13 QUICK THOUGHTS: The Greatness of YVONNE CRAIG

I’m going to get right to this: It’s a helluva year when we lose both Mr. Spock and Batgirl.

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UPDATED 5/16/17: Yvonne Craig was born May 16, 1937. She would have been 80. This article was first published shortly after she died in 2015. But it’s as timely now as it was then.)

1. She set the Batgirl standard. I know that may sound self-evident but Yvonne Craig really embodied the role. She was bright, cheerful and energetic. It wasn’t just that she was written that way — Craig really sold it.

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2. She saved the third season. Craig never walked through an episode. (Actually her walk was really confident and appealing, but you know what I mean.) Season 3 is rightfully considered the series’ low point from a writing (and, at times, performance) perspective. But all the way until the end — through the Cassandras, Nora Clavicles and Minervas — she was relentlessly sharp and, dare I say, on her toes.

3. She was my first TV girlfriend. Whenever her episodes were on, it was like a special event. And the funny thing is, it wasn’t until much later that I realized every episode she was in was only a half-hour. I thought Julie Newmar was really cool as Catwoman but I didn’t understand bad-girl appeal until I was older. Batgirl fought on the side of good — something I could more readily comprehend. She was the Crimefighter Next Door.

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4. This.

5. Artists love drawing her. I so dug Sandy Jarrell‘s Batgirl work on Batman ’66, I asked him to do an Yvonne Craig commission. He was all too happy to do it. (He takes commissions at his website here.)

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6. She looked great out of the costume too:

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7. Today’s Batgirl is Yvonne Craig’s spiritual granddaughter. Old-time viewers or readers who gave up on comics would do well to pick up the current Batgirl by Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher and Babs Tarr. If you say to yourself, “Well, that’s not my Batgirl,” then you’re just being stubborn. Because the Batgirl that DC is publishing today is the closest to the Yvonne Craig Batgirl as any version I’ve ever read.

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8. This.

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9. Other roles. She kissed Elvis!

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10. She lives on through Blu-Rays and merchandise. We not only get to enjoy her performance on high-quality video, we get to remember her on our shelves.

Photo by Sam Greenfield

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11. She inspired a great song. Here’s Be My Batgirl, by Clashing Plaid. Video by Paul Grisham.

12. Her best episode? Hard to say. I think I’d go with The Wail of the Siren, because it really was a Batgirl showcase, as she teamed with Robin to save a sidelined Batman. Great climactic fight scene too.

13. This picture that Scott Sebring posted on Facebook.

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Yvonne’ Craig’s 13 Best Batgirl Episodes: Click here.

13 QUICK THOUGHTS: The Greatness of Yvonne Craig. Click here.

Burt Ward and Julie Newmar pay tribute to Yvonne Craig: Click here.

— PODCAST ALERT: Talking About Yvonne Craig on The Batcave Podcast. Click here.

— Comics pros and Batfans pay tribute to Yvonne Craig: Click here.

— A statement from Yvonne Craig‘s family: Click here.

 

Author: Dan Greenfield

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