According to Brooks and Marsh: "Cartoonist Bob Kan's Batman first appeared in comic-book form in Detective Comics in 1939 and was featured on radio's Superman series and in two movie serials in the 1940s."
In "prime time", Batman was telecast from 1966 through 1968, and as Brooks and Marsh comment "...was the ultimate 'camp' show of the 1960s and was definitely not to be taken seriously, even by those who acted in it." The main characters were Batman (Adam West), Robin (Burt Ward), Alfred (Alan Napier), and Aunt Harriet (Madge Blake). The game box pictured above was the Milton Bradley United States 1966 edition of the game based upon the television series.
The photograph to the above is of the bilingual Canadian Hasbro edition of the game, donated to the Museum in 1991. Note that the game is suggested for "ages 4 through 10". This Batbox is 42cm x 22.5cm x 3cm.
One of the hallmarks of the television series was that all of the "villains" on the show were portrayed by celebrated actors and actresses. These "villains" are pictured on the game board. For example:
The Penguin - Burgess Meredith
The Joker - Cesar Romero
The Riddler - Frank Gorshin and John Austin
Egghead - Vincent Price
King Tut - Victor Buono
Catwoman - Julie Newmar, Lee Ann Meriwether, and Eartha Kitt
The cardboard game board (42cm x 22.5cm x 3cm) appears to be a simple "track" game much like the old Goose Game; however, in this game, the 2 to 4 players start the game in the center of the board in the BATCAVE, rather than at the beginning of the track, and they finish the game in the same central place. On the track are various printed actions which influence a player's moves and often impede progress toward winning.
Player markers to be placed on the track are printed cardboard cutouts (8cm x 1.5cm x 5cm) of various characters from the show, i.e. - Batman, The Joker, etc. A cardboard "spinner" (2.5cm x 1.5 cm) is used by each player in turn to determine movement around the track.
While the "live action prime time" version of the show ended in 1968 a cartoon version was telecast on and off from 1973 through 1978. Then a number of new "live action" Batman movies appeared on television in the 1980s and early 1990s. A new cartoon series was telecast from 1992 through 1993. In 1994 the cartoon series began on a regular basis appearing on weekday afternoons and Saturday mornings and continues to be telecast. From time to time the original TV series has been rebroadcast, and was still available on local television stations in 2010.
Last update May 23, 2010