When I wrote my post on the ’60s Batman show, I didn’t realize that Lorenzo Semple Jr. himself had a great article in Variety about the origin of the show and the approach he took.
Nothing epitomizes the difference between our Batman and that same hero in the Warners franchise as clearly as the treatment of his backstory. The movie “Batman Begins” is obviously dedicated to that (for me) wholly inconsequential matter. In the TV pilot, I followed the guide of the comicbook and disposed of the hero’s origin very simply … Bruce Wayne’s parents were murdered by criminals. This naturally caused the angered heir to devote his life to crime-fighting. It required only minimal research to discover that criminals live in deadly fear of the flying mammal microchiroptera, more commonly known as the bat. The rest of his arc follows with mathematical precision.
It’s too bad that the show has no prospect of being on DVD, due to endless legal wrangling between Fox, which owns the show, and DC/Warners, which owns the character. (As Semple indicates, things were different back then; Fox licensed the rights from DC and he never heard from anyone at DC when he was writing the show.) The spinoff movie is out on DVD, with a commentary from Semple and another commentary from Adam West and Burt Ward, but the movie is not as good as the TV series, partly because it was rushed into production and partly because Julie Newmar was unavailable, replaced by that destroyer of ’60s TV worlds, Lee Meriwether. (Of all the ’60s Hot Chicks who specialized in looking hot in every prime-time TV show, Meriwether was one of the few whose ability to find work was totally inexplicable.)
Reed teh wh0le thing! (That’s internet speak for “Read the whole thing!”)