This blog post is looking at the actors who returned to their Batman TV series role after it had finished airing, as such I will not be discussing anything else outside of the TV series that aired/occurred during the airing of the show (12th January 1966 – March 14th 1968), of which there are quite a few examples!
Many of the performers listed have also appeared in roles that parody or reference their Batman roles, I will not be discussing those here.
I have however included many of those in my Batman 66 Visual Media post
Similarly if a person portrayed themselves in Batman and then again in another fictionalised setting I will not be including that either as they are not a Batman 66 character in the pure sense.
One final caveat, this lists only those appearances available, or intended for the audience at home and not live performances or appearances that were only ever viewed by those attended.
Obviously I am coming from my own perspective with this blog post, and as such sometimes the definition of what constitutes reprising the role to me may not to you, and vice versa.
In researching this blog post I came across a Facebook page by the name of Batman: The Lost Episodes. In their notes section they have a similar concept to this blog post (split into decades) but not exactly the same, they include things I didn’t and I include things they didn’t as we are coming at this from different perspectives.
Although I had written the bulk of this blog post before I discovered their Facebook page, a few of the entries on this list would not be there had I not discovered them, so I thought it was fair to acknowledge them and link you to their Facebook page.
As best as possible I have listed these appearances in chronological order. In some instances I have not been able to determine an exact date and so have gone with my best estimate;
The Monkees: Season 2 Episode 25: Monkees Blow Their Minds (9th May 1968)
Burgess Meredith appears as The Penguin in the audience at the venue known as “The Club Cassandra”. Although he appears without the long nose and in a slightly different costume to usual, his mannerisms, cigarette holder, and squawks, give him away. Burgess is uncredited and has no lines in this appearance, unless you count his squawks of laughter and/or disapproval. Interestingly The Penguin is not visible in any of the crowd/audience shots at the Club Cassandra, and appears only in his own shots with no other crowd visible, although his moments are interspersed with the rest of the footage so as to have it appear as though The Penguin is there with the rest of the audience.
Equal Pay PSA (1973)
Though not a physical character per se, William Dozier does reprise his role as the narrator bookending this Batman-themed PSA promoting Equal Pay with his usual breathless gusto!
The only appearance on this list for Yvonne Craig as Batgirl also came here, in fact, Yvonne is arguably the star of this PSA given its subject matter. In an uncharacteristic turn we’re left to wonder whether Batgirl will save her male colleagues or not! Burt Ward also appeared reprising the role of Robin as a counter point for Batgirl’s Equal Pay gripes as supposedly Batman pays them both but not the same amount! Robin is not overly sympathetic to her call for equality, “holy discontent!”.
Past Prime Playhouse (Late 1975/Early 1976)
Adam West swings by in partial costume, due to the urgency as he’s on a case. He’s in town (Cincinnati) for a custom car show and is doing some promotion by appearing on the PPP.
I cannot ascertain a specific date, month or even year on this appearance and online sources seem only to limit it to Late 1975 and Early 1976.
I would not have been aware of this appearance if it weren’t for:
Memphis Wrestling (1976)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XprrhPPtZBk – Most footage
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GpaQlfJsqCs – Best Quality footage (not as complete)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1CwDiXtRwMI – Dave Brown interviewer clarifying Adam was NOT drunk!
Adam West appears on Memphis Wrestling alongside Jerry “The King” Lawler in his own “Super-King outfit. They will both be appearing at the Memphis Auto show at the Cook Convention Center that weekend, and so are promoting it here!
Differing reports seem to suggest this was either January or October of 1976, but other than getting the correct year and finding that Memphis Auto shows have taken place at the Cook Convention Center in January or October on differing years I could not seem to pin an accurate month or date for this encounter.
Batman and Robin by Adam West (21st May 1976)
The Story of Batman by Adam West (21st May 1976)
In this single we get music with Adam West speaking over them in character as Batman. “Batman and Robin” plays out like the shortest episode of Batman ever at under 3 and a half minutes, with much of that being a chorus singing to us about the heroic duo, in which the dynamic duo face of against the dreaded “Tickler”. Silly beyond belief, but played with conviction. The Story of Batman has Batman telling us how we can use the disc/record as a camoflague device! It’s as non-sensical as it sounds, and only Adam West could make it work!
Saturday Scene (1976)
Adam West appears in costume to promote the aforementioned single on the UK TV show “Saturday Scene”, with host Sally James dressed as Robin. A few photos exist online but I have been unable to find footage.
The New Adventures of Batman (16 Episodes) (12th February – 28th May 1977)
Adam and Burt are both back in the roles they were born to play in this animated series. Though not without its charm, it does lack the intricacies of the original show. Adam and Burt are suitably heroic in their roles, no surprise there. Certain trappings of the original series are either not mentioned or alluded to or are simply not present. We get Batman and Robin, but we don’t get the 60s series.
The Floppy Show (5th November 1977)
Batman appears on The Floppy Show and mentions having his own dog in the Batcave. Could this be the origins of Ace, the Bat-Hound in the Batman 66 world?
Legends of the Superheroes: The Challenge (18th January 1979)
Legends of the Superheroes: The Roast (25th January 1979)
Frank Gorshin’s Riddler appears as part of the villainous group, the Legion of Doom in these TV Specials, Frank, like Adam West and Burt Ward who also reprised their roles in these TV specials, seems to play the role a bit more for laughs, as the tone for much of these TV specials is more befitting that of a hokey stage comedy than the nuanced and layered tone of the original TV series.
Super Friends: The Legendary Super Powers Show (8 Episodes) (8th September 1984 – 31st August 1985) (Season 8 of Super Friends)
The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians (8 Episodes) (7th September 1985 – 6th September 1986) (Season 9 of Super Friends)
For the final two seasons of Super Friends Olan Soule was replaced as Batman by Adam West. Though credited in every episode and understandably promoted as one of the main heroes both seasons feature at least one episode without Adam West.
The tone of these series mostly did not allow for Adam West’s brilliance to shine through as it did in the live action series. Whilst still great to hear Adam West’s voice in many instances the dialogue could’ve been said by anyone.
Of note, however, is Episode 4 of Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians: The Fear, Adam West gets to be a part of the first ever media portrayal of Batman’s origins outside of comics!
The Scarecrow uses fear transmitters to instil fear in people. Scarecrow used a fear transmitter on Batman as they were both down Crime Alley.
Batman recounts the story to Robin and Wonder Woman later in the episode, which shows us as an audience, the now-familiar story to most superhero fans, of Thomas and Martha Wayne’s murder down Crime Alley, although in this instance we don’t see a gun or even hear its shot, as it’s obscured by thunder and lightning.
Later in the episode Scarecrow has modified a fear transmitter so that the vision of crime alley is brought to Batman rather than the other way around, forcing Batman to relive it, this allows Batman a sense of catharsis and escape when he takes down what looks to be the unnamed mugger who killed his parents but is actually a fear transmitter which he destroys and is free from the fear.
In the special features of the Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians DVD it is revealed that “The Fear” was made to be a pilot for a Batman spin off series that unfortunately never came to be.
City Pulse (1985)
Burt Ward appears here as Robin, answering questions from the public in promotion for Adam and Burt’s upcoming appearance at Speed Sport 86.
City Pulse (1986)
Adam and Burt appear on City Pulse at the Metro Convention Center as part of a live signing event celebrating 20 years of the TV series, in character for the viewers at home. The last thing said by the host in this appearance wouldn’t be true for another 30 years!
Batman on TV Land: Batmanathon (Started 29th April 2002)
In 2002 TV Land did a Batman marathon. For this Marathon there were 10 newly filmed sequences set in and around a Batman museum exhibit. All 10 of these featured Adam West as Bruce Wayne. In the sequences Bruce does a variety of things such as climb the wall of the building, introducing the museum patrons to exhibits, introducing the audience to the next episode and villain, in many instances maintaining Batman is somebody else. 3 of the 10 sequences featured Frank Gorshin, asking a riddle, using his maniacal laugh and looking to steal. 2 of the 10 feature Julie, in which she purrs and stalls a hairball!
The Simpsons: Season 14 Episode 4: Large Marge (22nd December 2002)
Many cartoons have sneekily referenced or parodied the Batman TV series, many in fact even use Adam West and/or Burt Ward. In this instance however both of them actually reprise their roles from, in Bart Simpson’s words, “the old Batman show”.
Batman: New Times (January – March 2005)
Adam West reprises his role in an animated fan film! Lucky fans! This piece was put together by students at the DAVE (the Digital Animation and Visual Effects) School. Sources vary on when this fan project was first made available but it seems to be within the 1st quarter of 2005. In a piece of fan-casting come to life we have many peoples’ definitive Batman, Adam West, meet many peoples’ definitive Joker in Mark Hamill!
The Hub’s Batman New Year’s Eve Marathon Promo (30th December 2011)
Adam West dubs over footage from the TV series as Batman to promote The Hub’s upcoming New
Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham (11th November 2014)
Adam West reprises his role as the 1960s Batman in this video game. Not only can you play as the 60s Batman, there’s also a bonus 60s themed level for you to play, and the closing credits of the game are one long window cameo with Kevin Smith, Green Arrow, Daffy Duck and various other game related people/animals pop out the window. Side Note: Adam West also appears as himself in this game!
Robot Chicken: DC Comics Special 3: Magical Friendship (18th October 2015)
Adam West’s Batman appears as a kinder, quirkier alternate to the usual version of Batman we see in Robot Chicken. Adam also appears as a robber randomly! Burt appears as himself and refers to himself as Robin, he does not however play Robin at any point in the special episode. Burt is actually instrumentally in bringing Adam’s Batman back to life near the end of the episode!
Batman 66 Stern Pinball Machine (September 2016)
A month before the animated movies, also in the 50th anniversary Stern Pinball released a Batman 66 pinball machine with newly recorded lines from Adam West and Burt Ward as the Dynamic Duo.
Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders (10th October 2016)
This, otherwise straight-to-dvd movie, went to the cinema for one night before being released to home media. Adam West, Burt Ward and Julie Newmar all reprise their roles as Batman, Robin and Catwoman respectively. For Burt especially, it is back to the 60s, with the film being set in the 60s and with Burt’s voice seemingly not aged at all.
METV Promos (1st September 2017)
Date is best guess based on the upload date of two of the promos. In these promos Burt acts mostly in character but does either break character or show self-awareness whilst promoting the airing of Batman and the case of one of the promos, other TV shows too.
Batman vs Two-Face (10th October 2017)
Adam, Burt and Julie back again! This animated film would be the final performance of Adam West in the role he was born to play. Released posthumously. As such we see this tribute at the end of the film;
Supergirl: Season 5 Episode 9: Crisis On Infinite Earths Part One (8th December 2019)
For the first time for over 40 years we see Burt Ward in live action as Dick Grayson in Gotham City on Earth 66. This could be argued as the closest thing we have seen to new Batman TV series footage since 1968 given that Legends of the Superheroes didn’t seem to be based in Gotham City and tonally seemed to veer off from the style of the TV series.
Bloody Mama (24th March 1970)
Kate Barker aka Ma Barker was the Mother of many criminals in the Barker-Karpis gang. Shelley Winters had previously played a parody version of sorts called Ma Parker in Season 2 Episode 9: The Greatest Mother of Them All & Season 2 Episode 10: Ma Parker (5th & 6th October 1966). In the film “Bloody Mama” Shelley Winters would play the role, properly, for want of a better phrase! Although not a role reprisal, I thought this was a worthy Honourable Mention as it is definitely not a parody of her Batman role, as the Batman role WAS the parody version!
There were many times in writing this blog post that I thought I had finished, only to be reminded of something or find something which I would then later add. Given that fact if anything comes to my attention, or indeed memory, that I have not already included here after I have posted this to my blog I will endeavour to come back and update this blog post accordingly.