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Batman - 1966 Batman Series Still Not Coming To DVD Yet

Posted by David Lambert
12/05/2005
 
We've been getting a LOT of e-mails lately from readers who are convinced that the 1966 incarnation of Batman, starring Adam West and Burt Ward, is coming to DVD soon. Sorry, we are very sad to say that this isn't the case.

One reason fans are thinking that this is coming to DVD is because online retailers - including Amazon.com and DVDPlanet.com - are listing something they only refer to as "Batman - Season 1." That wording is a source of confusion (especially as cover art isn't posted yet). To keep fans from being confused, they should refer to the title as "The Batman - Season 1." What's the difference? Well, "The" Batman is the full title of the 2004 animated series featuring the Dark Knight Detective. We've had several news posts about that show coming to DVD, the most recent news being less than a week ago. You can see where this would be confusing to fans of the Adam West show, especially if they didn't happen to be aware of the new Kids WB series. UPDATE: Amazon has re-worded their listing to say "The Batman - The Complete First Season"...thanks, 'Zon!

The other, more insidious reason that fans of the '60s live-action show think that the DVDs are on-the-way have to do with a different Amazon.com listing that is meant as just a "placeholder" entry for this title, in the event it ever gets DOES get released on DVD. Notice the "Dec. 31, 1969" release date (especially note the year!) and you'll see that this is a made-up entry that Amazon uses to make customers happy because their searches find something, instead of finding nothing at all. We think that this is a bad idea: the way it's currently configured it is way too deceptive to consumers...even with their "disclaimer" about the date a little bit down. UPDATE: Amazon has removed the customer-supplied image; we applaud this move, as it is the best all-around way to keep confusion levels down.

If you look up at Amazon any other unreleased title - film or TV show - popular enough for the retailer to have done this, it will be listed in a similar way (for TV shows, try WKRP). This one is particularly bad, though, because it contains what certainly looks like box art. But right below the picture it is clearly labeled as a "customer image," and it names the person who uploaded it. In other words, this is art that the Amazon user named could have created themselves in PhotoShop or a similar art package, or even obtained by way of a bootleg copy. We'll give our apologies to the person named at this entry if neither of these are the source of their art, but we can only speculate on the source of this art, since we don't know for sure.

What we ARE sure of right now is that DVDs with episodes of the Adam West/Burt Ward series from 1966 is NOT scheduled for DVD just yet. Fox (who owns the footage) and DC Comics (owner of the characters, and sister company of Warner Bros.) are still deep in the process of sorting out the legalities and licensing situation for this release. There may be other licenses involved as well, such as music and so forth. We have asked into this very recently, within the past couple of months in fact, due to other fan confusion over comments Adam West made. West, you see, was quoted as saying that he would participate in DVD extras. What fans were missing from that quote had to do with that it was conditional on whether the obstacles ever got resolved and the DVDs actually got produced. We confirmed with the studio at the time that this was still "far from being settled," and that the DVDs were in fact NOT in the works. In the short period of time since then, we've heard nothing which convinces us that anything has changed.

And then there's the confusion that all of this is causing to other websites. For instance, MonstersInMotion.com - a commercial site that apparently caters to collectible items in the genre, whether they be props, standees, soundtracks, DVDs, or whatever - is also listing a "Batman - Season 1" release. This combines the above-named issues, in that it A) shows the same "customer image" from Amazon's Batman 1966 listing, and it also B) lists a "Feb. 7" release date for this item. Uh, that's the release date for The Batman, which we'll remind you is the 2004 animated series from the Kids WB slate of 'toons. If you order that through them thinking it is the Adam West series, you're liable to be very disappointed! UPDATE: MonstersInMotion.com has updated their listing to be clear that this is the animated series, and removed the incorrect artwork. Kudos to them!

Believe us, we want this as badly as any of you...maybe more, since we live and breathe this stuff daily! We're working hard to be the very first ones to break the news about this release, when and if it comes. For now, it isn't coming. If you wonder how Fox could release the theatrical version of the property, with West, Ward, and Lee Meriwether as Catwoman, then just suffice it to say that way-back-when, Fox negotiated the rights to it differently than they did the TV series. After all, back then it was films that had the bigger value in terms of repeated showings, not TV shows. My, how things have changed! Stay tuned, and we'll let you know if something ever changes in regard to the TV show coming to DVD. Thanks for your patience and understanding.

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