For decades, the rights to the classic 1966-68 ‘Batman’ TV series have been mired in legal muck, with Paramount producing the show originally, but with the rights to the character Batman now belonging to Warner Brothers. As a result, the show has NEVER been available commercially, and only occasionally popped up on TV. Many fans resorted to buying bootleg copies, commonly found at conventions. Adam West, Batman himself, now 85 years old, even used his own money to record commentaries for every episode of the show, for fear that he may be too ill or even (heaven forbid) die before the legal mess was straightened out and the show was made available to the public.
But somehow the rights were worked out. In the past year, we’ve seen a flood of merchandising based on the series, with dolls, action figures, vehicles and the digital-first ‘Batman ’66‘ comic series.
And now, at long, long last, the show is coming to DVD and Blu-ray in November, just in time for “Holy Christmas!” And DC and Warner Brothers are planning to make a huge presentation at San Diego Comic Con this summer, with a special panel on July 24th at 6 pm in Hall H, featuring West along with the original Robin, Burt Ward (now 65) and Catwoman, Julie Newmar (80). Sadly, the majority of other actors featured on the show have already passed, including Frank Gorshin and John Astin (both played The Riddler), Burgess Meredith (The Penguin), Caesar Romero (The Joker) and Eartha Kitt (the second TV Catwoman).
At the panel, expect Warner Brothers to reveal more about the actual home video releases, including bonus features and possibly packaging. A release stated that the panel will “give fans their first inside sneak peak at the most anticipated home entertainment release in fanboy history.”
In the meantime, check out this trailer for this hotly anticipated release:
Some modern fans turn their noses up at this classic series for its light, campy tone, but for kids who were able to thrill to these colorful exploits, you’d be hard-pressed to name a better live-action TV superhero series. I know I’ll be pre-ordering mine as soon as possible!
Sources: The Hollywood Reporter