January 9, 2019

Bat-Climb: The Complete 14 Batman Window Cameos From the 1960s Batman TV Series

Whenever you saw Batman and Robin climbing a wall on the show, it was, of course, just the camera turned to a 90 degree angle. But this is how they used to slip big name celebrities into the TV show – by having them pop out of an apartment window to happily greet the Caped Crusaders.




Here is a compilation of all the cameo appearances of celebrities who happened to coincidentally look out the window just when Batman and Robin were climbing up or down a building. They then would proceed to have a bizarre conversation with the dynamic duo. This simple stunt was accomplished by having Adam West and Burt Ward walk on the floor hunched over while the camera was tilted on its side as the celebrity pops out of the floor disguised as a window.



Some of these celebrities like Dick Clark, Jerry Lewis and Sammy Davis Jr. are still recognized by younger audiences today, but many are forgotten such as Suzy Knickerbocker. Take a look for yourself.

1. Jerry Lewis – Appeared in “The Bookworm Turns” (April 20, 1966)


The very first “Bat-climb” cameo occurred at the end of the first season, in Episode 29, “The Bookworm Turns,” which aired in April 1966. Star comedian Jerry Lewis (of Martin and Lewis and The Nutty Professor fame) opens his window to ask Batman if he’s really Batman, before noticing Robin and saying, “Oh, you must be, because that’s Robin. Hi, Robin!”


2. Dick Clark – Appeared in “Shoot a Crooked Arrow” (September 7, 1966)


It was really the second season, when celebrities were reacting to the “Bat-Mania” of the first season of the series, that the cameos really caught on. In the Season 2 premiere, “Shoot a Crooked Arrow,” Batman and Robin encounter American Bandstand host, Dick Clark. Batman quickly deduces that Clark (who was still seven years away from the debut of Dick Clark’s New Year's Rockin’ Eve) was from Philadelphia due to his speech patterns. Clark wonders if perhaps Batman and Robin are a singing duo.


3. Van Williams and Bruce Lee as Green Hornet and Kato – Appeared in “The Spell of Tut” (September 28, 1966)



Three weeks after the debut of their own TV series (also produced by the creator of the Batman TV series, William Dozier), Green Hornet (played by Van Williams) and Kato (played by Bruce Lee) meet Batman and Robin in Episode 7, “The Spell of Tut.” This was months before the two duos would meet in a crossover episode of Batman (an episode where Bruce Lee was rumored to have refused to film if Burt Ward’s Robin was allowed to defeat him in a fight).


4. Sammy Davis Jr. – Appeared in “The Clock King’s Crazy Crimes” (October 12, 1966)




In the 11th episode of Season 2, “The Clock King’s Crazy Crimes,” world famous singer/dancer (and actor) Sammy Davis Jr. invites Batman and Robin in to hear him rehearse when they pass by his window. After they politely decline, he invites them to catch his act some time, as he sure digs their act!


5. Bill Dana as José Jiménez – Appeared in “The Yegg Foes in Gotham” (October 20, 1966)


José Jiménez was an extremely popular comedy character created by comedian Bill Dana. Jiménez was a genial but dim-witted Mexican who Dana had work a series of jobs to comedic effect, none more famous than Jiménez’s attempts to become an astronaut (he famously appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show doing the astronaut bit. A sample joke would be Sullivan asking him, “Well, now I see you have some of your space equipment with you. Uh, what is that called, the crash helmet?” and Jiménez replying, “Oh, I hope not.”). The actual Mercury astronauts were huge fans of the character.

However, as time went by, it became more and more apparent to everyone that a white comedian doing a dumb Mexican character as a comedy bit was pretty offensive. Even Dana conceded as much and officially retired the character in 1970. In Episode 14 of Season 2, “The Yegg Foes in Gotham,” Jimenez is working as a jury foreman on a criminal trial. After Batman and Robin climb away, Jimenez is told what the rest of the jury has decided and he calls down to Batman and Robin to ask if they could leave their rope.


6. Howard Duff as Sam Stone – Appeared in “The Impractical Joker” (November 16, 1966)


Following in the footsteps of the earlier friendly promotion of another ABC show, Green Hornet, in Episode 21 of Season 2, “The Impractical Joker,” actor Howard Duff appeared as his character of Sam Stone from Felony Squad, a cop drama that had debuted a few months earlier that TV season. Stone was a veteran detective paired with a young rookie, Jim Briggs (played by Dennis Cole), in a major crimes squad. The two crimefighters, Batman and Stone, trade pleasantries, and Batman tells Stone he can contact him through Commissioner Gordon if Stone ever needs any help. Amusingly enough, Duff would later appear in Season 3 of Batman as Cabala, the husband of the villainous Dr. Cassandra Spellcraft (played by Duff’s real life wife at the time, Ida Lupino).


7. Werner Klemperer as Colonel Klink – Appeared in “It’s How You Play the Game” (December 1, 1966)


In a rather bizarre cameo, in Episode 26 of Season 2, “It’s How You Play the Game,” Batman and Robin run into Colonel Kiink from Hogan’s Heroes, played by Werner Klemperer. This is bizarre, of course, because Hogan’s Heroes was set in a World War II prison camp and Gotham City in 1966 was not that. Also, it is odd to see Batman and Robin chatting happily with a Nazi Colonel (who is in town searching for a spy—after Robin tells him to say hi to Colonel Hogan for them, Klink remarks that is a wonder that Hogan hasn’t tried to borrow the Bat-rope to escape from prison!).


8. Ted Cassidy as Lurch – Appeared in “The Penguin's Nest” (December 7, 1966)


The odd thing about Lurch, the manservant from The Addams Family, making an appearance in Season 2’s Episode 27, “The Penguin’s Nest,” is that The Addams Family had gone off the air the previous TV season, so it wasn’t even a case of the cameo promoting a current TV series. In any event, Lurch (played by Ted Cassidy), delivered a perfectly deadpan (in that deep voice of his), “Oh, it’s you, Batman, you gave me quite a start.”


9. Don Ho – Appeared in “The Bat’s Kow Tow” (December 15, 1966)


Famous Hawaiian singer Don Ho made an appearance in Season 2 Episode 30 “The Bat’s Kow Tow.” Ho’s biggest hit song, “Tiny Bubbles,” was still on the pop charts at the time this episode was released in December of 1966. Robin is shocked to see him, and he explains that he is in Gotham trying to get some land back that Hawaii had lost. He also remarks that the Bat-Rope could be handy back home getting coconuts out of trees.


10. Andy Devine as Santa Claus – Appeared in “The Duo is Slumming” (December 22, 1966)


Three days before Christmas in 1966, the 32nd episode of Season 2, “The Duo is Slumming,” aired. In it, Batman and Robin encounter Santa Claus, played by character actor (and frequent cowboy comedic sidekick) Andy Devine. Santa offers to bring presents to Batman and Robin if they let him know where the Bat-Cave is. They agree and he tells them that he’ll get presents to them there, even if he has to slide down the Bat-Pole instead of the chimney!


11. Art Linkletter – Appeared in “Catwoman Goes to College” (February 22, 1967)


Famous radio and TV host, Art Linkletter, guest-starred in Season 2 Episode 49, “Catwoman Goes to College.” Linkletter is perhaps best known for a segment on his long-running television series, Art Linkletter’s House Party, where he interviewed children called “Kids Say the Darndest Things.” However, he also hosted a TV game show from 1954-1960 called People Are Funny, where he would challenge people to do crazy tasks for cash. The show was so popular that it was even made into a movie (with Linkletter playing a fictional version of himself). So in his Batman cameo, Linkletter tells Batman and Robin that he is looking for contestants on a possible reboot of People Are Funny and wants to know if Batman knows any good candidates, like perhaps people with costumes or with dual identities. Batman explains that he doesn't know of any good candidates (noting that Joker, Penguin and King Tut are all in prison). Linkletter is understanding, although he notes that the search has him “climbing up walls.”


12. Edward G. Robinson – Appeared in “Batman’s Satisfaction” (March 2, 1967)


Legendary film star Edward G. Robinson was likely the most respected actor to make a cameo on Batman, showing up in Season 2 Episode 52, “Batman’s Satisfaction.” Robinson, one of the most famous portrayer of villains in film history (from Rico in Little Caesar to Rocco in Key Largo), was also an avid art collector, and that was the basis for his cameo, as he explains to Batman and Robin that he is in town due to some of the paintings in his collection appearing in an exhibit. After they discuss art for a bit, Batman notes that he doesn’t have time to collect art as he is too busy collecting criminals. Robin remarks, though, that their collection of mug shots are sort of like art. Robinson then amusingly suggests that for all we know, the Mona Lisa might have been a mug shot, of sorts. The secret to Batman getting such a famous actor to do a cameo lies in Robinson being on the 20th Century Fox lot doing makeup tests for the role of Dr. Zaius in the then-upcoming Planet of the Apes. He ultimately ended up passing on the role.


13. Suzy Knickerbocker (pen name of Aileen Mehle) – Appeared in “King Tut’s Coup” (March 8, 1967)


In Episode 53 of Season 2, “King Tut’s Coup,” the famous gossip and society columnist Suzy Knickerbocker made the last truly cameo on Batman that we can safely call a “celebrity cameo.” Knickerbocker, the pen name for Aileen Mehle, was also a frequent panelist on the long-running game show, What’s My Line?, that year (the final season of the show). Knickerbocker explains that she is in town because she hears that millionaire Bruce Wayne is “one of the hippies,” with his fabulous Wayne Manor. She tells the Dynamic Duo that she’ll slip them into one of her future columns, “right between Acapulco and Princess Grace.” Robin retorts, “Holy jet set!”


14. Cyril Lord as the Carpet King – Appeared in “Ice Spy” (March 29, 1967)


As the final Batman window cameo came in the second-to-last episode of Season 2, “Ice Spy,” and it featured Cyril Lord, a British entrepreneur who was best known for selling carpets in the greater Los Angeles area during the 1960s. He was even referred to as “The Carpet King.” His jingle, “This is luxury you can afford from Cyril Lord,” was well known at the time in Los Angeles. In any event, Lord sold Batman producer William Dozier some expensive Persian rugs and was paid in his cameo, where Lord gets to promote his business in a quick conversation with Batman and Robin. If this was the direction the Window cameos were heading, It is for the best that they ended with this episode!

(via ThoughtCo)




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