Final broadcast: Thursday, March 14th, 1968 on the US ABC network
Description: Camp, colourful live action series based on the characters from the DC Comics universe with its tongue thrust firmly into its cheek. There was a regular roster of guest villains for Batman and his Boy Wonder sidekick Robin to face each week, as well as a wealth of one-off guest villains, often played by popular performers of the day. It ran for 120 episodes over three series.
- A film version often referred to as Batman: The Movie was released in July 1966, just one month after the end of the first television series. It starred all of the main series villains (ie, Penguin, Joker, Catwoman and Riddler) working together to defeat the Caped Crusader. It had a budget of $1.54m but only made $1.7m at the box office and through North American rentals.
|Adam pictured in April|
2015, aged 86
Actor Burt Ward, Adam's co-star as Robin in the TV series, paid tribute: "This is a wonderful man who I've spent 75% of the time on this earth working with, who has been a pleasure, just amazing talent, a great father, a great family man, a wonderful human being, just a lot of fun and I'm going to miss him incredibly. In fact it's very difficult to really believe that the end has come. Adam and I had the most amazing friendship... we instantly got along."
|Burt Ward in July 2014,|
Before playing the Wayne mansion valet Alfred, Alan had enjoyed more than 35 years in the acting business, making his debut aged 27 in a film called Caste in September 1930, which was directed by Campbell Gullan and an uncredited Michael Powell, and co-starred Hermione Baddeley, Nora Swinburne and Sebastian Shaw (who, trivia fans, was the face behind Darth Vader's mask 53 years later in Return of the Jedi!). Alan played Captain Hawtree in the film.
|Alan played Sherlock Holmes in a TV|
play in March 1949, aged 46
Alan appeared in all 120 episodes of Batman, as well as the movie adaptation, and this took up almost all of his professional time for two years (apart from a role in a 1967 episode of The Beverly Hillbillies). So what became of him post-Batman? Well, in 1968, when Batman was axed, Alan was 65 and had plenty of career ahead of him. His first project was the sitcom Family Affair, appearing in a January 1969 episode in which Bill (Brian Keith) gets a job in England.
|As the High Priest Elinu in the 1956|
B-movie The Mole People!
In September 1979 Alan made his penultimate acting appearance in the ABC Weekend Special The Contest Kid Strikes Again, while his very last role was in the The Monkey Mission in March 1981, the second of three TV movies starring Robert Blake as private eye Joe Dancer.
After this, when Alan was aged 78, he decided to retire and live out the rest of his days in California's Pacific Palisades. In 1987, aged 84, Alan suffered a stroke, but this did not prevent him from making his one and only personal appearance on television for a Batman cast reunion on The Late Show on April 28th, 1988. Alan was in a wheelchair and obviously frail, but spoke fondly of his time on the programme. The reunion also featured Adam West, Burt Ward, Frank Gorshin, Julie Newmar, Yvonne Craig and Eartha Kitt, with Cesar Romero interviewed at his home.
|Alan, aged 85, at the 1988 Batman|
cast reunion party
Alan did actually write a three-volume autobiography in the early 1970s but this was never published in his lifetime as he did not believe he'd had a particularly interesting life. However, the memoir was finally scheduled for publication in January 2016 by McFarland Press, entitled Not Just Batman's Butler and updated by James Bigwood. This may or may not mention the fact that Alan was 1930s British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain's cousin, or that his second wife Aileen was a great-granddaughter of novelist Charles Dickens, or that his daughter Jennifer Nicholas worked on the costumes for films such as Saturday Night Fever and Tootsie. See... he wasn't just Batman's butler at all!
Despite being only four years older than Alfred actor Alan Napier, Neil's career stretches back as far as the silent era, debuting in 1918's The Beloved Imposter when he was a mere teenager! After starting out as a model for Arrow Shirts, he went on to appear in a great number of shorts and films throughout the silent 1920s and into the sound 1930s, also transitioning from monochrome to colour. Early works of note include D W Griffith's The White Rose (1923), Beau Gests (1926), The Great Gatsby (1926) and Tarzan the Ape Man (1932). He also played Dr Jack Petrie in a couple of Dr Fu Manchu adventures in 1929-30.
|Neil was a handsome matinee idol in|
the 1920s and 30s (left); he also modelled
for Arrow Collars and Shirts (right)
Further work prior to being cast as Commissioner Gordon included (ironically) Bruce Gordon in Marilyn Monroe's Bus Stop (1962), Philip Mercer in the soap General Hospital (1963) and even a turn in monstrous sitcom The Munsters (1964).
Neil appeared in all 120 episodes of Batman, as well as the film. Adam West has said of Neil that he was not the sort of actor to fool around on set. He rarely laughed or smiled, and was the one actor he felt he didn't hit it off with. He added that Neil didn't really get along with his co-star Stafford Repp (Chief O'Hara) either, taking a dislike to Repp's fake Irish brogue.
|Another matinee idol shot|
of Neil in his twenties
Neil spent the rest of the 1970s in retirement, and died of complications resulting from an asthma attack on September 24th, 1984, just two weeks after his 85th birthday. After his cremation, his ashes were scattered in the Pacific Ocean.
|Playing Mayor Watkins in a February|
1960 episode of Rawhide, aged 41
On November 5th, 1974, Stafford completed filming his role of Fred Dobie in an episode of the detective series Mannix. He was joined on set by his wife Theresa, and as it was the eve of their fourth wedding anniversary, they decided to celebrate it with a flutter at the Hollywood Park Racetrack (one of Stafford's favourite haunts). Sadly, Stafford suffered a fatal heart attack at the racetrack, and died - with a winning ticket in his pocket! He was just 56 years old. He was buried at Westminster Memorial Park in California, and after his death, his sister Elisabeth set up the Stafford Repp Memorial Scholarship for alumni of Lowell High School in San Francisco, where he was educated. It offered $50,000 every Spring term. A quick search on the school's website draws a blank when trying to find out if the scholarship is still going today...
|Stafford's appearance in M*A*S*H was|
broadcast five months after his death
Stafford had also filmed scenes for one of Orson Welles's many unfinished projects, The Other Side of the Wind, appearing as a party guest at the 70th birthday party of character Jake Hannaford (played by John Huston).
|As Mrs Mondello in Leave It|
In 1958, at the age of 59, she landed another recurring role, that of Margaret Mondello in Leave It to Beaver (1958-60), while in 1961 she was cast as Mrs Barnes in a total of 21 episodes of The Joey Bishop Show. Throughout this time she was playing Flora MacMichael in the sitcom The Real McCoys, a lesser known precursor to The Beverly Hillbillies. She played Flora in 26 episodes between 1957-63. She also popped up from time to time as Tillie (sometimes referred to as Clara), Jack Benny's super-fan and president of his fan club, on The Jack Benny Show (1955-64).
|Madge was a life model for one of the|
fairy godmothers in Disney's Sleeping
Beauty. What's the odds it was for
Flora, the one in red?
The 1960s were busy with guest roles for Madge, who turned up in everything from Guestward Ho! (1961) to Dr Kildare (1962/64), from The Addams Family (1964) to The Man from UNCLE (1965).
She was cast as Aunt Harriet in 96 episodes of the Batman TV series, her last appearance being in the Series 3 episode The Bloody Tower in December 7th, 1967 (the one with Rudy Vallee and Glynis Johns as the ever-so-English Lord Ffogg and Lady Peasoup!).
|Madge in The Doris Day|
Show, broadcast one month
after her death, aged 68
Madge was admitted to Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena, California after she fell at her home and fractured her ankle. She died there, aged 68, of the effects of arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). She was buried beside her mother Alice Cummings, who had died in 1931, at Grand View Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California.
Yvonne was 20 when she got her first credited acting role in Eighteen and Anxious (1957), then spent the next decade carving out a CV littered with guest roles in series such as Perry Mason (1958), Bronco (1959), The Detectives (1961), Ichabod and Me (1961), Dr Kildare (1964), Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1964) and My Favourite Martian (1965). She also had minor roles in two Elvis Presley films - It Happened at the World's Fair (1963) and Kissin' Cousins (1964) - as she was dating the singer at the time.
|Yvonne and Elvis Presley in Kissin'|
Cousins in 1964
|Yvonne photographed at an event in|
May 2012, aged 75. The following year
she was diagnosed with breast cancer
To supplement her failing acting career, in the 1970s Yvonne became a co-producer of industrial shows, and later became a real estate broker and an investor in the pre-paid phone card industry. In 2000 she published her autobiography From Ballet to the Batcave and Beyond. Yvonne was also a philanthropist, and an advocate for workers' unions, free mammograms, and equal pay for women.
After being diagnosed with cancer in 2013, Yvonne endured chemotherapy for the following two years, before finally succumbing at her home in California in August 2015, aged 78. The breast cancer had spread to her liver. In a statement, her family said: "In the end, her mind still wanted to fight but her body had given up."
Click here for some of the Bad Guys: The Joker (Cesar Romero), The Penguin (Burgess Meredith), The Riddler (Frank Gorshin, John Astin) and Catwoman (Julie Newmar, Lee Meriweather, Eartha Kitt).