… the Batmobile?
I got into this memory from a debate on Facebook about who the best Batman was. Of course, there was no debate on my part – Adam West.
We grew up watching this half hour television show. It was engaging and was a pretty true television version of the comic book. It was for kids. The later movies were darker, it seemed, and were more focused on a crime story and not necessarily for today’s kids but kids from yesteryear.
The original series was just fun and geared towards kids. There was the acting that brought the comic characters to the show but the star for me was the Batmobile. Until I found this site, I thought that the Batmobile was built on a Pontiac GTO. It turns out I was wrong.
The neat thing was that the Batmobile was indeed the most powerful on the road with a turbine in the back. And, the coolest windshield ever. It always had a flashing red light on the top but never a siren.
These days, you’d think it was long in the scrapheap. But, no, it’s a collectors car. It turns out that the Batmobile was actually cars between the original and the others constructed for the movies. It makes for a great Wikipedia article.
Have I seen in it person? Of course! You can’t be this close to the North American International Auto Show and not expect it to show up. While that was long ago and the original Batmobile, the newer Lego created one made news.
For a Sunday, your thoughts…
- were you a watcher of the original Batman series? (It is now available on those old classic retro television channels)
- and YouTube. Don’t forget YouTube
- who was Batman’s co-pilot?
- his co-pilot wasn’t old enough to drive so who drove when Batman couldn’t?
- how did he disguise himself?
- what was unique about the steering wheel in the original Batmobile?
- complete the sentence “Atomic batteries to power” …
I’d be interested in reading your Bat-memories. Please include them in the comments below.
This is part of a regular Sunday post. You can read them all here.
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Atomic batteries to power! Turbines to speed!
Roger ready to move out!
The Adam West/Burt Ward Batman was on TV after school (was it Wednesdays and Thursdays when I was in kindergarten?) and was one of my favourite shows as a kid. When my boys were little I taught them Robin’s part of the ignition sequence and we would make sure we started up the Jetta properly before driving out of the garage. (In fact, I think we may have even revisited that little routine once in the past couple of weeks over the holiday break?)
Of course, Robin wasn’t old enough to drive, so Alfred, the loyal butler, had to take over that role, wearing his own Batman costume. Once he had rendezvoued with Batman, he got the AlfredCycle out of the Batmobile’s trunk (it said Alfred Cycle across the handlebars) and rode back to Wayne Manor under his own steam.
The steering wheel of the Batmobile was one of those extremely impractical partial wheels — more like handgrips — with cut outs from about 4 o’clock to 8 o’clock and 10 o’clock to 2 o’clock. I don’t understand how Batman could have done a proper hand over hand corner with that wheel, but it sure looked cool! Of course the Batmobile also had that pedestal that came right out from the centre of the car, lifting the whole thing off the ground so that it could do an immediate 180. No three point turns for Batman! (It makes perfect sense now, the Batmobile would not be a good vehicle for Robin use to practice proper driving techniques.)
It was years later when I was at university and I came across the television show in late-night reruns on CITY-TV, along with the feature-length movie that was made between seasons one and two. Although I remember things being labelled with signs as a kid, it was wonderful to watch the show again as an adult, seeing how over the top it was, knowing that when Batman said, “Quick Robin, let’s check to the giant lighted lucite map of Gotham city,” It would actually have a sign across the top when they got there that said “giant lighted lucite map of Gotham city.”
One of my favourite parts of the show as a kid less wind Batman and Robin would do a Batclimb up the side of the building, pausing to talk with people who just happened to be opening their windows as the caped crusaders came by. It was fun in the later years to see the Green Hornet and Kato, Sammy Davis Jr, and a host of other celebrities that I wouldn’t have recognized as a kid, but that I knew of by the time I was an adult. Here’s a list: https://www.thoughtco.com/celebrity-window-cameos-from-the-1960s-batman-tv-series-327077
I can’t say that I’ve ever seen the real Batmobile, but I do know from my book of Batfacts that all of the metalwork made the car incredibly heavy, such that it couldn’t actually drive fast. All of the scenes with the Batmobile racing from one place to another were shot with the camera way under-cranked, so that when the film was played back at normal speed, the vehicle appeared to go a lot faster.
To the Batcave!
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Doug, I was never a fan of superheroes growing up, but now I have a class full of boys and girls, who all love them. Many dressed up as them for Halloween. Batman is popular. Your questions have me wondering how the Batman from today, compares. I may need to wait until some superhero talk begins at school, and see what I can find out. Could my kids answer your questions (I know that I can’t), or is their schema different? Thanks, as always, for the weekly trip down memory lane!
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My brother and I loved watching the original Batman TV show. It was hokey and they didn’t even try to make the effects look real, which was part of the humour and charm. We always laughed at the BatBelt – no matter what situation Batman and Robin were in, there was some tool on the BatBelt that would save them. Wouldn’t it be great to have a BatBelt in real life?
My most favourite episode is the one where Batman battles a shark:
I loved Batman! My siblings and I would watch it faithfully every week. For some reason a week or so ago my husband and I were talking about this show, and he reminded me that it aired on two consecutive nights, so there was the “suspense” factor built right in. Like Andy, we also had a phrase from the show that we repeated: Same Bat Time, Same Bat Channel:) When my son was about 4, we discovered Sunday late-afternoon reruns… Every week we would make popcorn and raspberry juice and watch it. Then – one of my worst moments as a parent!! When he was about 11, I saw that CITY TV was going to air a bunch of episodes starting at 10 pm one night and we were both excited to watch it again. I was a single parent at the time, and we lived in an apartment over top of a store on Yonge Street in north Toronto. This place had a huge deck out the back, with stairs down to the lane where we parked. It was a super hot night so we moved the TV out onto the deck and set up lounge chairs to settle in and watch. But then, after who knows how long of watching, we fell asleep! I woke up about 4 in the morning, horrified that we had been so vulnerable and make him move indoors to bed. And locked the door!