The Adam West Batman Series We Missed Out On

General goings on in the 1966 Batman World

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The Boss
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The Adam West Batman Series We Missed Out On

Post by The Boss »

In the mid 80s with the 20th anniversary of the 1966 TV series fast approaching, Hanna Barbera - the producers of the hit Saturday morning TV show The Super Friends - sought to capitalize on the new wave of Batmania that was upon us. They proposed a new animated Batman TV series starring Adam West for the 1986 season.

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x1fm95 ... shortfilms):

The pilot for the series, "The Fear" portrays a much darker Batman than had previously been seen in animation and for the first time outside of the comics the origin of Batman was told. Adam proved that he was up for the job of portraying a darker Batman than was seen in the TV series. If the pilot was any indication the series was poised focus on the deep emotional despair that Bruce Wayne carries with them day in and day out. Unfortunately, the series was not picked up and the pilot instead became part of the final season of The Super Friends.

What do you think of the series that was passed on? Do you think it had potential? How would it has fared in comparison to other incarnations? Do you think it would have lasted more than one season? And finally, Regardless how you answer the other questions, if the series had been a success and Adam West was now is stablished as the animated voice of Batman as well, would he have been a good casting choice for Batman the Animated Series?
elmrgraham
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Re: The Adam West Batman Series We Missed Out On

Post by elmrgraham »

Excellent all around.
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Scott Sebring
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Re: The Adam West Batman Series We Missed Out On

Post by Scott Sebring »

Intriguing. Where did you read this story behind "The Fear" episode?
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AndyFish
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Re: The Adam West Batman Series We Missed Out On

Post by AndyFish »

The episode, which I've not seen in many years, always felt a bit disjointed from the rest of the Super Friends episodes, although it was in a season where they were branching out with other DC Characters. There's little mentioned that this was a failed pilot in any of the histories of the studio in print, but he HB Wiki page makes the claim.

I'm not sure how much weight I give to anything Wiki- but it's possible.
COPPRODUCTIONS
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Re: The Adam West Batman Series We Missed Out On

Post by COPPRODUCTIONS »

I might be mistaken, but I seem to remember Bruce Timm mentioning this episode during a chat with Kevin Smith on the "Fatman on Batman" podcast. I know that Timm worked at Filmation on "Masters of the Universe" and this episode of "Super Friends" was part of the conversation, but I don't remember if Timm actually worked at HB during the time this episode was produced, or if it just came up while discussing some censorship problems he had with WB during the Batman animated series (PRETTY sure ABC demanded cuts on the "Fear" episode; I recall flashes of lightning/thunder rather than gunshots in the "Crime Alley" sequence, but it has been AGES since I watched it.)
As for Adam voicing Batman for the Animated series, I doubt he would have even been considered since they were going for a FRESH take on the character, but I thought he was EXCELLENT as the Gray Ghost and I'm fairly sure the script was written with him in mind.
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Progress Pigment
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Re: The Adam West Batman Series We Missed Out On

Post by Progress Pigment »

Interesting discussion. I saw "The Fear" when it originally aired on the Superfriends/Super-Power Team thing. It was superb really. Maybe the best animated interpretation of Batman ever done. And that's saying something! The subpar animation even worked in it's favor. You can see a bit of it here:

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x1fm95 ... shortfilms

Here's a nice rundown on the episode:

http://superfriends.wikia.com/wiki/The_Fear

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BATWINGED HORNET
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Re: The Adam West Batman Series We Missed Out On

Post by BATWINGED HORNET »

AndyFish wrote:The episode, which I've not seen in many years, always felt a bit disjointed from the rest of the Super Friends episodes, although it was in a season where they were branching out with other DC Characters. There's little mentioned that this was a failed pilot in any of the histories of the studio in print, but he HB Wiki page makes the claim.

I'm not sure how much weight I give to anything Wiki- but it's possible.
I would not accept much from Wiki pages, as they are subject to make-it-up-as-you-go user entries.

In the decades since that 1985 Super Powers Team episode, I've never heard or read of any idea of a stand-alone Batman series starring Adam West. By the time of this series' airing, Hanna Barbera's take on DC heroes had run its course (and was considered childish), hence the gradual change in adaptations to follow, such as the Ruby-Spears Superman series, and eventually, the 1992 Timm Batman. It seems like someone took a personal fantasy and posted it to that wiki page, as if that would make it (retroactively) come to life.
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John Mack
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Re: The Adam West Batman Series We Missed Out On

Post by John Mack »

I really enjoyed this episode. Haven't seen it before, so it's totally new to me. Adam did a great job! As for the "sub par" animation, it's what I grew with, so I didn't even think about that. I don't know about the rest of the conversation, it being a pilot and what not, so I can't comment on that. All I can say is, WOW!
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wally wingert
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Re: The Adam West Batman Series We Missed Out On

Post by wally wingert »

I remember taping that on an old VHS back in the 80's. I've always loved it.
cammy85
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Re: The Adam West Batman Series We Missed Out On

Post by cammy85 »

I often wondered about that episode because it seemed so out of place with the other ones. It aired during the last season when Darkseid had taken over as the main threat in a majority of the episodes. But it's easily one of my favorite episodes of any of the Superfriends incarnations and made even more special because Adam West voiced Batman in an episode more serious than any of his Batman episodes on 66 or 77; or the most serious of all at the time.
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Progress Pigment
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Re: The Adam West Batman Series We Missed Out On

Post by Progress Pigment »

This blub from a book tends to back up what "The Boss" posted. It may or may not be accurate, (the Bat-Book had it's share of unintentional misinformation in it) but "The Fear" certainly had very little in common with the ongoing storyline of the 'Super-Powers' cartoons. It was my favorite of all the Superfriends version at the time. Sort of "Justice League: The Animated Series" without the conceit of sticking "animated series" in the title. :roll:

https://books.google.com/books?id=D8DDZ ... 22&f=false

"The Fear" was written as a pilot episode of the series ...
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BATWINGED HORNET
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Re: The Adam West Batman Series We Missed Out On

Post by BATWINGED HORNET »

Progress Pigment, all the book passage offers is a another unsubstantiated claim with no reference, quote, or anything else. That one episode should not be thought to represent the interests of Hanna Barbera, a company that was more than content with their kiddie/network friendly versions of DC characters since the debut of the 1st Super Friends series in 1973.

What the book passage also misses is that with the end of the 1985-86 Super Powers series (which limped to its end), Hanna Barbera would not produce another DC series. Just two years later, the aforementioned Ruby-Spears Superman premiered on CBS--in a departure, taking its creative inspiration from the Reeve movies and certain DC comics of the period. More importantly, the Batman character (in adaptation form) was undergoing a major change with the production and release of Tim Burton's first Batman movie in 1989. That film was the battle cry of separation from the 1966 series, Super Friends and anything in-between. Is it any wonder that less than a decade after the end of the Super Friends, the next Batman cartoon would take the character to dramatic worlds never visited by all previous animated versions of Batman?

Again, that link just repeats what appears to be a fantasy that has yet to be substantiated.
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The Boss
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Re: The Adam West Batman Series We Missed Out On

Post by The Boss »

BATWINGED HORNET wrote:Progress Pigment, all the book passage offers is a another unsubstantiated claim with no reference, quote, or anything else.
Don't forget that the 20th anniversary was fast aproaching and EVERYONE was taking advantage of the new wave of Batmania. You couldn't turn on a talk show without cast members being interviewed. There were multiple cast reunions. Sets were built the Batmobile, Batcycle and Batcopter became center fixtures for these shows. The TV series was syndicated five to seven days a week in many areas. Why wouldn't Hanna-Barbera also take advantage? After all they both had the rights to the character and had to produce new series every year.
That one episode should not be thought to represent the interests of Hanna Barbera, a company that was more than content with their kiddie/network friendly versions of DC characters since the debut of the 1st Super Friends series in 1973.
Despite its darker tone The Fear was still family friendly Saturday morning cartoon fare. And the fact that they did produce it shows that they were more than willing to go darker with the character. It wouldn't be the first time that Bill and Joe made such a dramatic change in style. In the 60s they steered away from funny animal slapstick and focussed on human characters in dramatic adventures in cartoons such as Space Ghost and the Herculoids. They then switched from traditional 7 minute shorts to 30 minute episodic shows. There is nothing to suggest that they would have a problem making this series.
What the book passage also misses is that with the end of the 1985-86 Super Powers series (which limped to its end), Hanna Barbera would not produce another DC series.
Non the less The Fear was produced (obviously) at a time when they were STILL producing DC cartoons and still had the rights to the characters.
Just two years later, the aforementioned Ruby-Spears Superman premiered on CBS--in a departure, taking its creative inspiration from the Reeve movies and certain DC comics of the period. More importantly, the Batman character (in adaptation form) was undergoing a major change with the production and release of Tim Burton's first Batman movie in 1989. That film was the battle cry of separation from the 1966 series, Super Friends and anything in-between. Is it any wonder that less than a decade after the end of the Super Friends, the next Batman cartoon would take the character to dramatic worlds never visited by all previous animated versions of Batman?
But as you pointed out, all of that started with the Tim Burton film. In 1985 the world was all celebrating the TV series. Adam West in fact continued to appear in full Batman costume until 1989. Your argument is based on what happened later but, when looking at what was happening at the time - Hanna-Barbera had the rights to the character, had been producing cartoons with thecharacter for over 13 years, the TV show was experiencing a new wave of popularity because of the 20th aniversary, many TV shows were taking advantage of said popularity by featuring the cast, H-B hired Adam West to return as the voice of Batman and finally they produced this episode featuring West that was a far cry from the standard SuperFriends episodes that had previously been released - all pieces fall into place and support the claims of a new series.
Again, that link just repeats what appears to be a fantasy that has yet to be substantiated.
Another possibility is that perhaps DC did indeed want to change the image of the character (it had already been changed in the comics with the reease of The Dark Knight Returns ) and had told H-B that their rights were coming to an end so they made this pilot was made to show that they could produce a darker Batman. Perhaps it was more of a backdoor pilot than an outright pilot.
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Re: The Adam West Batman Series We Missed Out On

Post by eewdoc »

Just throwing my 2 cents in. The special features part of the Super powers Team, Galactic Guardians has interviews from the Hannah Barbera people stating that the "The Fear" episode was indeed a pilot for a new animated Batman cartoon.
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The Boss
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Re: The Adam West Batman Series We Missed Out On

Post by The Boss »

eewdoc wrote:Just throwing my 2 cents in. The special features part of the Super powers Team, Galactic Guardians has interviews from the Hannah Barbera people stating that the "The Fear" episode was indeed a pilot for a new animated Batman cartoon.
Good. I'm glad to hear that there is more evidence out there than just internet blogs. Not because I wanted to be right but, because now maybe we can get past the argument of whether or not they planned a stand-alone Batman series and get back to the real purpose of this thread which was to discuss what the series would have been like.

It was also interesting that both the Joker and Penguin made one time apearances on the Super Friends around this time. Add them to other Batman villians such as The Riddler, Scarecrow and Solomon Grundy who had already been used as regulars and you have a pretty good lineup with which to start a series.

While I was used to Casey Kasem as Robin by this point I still wish that Burt Ward would have been used for the pilot. Although, I guess it doesn't really matter since it never made it to series anyway.
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