After years of being perhaps the most requested television show to be released on a home media format, Conan O’Brien announced on Twitter today that the 1966 Batman series starring Adam West and Burt Ward is finally coming home this year.
— Conan O’Brien (@ConanOBrien) January 15, 2014
The series, produced in 1966 and causing a wave of popularity now infamously known as the first iteration of “Batmania,” has been lingering in purgatory from a home release due to complicated rights issues preventing it from hitting the DVD/Blu-ray market. While the series itself was owned by 20th Century Fox, the Batman character and all of its related elements are owned by DC Entertainment, a subsidiary of Time Warner. For years, an inability to reach a consensus on how potential profits were to be divided kept the series from being released, as well as preventing new merchandise from being created.
Warner Bros. Consumer Products and 20th Century Fox reached a licensing deal in mid 2012 that allowed new merchandise based on the series to be created, including T-shirts, toys, and other memorabilia. Many fans believed that a DVD release announcement would follow soon after, but nothing materialized on that front until today. In addition to licensing the characters, costumes, and themes from the show for merchandise, DC Comics has also been releasing a new comic book based on the series called Batman ’66, which releases ten page stories digitally and then compiles three at a time into a print release every month. With the show now coming to DVD and likely Blu-ray, the often-demanded series will likely be one of the biggest home media releases of the year.
The series certainly has a uniquely powerful hold on pop culture, even nearly fifty years after it originally premiered. Adam West is often found comparing and contrasting his version of Batman, which he correctly and cleverly calls the “Bright Knight,” with the predominant “Dark Knight” characterization of Batman found in comics and on film today. Speaking personally, I loved this show immensely as a child, but my love of it tended to wane in my adult years because the series can be interpreted by some fans as a mockery of the original source material.
Even having said that, though, chances are that this will be an enthusiastic addition to every Bat-fan’s DVD or Blu-ray collection, since its importance in the character’s rich history cannot be understated. Look here for more details about the impending release of the Batman TV series when they’re made available later this year, and get ready to set your turbines to speed and dance the Batusi when it gets released later in 2014!
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