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SPECIAL BOOK REVIEW

Batman: A Celebration of the Classic TV Show
Authors: Bob Garcia, Joe Desris
Publisher: Titan Books
RRP: $50 US
Release Date: November 29th, 2016

Synopsis: KA-POW! This is the book Batman Fans have been waiting for! For the first time, the classic 1960s TV series, starring Adam West and Burt Ward as Batman and Robin, gets the lavish, in-depth coffee table book tribute it so richly deserves. From the Rogues Gallery of Villains, including the Penguin, the Joker and Catwoman, to the car every kid wanted - the Batmobile - it’s all here! Holy History Batman!

The book will provide an in-depth and highly visual overview of the show, and the cultural impact it had, defining the Dynamic Duo for a generation, and bringing Pop Art to Primetime.

From the creation of the show, through the production of its 120 episodes over 3 seasons, to its legacy and afterlife in continual syndication around the world, the book will relive favorite moments, uncover behind the scenes secrets, and celebrate the people both in front of and behind the camera who brought Batman to the screen.

Filled with classic images, and rare and previously unseen photos and production art from archives and the private collections of Adam West, among many others, this will be the definitive companion to the series, both for long-standing fans, and newcomers discovering the show’s charms for the first time.

Batman: A Celebration of the Classic TV Series Book Review
By James Harvey

Absolutely jam-packed with photos, behind-the-scenes details and so much more, Batman: A Celebration of the Classic TV Series is an absolute gem of a book. Easily comparable to the likes of Batman: Animated, it really dives deep into the work that went into creating the beloved 1960s live-action series. If you're looking for the official, definitive look into how this beloved show came together, then look no further. Coming in at over 250 pages, this tome is the product of remarkable work, dedication and clear love for the source material.

Batman: A Celebration of the Classic TV Series covers the series from early pre-production to the final days, giving readers a look at casting, the guest stars, the set designs, filming and nearly every conceivable aspect of the show's run. We're treated to rare storyboards and design work, to small stories about what could have of been, to thoughts from the cast and crew themselves, collated from new interviews and statements made over the years. Divided into chapters, the books also offers a staggering amount of photos and artwork with a host of rarely-seen behind-the-scenes moments. Starting off with a heartfelt and lengthy introduction by Batman himself, Adam West, the book starts things off at the very beginning - with the series is first being shopped around - and allows the story to unfold from there.

One thing to note right away is the sheer amount of photos and design work that adorns the pages of Batman: A Celebration of the Classic TV Series. Showing actors between takes, spotlighting scenes as drawn by the production crew and the final version we now know, it's just an unbelievable wealth of material. Blindly flip to any page and you'll see some impressive photos and rarely seen production material, once that you likely haven't seen before. And usually accompanying these photos are great anecdotes, production artwork or notes from the studios. It's impressive just how closely the series was able to stick to the vision of its art director. And while the text may be sparse on occasion due to the abundance of images, it's still incredibly informative, as a lot of these photos say more than words could get across.

While the entire book is marvelous, simply in how much it collects, there are some really great standout bits. The Batman press photo on page 34 is a great stylized shot of Batman wielding his Batarang, that great shot of Batman and Robin in the Batcave on page 49, the two-page spread of Batman in the midst of some detective work on pages 80-81, another stand-out two page spread of Commissioner Gordon and Batman on pages 106-105, Adam West in costume and robe reading a script a few turns later on page 110, a hilarious shot of Alfred in the Batsuit on page 175 ... and that's just a tip of what the book offers. Barely a stone is left unturned, as we're even treated to stats of the Batmobile and other vehicles, a look at the "BIFF! BAM! POW!" sound effects, the series' stuntmen, it's just all here. And it's all accompanied with interviews, notes and recollections from the cast and crew, all arranged thoughtfully and deliberately with a natural flow.

And as informative as this book is, everything is presented in a light manner similar to the show itself. Chapter headings are done in the same rhyming scheme as the show, and the writing itself is easy to read and digest, all of it perfectly moving from one subject to the next. The love for this show is clear in every page, with the writing showing clear signs of joy with the authors writing about something they are clearly passionate about. Given the type of content this book manages to unearth - included actual typed studio notes and comments for one - it goes without saying this book was a very personal project.

There are also some neat 'extras'-type content in Batman: A Celebration of the Classic TV Series, such as a rundown of all of Robin's 'holy' exclamations and a pretty fantastic episode guide. The 'holy' list is actually pretty incredible, as there are just so many of these that, even without the context, are just so bizarre and out there. "Holy Non Sequiturs!" and "Holy Uncanny Photographic Mental Processes!" just might be my favorites. The list is in alphabetical order, with episode references and even includes some exclamations omitted from the series. The episode guide includes title screens and select images from the entire series.

However, as thorough as this book is, it doesn't really touch upon Batman: The Movie or the massive amounts of merchandise that was spawned from "Bat-mania." This may leave some readers disappointed, but I find it completely understandable. I imagine there are rights issues with the movie and some of the merchandising that may have been too muddied up, resulting in them not getting the focus some readers may have wanted. It's unfortunate, but it's not a deal-breaker nor should it stop anyone from picking up Batman: A Celebration of the Classic TV Series. This is still remains an impressively thorough look at the TV series, possibly the most detailed study to date, and shouldn't be dismissed or overlooked.

I can't overstate enough just how much content is packed into Batman: A Celebration of the Classic TV Series and how wonderfully it's put together. There's an absolutely insane amount of interesting and new material for even the most die-hard of Batman fans to uncover, and it's all captured in a beautiful presentation. This book, one that has been long in the making, is the perfect capper to the show's 50th anniversary. It truly is a celebration of how fantastic this series was, the impact it had at the time (and still does), and why Batman remains today such an important part in the lives of so many people. It's goes without question that this book is an Absolute Must Own and rightfully deserves a spot in any fan's collection.

"Batman: A Celebration of the Classic TV Series" is available through retail and digital outlets.

Related Review: Batman: Facts and Stats from the Classic TV Show

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