More TV Memories – Batman.

Batman (ABC, 1966-1968)

Now this is a TV show that is rather well-known, although I didn’t see this myself until there was a repeat run in the early-90s. The character of Batman had been around long before this show of course, originally becoming popular in comics. By the time that this came to the screen, there were a few questions. Was this a sitcom? Was this being played for laughs? Did people realise how strange all of this was?

In Gotham City, some know him as mild-mannered Bruce Wayne… but some, although they don’t realise it, know him as superhero Batman! The main character is played by Adam West, who was a good choice, because “nobody messes with Adam We!”. But he couldn’t have done any of it without this trusted sidekick, Robin The Boy Wonder.

They would always have to get into the Batmobile and come to the rescue against various villains. The most famous of these included The Joker, The Penguin, and The Riddler. And there were also the memorable fight scenes, mixed in with lots of sensational stunts, and crazy moments. Holy mackerel! That’s why the became known as The Dynamic Duo. There were 120 episodes packed into three series.

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What I do find interesting about Batman now though was how many different channels this has been repeated on over the years, and seemingly always aimed at different audiences. I remember watching this as part of Sharp’s Funday (that I reviewed a while ago) on Sunday afternoons on LWT, and I did find this enjoyable, and I think that there were also repeats on Saturdays around this time too.

By the mid-90s, the repeats had moved to Channel 4, but again they were aimed at younger viewers. And then in the 2000s, there was a repeat run on BBC4 in an evening slot. This really didn’t seem like the right channel for such a show, as this was supposed to feature educational programming. Maybe it was supposed to be an exploration of the campness and quirkiness of this era… or maybe they just bought them in cheap.

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And in the 2010s, this moved once again to ITV4, will these repeats never end? After the TV version, there would go on to be several high-profile and successful films, although these had a harder edge, along with other spin-offs. I also remember an animated version being shown as part of the early editions of CITV’s What’s Up Doc. And Adam West later went on to become the mayor of Quahog in Family Guy.

More TV Memories – The Late Show.

The Late Show With David Letterman (CBS, 1993-2015)

American TV has had a tradition of having a late show five nights a week that combined comedy and chat which goes back many years, and a few of these have also been shown in this country. I remember watching this one in the early-2000s when it was imported by ITV2. By this point, The Late Show was hosted by David Letterman (having joined CBS in 1993), who even in those days had long been established as one of the leading figures on TV, and was already an institution.

The show would come from a theatre in New York City, and usually follow the same format. Letterman would come on stage, accompanied by plenty of music from the regular band, fronted by Paul Shaffer. There would then be an opening monologue featuring lots of jokes about the latest news that would often be a success (although this was because seemingly hundreds of writers contributed). vlcsnap-00886

Then Letterman would take his seat and there would be a few features and sketches. These included a look at viewers’ fascinating comments in the Mailbag, which also featured contributions from various members of the production team. And there would be the excitement of Will It Float and Is This Anything. Well if they worked the first time, why not do it again, viewers loved it. vlcsnap-00890

And of course, there would also be the Top Ten list, one of the most famous features which got everyone laughing. And there would be plenty of guests interviewed, usually film stars aiming to promote their latest work, although this was never really the highlight of the show myself, partly because I’m not hugely interested in films and the tone was slightly more serious, I always preferred the daftness that you’d get at the beginning. vlcsnap-00889

Shows would then often end with a performance from a pop group, or a stand-up comedian’s routine, and our very own Harry Hill appeared a few times, trying to see if his rather odd style of humour would appeal Stateside. Unfortunately, because Letterman often spent so much time fidgeting with pencils and rambling on, they’d usually run out of time for this, and they’d all have to return another night to try again. vlcsnap-00887

The Late Show has been shown on various channels in the UK, including ITV2, where it was briefly shown in the evening, usually only a day or two after it was shown in America. It was then moved to a much later slot, before being bumped to ITV4, and then disappearing altogether. Letterman remained on top until his retirement in 2015, and it is remarkable to think that the UK has never produced a successful equivalent of this show.