This Friday’s release of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice marks the start of Ben Affleck’s new take on Gotham’s caped crusader. Batman’s nearly eighty-year history has allowed for adaptations of his stories with a wide thematic range. For every dark Batman story about justice, there’s another where Calendar Man appears (yes, that’s a real Batman villain).
BvS certainly looks like it will fall on the dark end of the spectrum, and we can’t think of a better contrast than the original 1966 Batman television series starring Adam West. You probably know this version’s for its campy, colorful take on the Dark Knight… but you may not have ever actually seen it. The series was the subject of a decades-long dispute that prevented arguably the most fun and famous version of Batman from ever being seen again.
Adam West’s Batman was produced years before anyone expected to worry about rights for television, and it shows. Warner Bros., ABC, 20th Century Fox, and the production company all had some stake in the series, and that knot took years to untie. Beyond that, some costumes, props, music cues, and background actors were not cleared for re-distribution. The series never saw the light of the day from when it ended in 1968 to the DVD release in 2014, apart from the occasional re-run on television.
For your viewing pleasure, we have the entire original series available to check out in the library. We’re stunned that it took this long for such an iconic show to become available, but after endless legal wrangling, you can finally watch the show where the annoyingly catchy “Batman!” theme song came from. That one probably won’t be in the new movie.