When I was growing up, I would watch the 1966 Batman TV show for at least an hour every day. I always loved it when a celebrity would pop through a window during Batman and Robin's famous vertical Bat-Climbs (which, as you can see in the graphic above, was just a hilariously cheap camera trick). Even when I had no idea who these people were -- which was often -- the fact that people were just stopping to chat with Batman on his way to punch out crooks was always fun.
That's why I was pretty excited when I saw that there was a video with all fourteen Bat-Climb Window Cameos cut together. Check it out, along with a little bit of commentary on who these folks were, after the cut!
So just who were these curious people who just happened to be hanging out in the same hotels as the Riddler and the Penguin? Here's how it breaks down:
1. Jerry Lewis
2. Dick Clark
3. The Green Hornet and Kato
The Green Hornet (Van Williams) and Kato (Bruce Lee) famously appeared on a crossover episode, "A Piece of the Action" / "Batman's Satisfaction." In those, the plot relied on the fact that the world at large -- including Batman -- thought that Green Hornet and Kato were criminals.
Here, however, Batman and Robin are fully aware that the Green Hornet and Kato are good guys who are "pursuing the enemies of law and order wherever they might be," even if Batman is a little brusque about the Hornet swooping in on his territory. The thing is, the cameo predates the crossover episode, making this the only times I can think of that the show actually violated its own continuity.
4. Sammy Davis Jr.
5. Bill Dana as José Jiménez
You may not be familiar with Bill Dana and his José Jiménez character, because you may not be one hundred years old. According to Wikipedia, Dana was a commedian and a regular on the Ed Sullivan Show, who "often portrayed the Jiménez character as an astronaut." So there's that.
What's really interesting about this one, however, is the fact that the jury has apparently decided to execute a criminal by hanging him with the Bat-Rope. Pretty harsh, but the knowledge that Gotham City '66 had the death penalty certainly explains why the Joker tended to go more for thematic robberies than murder sprees.
6. Howard Duff as Detective Sam Stone from Felony Squad
7. Werner Klemperer as Colonel Klink from Hogan's Heroes
Aaaaaaand this one is where things pretty much go off the rails. As though it wasn't weird enough that Batman and Robin were just amicably chatting with a Nazi war criminal who ran a prison camp, there's also the fact that Hogan's Heroes took place during World War II, and the insinuation that Klink was still holding Colonel Hogan hostage twenty years after the end of the war.
I'm just saying, maybe that should be a higher priority than stopping an evil cowboy.
8. Ted Cassidy as Lurch from The Addams Family
It is my greatest wish that Batman would start saying things like "Yes, citizen, you may return to your harpsichord" again.
9. Don Ho
10. Santa Claus
11. Art Linkletter
12. Edward G. Robinson
13. Suzy Knickerbocker
Until I looked it up, I was convinced that "Suzy Knickerbocker" was a MAD Magazine-esque parody name, but it turns out she was a real person. Or at least, "Suzy Knickerbocker" was the pen name of columnist Aileen Mehle, which is close enough.
14. Cyril Lord, the Carpet King
And the same goes for our final cameo. "Cyril Lord, the Carpet King" sounds so much like a name that Otto Binder or Bill Finger would've come up with for an antagonist in a comic from 1958 that I was shocked to find out that he was actually a real person. Honestly, you could not ask for a more stereotypical British villain name, and the idea that he could wrap Batman up in a constricting carpet deathtrap while he tried to steal the legendary Flying Carpet from the Gotham City Museum of Arabian Antiquities basically writes itself.
But unfortunately, he's just a wealthy carpet manufacturer from England, which has a Queen. And a fine lady she is.
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