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Comic Con 2014: Batman ’66 Panel

batman 66There are a lot of things to see at San Diego Comic Con every year and while I am certainly excited to see a number of the high profile panels taking place this year, I am not overstating it when I say that a Hall H panel focused on the 60s Batman television series definitely had my attention.  After years of waiting, the entire series is finally going to be released onto Blu-ray and DVD this November and apparently Comic Con was the place to reveal the details of the upcoming set.  Not at all hurting was the presence of Adam West, Burt Ward, and Julie Newmar, who were game to share some stories, while audiences were also treated to clips from the newly remastered episodes.

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The panel began with moderator, radio personality, and massive Adam West fan Ralph Garman introducing the group to the stage.  Julie Newmar was escorted by two masked men, with “Henchman” written on their shirts, while Adam West and Burt Ward were happy to pleasantly enter the stage, with great approval from the audience.  Before getting started on Batman though, the trio were awarded Comic Con’s Ink Pot Awards, which I think basically amounts to getting rewarded for being consistently awesome and a veteran in the comic/pop culture community.  Following these introductions, things then got very Batman specific, as the audience was shown exactly what would be included in this massive Blu-ray set.

On Noevember 11th, everyone will have a chance to get their hands on this beautiful box set, which contains the complete Batman television series and much more.  In addition to the 120 restored and remastered episodes, this box includes a Batmobile Hot Wheels toy, 44 vintage trading cards, and episode guide, personal set photos taken by Adam West, a personal letter written by West, and a lovely box to contain it all.  This box set may not be cheap, but it certainly looks like a lot of time and effort was put into giving the fans what they have wanted for so long.

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When discussing the show and its legacy, the group all explained how they were always being asked about when the series was coming out.  Adam West is happy to say that he can now finally tell everyone, given this news and his involvement in the extra features that come with this set.  Speaking of which, along with all the episodes, there are a number of extra features as well, which I do not believe were detailed in full, but a few were mentioned.  This set includes a featurette about memorabilia, one focused on ‘Batmania’, a discussion-based featured called “Bats of the Round Table” apparently has Adam west discussing the series with a number of celebrity guests, and another feature will have Adam West going over a couple of his original scripts, which he collects, and the notes he added to them.

While it was great to hear about this set, the most impressive aspect was seeing clips from the actual show.  It would have been one thing to play a montage of footage (which did happen at the end), but the audience was presented with a number of split-screen clips, showing the original broadcast quality on one side and the newly remastered transfer on the other.  The picture quality of these 50-year old episodes was stunning.  Yes, it will mean seeing the show as campier than it already is, but the clarity and detail to be seen in the colorful pop world this series existed in was wonderful to behold.  Seeing the vibrant purple in the Joker’s costume or the Bat-tootsie in glorious HD action definitely had my complete attention.

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Along with this Blu-ray presentation, the cast were certainly happy to tell a number of stories about their experiences with the TV show.  Burt Ward actually had a lot of injury-related stories, as he was apparently quite accident prone in a series that did have a lot of stunt work involved.  It was also interesting to learn that Batman, at the time, was the most expensive show to produce, as it was action-packed and the 1st color TV show that would air twice a week.  There were other stories as well, but something to keep in mind is how proud West, Ward, and Newmar all seemed to be of the show.  While aware of the camp value, they knew at the time the comedy that was involved in this take on the Batman character and the satirical aspect and playing it straight was a big part of what they believe made the show worked so well.

Something that easily stood out was how happy the trio was to see many fans excited to hear about this set and from them and their admiration for the series was very clearly based on the fact that they were happy to have brought so much joy to people of all ages from when the show first aired to the time since, based on syndication.  Now that the show is finally coming out on Blu-ray, I can only hope that many more people will discover what made this show work, regardless of what their preferred Batman tone may be.

Batman The Complete Televison Series arrives on Blu-ray on November 11, 2014.
Pre-Order Your Copy Here:

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Aaron is a writer/reviewer for WhySoBlu.com.  Follow him on Twitter @AaronsPS4.
He also co-hosts a podcast,
Out Now with Aaron and Abe, available via iTunes or at HHWLOD.com

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Writer/Reviewer, Film Lover, Podcaster, Video Game Player, Comic Book Reader, Disc Golfer & a Lefty. There are too many films, TV, books, etc. for me to list as favorites, but I can assure that the amount film knowledge within my noggin is ridiculous, though I am always open to learning more. You can follow me on Twitter @AaronsPS4, see what else I am up to at TheCodeIsZeek.com & check out my podcast, Out Now with Aaron and Abe, on iTunes.

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