Image: The Everett Collection
Batman is supposedly the ultimate detective. That's one of the things we love about the original Batman television series from 1966–68. Sure, it was campy, but the show played up his keen detective skills, more so than any of the movies.
That being said, we're guessing none of these little details would have slipped past the Batman. Secret cameos, recycled props — he'd note every one. So, did you ever notice these things?
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The Gotham City World's Fair is actually the 1964 New York World's Fair.
It's the first shot we see, in the very first episode. Yes, the entire series begins with stock footage, a quick montage from the 1964 New York's World's Fair. The "Republic of Moldavia" shown is merely the Thailand Pavilion from the event.
Series creator William Dozier has a very subtle cameo in the same episode.
In that same first story, "Hi Diddle Riddle," the show's executive producer William Dozier did a little acting — voice acting, at least. When Batman enters the Club a Go-Go, where he does the Batusi, an older maître d' approached him. The actor is a man named Carl Christie, but the voice is Dozier's. You'll immediately recognize it, as it is the voice of the narrator, the same that implored you to tune in to the "Same time, same channel!"
Dozier appears as a crook, too.
Later that season, in "Fine Finny Fiends," Batman looks through a series of mugshots on a screen. The first two are William Dozier and series producer Howie Horwitz. The latter also makes a brief cameo in the very last episode, "Minerva, Mayhem and Millionaires," wearing a yellow robe.
Batman's map of Gotham is just a map of St. Louis.
In a few instances, Batman relies on a clear, lucite map of his city he keeps in his Batcave. In fact, in "Instant Freeze" it shows up clearly labeled "Giant Lighted Lucite Map of Gotham City." It's actually a close up of downtown St. Louis, flipped. Though, since Batman tends to stand behind it, he's looking at St. Louis.
A young Teri Garr has an uncredited role in "Instant Freeze."
At the start of the episode, a crime occurs at a skating rink. A young, blonde skater runs out of the rink, blades still on her feet. Take a closer look and you'll recognize Teri Garr, who would later star in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Mr. Mom, Tootsie and more. Oh, and here's a fun fact about Mr. Freeze, the villain of this tale. He was originally called Mr. Zero in the comic books. The show changed his name to the far cooler Mr. Freeze, which stuck like a tongue on a frigid pole.
The Moth's costume was later recycled for Batgirl.
In "Ring of Wax," the Riddler is abetted by a female villain named Moth. She wears a skin-tight costume of sparkling purple. Seem familiar? The same look would be used later for Batgirl in season three.
This woman became Burt Ward's second wife.
Speaking of glittering purple suits, in "The Impractical Joker" a similarly dressed moll works with the Joker. She was played by Kathy Kersh. Burt Ward was seemingly immediately smitted with the guest star. The two actors married three months after the episode aired. The union only lasted a couple years.
Bruce Wayne and Catwoman shop at the same leopard store.
In "Hot off the Griddle," we see Catwoman (Julie Newmar) perched on her golden feline throne. A taxidermied leopard head is mounted atop the chair. Sharp-eyed viewers of this episode might do a double take. The same head is mounted on the wall in Bruce Wayne's study, too.
The Joker knew astronomy better than 1960s astronomers.
From its discovery in 1930 to its reclassification in 2006, Pluto was the ninth planet of our solar system. Alas, poor Pluto, it is now merely one of several "dwarf planets" in the Kuiper belt. Give the Joker credit. In the episode "The Penguin Declines," part three of an epic story that was once considered to be combined as a film, the laughing villain has henchmen (and a henchwoman) named after the planets. However, there is no Pluto on his team. He knew his astronomy.
Hey, look, it's Rob Reiner!
Long before he became Meathead on All in the Family and the director of This is Spinal Tap, Rob Reiner, son of Carl, made his second ever screen appearance in "The Penguin Declines." He delivers food to the Penguin.
One of the Manson Family victims appears on the show.
August 8, 1969, will forever remain a dark day in American history, when the Manson Family murdered six people, including actress Sharon Tate and celebrity hair stylist Jay Sebring. A few years early, Sebring popped up on Batman as a stylist, punningly named "Oceanbring" (get it?) in the episode "The Bat's Kow Tow." He's treating Catwoman's henchmen.
The Green Hornet must have used Airbnb.
The success of Batman led to a rush of television superheroes. William Dozier himself executive produced The Green Hornet, a show quite similar to Batman in everything but its tone. The two productions shared some key resources. The hero himself, Britt Reid (Van Williams) lived in a swanky apartment. The same set was used in a couple Batman stories, too. We see it as the posh home of Artemus Knab in "The Puzzles Are Coming." Later, the same distinctive pad and its staircase is memorably used as Catwoman seduces Batman in "Batman Displays His Knowledge."
Lost in Space recycled some props, too.
Irwin Allen, the brilliant mind behind small screen sci-fi hits like Lost in Space and Land of the Giants, was known to be a crafty recycler of studio props, as well. Most notably, the dinosaur seen in "How to Hatch a Dinosaur" turns up on Lost in Space as the "Questing Beast," after an orange paint job.
Catwoman's car ended up on another planet, too.
In "The Funny Feline Felonies," Catwoman (Eartha Kitt) cruises around in her vivid green Kitty Car. In real life, the vehicle was an aluminum show car dubbed "The Reactor." The dart-like speedster made its way to the stars, as well. On Star Trek, it was the only alien-made car ever seen in the series. Branded the Jupiter 8, it is seen in the television broadcast picked up from Planet 892-IV in "Bread and Circuses." The same car rolled its way on the Bewitched set, too, in the episode "Super Car."
The Skipper plays a Gilligan.
In "The Ogg and I," Alan Hale Jr., the beloved Skipper of Gilligan's Island, makes a brief cameo as a cook in a diner. His character's name? Gilligan.
Two episodes do not feature fights.
"Zelda the Great" and "Nora Clavicle and the Ladies' Crime Club" share a rare distinction amongst Batman episodes — they have no fight scenes. You'll not spot a "BAM!" or "ZAP!" here. Why? The villains and their goons are all women, and the Dynamic Duo could not throw a punch at the opposite sex.
James Brolin keeps turning up.
The veteran actor, father of Josh Brolin, collected a few early checks in his career on Batman. He can be seen in the series three times, in three roles. He drives an armored car in "The Cat and the Fiddle." He's a cop in "The Catwoman Goeth." Finally, he's a boxer named Kid Galahad in "Ring Around the Riddler."
Gee, Wally! It's the Beaver!
Jerry Mathers, the Beaver himself, makes a brief cameo — playing a character named "Pop," of all things. He's a stage doorman at a theater in "The Great Escape." Another fun fact from this episode: Dina Merrill, who played the villain Calamity Jane, is the woman who sold Mar-A-Lago to Donald Trump.
Batman's utility belt was made of sponges.
Holy absorbency! Find out how the 1966 prop was made — and how to make one yourself. Read more about this costume detail.