In my Spotlight On… series I take a look at characters with multiple actors, or actors with multiple characters in the Batman TV series and connected projects. In this volume I will be looking at Robin and Burt Ward as, dependant on perspective Burt Ward isn’t the only one who played Robin, and Robin isn’t the only character that Burt Ward played, if that makes sense? Read on and hopefully it should…
To avoid repetition and overlap, unlike previous Spotlight On… volumes this one will be laid out in Broadcast Order.
Various Batman TV Series content and tie-in media (1965-8th December 2019)
Burt Ward as Robin/Richard “Dick” Grayson
Burt Ward has portrayed the plucky sidekick, Robin and his civilian identity Richard “Dick” Grayson in various projects from 1966 (1965 if we’re counting screen tests!) up until as recently as late last year with his appearance in the Crisis On Infinite Earths crossover event. From TV appearances, live appearances, voiceover work, film appearances and much much more, Burt Ward is for many still the definitive Robin.
Although, intentionally not a full list of Robin appearances, you may find my blog post Back for more interesting to see the times Burt has come back to his defining role.
Screen Test (1965)
Peter Deyell as Robin/Richard “Dick” Grayson
The other choice for Robin. Whilst Adam West and Burt Ward would do a screen test together, the alternative presented was Lyle Waggoner (as Batman) and Peter Deyell (as Robin). These screen tests are available on various documentary releases, however the most complete footage seems to be presented on the 2000 DVD, Batman: Holy Batmania.
Batman: TV Series and Batman: The Movie (12th January 1966-14th March 1968)
Victor Paul as Robin
Victor, Burt’s stuntman, by many people’s admission didn’t really look like Burt, however, as Adam West once said in the “Bats of the Round Table” special feature on the Blu-Ray set of the TV series, “he could move like Burt”. `Noticeably older than Burt, Victor is, especially in these days of HD, instantly recognisable in fight scenes. Victor Paul, along with Adam West’s stuntman Hubie Kearns, would also be featured in various promotional material for Batman even as recently as 2015.
The Zavvi steelbook release of Batman: The Movie uses Hubie and Victor in the Batmobile as the inside spread/inlay rather than Adam and Burt. I don’t often mention Stuntpersons in my blog posts, although I do on occasion. Given his reputation, use in promo material and focus in Return to the Batcave it would have felt remiss not to credit him here.
Batman: Season 1 Episode 2: Smack In The Middle (13th January 1966)
Jill St. John as Molly/Robin
Burt Ward as Robin/Richard “Dick” Grayson/Molly
In this episode Molly (portrayed by Jill St. John) disguises herself as Robin, achieved mostly by Burt Ward affecting different mannerisms. Burt does however mime to Jill St. John’s voice when Molly sets his homing transmitter. Later in the episode Batman picks up Molly (disguised as Robin) who is feigning that they can’t speak. Batman takes her back to the Batcave, which is Burt Ward portraying Molly at this point, “Robin” points a gun at Batman and shouts “Freeze Batman” in Molly’s voice, Batman isn’t surprised, Molly rips off her prosthetic Robin face showing Jill St. John as Molly in the Robin costume, stood in the Batmobile.
Batman: Season 2 Episode 4: The Cat and The Fiddle (15th September 1966)
David Fresco as Robin (disguised as Zubin Zuchinni) (Voice)
To beat Catwoman at her own game, Robin disguises himself as Zubin Zucchini when Catwoman disguises herself as Miss Minerva Matthews who is meeting with Zubin Zucchini to purchase rare Stradivarius violins from him.
When this blog post was first published I had accidentally omitted Zubin Zucchini
Batman: Season 2 Episode 19: Green Ice (9th November 1966)
Nicky Blair as Shivers as Robin
During a scene in which Mr. Freeze has frozen people in place in the reflecting pool at Wayne Manor, two of his henchmen appear as a fake version of the dynamic duo and promptly get beaten easily by Mr. Freeze’s other henchmen, in front of all the partygoers and guests, including Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson!
Batman: Season 2 Episode 24: Marsha’s Scheme of Diamonds (24th November 1966)
Burt Ward as The Grand Mogul
Within the story, The Grand Mogul (portrayed by Woody Strode), an associate of Marsha, the Queen of Diamonds utilises ventriloquy so that Commissioner Gordon and Chief O’Hara will believe that Batman and Robin have been turned into frogs! In reality the voices belonging to Adam West and Burt Ward.
Season 2 Episode 56: Caught In The Spider’s Den (16th March 1967)
Tallulah Bankhead as The Black Widow/Robin
Burt Ward as Robin/Richard “Dick” Grayson/The Black Widow
Black Widow makes herself up to look exactly like Robin and uses a dummy to look like Batman, so that she can rob a bank with the Batmobile and the identities of Batman and Robin at her disposal. Black Widow, much like when Molly disguises herself as Robin, is Burt Ward lip-syncing to a woman’s voice, in this instance, Tallulah Bankhead as Black Widow.
Batman and Robin by Adam West (21st May 1976)
Nicholas Young as Robin
As one side of a novelty record along with “The Story of Batman”, we have “Batman and Robin”. An audio adventure of under 4 minutes with a chorus, with Adam West as Batman and Nicholas Young as Robin. Batman and Robin battle that heinous villain “The Tickler”!.
Return to the Batcave: The Misadventures of Adam and Burt (9th March 2003)
Burt Ward as Himself
With Return to the Batcave having a distinct fictional element to the modern day scenes and elements of the scenes set during the TV series, from a completist standpoint it should be pointed out that Burt Ward has also played Burt Ward in a Batman TV series related project!
Jason Marsden as Robin/Richard “Dick” Grayson/Burt Ward/Bert Gervis Junior
With Return to the Batcave showcasing the history of the television show, some lead up and aftermath, a sizeable portion of Burt’s evolution before and through association with the Batman TV series is shown through Jason Marsden.
Frank Addela as Victor Paul
In an early scene showcasing the filming of the exit out of the Batcave, Burt (portrayed by Jason Marsden), notices he is in the Batmobile with a stuntman (Hubie Kearns, portrayed here by Steve Blalock) and not Adam. He enquires why he doesn’t have a stuntman, is told he has one, but that the audience will notice if it’s not Burt in the shot. Victor Paul, Robin’s Stuntman is shown having coffee with Adam West (portrayed by Jack Brewer).
Film and TV
Batman: Holy Batmania (2000)
Batman: The Movie (1966)
Return to the Batcave: The Misadventures of Adam and Burt (2003)
Supergirl (2015- )