13 COOL THINGS About BATMAN ’66 Season One

An ADAM WEST birthday celebration…

You might recall a couple years ago the release of Zlonk! Zok! Zowie! The Subterranean Blue Grotto Essays on Batman ’66 – Season One, a non-fiction anthology edited by Jim Beard, with Rich Handley, that featured individual chapters on every first season episode by an array of writers and historians (13th Dimension columnist Paul Kupperberg, The Batcave Podcast host John S. Drew, Bob Greenberger, Peter Sanderson, Chris Franklin, Ed Catto, Dayton Ward, Keith R.A. DeCandido and yours truly, among them).

Well, after a false start, the second volume – Biff! Bam! Ee-Yow! – is available now, giving Season 2 the same treatment, with fingers crossed for a third installment.

Anyway, it’s the late Adam West’s birthday – he was born 93 years ago on Sept. 19, 1928 – so it seemed like a great time to bring you 13 COOL THINGS ABOUT BATMAN ’66 SEASON ONE, by Jim, one of world’s pre-eminent Bat-ologists.

Oh, and next weekend, we’ll be back with a similar piece on Season 2 – just for Bat-kicks. And if you want to order the books – and you do – click here for Season One and click here for Season Two.

Right on.


1. A rare mention of the murder of Bruce’s parents occurs in the very first episode, “Hi Diddle Riddle/Smack in the Middle.” Now, of course, murder’s not cool, but what is here to me is a little grimdark flying in the face of those who dismiss the show as foolish fluff. Batman acknowledged its origins right from the get-go.

2. When it comes to the coolest of the cool Special Guest-Villains on Batman there’s no riddle for me on who’s my Number One. Frank Gorshin as the Prince of Puzzlers is the coolest, slickest, most insane bad guy that ever hit Gotham, and if I had to pick who I’d have to spend five minutes with alone in a locked room, the Joker or the Riddler… I’m sayin’ helloooo Cesar. I ain’t walkin’ out of that room alive with Frank. He’s a real killer.

3. There’s a lot of very cool Joker stuff in “The Joker is Wild/Batman is Riled,” but for me the coolest moment is when the Clown Prince of Crime gets riled at Batman’s utility belt and, in a moment of seriousness, swears out loud “by all that is funny” that it’ll never happen again. Hey, it’s not the Elder Gods or whatever he’s calling out to, but it’s a great moment to remind you the early Joker had a streak of creepy in him.

4. There’s a lot of “Who’s the best Mr. Freeze?” floating around Batman fandom, but the answer is rarely George Sanders. For me, he’s the ice cubes in my Mountain Dew and no others need apply. His on-off cold room in “Instant Freeze/Rats Like Cheese” is just so—wait for it—cool.

5. The first female villain in Batman? Why, it’s Catwoman, right? Actually, it’s a one-off stage magician named Zelda in “Zelda the Great/A Death Worse than Fate” who holds that honored position. It’s the fascinating and cool story of a more-or-less good girl gone bad, and features another rare death (two of ’em, to be accurate) in the show.

6. You know what’s cool about the Mad Hatter in “The Thirteenth Hat/Batman Stands Pat”? Unlike about 99.9% of villains on the show, we know this guy’s real name—and it’s the same name from the comic books. How cool is that?

7. I dig the cool links between Batman and other shows and movies I love, and one of the coolest of them is the appearance of Linda Harrison (Nova herself from Planet of the Apes) as a cheerleader in “The Joker Goes to School/He Meets His Match, the Grisly Ghoul.”

Cherie Foster, Donna Loren, Linda Harrison

8. The internet usually ruins most surprises in modern TV shows and movies, but back in ’66 you could pull off something like not telling the audience who a lead actor was in a production and make them speculate around watercoolers the next day. And so it was in the very cool-yet-underappreciated debut of False-Face in “True or False Face/Holy Rat Race.” Psst—it was Malachai Throne all along…

9. First Batcycle in the 1966 Batman feature film, yes? Wrong again, old chums—check out the cool set of wheels in “The Penguin Goes Straight/Not Yet, He Ain’t,” a ’65 Harley that crossed the finish line before the more well-known Yamaha from the movie and second season of the show.

10. I’ll never, ever be mistaken for a King Tut fan, but I admit I do find it kind of cool that the Faux Pharaoh’s not really a villain, but a portly professor of Egyptology who gets bonked on the noggin and only thinks he’s a bad guy. In fact, at the end of “The Curse of Tut/The Pharaoh’s in a Rut,” he reverts to his normal persona and can’t be held responsible for his crimes.

11. For the coolest and sexiest of all the molls in Batman, I present to you Sherry Jackson in “Death in Slow Motion/The Riddler’s False Notion.” Need I say more? ‘Nuff said!

12. It’s true—I love a lot of the one-offs in the show, and the Bookworm comes in first on my list of cool criminals who we only saw once. Roddy McDowall is so interesting and crazy in “The Bookworm Turns/While Gotham City Burns,” he really deserved another go at the character.

13. I’m going to cheat a tiny bit here and tell you that the coolest Catwoman isn’t the lovely Julie Newmar or the larcenous Eartha Kitt, but the vastly underappreciated Lee Meriwether from the feature film. Lee’s Feline Fury is so cool, so sophisticated, so sexy, I just can’t get enough of her in the movie. To my mind, it’s such a shame she never got to assay the role again after it.

Zlonk! Zok! Zowie! The Subterranean Blue Grotto Essays on Batman ’66 – Season One is published by Crazy 8 Press and lists for $14.99. Click here to order.

Biff! Bam! Ee-Yow! The Subterranean Blue Grotto Essays on Batman ’66 – Season Two is also available, at $15.99. Click here.


— ADAM WEST’s TOP 13 Groovy Moments as BATMAN — RANKED. Click here.

— Dig This UP-CLOSE LOOK at an Original BATMAN Costume. Click here.

Author: Dan Greenfield

Share This Post On


  1. Fascinating observations all! I totally fell for Lee’s Catwoman! Roddy became my favorite actor in time but I believe BATMAN was where I first saw him. He became a favorite because my school nickname was Bookworm. I later got to interview both Donna Loren and Kip King about the Joker in high school episodes, and became quite close to Kip before his untimely death. Dozier’s papers, btw, indicate that the spfx for the Sanders Mr. Freeze episodes nearly broke the show’s budget!

    Post a Reply
  2. Lee Meriwether was the most focused on a life of crime off the 3 cats. Straight up 100% criminal locked on to her heist.

    Post a Reply
  3. You’re Bat-shit crazy, old chum! The sexiest Catwoman from the TV series was the exquisite Eartha Kitt!! Overall sexiest Catwoman: Halle Berry!!! Meeeeeee-yowwwww!!!!

    Post a Reply
  4. George Sanders has always been my favorite Live-action Mr. Freeze.
    Sherry Jackson is my favorite Villain Moll. Stunningly beautiful woman.
    King Tut is my favorite made for TV Villain.
    1st season was near perfection.

    Post a Reply

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: