What most people do not know is that there almost was a fourth season for the series as Yvonne Craig relates, “I knew someone who had access to all the files and letters that were written back and forth between ABC and 20th Century Fox/Greenway Productions (Dozier’s company), and apparently, they were going wildly over budget all the time. It was a very expensive show to do. ABC did not feel it was cost-effective anymore. So, when we left for Thanksgiving in November, we didn’t know if we were going to do another season or not. We didn’t even say goodbye to one another because we didn’t know that it might be our last season. And then, we weren’t picked up.”
“When we were canceled by ABC, they wondered if we could get on another network. When it looked like we couldn’t, they came with a bulldozer and bulldozed the whole set—the Batcave and all of that. Then, two weeks later, NBC said, ‘Listen, we’d like to take a shot at “Batman,” if you still have the set.’ They didn’t want to start from scratch and build them because the set was $800,000. So, it was too late, and nothing came of it.”
NBC’s unfortunate delay destroyed the series’ only remaining chance for a fourth season. How the series would have fared on the new network is unknown. It might have been restored to its original two part/two night format and lasted a few more years, or it might have just gotten worse and died a death of neglect at the end of the fourth year. There are endless possibilities.
Adam West, "I had to take it seriously. I wanted to do it well enough that Batman buffs will watch reruns and say, ‘Watch the bit he does here; isn’t that great?” I’ve never had more fun doing any role than Batman. It was a fortuitous, lucky marriage of a lot of talents, and, as a result, it became a classic. It’s going to be playing forever.”
Burt Ward: “I learned a great deal from Batman. It was an experience I will treasure forever. It gave me a fantastic opportunity. It has enabled me to meet and be welcomed by people throughout the world. Having seen me on television, they treat me as though I’m their friend, as though I’ve been in their home before.”
After the series was cancelled, there were other incarnations of Batman with Adam and Burt. They returned in a Saturday Morning cartoon called The New Adventures of Batman and Robin. It added Bat-Mite but little else. No familiar voices and the show was below par. The two returned for the Challenge of the Super Heroes and Challenge of the Superheroes Roast (both available on DVD from the Warner Archive - ed.), two shot on video attempts to made a live action version of the Superfriends. Besides Adam and Burt, Frank Gorshin came back as the Riddler, but only for the first part. The shows were horrible to say the least. Adam later took over the voice of Batman on the Superfriends cartoon (after the death of Olan Soule, the original voice). Adam and Burt reteamed again for the Return to the Batcave tv movie which contained their original studio screen test footage, it had little going for it.
As for the rest of the cast. Madge Blake died in 1969, Stafford Repp died in 1974, Producer Howie Horwitz died in 1976, Neil Hamilton died in 1985, Alan Napier died in 1988. William Dozier died in 1991. Very few of the guest villains, production crew and assorted henchmen are still alive. Its been 45 years since it premiered but the reruns still keep the memory alive.
Shortly after the series was cancelled, 20th Century Fox, which lost so much money filming Cleopatra with Elizabeth Taylor years before, sold off most of its studio back lot, (It was turned into the Century City housing development). Most of the producers moved out of Fox and half went ot Paramount and the rest went to Warner Brothers. Charle Fitzsimons went on to work with William D'Angelo on Love American Style and the Lynda Carter Wonder Woman series. William Dozier retired from producing and took up occasional acting (just to keep the wonderful medical benefits given by the SAG).
Stanley Ralph Ross worked with D'Angelo on Wonder Woman then went on to producer and write the Monster Squad. The 1976 Saturday morning series tried to capture the flavor of Batman, but fell flat. It featured Buck Kartalian (a catwoman henchman) as the Wolfman, Mike Lane (Black Widow 's Daddy Long Legs) as Frankenstein and Henry Polic II (later of the Webster tv series) as Dracula. Fred Grandy later Gopher of the Love Boat, worked in a wax museum and when he turned on his crime computer (hidden in the chamber of horrors) the wax statues of the monsters came to life and together they set out to solve crimes created a new bunch of arch criminals. Stan Ross was able to reuse and recycle old Batman plots and jokes (including the Ronald Ray Gun). The giant clam, guest stars Julie Newmar, Joey Tata, Dick Bakalyan, Sid Haig, Billy Curtis, Paul Smith (artemus Knab) Barry Dennen. New verisions of Mr Freeze, Falseface, King Tut, (all with different names but the characters were the same). Back in 1976 with other Saturday sitcom kid shows by the Krofft Brothers, I enjoyed this show, however, it was finally released a few years ago on dvd. I was really looking forward to seeing it again, as it never went into reruns. I barely remembered anything, except the episode with Lost in Space's Jonathan Harris as the evil Astrologer. I found the show to be a lame parody of Batman and an overindulgence of Stanley Ralph Ross's ego. He had complete run of the show and it just didn't work. The dvds are inexpensive, so if you want to see what Batman could have turned into check it out.
As for me, this look back on the series has been fun, as I hope it has been for you. Looking at the series on a daily basis enabled me to watch the series slide and deteriorate right before my eyes, something I really didn't pay direct attention to when I wrote the Batbook. Now I see the show in a different light and I hope you do to.
To Be Continued Next Week! Same Bat Time! Same Bat Channel! NOT!