“What has yellow skin and writes?” “A ballpoint banana.”
Batman AKA Bruce Wayne (Adam West) and Robin AKA Dick Grayson (Burt Ward) receive an emergency call about trouble aboard a yacht belonging to Commodore Schmidlapp (Reginald Denny). The dynamic duo don their official crime fighting uniforms and take off in their Batmobile heading for the airport where they board the Batcopter and head out for the yacht. Once over the yacht Batman lowers the batladder and climbs down. As he gets to the boat it disappears and Batman is dipped into the ocean. When Robin lifts him out a shark has attached itself to his leg. Batman uses shark repellent to make the shark release its grip on his leg. Then the shark explodes.
Back on land at Commissioner Gordon’s (Neil Hamilton) office they discuss, along with Chief O’Hara (Stafford Repp), the event and deduce that the SOS was a trap designed to lure them away so someone could kidnap the Commodore and his yacht somewhere else. At that time the super criminals at large are The Penguin (Burgess Meredith), The Joker (Cesar Romero), The Riddler (Frank Gorshin) and Catwoman (Lee Meriwether). Through magical thinking they decide that all four criminals have banded together to take over the world and destroy the dynamic duo.
At that moment the four dastardly demons are meeting at the headquarters of the United Underworld. Once they stop squabbling they firm up their plans. They’ve managed to kidnap the Commodore and have possession of his new invention, a super dehydrator. They board Penguin’s submarine and attempt to torpedo Batman and Robin who are investigating the mystery of the disappearing yacht.
When that doesn’t work they decide to kidnap Millionaire Bruce Wayne hoping to lure Batman into trying to save the entrepreneur. For bait they use Catwoman disguised as a Russian reporter, Miss Kitanya Irenya Tatanya Karenska Alisoff or Miss Kitka for short. Bruce falls for the Russian beauty not knowing who she really is.
The scheme works and the arch criminals kidnap Bruce Wayne but he manages to escape thinking he left the alluring Miss Kitka behind. Not done with trying to destroy the superheroes the four underworld villains come up with plan after plan to thwart Batman and Robin who in turn continue to thwart the villains. The bad guys’ ultimate plan is to dehydrate the world’s leaders and hold them for ransom while Batman keeps trying to rescue the nonexistent Miss Kitka.
“Batman: the Movie” was released in 1966 and was directed by Leslie H. Martinson. It is a superhero comedy film and is based on characters created by Bob Kane and the “Batman” television series. It was released two months after the last episode of the first season of the series. Most of the original television stars are in the film except for Catwoman who is played by Lee Meriwether in the film.
The movie is action packed with all the bat toys you could ever want. The film was intended to be a pilot for the series but was done instead between the first and second seasons. This gave the film a larger budget so the filmmakers were able to have more gadgets and gizmos. In addition to the batmobile there was a batboat, bathelicopter, batmotorcycle and the penguin’s submarine.
The Penguin's submarine interiors are the Seaview sets from “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea” (1964) redressed. The Batmobile is a 1955 Lincoln Futura prototype car customized by George Barris Inc. This is the guy that made the Green Hornet’s “Black Beauty”, the demon car from “The Car” 1977, the “Munster Koach” and the Beverly Hillbilly Truck.
The movie is as campy and as silly as the television show. It has all the idiotic dialogue and bad puns of the regular series. For a movie with four villain stars in it, each with his or her own personality, they manage to get along quite well. They also manage to show their full character while sharing screen time with each other. Sometimes I wonder if they’re all having just a little too much merriment on the Batman set. It’s nonstop entertainment and goofiness and a change of pace from all those dark CGI infested superhero movies. Yes it’s one big promo for the show but filled with good old fashioned fun.