Page 1 of 1

Vintage Yvonne quotes from July 1967

Posted: Sat Apr 13, 2013 8:33 am
by High C
Found this on the internet.

http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1 ... 87,1710366

Tip of the cowl goes to tvobscurities.com who quoted it here:

http://www.tvobscurities.com/articles/batgirl

It's an Associated Press story credited as being written by Yvonne Craig. I'm sure it was an 'as-told-to' by the other name credited, Cynthia Lowry, who was the AP's TV writer back then. Still, it obviously is in Yvonne's own words.

It's very interesting in that Yvonne toes the party line and says she believes karate chops aren't 'feminine.' It would seem to indicate she was OK with the direction Dozier and Horwitz were steering the character toward from Day One.

FWIW, I would say to each his/her own and state unequivocally IMO, having watched both The Avengers and Honey West, I found Diana Rigg (and her predecessor Honor Blackman, for that matter) and Anne Francis to be quite feminine, thank you very much, even with the fisticuffs.

Re: Vintage Yvonne quotes from July 1967

Posted: Sat Apr 13, 2013 12:47 pm
by dell
High C wrote:It's very interesting in that Yvonne toes the party line and says she believes karate chops aren't 'feminine.' It would seem to indicate she was OK with the direction Dozier and Horwitz were steering the character toward from Day One.

FWIW, I would say to each his/her own and state unequivocally IMO, having watched both The Avengers and Honey West, I found Diana Rigg (and her predecessor Honor Blackman, for that matter) and Anne Francis to be quite feminine, thank you very much, even with the fisticuffs.
It sounds like she was glad to have a job after 4 failed pilots. Keep in mind the attitude towards aggresive women was a lot different 45 years ago than it is today. Maybe she really felt that way, or maybe she felt coming on to strong would hinder her career after Batman. Or maybe she was spouting the party line as you say.

I agree with your assessment of Diana Rigg (never watched the others you mentioned); she was an equal partner to Patrick Macnee and still feminine.

Re: Vintage Yvonne quotes from July 1967

Posted: Sat Apr 13, 2013 1:40 pm
by exm
Very interesting article! Since it was basically all promotion for season 3 of Batman, I doubt Yvonne's piece represented anything more than additional promotion.

I would be very interested to hear Yvonne's response to the piece today - whether she'd disavow involvement or defend it. I am relatively sure she never made any demands to the producers that Batgirl not karate chop the villains. Strictly speaking, I don't know why karate chops would not more effectively deal with unwanted advances than ducking. Its kind of odd to equate treatment of the most despicable villains on earth with treatment of your date for the evening - oh, those 1960's civility standards :D

The producers seem to have been worried that segments of the viewing audience would be bothered by Batgirl being as violent as Batman. Which segment of the populace did they see that possibly offending, I wonder?

The article is much more a reflection of William Dozer's sentiments than Yvonne Craig's, in my mind. That he wanted it specifically pointed out in the article that Batgirl wouldn't be Mrs. Peel seems pretty silly. Like we really needed to be told that the 1967 Batgirl wouldn't be saving Batman and Robin every episode! ("But what about bra-burning episodes? Will Batgirl be espousing women's liberation in her high-heeled boots every week?")

In retrospect, you have to wonder if Dozier wasn't such a colossal fuddy-duddy that getting assigned Batman hit a little close to home for him. Maybe the whole tongue-in-cheek approach was Dozier's vehement protest that he was too hip for an outdated, unbelievable comic book hero. He ultimately delivered a great show, which is the most important thing.

Re: Vintage Yvonne quotes from July 1967

Posted: Sat Apr 13, 2013 2:08 pm
by epaddon
Many articles of this type indeed were often little more than studio based promotion ghost-written for the public. In some respects, an article like this is often as much a comment on a vanished aspect of TV/Movie history as it is on what the people really felt.

That said, much of it does jibe with the fact that whatever her true feelings were on whether karate chops were "feminine" or not, Yvonne was certainly not going to challenge the powers that be on that point. I would have to think that if she were really convinced in her own mind that Batgirl could come off better as a role model to girls if she could show some independence of her own fight-wise, she would certainly have been willing to make that suggestion and see if it could work. They certainly wouldn't have fired her for asking or suggesting otherwise.

At the very least they could have shown her in a bigger tussle with a female henchman to sort of test the waters on that point.

Re: Vintage Yvonne quotes from July 1967

Posted: Sat Apr 13, 2013 3:25 pm
by Dr. Shimel
Perhaps it was also Yvonne's dancing background, which didn't necessarily lend itself to kicks in subduing people, that made HER reluctant to be more aggressive.

Re: Vintage Yvonne quotes from July 1967

Posted: Sun Apr 14, 2013 10:58 am
by BATWINGED HORNET
High C: thanks for the links and observations!
Dr. Shimel wrote:Perhaps it was also Yvonne's dancing background, which didn't necessarily lend itself to kicks in subduing people, that made HER reluctant to be more aggressive.
Many actors had no previous fighting or stunt experience and were able to learn/execute believable fight moves. For an example, in the 1966 Batman movie, one can clearly see Adam as Wayne (not his stuntman) mixing it up well with the stunt performers in his part of the wild escape from the waterfront hideout.

Adam never had a problem delivering believable punches, kicks, or anything else, and was not a trained stunt/fight performer pre-Batman.

If he could do it, then there was no reason--other the PTB creating a throwback "girlie" character--for Batgirl's lack of fighting ability.

Re: Vintage Yvonne quotes from July 1967

Posted: Fri Apr 19, 2013 10:08 pm
by Catfan
This was all a product of its time, which was clearly nearly a half-century ago. ABC had been running The Avengers for over a year by the time this was published, yet American producers could not really accept the notion of a strong female lead, and that was somewhat the case even in Honey West. So, yeah, things have changed a LOT.

Re: Vintage Yvonne quotes from July 1967

Posted: Sun Apr 21, 2013 8:46 am
by clavierankh
You have to keep in mind the target audience too. The Avengers was geared more towards an adult audience. I think by the third season, with adult audience dropping, and the reduction to only a half hour a week the produces a decided to aim the show towards juveniles. In the third season most of the clever wit that we saw in season one and for a lot of season two was gone.

I'd also heard that they were looking for a character that would appeal to young girls. I guess the producers thought young girls would like a character more feminine and less violent. What little girls really would've wanted I don't know. That's not really as important as what the producers thought they would want.

Re: Vintage Yvonne quotes from July 1967

Posted: Tue Apr 23, 2013 3:25 pm
by High C
Some very good points by all of you.
epaddon wrote: I would have to think that if she were really convinced in her own mind that Batgirl could come off better as a role model to girls if she could show some independence of her own fight-wise, she would certainly have been willing to make that suggestion and see if it could work. They certainly wouldn't have fired her for asking or suggesting otherwise.

At the very least they could have shown her in a bigger tussle with a female henchman to sort of test the waters on that point.
I agree totally.
clavierankh wrote:You have to keep in mind the target audience too. The Avengers was geared more towards an adult audience. I think by the third season, with adult audience dropping, and the reduction to only a half hour a week the produces a decided to aim the show towards juveniles. In the third season most of the clever wit that we saw in season one and for a lot of season two was gone.

I'd also heard that they were looking for a character that would appeal to young girls. I guess the producers thought young girls would like a character more feminine and less violent. What little girls really would've wanted I don't know. That's not really as important as what the producers thought they would want.
All valid points, but I'll say this, and it's not a knock against you, it's a knock against TPTB--if they wanted to appeal to younger people, whether under 30, and/or teens and pre-teens, why did they bring in so many older actors and actresses among the new baddies in season 3? At age 34, Joan Collins was the only season 3 addition who was under 40 at the time of filming.

And worse yet, the two eps that dealt with or referenced the 'hippie' movement featured Milton Berle (59), Howard Duff (54) and Ida Lupino (49). I'm not knocking them, but wouldn't you want to bring in someone, male or female, under 30 if you wanted to riff on hippies?

Re: Vintage Yvonne quotes from July 1967

Posted: Tue Apr 23, 2013 6:02 pm
by Dr. Shimel
High C wrote:All valid points, but I'll say this, and it's not a knock against you, it's a knock against TPTB--if they wanted to appeal to younger people, whether under 30, and/or teens and pre-teens, why did they bring in so many older actors and actresses among the new baddies in season 3? At age 34, Joan Collins was the only season 3 addition who was under 40 at the time of filming.

And worse yet, the two eps that dealt with or referenced the 'hippie' movement featured Milton Berle (59), Howard Duff (54) and Ida Lupino (49). I'm not knocking them, but wouldn't you want to bring in someone, male or female, under 30 if you wanted to riff on hippies?
It goes back to the criticism by most of us that a guy born in 1908 was making these decisions, so the thought of Dozier being on the cutting edge with casting decisions would be pretty absurd.

Re: Vintage Yvonne quotes from July 1967

Posted: Tue Apr 23, 2013 6:05 pm
by High C
Dr. Shimel wrote:
High C wrote:All valid points, but I'll say this, and it's not a knock against you, it's a knock against TPTB--if they wanted to appeal to younger people, whether under 30, and/or teens and pre-teens, why did they bring in so many older actors and actresses among the new baddies in season 3? At age 34, Joan Collins was the only season 3 addition who was under 40 at the time of filming.

And worse yet, the two eps that dealt with or referenced the 'hippie' movement featured Milton Berle (59), Howard Duff (54) and Ida Lupino (49). I'm not knocking them, but wouldn't you want to bring in someone, male or female, under 30 if you wanted to riff on hippies?
It goes back to the criticism by most of us that a guy born in 1908 was making these decisions, so the thought of Dozier being on the cutting edge with casting decisions would be pretty absurd.
So then somebody else should have made those decisions. What I mean was that it makes no sense to bring in Yvonne to make the show more accessible to girls under 18 and then pack the rest of the show with what would've been fuddy-duddies, in their young eyes.

Re: Vintage Yvonne quotes from July 1967

Posted: Thu Apr 25, 2013 9:33 am
by clavierankh
There's no question does your was enamored with the older actors. As I said earlier, I think the producers realized that the craze was coming to an end and they were losing adult viewers. Therefore they consciously decided to turn towards the juvenile audience.

I was 10 when the series originally came on so I was 12 when it came to an end. I didn't really care who the actors were who were playing the villains I didn't really separate the character and the actor. For this reason I'm not sure that older actors would necessarily turn off the juvenile audience.

I think in the early days of the show the producers would say "We've got this character King Tut, or we've got this character Mad Hatter who would be good to play it." Later on it was more like "We've got Milton Berle, or we've got Ethel Merman, let's create a character for them." That's not the way to create good characters or stories.

Look at the series The Wild Wild West. I see it is similar to Batman in that you had outlandish villains,outlandish gadgets and a tongue-in-cheek attitude, though Jim West was closer to James Bond. The show lasted for 4 years and could've lasted longer but CBS was concerned about the level of violence and canceled it. Rather than big-name casting the show used the usual array of 60s guest actors and character actors. They created characters and chose actors rather than choose the actors and creating characters and it worked..

Re: Vintage Yvonne quotes from July 1967

Posted: Sat Apr 27, 2013 8:58 pm
by Dr. Shimel
clavierankh wrote:Look at the series The Wild Wild West. I see it is similar to Batman in that you had outlandish villains,outlandish gadgets and a tongue-in-cheek attitude, though Jim West was closer to James Bond. The show lasted for 4 years and could've lasted longer but CBS was concerned about the level of violence and canceled it. Rather than big-name casting the show used the usual array of 60s guest actors and character actors. They created characters and chose actors rather than choose the actors and creating characters and it worked..
Well, they did have Michael Dunn playing Dr. Loveless in 10 episodes, which probably would have been a higher total had not some health issues with Dunn intervened. Ironically, the only other villain that returned, Manzeppi, was played by none other than Victor Buono.

Re: Vintage Yvonne quotes from July 1967

Posted: Tue Apr 30, 2013 8:22 pm
by High C
clavierankh wrote: I think in the early days of the show the producers would say "We've got this character King Tut, or we've got this character Mad Hatter who would be good to play it." Later on it was more like "We've got Milton Berle, or we've got Ethel Merman, let's create a character for them." That's not the way to create good characters or stories.

Look at the series The Wild Wild West. I see it is similar to Batman in that you had outlandish villains,outlandish gadgets and a tongue-in-cheek attitude, though Jim West was closer to James Bond. The show lasted for 4 years and could've lasted longer but CBS was concerned about the level of violence and canceled it. Rather than big-name casting the show used the usual array of 60s guest actors and character actors. They created characters and chose actors rather than choose the actors and creating characters and it worked..
These are both excellent points, sir. The WWW occasionally went in for 'stunt casting' [Boris Karloff, Rat Packers Sammy Davis Jr. and Peter Lawford, etc.] but not nearly as much as Dozier did.

And in fact, they did use several actors who played Bat-villains. Buono, as Dr. Shimel mentioned, Astin, Lupino, Burgess, Malachi, etc.