1966 was the year of the superhero, thanks to Batman. After the camp version premiered on ABC in January, starring Adam West in the title role, Batman triggered a fascination that inspired a slew of iconic guest villains: Cesar Romero as the Joker, Burgess Meredith as the Penguin, Julie Newmar and Eartha Kitt as Catwoman; Art Carney as the Archer, Milton Berle as Louie the Lilac, Frank Gorshin and John Astin as the Riddler; Victor Buono as King Tut, Vincent Price as Egghead, and several others in Gotham City’s Rogues Gallery.
Batman‘s format was simple. A villain terrorizes Gotham City, igniting Police Commissioner Gordon and Police Chief O’Hara to call Batman on a secret phone line. Unbeknownst to Gotham City’s top cops, the other end of the phone line is located at stately Wayne Manor, home of millionaire Bruce Wayne and his ward, Dick Grayson. Batman and Robin. The Dynamic Duo. The Caped Crusaders.
Typically, Alfred Pennyworth, Wayne’s butler, answers the phone and slyly tells his employer about the urgent phone call without revealing the identity of the caller. This, so other people in the room, e.g., Wayne’s Aunt Harriet, do not learn of Bruce Wayne’s alter ego.
Neil Hamilton played Gordon. Stafford Repp played O’Hara. Burt Ward played Grayson/Robin.
On June 25, 1966, Batman and the Riddler went to New York City, Gotham City’s real-life counterpart. Adam West and Frank Gorshin reprised their roles for a a�?Batman Concerta�? in front of approximately 3,000 fans at Shea Stadium, home of the New York Mets. Seven rock and roll groups were also on the bill.
When Batman showed up, a�?the 3,000 sounded like 30,000 nowa��as Batman circled the field in a Cadillac (the Batmobile was in for repairs, no doubt),a�? wrote Robert Sherman in the New York Times.
Gorshin took aim at the Mets’ woeful play. One example pointed out by Sherman: a�?Why are the Mets like my mother-in-law’s biscuits? They both need a better batter.a�?
Batman’s success ignited a slew of superheroes. CBS labeled its Saturday morning cartoon block Super Saturday for the 1966-67 television season; shows included Underdog, Space Ghost, and The New Adventures of Superman.
Though it set off a popular culture trend, Batman faded in appeal almost as quickly as it catapulted to the throne of the popular culture kingdom. ABC canceled the show after its third season. A film version premiered in the summer of 1966. Lee Meriwether played Catwoman. West, Ward, Romero, Meredith, and Gorshin reprised their roles.
Managed by Wes Westrum, the Mets compiled a 66-95 record in 1966. It was, in a sense, a breakthrough seasona��1966 was the first year that the Mets did not lose 100 or more games. The barons of blue and orange finished in 9th place in the National League, 28 A? games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers, who got swept by the Baltimore Orioles in the ’66 World Series. Additionally, three teams debuted new stadiums in 1966a��Atlanta Stadium (Braves), Anaheim Stadium (Angels), and Busch Memorial Stadium (Cardinals).
Though the Mets finished 9th, they notched 2nd place in attendance for the Senior Circuita��1,932,693 of the Flushing Faithful went to Shea Stadium in 1966. Loyalty abounds for the Mets, no matter the tally on the scoreboard.