Holy Merchandising Mania! Warner Brothers Consumer Products Secures Licensing Rights to Original ’60s “Batman” Television Show

Adam West and Julie Newmar (as Catwoman) get better acquainted in this scene from the 60s classic TV show. (Photo: Warner/DC)

Adam West and Julie Newmar (as Catwoman) prepare to get better acquainted in this memorable scene from the original Batman TV series. Purrrrfect! (Photo: Warner/DC)

After a long, 40-year wait, fans of the original Batman TV-series can finally, once again, look forward to stores filled with merchandise based on the colorful, campy and kitschy TV show. In a recent article in Variety, it is revealed that Warner Brothers has finally resolved its lengthy legal wranglings with all the other rights holders (DC, 20th Century Fox, the actors, etc.). This move promises to unleash a tidal wave of toys and new products. We can only hope that it means some new 1:6 scale merchandise is on its way as well, possibly from Round 2’s Captain Action line, Sideshow Toys or even Hasbro. According to the article by Marc Graser:

Burt Ward and Yvonne Craig in a scene from the original Batman TV series. The number of characters and gadgets worthy of merchandising in this show are practically endless. Holy, Bat Profits! (Photo: Warner/DC)

Burt Ward and Yvonne Craig in a scene from the original Batman TV series. The number of characters worthy of merchandising in this show are practically endless. Holy, Bat Profits! (Photo: Warner/DC)

“For the first time in 40 years, Warner Bros. Consumer Products will be able to use the likeness of the show’s stars, including Adam West, Burt Ward, Cesar Romero and Burgess Meredith, on everything from apparel to toys, home goods, publishing and promotions.

WBCP will introduce the new “Batman” product opportunities to potential partners and retailers at next week’s Licensing Expo, running June 12-14 in Las Vegas. First products will launch in the spring.

Retailers had requested a larger merchandise line tied to the show over the years, but studio arm had previously been able to use only the series’ logo, POW!-packed animated opening sequence and the Batmobile for product, not the actors, due to rights issues as the series was produced by 20th Century Fox. As a result, studio was limited to a small line of T-shirts and a die-cast Batmobile made by Mattel.

Division is eager to exploit the “Batman” series, which aired on ABC from 1966-68, especially its colorful characters, gadgets like the Bat phone and Bat boat, and kitschy humor, an easier sell for retailers than the darker, more serious and gritty tone of Christopher Nolan’s film trilogy.

Company is talking to department stores about carrying exclusive lines of “Batman” show merchandise, the way Bloomingdale’s turned to its household brands like Marc Jacobs and Psycho Bunny to tap into the 75th anniversary of DC Comics.”

In the Bat Cave alone, there are hundreds of items worthy of merchandising: the “Bat Computer,” the “Bat Radar,” etc. How would you like your own 1:6 “Atomic Pile” generator? (Photo: Warner/DC)

Bottom Line: No mention was made of releasing the actual series on DVD. But with the coming flood of new toys, gadgets, t-shirts and other items being released, can the TV series DVD set be far behind? Stay tuned to The Joe Report for updates!

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