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.SECRET ORIGINS OF THE BATMAN TV SHOW
Part Two: Holy Inspiration!

After accepting a job producing the Batman TV show from ABC TV, comic book virgin William Dozier says he “scurried around” New York, and bought “seven or eight different vintage copies of the Batman comic books.” Inquiring comic book fans want to know: Exactly WHICH issues did Dozier buy, and how did they effect the series? I, Robby Reed, have discovered the answers!

First, we have to realize that Dozier would have been severely limited in his choices. I don’t think it’s likely he in fact bought “seven or eight different vintage .copies,” because Batman didn’t appear in that many titles at the time. And in 1965, when no comic books shops existed, it’s far more likely that Dozier, who was certainly no fan of the genre, simply misused the term “vintage,” and actually bought half a dozen NEW comics.

As mentioned in part one, it’s been known for years that one of the comics Dozier bought that day was Batman #171. This book is cover-dated May 1965, but in those days comics were dated far in advance of the month they actually went on sale. A book cover-dated May could go on sale as early as March -- around the time when Dozier first met with ABC. Newsstands never carried back issues, but sometimes they still had issues from previous months, if only because they hadn’t sold yet.

So, given all that, let’s say you went “scurrying” around Manhattan in early- to mid-1965, as Dozier did, trying to buy every single Batman comic you could find. Using the issue we know Dozier bought as a guide, these are the six comics Dozier probably bought on that fateful day: JLA #34, Brave and Bold #59; JLA #35, Batman #171; World’s Finest #149; and Detective #339.
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JLA #34, APRIL 1965 BRAVE AND BOLD #59, APRIL 1965 JLA #35, MAY 1965

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BATMAN #171, MAY 1965 WF #149, MAY 1965 DETECTIVE #340, JUNE 1965
Keeping in mind that Dozier had never read a comic before (the horror... the horror...), and had never heard of Batman, what impression would these six books have made on him? The Justice League adventures had a whole team of costumed heroes fighting an army of bizarre villains, and it must have perplexed Dozier mightily -- although it may have been his first exposure to the Joker, who appears on the cover of JLA #34. The Brave and Bold story, featuring a sci-fi oriented team-up of Batman and Green Lantern battling the Time Commander, probably struck the Executive Producer as unfilmable nonsense.

This leaves the three books that I, Robby Reed, creator of this blog and author of this article, have come to realize are among most influential superhero comics of our time -- books second only to Action #1 and FF #1 in their importance, for they set the tone for the entire Batman TV series, which in turn set the tone of American comic books and pop culture for many years following.
BATMAN #171 - May 1965
.Batman #171 made a big impact on the William Dozier -- he would later adapt this issue for the series’ pilot episode. We'll be analyzing this adaptation in great detail in part three of this "Secret Origins" series. For now, all that need be said is that this issue, featuring the "Remarkable Ruse of the Riddler," only provided a plot for the "Batman" part of the show.

Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson only appear in one panel in this entire comic! Although the caption does mention “stately Wayne mansion,” the rest of the tale sheds no light whatsoever on Batman's world. New readers, such as Dozier, might not even understand from this story that Wayne and Grayson actually WERE Batman and Robin! So Dozier must have picked up the details of this all-important fact in another comic. A comic such as...
WORLD'S FINEST COMICS #149 - May 1965
.WF #149 featured a classic Silver Age type of story -- the kind where the heroes blatantly disregard their friends feelings, drive them almost to the point of suicide just for the sake of a ridiculous hoax, gag or contest, then laugh it off later and expect them to just forget about the entire thing, which they do.

In “The Game of Secret Identities,” Superman and Batman give each other partial amnesia to block out each’s memory of the other’s secret identity, then try to discover the other’s identity. A perfect setup for educating Dozier, who never knew what Batman’s identity was in the first place!

Here's how it starts: Superman "has a scare" that his secret identity may not be safe. He breaks into the Batcave, and...
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Batman deduces Superman's identity in record time, and...
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Superman "tricks" Batman and Robin into revealing their identities! Bruce wears an ascot!
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DETECTIVE COMICS #329 - June 1965
.Detective #329 featured "The Outsider Strikes Again," with the Dynamic Duo combating their own arsenal of Bat-weapons. This is the one! This modest, unassuming little comic book was destined to shape the entire Batman television series -- for here, in a single story, Dozier probably got his first exposure to many of the staples later seen in the TV series: the boomerang-like Batarang, the tricked-out Batmobile, the Bat-Hotline to Commissioner Gordon, and the Bat-cave.

This comic even inspired the show's producers to label the Bat-Computer, the Bat-Rocket, and everything in the Batcave, including the fireman-like poles used to access it. You don't believe me? Oh foolish reader. Never doubt Robby, because Robby always delivers the proof! Let's start with the Batarang...
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Next, the Batmobile attacks the Caped Crusaders, but they manage to escape!
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The Outsider has the Dynamic Duo baffled, but Dick has a prom date. Hey... that's Aunt Harriet!
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Take a look at this spread. See the flaming "Batman Only" sign, page 1, panel 3?
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A closer look. Wow! These two panels look like... Holy Inspiration! Scroll down! Quick!
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Access to the Batcave via Batpoles... Dick, Bruce! Que theme music!
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CLICK HERE TO GO TO "BATMAN ORIGINS" PART THREE!
SECRET ORIGINS OF THE BATMAN TV SHOW -- PART THREE
HOW TO BUILD A BAT!