Holy flashback, Batman! 50 years after its debut, Tom and Zac review Batman: The Movie, the 1966 feature film based on the TV series. The Penguin, Joker, Catwoman, and the Riddler all team up to bring down the dynamic duo of Batman and Robin.
This movie may come from a different era, but it is still a blast to watch if you know what you are getting into. The hosts discuss their favorite and most hilarious parts of the film and try to discuss what they think the plot was.
They also discuss what they expect from the upcoming Batman: Return of The Caped Crusaders animated film featuring Adam West, Burt Ward, and Julie Newmar, which debuts Monday, October 10.
Transcript of the Podcast
Welcome to the DC daily drop your one-stop-shop for today’s important news in DC movies TV and comics here are your hosts Tom and Zac. Hello and welcome to a special edition edition of the DC Daily Drop. Today we’re going to be talking about and reviewing Batman the 1966 film. In honor of Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders debuting in theaters on October 10th for one night only, we are sort of trying to catch everyone up to speed you might have missed this classic movie.
Zac, for people who have never seen this movie before how would you describe it? Before we start I doing put out a warning there will be spoilers in this review. Oh yes, there will be major plot spoilers. So you’ll know what happens in this movie by the time we’re done. The good news is A – it’s 50 years old yeah and B – the plot is not the point of this movie.
Right, so yeah if you if you’ve never seen this movie on you probably have seen clips or at least know about the TV show and how campy it was and goofy. You know like they’re punching people and there’s a big yellow text on the screen it says spam or with pow. Robin is always saying holy conundrum, holy applesauce Batman or something weird.
That’s what this movie is this is the most over-the-top most campy, funny and not supposed to be serious version of Batman you can probably ever find in a theatrical film. Other than maybe other than maybe Batman and Robin. This film was released in July thirtieth 1966 by 20th Century Fox. There was a TV show airing at the time. This actually went on between seasons 1 and 2. Batman was incredibly popular during season 1 and lots of people liked it. This movie was you know is made out of budget of $1.5 million and it’s not exactly the highest quality but it is pretty good for its age actually. It looks a little better than the TV series.
It sort of hits all the highlights of the TV series. It includes all the classic villains. But this is this is a show that for a lot of people didn’t like for a long time because that is not supposed to be Batman. Batman’s not supposed to be a joke he’s not supposed to be telling jokes or you know it’s supposed to be serious and everything. But now that Tim Burton’s Batman has been out there and especially Christopher Nolan’s Batman, people have gone back and sort of respect the show now for what it is. It is as a goofy, funny, awesome time.
Yeah right it’s only that’s almost a parody of itself which is funny. Like there isn’t any other superheroes show or movie that does that I know of. Right, the good news is that it’s supposed to be funny. You’re supposed to be at least know exactly what they’re trying to be and they do pretty well with that. So, the main cast is Adam West is Bruce Wayne / Batman. Burt Ward is Dick Grayson AKA robin. Lee Meriwether is the Catwoman in this version. Julie Newmar played her in the TV series up to that point but I think it was a scheduling conflict that she coun’t do. cesar Romero as Joker and mustache included. With white paint over top of the mustache. Burgess Meredith, who a lot of people might know from the Rocky movies he plays Penguin. Frank gorshin as the Riddler.
That is the main cast. So what do you have to say about this film Zac? There is a lot of funny stuff that happens in this movie. There’s a lot of times that I actually laughed out loud, which you say that about a lot of stuff, but it doesn’t actually happen all that often. And there was just moments when I was literally laughing out loud. This is your first time watching it recently right? This is the very first time I’ve ever watched it. Yeah I rewatched it. I watched it once a year or two ago.
By the way this is out. It’s on Netflix right now and there’s also a blu-ray of it that has been released. That’s actually, it’s amazing to see it in 1080p detail that they never meant for anyone ever see it in. Right, that’s right. That’s why you can see Cesar Romero’s mustache under the paint. Yeah, probably wasn’t as obvious when people watching this in the sixties, but it is now. That blu-ray also has a funny commentary from Adam West and Burt Ward. So if you’re looking to get something, that’s worth checking out.
But yeah there’s, I don’t know. I have a huge list of things I wrote down that were super funny and we probably won’t cover all of them. One of the things that keeps happening in the movie is everything is labeled. Yes. He’s like ok the the Bat ladder comes out of the beginning. The Bat ladder comes out of the Bat copter. And it has just a little placard at the bottom that says Bat ladder. How would you know what it was but without reading that? That’s one of the funniest recurring things going on through there is and some of the things that are labeled everything’s labeled and some of the things that are labeled are just so ridiculously funny.
And it’s really nice to see even like right at the beginning Batman and Robin are going down the slide to the Batcave and we see you know it’s what is it the bat costume change lever or something like that? So they just they just touch that and apparently they get out of their normal clothes and get into their costumes by the time that the bottom of the pole thing. I didn’t understand about that lever was there ever a time that they’re going down that pole but they don’t need the costume? I feel like it should be a lever they pull if they don’t need the costume, because they have to do every single time.
You know what? I don’t like how hard you thinking about this. This is not, this is not meant to have deep thought put into it. But well, with that in mind. Then there this is a really fun movie home there’s one of the great things so when he’s on that bat ladder going back to that this is one the rubber shark grabs onto his leg. He’s punching this rubber shark and it’s just funny that like for 1966 this actually a pretty cool looking shot. Like there’s a real guy hanging from a real helicopter flying over a real body of water right? But then they throw it over Sharkey.
If you had a really, just completely ridiculous rubber shark that is gnawing on Batman’s leg for several minutes and doesn’t even seem to bother him. He’s got the weakest teeth. Batman punches it and falls in the water and it blows up. No, he uses the Bat shark repellent spray. Oh, that’s right. You can’t just punch a shark like that. You need a special spray to spray on it. Luckily they have like six canisters of that in the Batcopter at all times. Right that’s something that you’ve always got to carry with you. I’m surprised it wasn’t on his utility belt to be honest with you.
Yeah and so they they don’t know who the bad people are at this point. And they’re talking to Commissioner Gorden and basically they figured out using puns. The power of puns. They’re like something pretty fishy happened to me. That must be Penguin! It happened in the sea. C as in Catwoman. Because they were obviously we’re out at sea that means Catwoman’s involved. This is perfectly logical. Get your problem and haul it all adds up to a sinister riddle. So obviously the Riddler is involved. Obviously.
So they figure out that it’s Penguin Catwoman Joker and the Riddler and they’re all hanging out at the United underworld, which is a room above a club. And it’s just this room where everybody has their own bookcase. Yeah that was the best part. Private! This big open bookcase with like a fish tank honor for Penguin and some questions. Yes we see the joke section for Joker. You have to keep out. I don’t know if you noticed this too, but there’s like a flat there’s just a bunch of really weird random labeled stuff again with all the labeling. But there’s a filing cabinet for confetti and it’s like separated by colors of confetti.
I bet if you went through this like frame by frame you would see so many hilarious things that have been missed with labels and everything like that. Yeah uh-huh. So one of the times the Batman is there’s like five different times that they’re getting torpedo shot at them. And so they they like go out and find out that the boat was a mirage made by lasers on a buoy. And so they’re like they’re all standing on the buoy and they shoot torpedoes at them. And he has enough battery juice in his transmitter to jam the signal for two of them and then the third one it cuts away. And there’s an explosion. You don’t see what happens when they come back and Robin says it was noble of that porpoise to hurl his way in the path of the torpedo. That he gave his life for that are very noble.
Don’t know if they had it. Maybe they didn’t have it in the budget to have another rubber fish jump in the way of the torpedo and show that. But they didn’t show it. Probably not. That rubber shark looks pretty expensive. So you know and so they call they call the Pentagon and there’s just people sitting around all day waiting for Batman to call. The Pentagon figure out that the boat is registered to a PN Guin. Which maybe you should use a better name with no address. No he just has a p.o box in the address right?
So Batman scolds the Pentagon. Like if you’re going to be selling war surplus submarines and boats to bad people you should probably get their real address right? That’s another recurring thing. The military and the police force are just completely incompetent. And they just wait around for Batman to solve all their problems for them. You know and then of course the Riddler’s involved so he shoots a polaris missile and perfectly writes a riddle in the sky that somehow doesn’t really make sense but makes sense to Batman and Robin and tells them the evil plan that they are going to do.
I don’t remember what it was, what the answer was – that somebody Russian is going to slip on a banana pill peel and break their neck if they say yes. So the evil plan they come up with is they’re gonna they’re gonna kidnap Bruce Wayne. So they’re gonna kidnap Bruce Wayne to get Batman to come to them. So obviously there may be a problem with that plan.
Right. But Catwoman is the one. She’s gonna pretend to be a reporter for Russia – Miss Kitka. And that’s how that’s how they’re going to Bruce Wayne. They’re going to kidnap him. My favorite part from that is she like needs to contact the other bad people and so she pulls out the little cat transmitter. And it flashes and like does Morse code with malice on the other side like Mouse code I guess you could call it.
There’s some good technology throughout this movie. They’ve got car phone in the Batmobile and I think he had one in the Bat boat. Yeah it’s so he’s he’s cutting it is was cutting-edge even back in the sixties. Yeah so Alfred and Robin are like following him around to make sure he doesn’t nothing happens to him but they turn it off because Bruce and Miss Kitka start making out and that’s when he gets kidnapped. Something I did notice though is that Bruce Wayne did a pretty good job of fighting off those kidnappers. So all right yeah he’s he’s very talented if Batman ever needs some outside help from a civilian, he should probably call Bruce Wayne.
All the villains aren’t very good fighters. I know that. Exactly. There’s there’s a part where he’s like fighting all the main villains. I think this is after he got kidnapped. He swings and some random guy jump grunting. He’s just wearing jeans and a black sweater like who is that guy. And he that’s the guy that he liked hits a spring and fall flies out into the ocean and explodes so that all these people are really terrible at fighting for ya by the way.
Did you notice apart even even in the most family-friendly version of Batman they thought he thought that they took miss Kitka and he said he was going to kill all of them if they harm her and he said he would rip them limb from limb? Yeah as Bruce Wayne. So yeah these there’s those those sinister undertones and Bruce Wayne tracking the psyche.
Yeah something I did notice.Like obviously this movie it’s supposed to be funny and goofy and campy but like underneath it Cesar Romero as Joker there really is something creepy about him. That underneath, as stupid as this movie is supposed to be, like he really is a pretty key pretty creepy villain. I would not want to run into Cesar Romero in a dark alley right and that may help. Yeah, he does a very good job I think all of them do a really good job with what they’re asked to do.
So Bruce Wayne escapes and the penguin reveals I think Riddler I don’t know one of them has the dehydrator gun and they dehydrate five pirates they’re gonna take with them on but we come to there’s this famous scene in the movie where they’re climbing up the wall that you probably see a lot of times you see like a baby i think it was on the intro to the TV show right so it’s just the camera turn sideways and then daddy.
And this this is where your favorite part happens where they’re in the bar and Brandon talks about it oh yeah they basically have the PSA we’re robbing just can’t believe that people would drink alcohol and he just he just can’t stand him at all with that man yeah so they basically include a PSA in the middle there of anti-drinking right-hand man said something or robin said something like why would you save those people because they for all first of all.
There’s a big giant bomb and why would anybody drink I can’t imagine somebody not wanting to have their wits about them great ok so there’s this giant bomb the Batman has to pick up and run around and like with your longest he’s ever he keeps running into like groups of nuns and babies and ducks and Catherine down there and then there’s like a random three-piece band just walking around playing music for some reason it and that’s where that’s where he says some days you just can’t get rid of a bomb the classic name right there which days you just can’t get rid of a bomb that’s what I try to live my life by that yes and then so he he whatever he says everybody by getting rid of the bomb and Robin says why would you risk your life to save a bunch of lousy drinkers or something like that and famine says they may be drinkers but they’re still human beings it that.
There’s so many great quotes in this I wish I’d written something down but there’s some just hilarious lines you know so after this penguin gets his way into the Batcave with the dehydrated pirates and he says he needs a drink of water and band says go over to the water dispenser it’s clearly marked but I just like everything else in the back it it’s very welcoming for visitors yeah so and he accidentally rehydrates it with heavy water which turns them into antimatter.
Which I was like surprised when I heard this like I didn’t know people are talking about this in the 1960s that that was like a relatively new thing if you haven’t talked about and popular and pop culture but it was cool to hear that it might have been at the time that they had no idea what it was and just threw in any scientific terms that could think of you but we should give him more credit than that i’m sure they know what they’re doing yeah.
And so the bad guys the world gallery there their idea is we’re going to go to it’s not the United Nations where they call it it’s like their personal united united united world and assembly united world assembly at era so this yeah they’re big master point is they’re going to dehydrate the Security Council and so they do that make sense yeah and then so Batman Robin track them down to their submarine the penguin sub which every time they show it is just like you can really it’s really easy to tell that it’s just a toy floating underwater fit which is great.
So they track them down and they shoot them with like a bad gun and the special effects there’s just like flashes of color on top of it without any explosions for anything and they fight them all and they they get to the dust and the big brake kit and all the dust gets mingled together and so it leads to this great shot of them this is probably I think I started laughing the hardest when this happened is they cut to the Batcave and they’re like standing there with their costumes on with aprons and goggles over it like but.
It stated for this machine weighs science class is now in session great it’s the end of your friends machine labeled super molecular dust separator that they happen to have sitting in the back a look do you think that man has like a special label maker he has always always be prepared he has a bat label maker that is labeled a bad label maker no that’s the only possible solution i don’t know how he made that label though so it’s kind of a chicken-and-egg problem so anyways but.
So they they rehydrate the Security Council and yes for the United World Organization for Security Council that’s what it was thank you for checking me Tom factual accuracy is important in this review exactly so they rehydrate the Security Council but their brains are all switch so they’re all speaking different languages and maybe that’s a good thing they don’t know and that’s the end of the movie yeah how about that.
This is totally ridiculous but it is a lot of fun to watch oh yeah wouldn’t you say yeah it was always a lot of fun to watch you have to if you can get past trying to think that it’s a serious movie because if you think it’s a serious movie something wrong with you because is that the least serious movie you could watch so yeah if you can get past that this is such a fun movie it’s a movie where you to see all of that man’s greatest villains together working together and like you said there’s a ton of quotables great one-liners great little like running gags throughout the whole movie.
The most important thing is, before people would watch Batman Return of the Caped Crusaders, I don’t think they would need to worry about the plot from this. I think that might help them enjoy it more if they fully watch it. But you just need to know what you’re getting into. If you’re expecting a serious movie, like you said, this isn’t it. If you’re expecting a ridiculously weird and campy and good time then this is the right place.
So I’m looking forward to seeing Return of the Caped Crusaders and I’m wondering if they’ll make some like some little jokes or in jokes or whatever references to this movie. I think they will for sure for all the hardcore fans for the movie and the TV series. And you know even saw from what little footage we’ve seen so far we’ve seen plenty of giant labels. Yeah right the oven from the the first teaser. So I know we’re gonna be seeing some of that and I think it will be fun.
I’m hoping you know we’ll sort of see a modern version of what this was in the sixties, that makes more sense for today’s audience now. But still has the feel and spirit of the 60 series. Yeah and it’s perfect that they’re doing it as an animated movie, because they can get the original stars to do the voices. Yes it’s too bad, you know. Cesar Romero and Burgess Meredith and Frank Gorshin – they’re all gone. But they’re gonna have Adam West who is just perfect for what they’re asking out of Batman in this version. Burt Ward as Robin and Julie Newmar will be back as Catwoman from the TV series.
But yeah, we should talk more about Adam West. What did you think about his performance overall? He’s a great straight man and comedian. So he yeah, he can be saying the most ridiculous thing and say with a straight face. There’s a point at the end when they’re rehydrating the Security Council. It’s like this ridiculous setup where there’s just piles of dust and he feels like he’s holding a garden hose and he says a solemn moment gentlemen. And he says it with like the most serious tone and straight face and it’s great. Yeah he is great. He was able to pull that off and be totally believable.
And I gotta say for the time he looks a lot like Bruce Wayne, maybe more so than anybody up until Ben Affleck. When you take away you know his build, he’s not necessarily built like Batman, but he does have the look of Bruce Wayne. I think he is 6’2″. He’s got good size. It looks like you would think Bruce Wayne would look like in that day. Yeah I was gonna say that when he is in character as Bruce Wayne, he has a really suave good-looking Bruce Wayne. Oh yeah he’s tryint to charm Miss Kitka, he thinks at least he works on her. But yeah he’s awesome. I just enjoyed it a lot.
And I’m glad he’s gonna be back for the animated movie and we get to see more of them now. Any other closing thoughts about this movie? Other than I agree this is a fun movie. You don’t need to be in your rush to watch it. It’s not going to mess with your continuity of any sort of universe or storyline or anything. So this is this is a great movie you can just come back and like throw on on the background and the weekend or something just for some laughs or to see something cool and funny show.
It’s perfect yeah and I think if you can watch it before you watch Return of the Caped Crusaders, there might be some in-jokes that you’d like to see more. But if not you just really need to know what you’re getting in for sort of with to the tone and everything. Plot will not be a priority. But yeah. So Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders comes out Monday, October 10th in Fathom Events theaters. You can check them out at FathomEvents.com. It will be released October 11th on digital and November 1st for blu-ray and DVDs.