Warner Bros.' recent animated adaptation of Batman: The Killing Joke proved a big hit, raking in over $3 million in its limited theater release and proving once again the power of the DC Universe Animated Original Movies line. And while The Killing Joke provided a dark take on the Batman mythos, it looks like DC and Warner Bros. are planning to go in the opposite direction with their most recently announced film.
Earlier today, Entertainment Weekly gave fans a look at the first teaser for Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders, a new animated feature that returns to the world of the 1960s Batman TV series. And staying true to the show, the adventure will feature actors Adam West and Burt Ward reprising the roles of Batman and Robin. The trailer featured the heroes breaking the fourth wall to announce their return, revealing that the upcoming feature will find them facing-off against the Joker, Riddler, Penguin and Catwoman — voiced by returning favorite Julie Newmar.
The trailer was a real treat for fans, bringing back the voices from the old show with an animated flair reminiscent of DC's recent Batman '66 comic series. Of course, it also featured the goofy camp style you'd expect, with the Dynamic Duo trapped on a massive lunch tray ready to be cooked in a giant oven. To get ready for Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders, we're traveling back in time for a look at the most ridiculous moments from the 1966 Batman TV series.
1. The Batusi
As Seen In: "Hi Diddle Riddle" — Season 1, Episode 1
Batman wasted no time showing off its camp style, introducing the Batusi in its premiere episode. The Batusi was inspired by the popular Watusi dance of the time, with the hero employing his signature move in an attempt to gather info from the Riddler's assistant. The move proved so popular that it appeared again in a later episode featuring the villainous King Tut.
2. The Joker's Prison Yard Escape
As Seen In: "The Joker Is Wild" — Season 1, Episode 5
The Joker's first appearance on Batman also remains one of his most memorable, with the Clown Prince of Crime staging an elaborate prison escape involving a baseball game, the pitcher's mound and a gigantic spring. Earlier episodes had established the show's campy feel, but Cesar Romero's introduction as the Joker firmly established its comedic tone.
3. Egghead Gets Batman & Robin High
Episode: "An Egg Grows in Gotham" /"The Yegg Foes in Gotham" — Season 2, Episodes 13 and 14
The '60s show actually added a few characters to Batman's Rogue's Gallery, with the most memorable being Egghead. The villainous genius, brought to life by Vincent Price, brought an array of egg-cellent puns and egg-themed weapons to the show — the most memorable being his laughing gas egg bombs. The bombs incapacitate Batman and Robin with the added bonus of getting them super stoned. Luckily, Batman had some sad pills (?!?) to counteract the laughing gas.
4. Batman Fights A Tiger
As Seen In: "Better Luck Next Time" — Season 1, Episode 20
Catwoman was one of Batman and Robin's best foes throughout the series, taking her villainy to new heights when she forced Batman to fight a tiger in "Better Luck Next Time." The episode immediately tosses you into the action, with Batman in a close quarters battle with the jungle cat. "Battle" is a pretty loose term, since it really features Batman just pushing the tiger around before subduing it with his high-pitched communicator. Also, the Caped Crusader takes a moment to remind Catwoman that she should really take better care of her pets, a classic reminder that West's version of the character was wholly dedicated to doing good.
5. Penguin V Batman: Dawn of Politics
As Seen In: "Dizzoner the Penguin" — Season 2, Episode 18
The Penguin appeared in more episodes of Batman than any other villain, thankfully bringing us a heavy dose of actor Burgess Meredith. And his shining moment came during the villain's attempt to become mayor of Gotham City. Naturally, Batman joins the race to stop the Penguin, with the pair's televised debate provides a hilarious political parody. The Penguin jumps over some extreme hurdles in logic to prove that he is actually a do-gooder while Batman is a villain, and while he ultimately fails, the entire race showcases one of the show's more absurd stories.
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6. The Man-Eating Lilacs
As Seen In: "Louie, The Lilac" — Season 3, Episode 7
Milton Berle may be a legendary performer, but he also had the dubious honor of portraying one of Batman's most forgettable adversaries — Louie the Lilac. Unsurprisingly, the criminal had a lilac motif, complete with a purple suit, tons of perfume and some man-eating lilacs. The carnivorous plants represent a ridiculous low-point for the series — we can tell clearly that their "man-eating" vines are just gloved hands — but they also provide a chance for Batman to show off his comically esoteric knowledge of lilacs.
7. Liberace Makes An Appearance
As Seen In: "The Devil's Fingers"/"The Dead Ringers" — Season 2, Episode 15 & 16
The farfetched elements of the show reached new heights when real-life music star Liberace appeared as a piano virtuoso and his villainous twin brother. We wouldn't put it past a '60s series like Batman to use the tired evil twin trope, but thankfully it brings a more original take on the concept by using a famous star at the height of his celebrity.
8. A Cameo From Santa Claus
As Seen In: "The Duo Is Slumming" — Season 2, Episode 32
Fans will remember the numerous "bat climb" window cameos from the series, with stars like Sammy Davis Jr., Dick Clark and more popping up for quick appearances as Batman and Robin scaled the side of a building. But the goofiest window cameo of all came with character actor Andy Devine's appearance as Santa Claus in Season 2. We love this one because it proves that Batman believes in Santa, and is even willing to reveal the location of the Batcave to the holiday hero.
9. Robin's Teeth Save His Life
As Seen In: "The Riddler's False Notion" — Season 1, Episode 32
As Batman's ward, Robin is a prime example of a very good boy. He fights crime, does all his homework and apparently is very good at brushing his teeth. When the Riddler tries to kill the Boy Wonder by knocking him off a building, Batman tosses him a rope which he grabs with his mighty molars in one of the show's most hilarious near-death experiences.
10. Batman Can't Get Rid Of A Bomb
As Seen In: Batman: The Movie (1966)
Batman's attempt to get rid of a bomb is one of the most memorable moments of 1966's Batman: The Movie, which hit theaters just a couple months after the show's first season finale. Pedestrians, a brass band and a family of ducks all stand in the heroes way, but it's all worth it to hear Adam West comment that, "Some days you just can't get rid of a bomb."
11. The Bat Shark Repellent
As Seen In: Batman: The Movie (1966)
Okay, maybe it's a little unfair to include two moments from Batman: The Movie on this list, but how could we not include the appearance of Batman's Bat Shark Repellent? It's easily the most insane invention the hero's ever created, and even more hilarious with the increased budget provided by the feature film. We get to see Robin climb down a ladder in an actual flying Batplane, only to give Batman a spray can to knock out a plastic shark.
Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders will be available on Digital HD on October 11, with a Blu-ray Combo Pack release set for November 1. What are your favorite moments from the 1966 Batman TV series? Let us know in the comments below.