Liberace Ratings Myth

General goings on in the 1966 Batman World

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Phil B
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Re: Liberace Ratings Myth

Post by Phil B » Fri Jan 22, 2016 1:58 am

I always thought they meant the highest Batman episode ratings.

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Progress Pigment
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Re: Liberace Ratings Myth

Post by Progress Pigment » Fri Jan 22, 2016 10:11 pm

There were actually quite a few good things in the Liberace episodes. Aside from the terrible-beyond-words deathtrap! They switched the beginning up a bit -- which was a nice change of pace that should have continued. It might've given new life to the show. It's a bit of a bummer to find out that it wasn't a highly rated episode after all. Didn't the 'Official Bat-Book' say it was? So really it was ALL down hill after the movie. That makes sense, but still it's kind of sad.
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zippgun
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Re: Liberace Ratings Myth

Post by zippgun » Sat Jan 23, 2016 2:45 am

I rather like the Liberace episodes, though the pianist is terrible as the evil twin, Harry. I love the absurd way Dick and Bruce analyze a concert performance in detail from memory and realize something is wrong from that. I like the guarding of a Chandell concert by the police with the machine guns etc and Gordon wondering if they may be over reacting a little to the threat. The phony wooing of Aunt Harriet by Chandell I find amusing too. Then there are the trio of henchwomen who are used for more than mere decoration, as is often the case with female villain sidekicks on the show.

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Jim Akin
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Re: Liberace Ratings Myth

Post by Jim Akin » Sat Jan 23, 2016 2:55 pm

My favorite bit in this episode -- which I'd long forgotten or which perhaps was edited out of syndicated broadcasts -- is the machine-gun nest, complete with sandbags and barbed wire, that the GCPD places in the theater balcony in case of trouble at Chandell's concert.

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BatfanRicky
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Re: Liberace Ratings Myth

Post by BatfanRicky » Fri Jan 29, 2016 12:36 pm

I could be wrong however I believe this "fact" about Liberace being the highest rated episode originated from the Batbook by Joel Eisner.

As for "The Purr-Fect" crime episode. I believe it's original transmission was interrupted by some kind of launching of a space shuttle? So this must have affected the ratings of this transmission.

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Dr. Shimel
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Re: Liberace Ratings Myth

Post by Dr. Shimel » Fri Jan 29, 2016 1:12 pm

BatfanRicky wrote:As for "The Purr-Fect" crime episode. I believe it's original transmission was interrupted by some kind of launching of a space shuttle? So this must have affected the ratings of this transmission.
It was a problem with the Gemini 8 mission (headed by Neil Armstrong) that caused ABC and the other networks to interrupt regular programming. Fans raised such a stink that when reruns started in May, this episode was the first one re-run, even though it was the 10th one shown.

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High C
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Re: Liberace Ratings Myth

Post by High C » Fri Jan 29, 2016 2:47 pm

Dr. Shimel wrote:It was a problem with the Gemini 8 mission (headed by Neil Armstrong) that caused ABC and the other networks to interrupt regular programming. Fans raised such a stink that when reruns started in May, this episode was the first one re-run, even though it was the 10th one shown.
Fact: Mission Control actually was watching Julie Newmar before Armstrong called and said they had a problem on the spacecraft. Can't blame them. #kidding
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bat-rss
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Re: Liberace Ratings Myth

Post by bat-rss » Wed Jul 20, 2016 5:47 am

I just noticed that the Batman '66 DVD booklet repeats the idea that the LIberace episodes "earned Batman its highest ratings at that time." No attribution, and "at that time" is kind of vague. I wonder if this is just Eisner's assertion getting recycled -- as this board has discussed, certain things in that book are taken as gospel when they really shouldn't be -- or if whoever put the DVD booklet together has information from a more reliable source?

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Dr. Shimel
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Re: Liberace Ratings Myth

Post by Dr. Shimel » Wed Jul 20, 2016 7:37 am

bat-rss wrote: whoever put the DVD booklet together has information from a more reliable source?
Probably can't get much more reliable than Broadcasting magazine for that specific week. :D

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Ben Bentley
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Re: Liberace Ratings Myth

Post by Ben Bentley » Thu Jul 21, 2016 5:59 am

bat-rss wrote:I just noticed that the Batman '66 DVD booklet repeats the idea that the LIberace episodes "earned Batman its highest ratings at that time." No attribution, and "at that time" is kind of vague. I wonder if this is just Eisner's assertion getting recycled -- as this board has discussed, certain things in that book are taken as gospel when they really shouldn't be -- or if whoever put the DVD booklet together has information from a more reliable source?
I think unfortunately, Tim, your assumption about Eisner's assertion being recycled is more than likely the correct. I know we'd all love to imagine that we live in a world where the utmost care and attention to detail was put into the making of the DVD/Blu Ray sets, but the reality is that the info contained is almost certainly the lowest hanging fruit, ie the use of Google and no real fact checking. But hey, the myth has been around for so long both on and offline, I don't take grievance with anyone who assumed that to be true. The small victory is that through research by those here, we debunked that misnomer.

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TP-6597
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Re: Liberace Ratings Myth

Post by TP-6597 » Thu Jul 21, 2016 10:53 am

I just sent an email to the Nielsen company asking if there is any way to get the ratings for the original broadcasts. I'll post their reply if I get one.
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bat-rss
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Re: Liberace Ratings Myth

Post by bat-rss » Thu Jul 21, 2016 10:17 pm

TP-6597 wrote:I just sent an email to the Nielsen company asking if there is any way to get the ratings for the original broadcasts. I'll post their reply if I get one.
That'd be great! Would be nice to see some actual numbers to compare to those stratospheric ratings for "Smack in the Middle"!

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Batman65
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Re: Liberace Ratings Myth

Post by Batman65 » Fri Jul 22, 2016 4:35 am

I find it very hard to believe that episode is the highest rated, it's just so wishy washy. Liberace certainly cannot act! I'm just really not believing any of that.

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Jim Akin
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Re: Liberace Ratings Myth

Post by Jim Akin » Fri Jul 22, 2016 5:39 am

Batman65 wrote:I find it very hard to believe that episode is the highest rated, it's just so wishy washy. Liberace certainly cannot act! I'm just really not believing any of that.
I'm not defending the myth -- I think Bob Furmanek and others have provided solid evidence to debunk it. But I don't think the episode's quality (or lack of it) has any bearing on what gave rise to the myth in the first place.

What made the myth plausible was Liberace's popularity among a generation of 1950s housewives, and the idea that those ladies tuned in to see their idol "Lee" in living color. (Liberace's popular syndicated show had been broadcast in black and white.) The myth had it that those women of a certain age didn't ordinarily watch Batman, and that their eyeballs, added to those of the show's normal audience, were able to set a ratings record. The quality of the episodes wouldn't have mattered to that scenario: The extra audience members who'd never watched Batman before couldn't have known if this episode was lamer than others, and they presumably wouldn't have cared anyway, as long as Liberace got plenty of screen time (which he did).

Bob and others have persuaded me that the core audience for "Batman" had already diminished so steeply from the peak of the show's first few months, that even a boost from Liberace's blue-rinse groupies wouldn't have been enough to set a record.

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Dr. Shimel
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Re: Liberace Ratings Myth

Post by Dr. Shimel » Fri Jul 22, 2016 8:52 am

Quillpen Quirch wrote:Bob and others have persuaded me that the core audience for "Batman" had already diminished so steeply from the peak of the show's first few months, that even a boost from Liberace's blue-rinse groupies wouldn't have been enough to set a record.
When the Liberace shows were first broadcast, the first part of all Batman episodes were taking a beating because viewers just waited until the show's recap at the start of Part II. That recap would be eliminated just a few weeks later.

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