Dig This UP-CLOSE LOOK at the Original 1966 PENGUIN SUB

EXCLUSIVE: “Run silent, run deep…”

UPDATED 7/30/21: The 1966 Batman movie came out 55 years ago! Perfect time to re-present this piece from August 2018. Far out! — Dan

The 1966 Batman movie gave us not just the Batcopter, Batboat and a new Batcycle, it also gave us the best villain vehicle of the entire series run — the Penguin Sub, the mobile lair from which the United Underworld battles the Dynamic Duo.

The film’s climactic Batfight takes place atop a life-size set but the sub itself was a roughly 8-foot fiberglass prop that was maneuvered by set technicians:

And it’s now in private hands.

Over the last few weeks, we’ve been showing off items from the greatest Batman ’66 collection you’ll ever see — a startling array of screen-used costumes and props owned by an anonymous collector we’re calling “Alfred.” (Click here for much more on that. Really, go ahead. We’ll wait.)

Just a glimpse… (All collection photos copyright Dan Greenfield and 13th Dimension.)

Alfred’s latest acquisition? The Penguin Sub.

Just dig these photos from his hideaway, where the model sits below a full-size replica of the Batcopter (and near a repro Batcomputer, as well as a trio of cardboard standees of everyone’s favorite heroes):

OK, a couple things:

First, it’s amazing how well this has been kept up since 1966, when the movie was both shot and released.

Second, I love the attention to detail by the model-builders. In the days before CGI, we really took for granted the practical effects that moviemakers utilized to pull off their cinematic illusions. Instead, viewers had a tendency to point out the flaws.

But there’s serious artistry at work here:

Up close you can see the line work, the seams and the glue but on screen, it looks true to life.

I just wish I’d had the presence of mind to bring some Batman ’66 action figures to complete the scene. Perhaps next time.

Meanwhile, check out some more pix:

By the way, it’s worth noting that the flippers were probably added at some point along the way. The ones in the movie were flexible rubber and these are fiberglass. No matter. They look great.


— SNEAK PEEK: The Greatest BATMAN ’66 Collection You’ll Ever See. Click here.

— The 13 GREATEST MOMENTS of the 1966 BATMAN MOVIE. Click here.

Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. Are they merely “three cardboard standees” in the background, or the actual props from “The Entrancing Dr Cassandra”, which once hung in Dozier’s office until the auction?

    “Lot 1159. Trio of screen-used life-size ‘Batman’, ‘Robin’ and ‘Batgirl’ static characters from Batman. (TCF TV, 1966-1968) In Batman Episode #119, Ida Lupino plays Dr. Cassandra Spellcraft, ‘world famous alchemist, occult science practitioner, and all-around evil-doing swinger’. In the episode, entitled ‘The Entrancing Dr. Cassandra’, with the aid of her ‘Alvino-ray gun’, the super-villain reduces the trio of caped crusaders to 2-dimensional versions of themselves. Cassandra’s accomplice Cabala then slips these flattened versions of our heroes under Commissioner Gordon’s office door. These are the actual screen-used ‘flattened characters’ from that memorable episode. The (3) standee cutout props consist of color photographic fronts and studio-painted versos sandwiching a 1 in. rigid foam core. Props include: (1) ‘Batman’ (Adam West): 71.5 x 26.5 x 1 in., (1) ‘Robin’ (Burt Ward): 65 x 28 x 1 in. and (1) ‘Batgirl’ (Yvonne Craig): 62 x 29.5 x 1 in. All in action poses. These props occupied a place of pride in producer William Dozier’s office until the day he died (1999). All exhibit wear, with some professional restoration to extremities. In very good, vintage, production-used condition.”

    They were estimated to go for $US8,000 – $12,000. I hear they sold for 16K.

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  2. The “eyes” on the sub have been painted white, where the originals were black.

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  3. Didn’t the flippers in the film move; or “paddle”…?

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  4. Wonder if “Alfred” sees anything in the Azarean Collection he likes?

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    • Unless I am mistaken, I believe the full size penguin sub set, (not the miniature) was first built as a sunken German U boat that Frank Sinatra and his crew salvaged and put back into operation to hold up and rob the Queen Mary cruise ship, in the movie “Assault On A Queen”. I hope someone here can confirm this fact 100%. Oh, by the way, I own the two person wetsub from the 1966 movie “Destination Inner Space”. Also known as “Terror Of The Deep”.

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  5. Was the full size exterior set of penguins submarine a real sub?

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