Robin got robbed on merchandise

But he and the Fonz laughed to the bank.

In the comics, Robin is pretty well taken-care-of financially. Sure, Dick Grayson is horrendously orphaned, but he's taken in by billionaire Bruce Wayne. Even if Wayne splits his fortune between all of his proteges, three Robins, a few Batgirls, and his son Damien, Dick Grayson would still stand to inherit a fortune. Plus, in some continuities, Dick Grayson is the heir to Alfred Pennyworth's estate; Batman's loyal butler was paid a handsome salary and owned a ton of Wayne Enterprise stocks. Robin was loaded.

By contrast, Burt Ward, the man who played Robin on TV, made about $450 a week. "Even the hairdresser got paid more than I did," Ward told The Napa Valley Register in 1978.

"The producers made $3 million," said Ward. "But even that wasn't the tip of the iceberg. The big money on that show was in the merchandising, selling of items with the Batman and Robin names on them."

"I know that the merchandising from Batman was worth around three and one-half billion dollars. Adam [West, Batman] and I were supposed to get five percent of the merchandising income, but we never saw a penny."

By then, Batman hadn't had a new episode in ten years. That was about the same length of time since Ward had worked in Tinsel Town. After Batman, "Hollywood closed its doors to me," said Ward. Even when he was getting paid $600 a week during the show's third and final season, Ward was not making enough money to live off of for a decade. Instead, the former Boy Wonder turned to paid appearances. Burt Ward traveled the country doing autograph signings at auto dealerships, supermarkets and department stores. By his estimate, more than half of Ward's time was spent traveling between gigs like these, where there was more opportunity for pay than in the world of acting.

In fact, this autograph circuit proved so successful that Burt Ward started Entertainment Management Corp., a business venture which managed stars' merchandising and personal appearance tours. Ward started with his aim set on three stars in particular: "Farrah [Fawcett] already has a deal, and [John] Travolta wasn't interested. But [Henry] Winkler okayed it. And I'm doing very well for him, I think. I've gotten him deals in sweatshirts, t-shirts, posters. He's going to make a lot of money."

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, Robin even represented Luke Skywalker. "I just got Mark Hamill two very lucrative dates doing auto shows," said Ward.

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15 Comments

PDCougar 11 months ago
Well, technically, nearly all of the Batman merchandise that was produced in the late 1960s was specifically based on the DC comics characters, not on the television show. I think the only merchandising that was specific to the show was the ViewMaster set from one of the Catwoman episodes. Numerous Batmobile toy cars were also produced based on the ABC program ... but none of those involved photos of Burt Ward or Adam West in the packaging; the actors wouldn't be entitled to merchandising of toy cars, because these didn't involve an performer's likeness.
cperrynaples 12 months ago
Anyone notice this strange oddity? MeTV got to the end of Gunsmoke on Friday, but instead of going back to Season 1, they started at Season 4! Where did the first 3 go? Don't bother with Paramount+,they only show the hours! My suggestion: Get a Frndly subscription, because several channels have Gunsmoke so if you wait long enough those episodes will pop up!
Andybandit 12 months ago
Good job Burt. He played Robin well. He was cute on Batman.
justjeff 12 months ago
This is a perfect example of why writers and actors are on strike in Hollywood. Too much wealth is made by the corporations, and little is paid to the creators and artists within the industry... but then again, I think they're ALL overpaid in the bigger picture (no pun intended). (Check the price of a current movie ticket if you doubt me...)

It makes you wonder if Weigel appropriately shares the wealth from all of the Svengoolie merchandise they hawk... I know they pay a prety penny to license the likenesses of the other characters they try to push in their "store" - none of which I'd ever consider purchasing...

(Let's also see if my opinion remains up, or if it gets deleted because Weigel doen't want me to comment on their sales practices...)
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LoveMETV22 Pacificsun 12 months ago
Ditto though to justjeff's comment. "Well said."
LoveMETV22 justjeff 12 months ago
"I know they pay a prety penny to license the likenesses of the other characters they try to push in their "store" - none of which I'd ever consider purchasing..."
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I wonder though? From the picture intro, if they will have a "pretty dollar" (slight pun intended),
perhaps with other actors beside Burt Ward,(he's probably pretty to some though), as a novelty item of course.
Bricat2001 Pacificsun 12 months ago
this is why i dont like the modern film/TV industry, theres too much abundance of CGI, uncreative writing, and crappy special effects to the point where it becomes the same movie over and over again >.< thats why i like channels like METV and laff because back then at least they were creative with their writing and effects (and cell animation :D)
clovergirl LoveMETV22 11 months ago
It's not a slice of the pie that the actors/writers are getting. It's the crumbs.
Runeshaper 12 months ago
I'm glad that Ward was able to turn that situation around!
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