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Batman - Variety Merchandising Story Fuels Fan Hopes of a DVD Deal **UPDATED: Our Warner Contact Says...**

No actual word yet, however, if Warner's licensing agreement pertains to home video

Posted by David Lambert
Earlier today Variety posted a story by Marc Graser titled "Warner Bros. sets licensing for 'Batman' show," and subtitled "Rights issues resolved on Fox's campy 1960s series." This quoted portion from the article explains the main point:
    For the first time in 40 years, Warner Bros. Consumer Products will be able to use the likeness of the show's stars, including Adam West, Burt Ward, Cesar Romero and Burgess Meredith, on everything from apparel to toys, home goods, publishing and promotions.

    WBCP will introduce the new "Batman" product opportunities to potential partners and retailers at next week's Licensing Expo, running June 12-14 in Las Vegas. First products will launch in the spring.

    Retailers had requested a larger merchandise line tied to the show over the years, but studio arm had previously been able to use only the series' logo, POW!-packed animated opening sequence and the Batmobile for product, not the actors, due to rights issues as the series was produced by 20th Century Fox. As a result, studio was limited to a small line of T-shirts and a die-cast Batmobile made by Mattel.
Following the publishing of Variety's write-up, we've received a ton of emails from our readers, hopeful that this means that DVD rights issues are part of this agreement. It certainly looks like the best hope we've had in a long time, right?

However, we're cautious because the story conspicuously avoids mentioning DVDs (and all other potential home video delivery methods), and the issue mentioned in the story that affects clothing, toys, "home goods" (posters, or wastebaskets for kids' rooms, or umbrellas, etc.) and the like might not be enough to resolve all potential licensing hold-ups for delivering complete episodes on DVD.

For example, the so-called "bat-climbs" included cameos of other shows that aired at the time, but were produced by other studios ("Lurch" from The Addams Family and "Colonel Klink" from Hogan's Heroes come immediately to mind). Not to mention both the bat-climb cameo appearance AND the cross-over appearance by Van Williams and Bruce Lee as "The Green Hornet and Kato."

But like many of you, we're hopeful that this paves the way for a DVD release of the Adam West Batman episodes that we've all longed for. We're looking into it with the studio, of course, and if there's good news we hope to have it for you as soon as possible. Stay tuned, and cross your fingers!

UPDATE: We've now been in touch with the studio, and a Warner contact informs us that the Variety article unfortunately only pertains to consumer products of the type mentioned in their story; there's been no new news on the DVD front. Darn it.

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