The Rogues Gallery of Gotham

March 17, 2015 9:22 PM

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The Rogues Gallery of Gotham

It isn’t easy to define that arch blend of irony and low humor we call camp. But as Justice Potter Stewart once wrote of pornography, we know it when we see it. And its presence is unmistakable in the old “Batman” TV series, broadcast on ABC in prime time from 1966 to 1968. The relatively short life of the show—which starred Adam West in the title role and Burt Ward as Robin, his young sidekick—suggests that it didn’t generate much impact. In fact, its initial run was meteoric, and the program enjoyed a robust second life in afternoon syndication.

Since then, though, the show has largely vanished from the public sphere (though not from the memories of its once-youthful fans), replaced by newer iterations of characters first realized in comic books by Bob Kane and Bill Finger and subsequently darkened in that form by Frank Miller and others. H...

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