In the early ’60s, several TV producers began to spin ideas about a Batman series, most envisioning a Saturday-morning kids show. The property ultimately ended up at ABC—execs at the last-place network decided it should be a prime-time show with a hip and youthful sensibility.
The job of putting together the series went to William Dozier, a no-nonsense producer who had never even heard of Batman, having been forbidden from reading comic books as a child. Dozier decided that the only approach to this material would have to be done with a knowing wink to the audience—the result of which was an ironic tone (with Dozier himself providing the Walter Winchell-esque narration) and a visual style that all but defined the word “camp”, a description that would drive Dozier into bouts of rage.
When Dozier’s first choice to play Batman was “in Europe and unavailable,” the actor’s agent passed along a few stills of another client of his. Dozier was “impressed by this man’s looks” and remembered him playing a suave agent in a commercial for Nestle Quik. Beating out the one other actor who tested for the role, Adam West got the job.
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