How high was the Batpole drop in reality?

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Jimmy L. 66
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How high was the Batpole drop in reality?

Post by Jimmy L. 66 » Fri Jan 17, 2020 1:09 am

***ADMIN EDIT: I've split this aspect of the Burt getting his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame thread into it's own thread so as not to derail the original topic and to give the Bat-Pole height discussion it's own breathing space. BB. ***
AndyFish wrote:
Sun Jan 12, 2020 6:07 am
In an interview at the event Burt claims the bat pole slide was 85 feet off the sound stage with no safety equipment. It’s this type of spouting of nonsense, which started with his book, that accounts for the fact that when Adam earned his star there were several pages of positive responses while with Burt getting one there is almost none. This becomes a sickness for former celebrities, they feel the need to make their stories interesting, or what they consider interesting, then they tell them so many times they start to believe it.

There is ZERO chance Greenway Productions would risk injury to one of the leads because that would lead to shut downs and production delays which cost MONEY.
Andy. I spoke to Burt on the phone shortly after his SDCC panel in 2018. He told me the story about the poles, and at that time it was the first time I had heard that particular story from him. This is what he said at the time_ August 2018( I believe). Here he states 65- 70 feet. At the star ceremony he told me 85 feet. Here is an excerpt from our conversation.

Jimmy: I really appreciate you taking all this time with me Mr. Ward. but I do have one more question if you do not mind. Before I let you go. On TV we see you slide down the batpoles, you go down to the batcave, But I am wondering the actual set when you slid down, when you move the bookcase and slid down the poles, what was down there? Where you in a hole, were you in a well? How did you get back out?

Burt: Actually there was a double set up. There was the one in Wayne Study, where the door slid open the bookcase slid open we slid down, probably about 7 feet- something like this. You know what i mean 7-8 feet. And then they would give us a ladder to get out. The Bigger one was the actual sliding down the batpole into the batcave were we had to climb up- I only did it once- but believe me, they could never get me to do it again. I had to climb up the inside of a sound stage, and if you see how big a sound stage is, if you look inside a sound stage, they have these old rickety wooden stairs, ok? And these stairs you can see thru each step as you climb higher and higher, and higher. I just don’t understand why they did this, but they had these 2 poles that were about 65 feet tall, maybe 70 feet tall. And we got to a place on a ledge, ok? Where we had to jump to the poles. We couldn’t reach out, we had to jump to the poles. And there was no net. We could have been killed or as Adam would say, “Or worse.” So we both, you know we had our gloves on and our boots, and they told us, “ When you jump to the poles, don’t you dare miss that. You better hold on.” they crafted the inside of our soles, we wrapped around the poles. And the inside of our gloves holding on. As we slid down you kind of have to time it just right, if you hold on too tight, you don’t slid. If you don’t hold on enough you fall. So there is that happy medium. You know what i mean? Of sliding down the pole, which we kind of practiced on smaller poles before we had to do the big one. But, I ve never been so scared. Jumping off, no net, no nothing. It would have curtains for Batman and Robin.

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AndyFish
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Re: BREAKING: BURT WARD’s Hollywood Walk of Fame Ceremony Set for January

Post by AndyFish » Mon Feb 03, 2020 7:41 pm

Well maybe between the time you first talked to him and then discussed it again the distance grew. Here are the facts;

First, the scene he's talking about is the one we know, it runs every episode-- Batman and Robin have slid down the poles landed in the Batcave and they run to the car. It's done in one shot so there is no edit-- Question #1 is this Burt and Adam or is it Hubie and and Victor?

Image

Image

I'd say it's Burt and Adam-- although for the life of me I don't know why they'd have Adam do it because he's far enough away and wearing a cowl that we could get away with a stuntman. Watching him move, it sure looks like Adam so I'm going to say it is legit that the stars made the slide down the bat poles for this shot.

Question #2 is is this 85'? Or Even 65'?

Image

That is the top of the pole entrance-- and a soundstage would seldom be taller than 40 or 45 feet.

We can determine the size of this particular area by measuring Adam who we know was 6'2" tall-- I've taken into account that at this screen grab he's standing on a pad and he's slightly slouched so this is fast and loose science here kids.

Image

Using this scale we see that the entrance is two and a half Adam's tall-- giving us 15 feet. How close is the catwalk to the top of the pole entrance? Well using this shot of the SEINFELD set we can see that the top of the room is pretty close to where the camera cuts off and you can also see that the sound stage that it was filmed at was not very tall;

Image

So let's be generous and say that there were five more feet on top of the highest point of the pole entrance, taking us to 20 feet. That's a heck of a lot less than 60 - 85 feet. I'd note that having been up in a bucket 30 feet up I can tell you it feels like 85 feet, and having them do this WAS dangerous if they had to leap off the edge of the catwalk onto the poles and then just hang on.

But I'll stand by my original contention that a production company wouldn't risk their stars, so I'm sure safety precautions were put into place, but I'll concede that is Burt making the slide.

The thing that irks me when celebrities start making things up is its disrespectful to the fans. I'd be a lot more interested in hearing how the catering truck used to serve the worst pickles anywhere but the Corned Beef was out of this world than made up stuff about dangers and hospital visits. I'd rather know what production was really like and I'd appreciate them not assuming that I'm dumb enough to believe all of these stories.

I once did a convention with Dr Smith and the rest of the Lost in Space crew-- Dr Smith was absolutely hilarious because he swore like a sailor and he told stories that rang true-- he talked about Pixar and the things they had him do as a voice actor-- and he gossiped about how some of the stars of Lost In Space got a little full of themselves, but he never once tried to tell me (and I spent a whole weekend talking to him-- it was a slow show) that they actually put him in any of these rockets and blasted him off into space.

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Re: BREAKING: BURT WARD’s Hollywood Walk of Fame Ceremony Set for January

Post by Batfanman » Tue Feb 04, 2020 7:22 am

Here's a couple of BTS pictures of the Batcave. It has a much higher ceiling than the Seinfeld stage. There is a catwalk for the lighting in the forefront in the B&W pic. It is difficult to determine how much higher the poles go as this area largely obstructs them, but I do see a portion of Adam's on the [edit] right behind the lighting rig, so it's possible the drop point for them was higher. Based upon my memory of the momentum with which they come down in that stock shot, the drop point would probably be much higher.

Somewhere in another post, I think Ben Bentley may have this info., there's a graphic that depicts this soundstage and it's dimensions.

Either way, it's a long drop and after reading Burt's answer to Batrunner's question, I felt as scared as Burt must have and then wondered how in the world Alan Napier got the nerve to do his plunge!
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Ben Bentley
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Re: BREAKING: BURT WARD’s Hollywood Walk of Fame Ceremony Set for January

Post by Ben Bentley » Wed Feb 05, 2020 6:59 am

AndyFish wrote:
Mon Feb 03, 2020 7:41 pm
Well maybe between the time you first talked to him and then discussed it again the distance grew. Here are the facts;

First, the scene he's talking about is the one we know, it runs every episode-- Batman and Robin have slid down the poles landed in the Batcave and they run to the car. It's done in one shot so there is no edit-- Question #1 is this Burt and Adam or is it Hubie and and Victor?

Image

Image

I'd say it's Burt and Adam-- although for the life of me I don't know why they'd have Adam do it because he's far enough away and wearing a cowl that we could get away with a stuntman. Watching him move, it sure looks like Adam so I'm going to say it is legit that the stars made the slide down the bat poles for this shot.

Question #2 is is this 85'? Or Even 65'?

That is the top of the pole entrance-- and a soundstage would seldom be taller than 40 or 45 feet.

We can determine the size of this particular area by measuring Adam who we know was 6'2" tall-- I've taken into account that at this screen grab he's standing on a pad and he's slightly slouched so this is fast and loose science here kids.

Image

Using this scale we see that the entrance is two and a half Adam's tall-- giving us 15 feet. How close is the catwalk to the top of the pole entrance? Well using this shot of the SEINFELD set we can see that the top of the room is pretty close to where the camera cuts off and you can also see that the sound stage that it was filmed at was not very tall;

Image

So let's be generous and say that there were five more feet on top of the highest point of the pole entrance, taking us to 20 feet. That's a heck of a lot less than 60 - 85 feet. I'd note that having been up in a bucket 30 feet up I can tell you it feels like 85 feet, and having them do this WAS dangerous if they had to leap off the edge of the catwalk onto the poles and then just hang on.
Ok, so hopefully I can shed some light here definitively...

To answer your two questions:

1) I'm postive that's Adam and Burt. In Adam's words "Hubie moved like a bear".

2) The ceiling height of Stage 16 at Desilu Culver is 46 feet high.
TCS_floorplan_Stage16_on.png
According to the production schematics for the Batcave build at Desilu Culver, the rock-wall above the entrance to the Batpoles is 28 feet and 6 inches high.

The highest point on the set build (as of Season One/pre-movie upgrades) was the black curtain that ran across the width of the set to the very rear, behind the Atomic Pile - the curtain was 36 feet high.

Regarding the Seinfeld sets - the reason the ceilings are so low in the photo you shared of "Jerry's apartment" is actually beacuse it's a recreation of those sets that Hulu produced as part of a fan-experience installation at Milk Studios in Hollywood - ironically Milk (a studio i've actually worked in) is situated right across the street from the old Desilu Cahuenga studio (later Ren-Mar)... which leads me nicely onto the actual shooting sets for Seinfeld: After the pilot that they shot at Ren-Mar (formerly Desiliu Cahuenga) they moved the whole production "over the hill" to CBS Radford in Studio City. Pretty sure the NYC exteriors were on the Universal lot, which makes sense as it's less than a mile away as the crow flies from Studio Center.

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Re: How high was the Batpole drop in reality?

Post by Scott Sebring » Wed Feb 05, 2020 8:02 am

Burt didn't have a tape measure and probably wasn't expecting there would be a test under oath. I'll be the first to say that Adam and Burt would get the facts confused with more entertaining fiction but lets lighten up. This isn't court. Add 50 years across that ...

People saying "A production company would NEVER do this or that for insurance and possible delay in production due to injury" kind of stuff are quoting what makes sense but isn't always practiced. Especially for a 60s TV show where the stars are not household names yet. I've been to sets where "just do it" or "lets just get it done fast" was more of the mantra. It happens and for any of us who weren't around to claim otherwise and to be adamant about any of this is ridiculous.

As for the sound stage, I had been on the Culver lot once at night for a "Celebrity Rap Superstar" filming in one of their other soundstages. I remember walking in and realizing how huge and tall it was and telling Wally, "I can see how you could fit a Bat Cave in one of these and then some." (paraphrasing, don't throw the book at me if a recording comes back with the actual conversation being different than I remembered.) I can simply say that if you asked me afterwards, I could only guess and probably miss by a mile. I'm not good at judging vertical distances after about ten feet. Once you get passed two stories I'd be seriously off and probably say any number above 50 and be quite wrong.

Then there is simply forgetting what exactly happened. I would run into this with Yvonne from time to time. She would remember something from the show that she did one way and I would correct her For instance, she honestly thought she only had one cowl that was made for Batgirl and I pointed out the differences of the two I knew were different during her run. I then said that it made sense if she simply saw one cowl delivered to the set at a time. She replied something like, "Oh.. well that makes sense.. but you study this." And there's the difference.

They actually did that slide again twice for the 66 movie with the repainted set. Each time its clearly Adam and Burt in the long one shots. Further, Adam made other scenes sliding down individually through the movie and series. Funny enough, in the "Walk the Straight and Narrow" scene where they slid down and Adam stayed in his Bruce Wayne clothes, it cuts to them "just" landing at the end of the poles. Looks more like they just hopped in place on the landing pads to look like they just slid down. Funny to see that kind of stuff.

Since images are more fun...
Series pilot stock footage shot:
batpoles_1.jpg
Movie opening sequence:
batpoles_2.jpg
batpoles_3.jpg
Movie 2nd drop but tighter shot:
batpoles_4.jpg
batpoles_5.jpg
batpoles_6.jpg
batpoles_7.jpg
Adam movie solo drop:
batpoles_8.jpg
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Chuck Williams
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Re: How high was the Batpole drop in reality?

Post by Chuck Williams » Wed Feb 05, 2020 8:58 am

I just noticed this recently.

In the film when he goes up the pole for his date, the "O" ring and cable is seen that lifts the platform.

This would have terrified me more than sliding down.

Not only would you fall but you would get slashed by a cable as it shot past you up your leg and body!
YIKES!!!
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Re: How high was the Batpole drop in reality?

Post by Ben Bentley » Wed Feb 05, 2020 9:16 am

Chuck Williams wrote:
Wed Feb 05, 2020 8:58 am
I just noticed this recently.

In the film when he goes up the pole for his date, the "O" ring and cable is seen that lifts the platform.

This would have terrified me more than sliding down.

Not only would you fall but you would get slashed by a cable as it shot past you up your leg and body!
YIKES!!!
Right?! I remember saying after I saw the movie on Blu Ray for the first time that going down the Batpoles looks like the most fun in the world, but going up was taking your life into your own hands!

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Re: How high was the Batpole drop in reality?

Post by Batfanman » Wed Feb 05, 2020 9:42 am

Chuck Williams wrote:
Wed Feb 05, 2020 8:58 am
I just noticed this recently.

In the film when he goes up the pole for his date, the "O" ring and cable is seen that lifts the platform.

This would have terrified me more than sliding down.

Not only would you fall but you would get slashed by a cable as it shot past you up your leg and body!
YIKES!!!
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Re: How high was the Batpole drop in reality?

Post by AndyFish » Wed Feb 05, 2020 12:25 pm

All right, I did kind of put him on the stand-- I let reruns of Perry Mason get to me (though I think I was more like DA Burger). Apologies if I came on too strong-- 20 feet, 85 feet, I honestly don't care. I'm sure it seemed pretty high up there.

It blows my mind they wouldn't have used stunt doubles but I guess 60s TV wasn't afraid to throw their stars into danger.

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Re: How high was the Batpole drop in reality?

Post by Jimmy L. 66 » Wed Feb 05, 2020 2:03 pm

Wow, great thread!
To clarify- I was trying to illustrate that the measurement had grown larger over time, much like that fish I caught in high school or my first girlfriend's sweater size.
If it was me in front of all those cameras- NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN- I would have said 100 feet.
Whatever the height I think its a pretty neat and sincere story with no mention of what was stuffed in anyone's tights.
As for the Case of the growing Bat poles?
Thanks to this Bat- Scooby Gang, I'd say "This mystery is history!"

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Re: How high was the Batpole drop in reality?

Post by Jim Akin » Thu Feb 06, 2020 8:00 pm

I love this kind of analysis. Thanks to all for digging into it.

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Re: How high was the Batpole drop in reality?

Post by eewdoc » Fri Feb 07, 2020 4:49 pm

I believe that Adam said in the dvd "Adam West Naked" that the Wayne Manor poles were 10 feet and the Batcave poles were 40 feet.

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Re: BREAKING: BURT WARD’s Hollywood Walk of Fame Ceremony Set for January

Post by trojanusc » Sat Feb 08, 2020 12:18 am

Ben Bentley wrote:
Wed Feb 05, 2020 6:59 am
AndyFish wrote:
Mon Feb 03, 2020 7:41 pm

Regarding the Seinfeld sets - the reason the ceilings are so low in the photo you shared of "Jerry's apartment" is actually beacuse it's a recreation of those sets that Hulu produced as part of a fan-experience installation at Milk Studios in Hollywood - ironically Milk (a studio i've actually worked in) is situated right across the street from the old Desilu Cahuenga studio (later Ren-Mar)... which leads me nicely onto the actual shooting sets for Seinfeld: After the pilot that they shot at Ren-Mar (formerly Desiliu Cahuenga) they moved the whole production "over the hill" to CBS Radford in Studio City. Pretty sure the NYC exteriors were on the Universal lot, which makes sense as it's less than a mile away as the crow flies from Studio Center.
The exteriors for Seinfeld were almost exclusively done on a NY street they purpose built at Radford for Seinfeld - it's still there to this day. It's been used in a lot of other things. Millennials probably know it best as the location of the final (and most memorable) Boy Meets World title sequence.

Every now and then Seinfeld would need a brownstone or something not offered on the Radford lot and they'd head to Paramount. Most notably for "The Rye."

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Re: BREAKING: BURT WARD’s Hollywood Walk of Fame Ceremony Set for January

Post by Ben Bentley » Sat Feb 08, 2020 8:57 am

trojanusc wrote:
Sat Feb 08, 2020 12:18 am
Ben Bentley wrote:
Wed Feb 05, 2020 6:59 am
AndyFish wrote:
Mon Feb 03, 2020 7:41 pm

Regarding the Seinfeld sets - the reason the ceilings are so low in the photo you shared of "Jerry's apartment" is actually beacuse it's a recreation of those sets that Hulu produced as part of a fan-experience installation at Milk Studios in Hollywood - ironically Milk (a studio i've actually worked in) is situated right across the street from the old Desilu Cahuenga studio (later Ren-Mar)... which leads me nicely onto the actual shooting sets for Seinfeld: After the pilot that they shot at Ren-Mar (formerly Desiliu Cahuenga) they moved the whole production "over the hill" to CBS Radford in Studio City. Pretty sure the NYC exteriors were on the Universal lot, which makes sense as it's less than a mile away as the crow flies from Studio Center.
The exteriors for Seinfeld were almost exclusively done on a NY street they purpose built at Radford for Seinfeld - it's still there to this day. It's been used in a lot of other things. Millennials probably know it best as the location of the final (and most memorable) Boy Meets World title sequence.

Every now and then Seinfeld would need a brownstone or something not offered on the Radford lot and they'd head to Paramount. Most notably for "The Rye."
There we go! Thanks for that insight, I didn't actually realise that there was enough back lot area at Radford by that point to actually build a standing exterior street.

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Re: How high was the Batpole drop in reality?

Post by njboywonder » Thu Feb 13, 2020 6:28 pm

If it wasn't referenced here already...

Coincidence that I was just checking out this video and at 2:37 you get a view of the entire length of the poles...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aFH72tLG-Ks

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