With its recent release on HBO Max, The Batman continues to reshape the public’s perception of what a superhero movie can be. But it’s hardly the first time that the Dark Knight appeared on screen. In fact, outside of some serials of questionable quality in the 1940s, Batman’s feature film debut came with 1966’s Batman: The Movie.
For some viewers, there could not be a larger disparity between the pop art of the 60s movie and the gothic look of Matt Reeves’s film. But the Corridor Crew on YouTube found a way. A recently-posted video recreates The Batman’s first trailer, digitally replacing actors from the 2022 film with their 1966 counterparts. Instead of Robert Pattinson solving the clues of Paul Dano’s Riddler, we watch Adam West stare down Frank Gorshin. Now, it’s the 1955 Ford Lincoln Futura Batmobile instead of a ’69 Charger chasing down Burgess Meredith’s Penguin, who speaks in squawks instead of Colin Farrell’s Chicago patter.
It’s an incredibly impressive video, and not just for the nostalgia factor. The Corridor Crew finds a visual middle ground between the two approaches to Batman, dimming the candy colors of the 1960s version and brightening Reeves’s palette. The result is some truly delightful moments, including a strobe effect as Batman deflects bullets by dancing, and a new plot about Riddler creating a bigger bomb. But the best aspect of the video must be the music, which reworks Link Wray’s iconic 66 theme in the thundering style that composer Michael Giacchino used for The Batman’s score.
Some might complain that the trailer retains Zoë Kravitz’s Catwoman instead of inserting any of the three actresses who played the character in the 60s, Lee Meriwether, Julie Newmar, and Eartha Kitt. Also missing is Neil Hamilton as Commissioner Gordon, as Jeffrey Wright sticks around for this version, but that does spare viewers the return of Stafford Repp’s uncomfortable stereotype Chief Miles O’Hara. Plus, this trailer gives us Burt Ward as Robin piloting the Batcopter, so it’s a net positive overall.
Batman: The Movie was rushed into production after the first season of Batman proved to be a major hit on ABC. Written by Lorenzo Semple Jr. and directed by Leslie H. Martinson, Batman: The Movie followed the dynamic duo as they tried to rescue members of the United World Organization’s World Counsel from a plot hatched by a confederation of villains, including not only the Penguin, Riddler, and Catwoman (Meriwether), but also Caesar Romero’s Joker.
Although unofficial, this video continues a series of returns for previous Batmen. Michael Keaton is set to reprise the role in the upcoming movies Batgirl and The Flash, while Christian Bale comes back to superhero movies as Gorr the God Butcher in this summer’s Thor: Love and Thunder. West passed away in 2017, but he and Ward got their own encore in the form of the animated movies Batman: Return of the Caped Crusader (2016), and Batman Vs. Two-Face (2017). Both of those movies, as well as The Batman, can be found on HBO Max.