8 DC Characters who made their screen debut on Batman 1966

The 1966 show introduced many of Batman's biggest rogues and allies to the screen.

Batman's supporting cast has grown exponentially through the years since his debut back in The '40s, especially on screen. Did you know some of his biggest castmates made their debuts on the 1966 show? Read on to find out who!

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1. King Tut

 

A character created for the 1966 show, King Tut is the alter ego of Dr. William MacElroy, who after a bump on the head believes that he is the reincarnated Pharoah and schemes to take Gotham City as his new kingdom. Since his role in the series, King Tut has appeared in the Lego Batman Movie along with the animated sequels for the series Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders and Batman vs. Two-Face

2. Harriet Cooper

 

Dick Grayson's Aunt Harriet was actually created by original Batman creator Bill Finger two years before the release of the 1966 series. Portrayed by Madge Blake, Aunt Harriet would appear in many episodes and would later go on to appear in the show's animated sequels Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders and Batman vs. Two-Face.

3. Clock King

 

Batman's time-based foe actually started out life as a villain for DC's Emerald Archer - Green Arrow. Making his first screen appearance in season two of the '66 series, Clock King would later make animated appearances in Batman: The Animated Series and Harley Quinn as well as his role as an antagonist for Green Arrow in the CW's Arrow. 

4. The Riddler

 

Believe it or not, Batman's quizzical foe wasn't always at the top of the rogues gallery. Riddler's prevalence in much Batman related media today is thanks in no small part to Frank Gorshin and John Astin's portrayal of him in 1966. Thanks to this breakout apperance, Riddler has appeared in many TV shows, movies and video games, with some standouts being in Batman Forever portrayed by Jim Carrey and in The Batman portrayed by Paul Dano. 

5. Mister Freeze

 

Though the more modern portrayals of Batman's frozen foe are adapted from his appearance on Batman: The Animated Series this in fact wasn't where Mister Freeze got his screen debut. In the 1966 series, Mister Freeze is the criminal moniker of Dr. Art Schivel who was created after Batman accidentally exposed him to cryogenic chemicals during his first arrest. Mister Freeze has gone on to appear in many pieces of media including Batman and Robin portrayed by Arnold Schwarzenegger and had a large role in the Batman: Arkham Game series. 

6. The Penguin

 

One of Batman's most well-known villains, The Penguin made his on-screen debut in 1966 portrayed by the late Burgess Meredith. Following his rise to popularity attributed to the show's success, The Penguin has appeared in many adaptations across media, including the tv show Gotham, portrayed by Robin Lord Taylor, on the big screen in Batman Returns, portrayed by Danny Devito, and in The Batman portrayed by Collin Farrel.

7. Catwoman

 

The feline femme fatale has always had a tenouous relationship with Batman, and it was the '66 series that brought this relationship to the screen. Portrayed by actresses Julie Newmar, Lee Merriweather and Eartha Kitt, Catwoman left a mark on the Batman mythos which led her to being featured in adaptations to this day. Some notable outings for the Cat include Batman Returns where she was portrayed by Michelle Pfeifer and most recently in The Batman portrayed by Zoe Kravitz.

8. Batgirl

 

One of Batman's most trusted allies outside of his Robins, Batgirl got her on-screen start in 1966 portrayed by the late Yvonne Craig. Since this appearance, Batgirl has had some starring roles in Batman: The Animated Series, Birds of Prey and Harley Quinn.

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89 Comments

BorisK 12 months ago
Julie Newmar as Catwoman was just too insanely sexy and beautiful ... I was only 7 when Batman started airing and am sure she was my first-ever crush. Hands down Cesar Romero was best-ever Joker; loved Bookworm and False Face (for some reason my top favorite after Romero's Joker). Gorshin was best all-time Riddler (John Astin, no -- and Jim Carrey, awful). Clock King was easily among the weakest villain; Eli Wallach as Mr. Freeze didn't work for me; and I remember almost turning the channel as an 8 or 9 year old when Milton Berle came on as Louie the Lilac. Vincent Price as Egghead was just too funny, a bit too woman-like, but good character.
Tommygunz 13 months ago
There’s also a story that originally Spencer Tracy was supposed to play the Penguin, but declined because he wanted the character to kill Batman. Cesar Romero did not want to shave off his mustache so they had to painted it over with white make-up, although you can still clearly see it.
tacoshow 21 months ago
Gotham City Police ARE USELESS on BATMAN!!!!!
GioLovesMash tacoshow 21 months ago
YEAH i hate the ciiy ilove mash then this gageere
RichLorn 21 months ago
Frank Gorshin's Riddler is my personal fave, due in large part by his fearless willingness to do and over-the-top performance.
And hey, I know Arnold did a admirable job as Mr Freeze, but the pic in this quiz does not look like him. Am I wrong or does it resemble Eli Wallach?
AnnieM RichLorn 21 months ago
Yes, that's Eli Wallach; I totally forgot that he'd played Mr Freeze also. When I think of the TV show version, it's Otto Preminger's version I always think of.
RichLorn AnnieM 21 months ago
Yes! Otto Preminger was good too.
Astrodomania RichLorn 20 months ago
He was very difficult to work with so, he was not invited to return for a 2nd time.
Mirramanee AnnieM 12 months ago
I actually prefer the George Sanders version of Mr. Freeze over all the others. He radiated a certain calm "coldness" (no pun intended) that the other actors simply did not seem to have.
AnnieM Mirramanee 12 months ago
Then you may enjoy this article: https://13thdimension.com/13-reasons-george-sanders-is-the-greatest-mr-freeze-of-all/ 😀
BorisK Astrodomania 12 months ago
Yep, Preminger was a monster, it has been said in almost everything. I too prefer George Sanders' Mr. Freeze.
RedSamRackham 21 months ago
* Yet before Batgirl the comic book had Kathy Kane, the Batwoman! ☺
AnnieM RedSamRackham 21 months ago
And also Kathy's niece, Betty Kane, the first Bat-Girl. Yep, it was spelled with a hyphen.
BorisK RedSamRackham 12 months ago
When the series introduced Batgirl I knew it was pretty much over.
PDCougar 21 months ago
This topic of this article makes NO sense. Prior to the 1966 show, the ONLY screen productions involving Batman were those 2 serials from the 1940s. So, besides Batman, Robin, Commission Gordon and Alfred, EVERY character who was in the ABC TV series made his or her screen debut in the "Batman" TV series. So how is this article supposed to be revelatory ... or even confined to anywhere near to only -8- characters?
Michael PDCougar 21 months ago
I never read the comic books, so it's only the series which I know. Iwas surprised that Commisioner Gordon hadn't existed before. The villains too.
RedSamRackham Michael 21 months ago
* Commissioner Gordon was in comic books long before TV series and was a look-alike to Mr. Lodge in Archie comics. What I've seen of 1940's Batman serials the villains were mostly suit & tie gangster types unlike the comic books or 1966 TV series.
Kaydee PDCougar 13 months ago
I agree, the article did not make any sense to me.
Mirramanee Michael 12 months ago
Commissioner Gordon most definitely was in the comic books. I think you're confusing Gordon with Chief O'Hara, who never appeared in the comic books (to my knowledge), and I've read almost all of them.
PulsarStargrave 21 months ago
Time for MeTV's resident "Batmaniac" to tweak things a bit.
1. Bill Finger has been acknowledged as a Co Creator but not the "original" creator; he contributed ideas to a character already created by Bob Kane, for which Bill was hired.

2. With the exception of Penguin and Catwoman (2 of Kane's favorites) most of these characters were after thoughts. False Face was created for the show because Two Face and his ghastly origin was too terrifying for T.V. Even. recent mass media efforts use a revised version of his origin.

3. Aunt Harriet may have been created by editorial mandate to assure some that Batman and Robin were just really good friends.

4. The Barbara Gordon Batgirl was actually Co Created by one of the show's producers! They wanted a new female character and suggested she be Comissioner Gordon's ( unmentioned in the comics) daughter! Her debut in the comics was timed to come close to the first episode of Season 3! And if you notice, Yvonne Craig's costume is very similar to the costume MOTH wore in The Riddler 2 parter "Ring Of Wax"!
vinman63 21 months ago
Aunt Harriett was created because three gents living together wasn't straight enough for television.
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Mirramanee Bbhawk27 12 months ago
But there was an accusation by some Senator in the '50's that accused DC Comics of secretly portraying a gay couple under the guise of Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson. This was totally wrong, of course. The relationship between Bruce and his ward was very much more of a father/son type of thing, but politicians from that time period were looking for some sort of sound byte to hang their political top hats on (sounds a lot like nowadays too, doesn't it?).
AnnieM Mirramanee 12 months ago
Father & son is exactly how I always sawell. I mean, he was a *child*, like 10 years old when his parents were killed and he went to live with Bruce.
BorisK vinman63 12 months ago
There were 4 men among the 7 Stranded Castaways and no one ever went for Mary Ann or Ginger.
musicman37 RedSamRackham 12 months ago
Bruce and Dick may have dated girls, but they were just beards.
Terrence 21 months ago
The Catwoman was also portrayed by Halle Berry. Her alter-ego Selena Kyle.
Dave Terrence 21 months ago
Halle Berry played the Catwoman whose secret identity was Patience Phillips.
Michael Terrence 21 months ago
Who wouldn't want Halle Berry as Catwoman?
Barry22 Michael 21 months ago
In that movie? Belonged in the litter box.
cperrynaples Barry22 21 months ago
Yeah, Michelle Pfeffer & Anne Hathaway were much better! Even Sharon Stone would have been better, they gave her the wrong role!
Snickers Barry22 19 months ago
Halle Berry had to be the worse Catwoman ever
BorisK Terrence 12 months ago
Too bad Halle Berry's Catwoman was easily the worst-ever depiction of any Batman character. Simply awful.
BorisK Michael 12 months ago
About 80 million people.
retro6 21 months ago
The Joker was my favorite yet scared me crapless as a young kid watching Batman. It wasn’t until I was a tween watching old Shirley Temple Movies did I have an appreciation of the actor Cesar Romero seeing him without the makeup in one of her movies and wasn’t so creeped out. While I like Julie Newmar, it was Miss Eartha Kitt for me as Catwoman and her already catlike voice!
Mirramanee retro6 12 months ago
Eartha Kitt did try her best to emulate the purrings and sensuality of a cat. However, there was no chemistry between her and Adam West. The underlying sexual tension between him and the Julie Newmar version was unmistakable. None of the other actresses who portrayed Catwoman in the series could pull it off so effectively. Ms. Newmar was the best version in the TV show.
retro6 Mirramanee 12 months ago
I still stand by Eartha Kitt. She stands alone as Catwoman. She doesn’t need Batman or his chemistry!!
BorisK retro6 12 months ago
You'll have to stand alone then, because its a sure thing no one agrees with you. Newmar was best-ever Catwoman. They got Kitt cut-rate last minute because Newmar wouldn't come back. And it shows.
retro6 BorisK 12 months ago
#stillstandingalone #don’tcare
StrayCat 21 months ago
Julie Newmar was the quintessential Cat woman, the others being mere fillers. And the cat woman portrayed in the movie “The Batman” was pure junk. Lousy costume too.
CoreyC StrayCat 21 months ago
Catwoman was revealed as Selina Kyle on film until Batman Returns.
Tresix CoreyC 21 months ago
She was Selina in “Batman Returns”.
jholton30062 21 months ago
Frank Gorshin had everything to do with The Riddler being at the top of the rogue's gallery. John Astin played him in two episodes and didn't exactly set the world on fire with his performance. Gorshin played him as a real lunatic.

Julie Newmar's Catwoman had the hots for him. When she wasn't trying to kill Batman, she wanted him to be her boyfriend. It would have been interesting to see Eartha Kitt's Catwoman have the same relationship, but racial mores of the time wouldn't have allowed it.
Michael jholton30062 21 months ago
I remember one episode where Catwoman is headed to a prison cell, and we see her backside swivelling significantly. That's one indicator of her desire for Batman.

But I can't remember which Catwoman. I think you're right, but most of that was changing before I was aware.

People make a fuss about The Kiss in Star Trek, but at about eight, it meant nothing to me. But I liked her character.
StrayCat Michael 21 months ago
If you want to see Newmar in a role where she was really voluptuous, check out "Lil Abner". A rarely seen musical from 1959 where she played the character Stupifying Jones. All gorgeous 6 ft of her.
Little known fact. Newmar's professional listing had her at 5'11" because at the time it was considered unseemingly for a woman to be 6'. Some studio heads thought it a liability, my guess being that because so many leading men were considerably shorter than 6'.

This perceived Height disadvantage wasn't limited to women either. A studio head once told Christopher Lee to seek another vocation because at 6'5" he was too tall to make it as an actor.
CoreyC Michael 21 months ago
The Kiss between Kirk and Uhura was forced because of the Gods.
Michael CoreyC 21 months ago
But at the time, I didn't know it was grpundbreaking.

When "Julia" came on, I was aware that people said it was groundbreaking, but ut was just another show to me.

I'm not perfect, but I missed a lot of that baggage by being born in 1959.
LoveMETV22 StrayCat 21 months ago
Whew! Thankfully that studio head wasn't talking to Fred Gwynne or Ted Cassidy who both made contributions to entertainment in general.

Djpmasman StrayCat 21 months ago
Yeah, that reminds me of that story about Veronica Lake and Alan Ladd in their movies together. Apparently, they were the same height, but in the movies she wore heels, making him shorter than her. So whenever they were seen together in the same shot, he was standing on a box!
Rick 21 months ago
You're include the Riddler, the Penguin and Catwoman because they made their *screen* debuts for the 1966 TV show, but not Chief O'hara nor Egghead who were actually created for the TV show?
daDoctah Rick 21 months ago
That's the point I was about to make. We need an article showing characters (villains and others) who were created for the TV show and only later made their way into the comics.
AnnieM daDoctah 21 months ago
Exactly. That's what I thought this article was going to be about.
Runeshaper 21 months ago
So many GREAT characters and actors here!
SteveMcnary 21 months ago
There is only one Catwoman & that is the one portrayed by Julie Newmar. Michelle Pfieffer is the 2nd best. I remember watching an interview with Frank Gorshin & he said about Julie Newmar "She is a dancer & you can see how she moved like a dancer when playing Catwoman." & ever since I heard this I notice how she moves.
Dave 21 months ago
In the last issue of the DC Comics "Batman '66 comic book, the writer did a story about the opening credits to the 1966 TV series.
cperrynaples 21 months ago
Bonus Question: Can you name all 3 actors who played Mr. Freeze on B66?
LoveMETV22 cperrynaples 21 months ago
George Sanders, Otto Preminger, Eli Wallach.
cperrynaples LoveMETV22 21 months ago
Yep, Zsa Zsa's husband, the director of Laura and one of the Good, Bad & Ugly!
Michael cperrynaples 21 months ago
I like the encoding there.
CoreyC cperrynaples 21 months ago
Bonus Questions for you: Name the three actresses as Catwoman and two actors for The Riddler?
cperrynaples CoreyC 21 months ago
EAZY! Julie Newmar, Lee Meriweather, Eartha Kitt. Frank Gorshin & John Astin!
Tresix 21 months ago
King Tut, Aunt Harriet, Clock King, and Batgirl were all created for the show.
ScarlettKaiju Tresix 6 months ago
Not Aunt Harriet or Clock King, although neither would have been remembered if not for the show.
DethBiz 21 months ago
I will always love Cesar Romero's portrayal of the Joker with his mustache visible through his grease paint since he refused to cut it off for the role. He was hilarious!
AnnieM DethBiz 21 months ago
I know! Even as a little kid I thought it looked silly, and it kept me from ever being scared by his version of the Joker. Even funnier, if you look at the 'Rogue's Gallery' illustration above, the artist even drew him that way! 😂
StrayCat DethBiz 21 months ago
When asked about jack Nicholson's performance in the movie Batman, Cesar Romero said he didn't like it because it was too dark, and he liked to have fun with the role. What Romero didn't understand was that he portrayed the Joker as depicted in the golden age of comics (40s-50's) where the characters were light and more comical. Jacks portrayal of the Joker was from the silver age (60s-70s) of comics where the villains became a bit more sinister, and the graphic novels and movies that followed, the characters were decidedly evil/psychotic and brutal.
BorisK StrayCat 12 months ago
Nicholson had his moments but Romero owns The Joker.
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