 2013 at 3:44 pm

I’d also like to know WHEN Miller made the comment about the sixties show. The hatred for it really ramped up in connection to Tim Burton’s film, which was referencing the dark and gritty Batman of Dark Knight Returns that DC wanted to normalize with Crisis.

Personally, I find it all ironic that anyone could hate it, as not only did the series help save the comics, it was CLOSEST to the comics of its time than any other adaptation of Batman — and it brought a love of the Bat that still comes through that film and its series even to this day. There’s something still magical about West and Ward’s performances that few of the followers come close to.

When I was a kid I loved The Incredible Hulk, Six Million Dollar Man, Man from Atlantis, Battlestar Galactica, Knight Rider, and the A Team. Nothing could’ve been better. Looking back as an adult I can see how terrible they actually are and how difficult they are to rewatch sober. The Batman TV show falls into the same category for me. I can watch an episode with my kids and enjoy the kitschy factor as much as anyone, but it’s not elegantly done like the Brave And Bold cartoon series. It’s a show where you laugh at it, not with it IMO. You may feel differently, more power to you.

Denigrating Miller because he doesn’t like your show is stupid. We all like different things. It doesn’t make us conceited arseholes, or deniers, or people who are up themselves. We have different tastes is all. I still can’t figure out how grown men love My Little Pony but don’t feel the need to lambast them as some kind of arsehole. Give Miller a break.

Never a fan of Ward but Gorshin, Romero and Meredith were excellent in their roles. It’s a shame Romero was a few years ahead of the Joker’s return to homicidal mania–his high-energy giggling performance would have made cold-blooded murder twice as creepy (certainly more so than Nicholson’s, I think).

I don’t know if anyone noticed or cared, but the recent “Pioneers of Television” PBS show centered on TV superhero shows stated that there actually was going to be a series based on Batgirl, the reasoning stated for it not happening was the show and the ensuing “Batmania” wore off- not the cancellation of the Batman show, rather it was the lack of interest in all things Batman

Black Cesar

February 15, 2013 at 11:40 am

About Frank Miller’s hate of the 1960 Batman TV show. It makes him seem like such a poser. He was 9 years old when it premiered on ABC. Was he so hard-boiled as a child that he didn’t like it? Weren’t the Batman comics selling better because of the show?

====================================================================================

Miller seems to have already read hard-boiled crime thrillers by 1966. Miller often notes authors he has read.

As I recall, Miller has noted that he may have read Richard Stark’s Parker series (as in the recent 2013 film directed by Taylor Hackford and the Darwyn Cooke graphic novel adaptations, not Richard Wentworth’s bastard grand-nephew), the Tigger Mann and Mike Hammer books, Chandler, James. M. Cain, and a few others in his youth, so I suppose Miller had already found hard-boiled crime thrillers in prose by 1966. Miller has also noted that he has read the Spider and the Shadow, but whether he did so during his youth remains unclear. Of course, I may have taken your question a tad too literally. Miller noted some of this in an interview with Hart D. Fisher in Hero Illustrated circa 1994, Wizard#25, Daredevil Chronicles#1, and possibly elsewhere.

(Miller notes that he did not particularly care for the Tolkein genre. Curiously, the Tolkein adaptations seems to have had more success than any film adaptation about Mike Hammer, Parker, etc.)

====================================================================================

Your second question:

In 1960, the eponymous titles sold:

BATMAN … 502,000 (avg circulation)
SUPERMAN 810,000 (avg circulation)

So, I guess you were correct in that Batman was just not as popular as Supes.

To bolster the effect the Batman TV show had on sales, look at 1965 (pre-TV show):

BATMAN … 453,745
SUPERMAN 823,829

But in 1966 (after the first season):

BATMAN … 898,470
SUPERMAN 719,946

Many people like to think that SUPERMAN and BATMAN have been of near equal stature since their debuts in the late 1930′s. But prior to the Adam West TV series, Batman was in a very distant second place to Superman. In fact, during the 1940′s, Batman was in a distant third place behind rivals Superman & Captain Marvel. By the 1950′s, Superman was the star of a long running radio show and a long running newspaper strip. He also had appeared in several innovative theatrical cartoons in the early 40′s. Batman on the other hand, had only guest started in a handful of episodes of the Superman radio show, his newspaper strip only lasted a few years and he hadn’t made the jump to cartoons. In the 1950′s, Batman just didn’t have anywhere near Superman’s name-recognition and multimedia clout.

Suddenly BIFF! POW! ZAP! began appearing in media headlines, and the Batman craze was upon us. The TV and print news media were abruptly afloat with the word “Batmania,” which they doubtless believed they had coined. Sales of the Caped Crusader’s comics spiked. (Batman even outsold Superman for a while, something it wouldn’t do [regularly] again until the 1990s [after a patch in the mid-1980's].)

http://www.twomorrows.com…articles/03batmania.html

====================================================================================

Miller has promoted a misconception about the Adam West show. Miller may have started a possible comic book legend. He seems to think that the TV show deputized the Caped Crusader, and has said this on NPR.

“During the conference [in the 1966 Adam West film] Commissioner Gordon states that Batman and Robin are fully deputised agents of the law. Frank Miller commented on this aspect of the sixties TV show in Legends of the Dark Knight: The History of Batman (2005), saying:

The worst thing they did on the old TV show was give Batman a badge. You don’t deputize Batman.

If Miller had done his research he’d have known that it wasn’t the makers of the TV show that gave Batman his badge; it was Batman’s co-creator Bill Finger. Batman was deputised in the comics by Commissioner Gordon, way back in ‘The People vs. the Batman’ (Batman #7, November 1941). Throughout the remainder of the Pre-Crisis era he was operating legally in collaboration with the GCPD”. [In some tales, he even had a special badge.]

————http://www.batman-online.com/forum/i…p?topic=1701.0

http://www.infiniteearths.org/dcu/ob…tmanChars4.htm

I know that Batman used, in DETECTIVE #105 and #115 (both stories are from Don Cameron), a badge — a platinum bat with diamonds. When did this badge first app. and in how many stories was it shown?

n-man –
The platinum badge first appeared in DETECTIVE # 70 (December, 1942) and BATMAN # 19 (October-November, 1943) but the sequence in which it was actually presented to Batman didn’t appear until ‘TEC # 95 (November, 1945). In that one, Commissioner Gordon gave the badge to Batman during a police academy graduation ceremony. Along with ‘TEC # 105 and 115, those are all the appearances of the badge that I know of but probably not all that exist.

Batman was officially recognized by Commissioner Gordon and the GCPD in BATMAN # 7 (October-November, 1941) and the Bat-Signal came along in DETECTIVE # 60 (February, 1942).

(The pulp heroes, such as the aforementioend Spider and the Shadow, and radio’s the Green Hornet-whose 1966-1967 TV series shared the same producer as the Adam West show and remained faithful to the hero’s status as a wanted fugitive-have generally worked as outlaws.)

Miller did in 1990, in a book by Roberta Pearson, recall that the Caped Crusader had a badge in the comic books prior to the TV show. His memory has slipped since then, one guesses.

“The brianwashed bank manager…”

Sneaked that one in, BC!

Good to hear that Brian has taken up washing bank managers. They sure do get filthy, do they?

The most amazing (to me) fact out of this whole column is that Tallulah Bankhead was in Batman! I saw the shows back when I was a kid, so never knew who she was then. I really must go back and re-watch the old series.

Scott February 15, 2013 at 11:28 am

Regarding Black Widow’s address: Neil Hamilton’s pronunciation made it sound like “Lava”, but immediately after that, Stafford Repp (Chief O’Hara) pronounces it “Larva”. Sponsor or no sponsor, Larva Drive would fit the whole spider theme much better than Lava Drive.

—————

Not really sure how “larva” fits the “spider theme” since spiders don’t have a larval stage. They’re arachnids, not insects. Spiders start as eggs, they hatch as fully-formed spiders, and then grow through molting.

Black Cesar

February 15, 2013 at 11:40 am

About Frank Miller’s hate of the 1960 Batman TV show. It makes him seem like such a poser. He was 9 years old when it premiered on ABC. Was he so hard-boiled as a child that he didn’t like it?
====================================================================================

The Many Lives of the Batman: Roberta E. Pearson, William featuers an interview in which Miller discusses the 1966 show.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4704766

http://gothamalleys.blogspot.ca/2012/01/batman-in-1960s-adam-west.html

Frank Miller- The campy old tv show Batman was essentially mocking the source material.(…)It was much campier than the comic had ever been.

A poster named Count Karnstein once commented on the 1960′s show-and shows that Miller made a very dubious comment. .

It did not stray that far from the feel of the comic books from 1944-to-1964. As the poster Count Karnstein pointed out in some 2008 posts, those comic books:
http://monsterkidclassichorrorforum.yuku.com/search/topic/topic/14587
“had giant pennies and stuffed dinosaurs, was wearing caveman, zebra, and rainbow costumes, teamed up with Bat-Mite, split in two, melded with Superman, fought a living #2 pencil, drowned in giant gravy boats and menaced by giant sized water pistols, tennis rackets, [had a boy sidekick with shaved legs and pixie shoes] and all sorts of insane absurdities long before the Batman movie or tv show were released….Dozier was bringing the characters to the screen in the manner in which they had been portrayed in the comics. Was there ever a silly, absurd, ridiculous Green Hornet comic book? If so, it’s escaped my attention for the better part of 40 years. Did we ever see a Caveman Green Hornet or a Green Hornet in a rainbox/zebra/dayglo red suit? Did we ever see Green Hornet being drowned in a giant gravy boat or being chased by aliens and dinosaurs? Was there ever an Ace the Green Hornet Dog? How about a Hornet-Mite?

No? I didn’t think so. There’s your answer. It’s literally that simple. Dozier was taking characters and putting them on the screen. Green Hornet was always played straight and serious in the comics/strips/radio, so he was done that way for tv. Batman was as absurd, silly, goofy, and ridiculous as anything else that has ever appeared in comics, and so that’s how he appeared on-screen”.

Kon, one of the things I love about watching 1950s/60s TV is all the names who turn up guest roles, like a young Louise Fletcher on Perry Mason.

I’ve always been pretty sure the Hernandez drawing in “The Comics Journal” was the inspiration for Carrie Kelley. I remember seeing the sketch in the “Journal” years back and thinking it was pretty funny. Nice to know I was write about it being the inspiration for Frank Miller.

I know what you mean, fraser. I was watching an old episode of Bachelor Father (the 50s/60s John Forsythe sitcom) and Mary Tyler Moore appeared in it, probably a few years before she was in Dick Van Dyke.

As for product placement, it reminds me of how they were doing that very blatantly in the soap opera Days of our Lives. Except Batman sounded much more subtle.

http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2010/11/16/days-lives-product-placements-cheerios-chex/

Not a big fan of the show either. I felt the way it mocked the source material wasn’t entirely affectionate and I didn’t find a lot of the humour in general all that funny. Plus it was both a help and a hindrance to the comics industry. It certainly gave things a necessarily boost at the time, but it also painted the entire industry, not just the superhero stuff as being juvenile for a very long time, though that finally seems to be eroding somewhat due to material like the Nolan Batman movies and the Avengers franchise, plus the non-superhero comics-based movies.

For something that’s upbeat that I feel is more affectionate to the source material, I recommend the unappreciated Phantom movie from the 1990s. Pure cornball but completely earnest no matter how daft the situation.

It also encouraged DC to inject a lot more camp in their books than previously, I think. And as a JLA fan, it annoyed me how Batman was now being squeezed into every issue to boost sales.

Black Cesar

February 15, 2013 at 11:40 am

About Frank Miller’s hate of the 1960 Batman TV show. It makes him seem like such a poser. He was 9 years old when it premiered on ABC. Was he so hard-boiled as a child that he didn’t like it? Weren’t the Batman comics selling better because of the show?

====================================================================================

Miller seems to have already read hard-boiled crime thrillers by 1966. Miller often notes authors he has read.

As I recall, Miller has noted that he may have read Richard Stark’s Parker series (as in the recent 2013 film directed by Taylor Hackford and the Darwyn Cooke graphic novel adaptations, not Richard Wentworth’s bastard grand-nephew), the Tigger Mann and Mike Hammer books, Chandler, James. M. Cain, and a few others in his youth, so I suppose Miller had already found hard-boiled crime thrillers in prose by 1966. Miller has also noted that he has read the Spider and the Shadow, but whether he did so during his youth remains unclear. Of course, I may have taken your question a tad too literally. Miller noted some of this in an interview with Hart D. Fisher in Hero Illustrated circa 1994, Wizard#25, Daredevil Chronicles#1, and possibly elsewhere.

(Miller notes that he did not particularly care for the Tolkein genre. Curiously, the Tolkein adaptations seems to have had more success than any film adaptation about Mike Hammer, Parker, etc. In fact, private eye films have largely disappeared from American theaters in recent) years, with one having to see Finland’s Varres films. Adaptations of Hammett, Chandler, etc. haven generally underpeformed or played as children’s films such as The Black Bird with George Segal.)

So if that isn’t the pilot for a spinoff series – what is it?

So if that isn’t the pilot for a spinoff series – what is it?

Like I noted, it was a promotional short the Batman producers did for ABC to help convince them to give them a third season. “Look at this great new character we’ll be adding in the third season! Plus, we’ll change the format! Anything to keep us on the air!”

From Count Karnstein:

And finally, it’s not a matter of opinion that the Batman movie got it right and got it “more right” than any other superhero movie. Every other superhero movie since, including Superman ’79 [sic] and all the more recent ones have changed the costumes, the origins, and the characters, have warped events from how they occurred in the comics, have changed the essence of most of the characters, etc.

…..It unashamedly, unapologetically put the real Batman on the big screen and said “This is Batman as he is in the comics. If you don’t like it, tough shit.”

Batman 1966 did not:

Change the characters’ names to “avoid alliteration”
Change the characters’ costumes to be more “realistic”
Change the characters’ origins to be more “sophisticated”
Change the characters’ powers to be more “realistic”
Change the characters’ natures in order to fit some dipshit director’s “vision”

So yeah, there can be no denying it. Batman 1966 was by far the most faithful and most literal comic book adaptation ever put on film.

Frank Miller- The campy old tv show Batman was essentially mocking the source material.(…)It was much campier than the comic had ever been.

A poster named Count Karnstein once commented on the 1960?s show-and shows that Miller made a very dubious comment. .

It did not stray that far from the feel of the comic books from 1944-to-1964. As the poster Count Karnstein pointed out in some 2008 posts, those comic books:

“had giant pennies and stuffed dinosaurs, was wearing caveman, zebra, and rainbow costumes, teamed up with Bat-Mite, split in two, melded with Superman, fought a living #2 pencil, drowned in giant gravy boats and menaced by giant sized water pistols, tennis rackets, [had a boy sidekick with shaved legs and pixie shoes] and all sorts of insane absurdities long before the Batman movie or tv show were released….Dozier was bringing the characters to the screen in the manner in which they had been portrayed in the comics. Was there ever a silly, absurd, ridiculous Green Hornet comic book? If so, it’s escaped my attention for the better part of 40 years. Did we ever see a Caveman Green Hornet or a Green Hornet in a rainbox/zebra/dayglo red suit? Did we ever see Green Hornet being drowned in a giant gravy boat or being chased by aliens and dinosaurs? Was there ever an Ace the Green Hornet Dog? How about a Hornet-Mite?

No? I didn’t think so. There’s your answer. It’s literally that simple. Dozier was taking characters and putting them on the screen. Green Hornet was always played straight and serious in the comics/strips/radio, so he was done that way for tv. Batman was as absurd, silly, goofy, and ridiculous as anything else that has ever appeared in comics, and so that’s how he appeared on-screen”.

Great Googly Moogly, that Jamie Hernandez sketch is beyond beautiful. Personally, I think that “a Jamie Hernandez sketch inspired a major DKR plot point” is a better legend, but whatever!

As for the TV show, I watched it in reruns as a kid and still have fond memories. It really is the perfect introduction to Batman (and superheroes in general) for young children. I really hope that Warners and Paramount eventually work things out so that the series can get a proper DVD release and I can share it with my daughter.

A lot of Carmine Infantino in those Miller drawings…..Was he a major influence?

But bear in mind, Alan Napier was British and Neil Hamilton was from Massachusetts. Both of them had a way of speaking that would pronounce “ar” as “ah” – but only the script could reveal it for sure.

Yeah. Here in England we pronounce “lava” and “larva” exactly the same. TBH I never realised that Americans didn’t.

PB210 – You do realise that the 60s Batman telly programme was deliberately a comedy right? They tried showing it to preview audiences with and without canned laughter – and each version was liked as much as the other so they went without (rightly IMO).

I remember talking to the Aussie actress who played Zhan on Farscape and she showed me how hard it was for Austrlians to say “thaw” like an American. Instead it kept coming out “Thorrrrrr.”

fraser noted:
“And as a JLA fan, it annoyed me how Batman was
now being squeezed into every issue to boost sales.”

Well, it mostly annoyed me how he dominated the covers so much you could barely make out the other Leaguers in the background.

Check out a few examples…

http://media.comicvine.com/uploads/0/4/8447-2014-9329-1-justice-league-of-am_super.jpg

In this one they even make his name bigger than the rest:
http://media.comicvine.com/uploads/0/4/8073-2014-8916-1-justice-league-of-am_super.jpg

And if I remember correctly, despite the blurb, Batman does not lead the League anywhere; Zatanna creates magical energy duplicates of heroes she has met to help her.
http://media.comicvine.com/uploads/0/4/8267-2014-9131-1-justice-league-of-am_super.jpg

“And if I remember correctly, despite the blurb, Batman does not lead the League anywhere; Zatanna creates magical energy duplicates of heroes she has met to help her.”
YES! And they even altered a Batman story to include their ‘meeting’ so as to include him! (And turned Zee into a misogynist by not including Hawkgirl amongst her ‘heroes’, even though Shayera had aided Zee equally with her husband in Zatanna’s debut!)

Mike, Kenn, that’s exactly the sort of thing I was talking about. Particularly the Zatanna story. Another example: Batman takes up a third of JLA 50 as a solo adventure (then drags Robin along for the JLA part). Then in JLA 52, which focuses on “what sort of things keep members from showing up at every meeting” they spotlight the members who weren’t in #50 …and include Batman anyway.

I don’t know that that effectively rules out that Molly could have influenced the look of Carrie Kelley. Sure it was decided that Robin should be a girl for other reasons, but then when going to the drawing board to make a girl Robin….. If Miller disliked the show that much it likely wasn’t. However this only proves that the reason to make Robin a girl in the book was not because of Molly, but doesn’t prove that it wasn’t the inspiration for her appearance.

DanCJ

February 20, 2013 at 5:20 am

PB210 – You do realise that the 60s Batman telly programme was deliberately a comedy right? They tried showing it to preview audiences with and without canned laughter – and each version was liked as much as the other so they went without (rightly IMO).

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Of course. Dozier had no desire to persuade people to accept a boy sidekick in pixie shoes and shaved legs as tough and noir.

Count Karnstein continues:

http://monsterkidclassichorrorforum.yuku.com/reply/251213/Marvels-THOR-2011#reply-251213

“I catch the Batman show on MeTV when I can, and I still love it. To me it still feels like a well done superhero show. And I can now also understand more of the jokes and camp stuff, so it’s even more enjoyable! Hulk still depresses me. I just gotta turn it off before that funeral dirge that plays at the end. Arghh! “

ParanoidObsessive

February 24, 2013 at 7:21 pm

About Frank Miller’s hate of the 1960 Batman TV show. It makes him seem like such a poser. He was 9 years old when it premiered on ABC. Was he so hard-boiled as a child that he didn’t like it?

Black Cesar, unless Miller specifically said he hated the show as a kid (and he may have for all I know) he may just have meant he hates it as an adult.

Fraser sort of touched on what I was going to say – it’s entirely possible that Frank Miller never actually saw the show as a kid, and only formed his opinion about it later on. After all, the show was in reruns for years (I wasn’t even alive when it was originally on, yet I still watched it as a kid – in the mid-80′s – in syndication). It’s possible Miller was already an angsty teen or outright adult before he ever saw it. Or maybe he never saw it at all, and formed his opinion solely based on the REPUTATION of the show for being incredibly campy.

In fact, I was going to ask if anyone knows at which point Miller actually first READ Batman – if he only first got into the comics in the 70′s, when Dennis O’Neil and Neal Adams were going out of their way to make the character much darker, it’s possible that the mental image he formed of Batman was of a darker, grittier character, which not only influenced his own work, but also contributed to his dislike for the TV show once he finally saw it (or just heard about it). Because it wasn’t “his” Batman.

ParanoidObsessive

February 24, 2013 at 7:23 pm

Oh, and:

but Commissioner Gordon notes to a worried bank owner “You can be sure if it’s Batman,” which is a reference to Westinghouse’s slogan at the time

For a moment after reading that, I was almost going to ask “Why would Westinghouse have “You can be sure if it’s Batman” as a slogan?”

@Paranoid Obsessive:

I think I remember from one of the DKR or DKSA intro/forewords, or from an interview, that Miller said he first read Batman when he was about 8. I think he was born in about ’58 (close, I see on the wikipedia it was early ’57, so he’s 55 now), so mid-’60s, but before the TV show. If I’m correct, which frankly, is a stretch ;)

And looking at his Wikipedia page, I’ve got an inquiry for Brian (via email).

But based on that pic of Jill St. John here, it seems like it wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility for Carrie’s look to be somehow influenced by the look of St John. Probably where the rumor started, though.

“Dennis O’Neil and Neal Adams were going out of their way to make the character much darker,”
Of course compared to a lot of what’s been done since, they don’t look that much darker than the TV show. Because people can’t resist the urge to go darker. And darker. And darker.

Any Batman fan who doesn’t like the Adam West show is not my kind of Batman fan. Or, really, my kind of person.

Well, to each their own, but judging any entire human being on whether they like one specific show seems rather harsh, since different people might dislike a show for very different reasons (while some people don’t like the lighter elements other people don’t like the way it ridicules the character; such people might have very different tastes in superheroes in general but happen to agree on the show)..

Personally I have a lot of wonderful friends whose tastes in shows are very different than mine. Many don’t even like my absolute favourite shows. Doesn’t make be treasure them any less. Personally I think life’s too short to dislike someone just on the basis of one TV show, but that’s up to you.

@Black Cesar, just a sidenote. Think Spillane would’ve been amused by “Tigger Mann”.

Bill, PB210 wrote about Tiger Mann.

Yes, it’s Tiger Mann, but one letter turns him into an A.A.Milne character.

joseph young

May 7, 2013 at 7:00 am

Back in the days before modern superhero films, I lamented the campiness that was felt to be necessary y the motion picture powers that be. I was happy with Burton’s film, and happier with Nolan’s film and the Spider-man films.

However, the original Batman series is awesome. It is comedy gold and definitely knew what it was. Shows like the Incredible Hulk, Man From Atlantis, Knight Rider, and the A-Team were in fact bad shows that appealed to kids. Batman was a kids show with layers of irony and satire. And Adam West is a god.

[...] fuente original de Fraction es una nota de Comic Book Legends Reveleaded # 406 de Comic Book Resources, en que se cuenta que cuando Miller [...]

Leave a Comment

 

Categories

Review Copies

Comics Should Be Good accepts review copies. Anything sent to us will (for better or for worse) end up reviewed on the blog. See where to send the review copies.

Browse the Archives