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.SECRET ORIGINS OF THE BATMAN TV SHOW
Part Four: REMARKABLE RUSE
of the HI DIDDLE RIDDLER!

"Batman's on tonight!" That's what all America was saying on Wednesday, January 12, 1966. But would the show be a hit or a miss? A lot was riding on it. Adam West was risking his entire career as a serious actor. Burt Ward had gotten used to eating more than one .meal a day. Frank Gorshin didn't want to be the first "Special Guest Villain" in a colossal flop. And William Dozier's reputation as a producer of successful television shows was at stake.

ABC was more bat-nervous than all the rest combined. The network had invested well over $500,000 in the pilot alone, a small fortune in 1966. "Batman" was difficult to write, hard to film, and extremely expensive to produce. Potentially worst of all, the network had committed to running at least 16 episodes. If the series flopped big time, ABC would be in knee-deep in Bat-crap for a looong time. And test audiences had absolutely HATED the pilot episode, which had been adapted from a comic book story called "Remarkable Ruse of the Riddler" and retitled "Hi Diddle Riddle."

The Batman pilot, like all the show's early episodes, was originally shot as a single hour-long program, but at the last minute, ABC decided to split the show in half and run it on two successive nights: Wednesdays and Thursdays. The .cliffhanger endings in part one would draw audiences back for part two, broadcast on the very next night. If the show was a hit, ABC would have a great lead-in on two nights -- but if the show failed, it could sink both nights of programming.

The hype campaign had been relentless. For comic fans in particular, the wait was almost unbearable. The entire Bat-Nation held its breath and waited for the premiere. What would happen when the show actually went on the air? How would the public react? Expectations were running high, as high as they had ever run for any television show. And then, at last... it was on!
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"REMARKABLE RUSE OF THE RIDDLER!" compared to "HI DIDDLE RIDDLE"
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The first riddle: WHY IS AN ORANGE LIKE A BELL? Because both must be peeled/pealed!
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Looks like Riddler is robbing the Peale Art Gallery -- as someone watches from the window!
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America, meet the Dynamic Duo -- Batman and Robin!

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But is the Riddler innocent? Holy Setup! The Riddler tricked Batman!
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The "gun" was just a cigarette lighter, and the Riddler inherited the cross!
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The Riddler leaves more riddles for Batman, then leaves the scene of the "crime"!
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Riddles lead Batman to a night club, and the Caped Crusader dances the famous "Batusi"!
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.The Secret Origin of The Batusi

The Watusi, named after a tribe in southern Central Africa, was a popular dance in the early 1960s. Surfing was becoming extremely popular, and .beaches were replacing dance floors. Sand can be hard to navigate, leading to the popularity of stationary dances such as the Twist, Frug, and Watusi, rockin' the beaches to the tune of Ray Barretto's "El Watusi."

In "Hi Diddle Riddle," Batman does "The Batusi," a modified version of the Watusi. This iconic Bat-moment, ad libbed by Adam West, has since become THE symbolic image of the Batman TV show. Pictured left, Mike Allred immortalized West doing the Batusi in Solo #7's "Batman A Go-Go!"


Click the pic to see and hear Batman dance the Batusi!
TV sub-plot added to story: The Riddler kidnaps Robin, but Batman tracks them down, and...

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Comic: Batman deactivates a gimmicked uniform / TV: Riddler uses a Plexiglas barrier to escape.
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After the excitement, Bruce and Dick relax in Wayne manor. Dick wears a red sweater...
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...and Bruce wears an ascot, just as Executive Producer William Dozier saw him do in WF #149!
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Later, on Thursday night, January 13, 1966 at 8:00 p.m. ...
.As the Batman pilot ended, all that was left for Adam West, Burt Ward, William Dozier and ABC to do was to sit back and wait for the ratings and reviews to come in. What did America think of the show? Did people watch it? Did enough people watch it? Expectations were running high, as high as they had ever run for any television show... but no one was prepared for what was about to happen next.


CLICK HERE FOR PART FIVE...

Tired of people who hate Batman on TV?

If you LIKE the Batman TV show,
you've been waiting for THIS ISSUE for 40 years!

SECRET ORIGINS OF THE BATMAN TV SHOW PART FIVE
BATMANIA STRIKES BACK!


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