Sunday, 21 February 2010

Holy locations Batman!

Batman. From comics, to television to movies, we’ve seen it all. For me there is only one Batman. Adam West. The camp 1966 TV series was my first introduction to the Caped Crusader. Everyday after school I’d rush home to see who the new villain was. Would Batman & Robin ever escape the nefarious plans of (insert your favorite villain)? Of course, but never in the cliffhanger episode, but always in the second episode. Everyone remembers The Penguin, The Joker, Catwoman & The Riddler, but for me it was all about Ma Parker, Egghead, King Tut, Marsha, Queen of Diamonds, The Siren…the more outrageous, the better. Here's a screencap of one very memorable cliffhanger, Batman & Robin being turned into giant Frosty Freezies!

It was my introduction to the acting talents of many a famous guest star, Ethel Merman, Victor Buono, Vincent Price, Van Johnson, Eartha Kitt etc. My mother would recognize the villain and tell me of some movie she’d remembered seeing them in. It made them seem all the more interesting.

So…some thirty years later I was able to finally see the George Barris built Batmobile. It’s in immaculate condition after all these years. Evidently, there were a few Batmobiles built, some for the TV series and some would be shipped out for promotional duties. I managed to see Batmobile one and two when I was in Hollywood. Pretty awesome. At the time of writing an original Batmobile is up for auction in Palm Springs.

There were two other locations I can finally cross of my “things to see” list. The exterior of Commissioner Gordon’s office. It featured in every episode with Batman & Robin racing up the stairs. However, it wasn’t Adam West & Burt Ward but their stunt doubles. It was also seen as the courthouse for the 1980’s sitcom, Night Court.

The familiar view from every episode, and below the facade in 2009.

The actual exit from the Batcave was another location I had to visit. Although I’d planned to visit the location, plans changed, and luckliy for me plans changed again after a friend drove me up to the site. Thanks Randy!. The cave has been used in a variety of different productions and naturally nothing survives from it's days on Batman. However, when I was there, a kid asked his father "is this really the Batcave"? I laughed. It's legacy lives on!

The exterior of the cave in 1966 and below in 2009.

Just outside the cave was the Gotham City 14 miles sign.

Although not technically Batman footage, Batman also used some stock footage of the New York World’s Fair in it’s pilot episode, luckily I managed to snap a today photo when I was there some 44 years later.

Above in 1964 and below 2009.

Batman locations can be found all around Los Angeles. The exterior of Commissioner Gordon’s office can be found on the Warner Bros Studios backlot. The Batcave is up in Griffith Park, the original Batmobile can be currently seen in the George Barris Showroom in North Hollywood. Batman filmed at three different studios over it's three years on TV so there's more to uncover but that will come in part two.


Stacy said...

This is great! Although I watched the series in syndication on Saturdays as a little girl, I was always mesmerized by the entire production. I don't think there was anything else like it then or has been since. Thanks for sharing your explorations.

spacepotato said...

Thanks Stacy. I too, only saw the the show in syndication. It was repeated numerous times, so I guerss we we lucky in that regard.