Welcome back to MEMORABLE MOVIE QUOTES, that column where we look at memorable quotes in the movies.
With BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE (2016) due out in theaters on March 25, let’s take a fun look back now at the 1960s version of BATMAN, starring Adam West as the Caped Crusader. West’s hilarious take on the character was the way a lot of us of a certain age were first introduced to Batman, and the way we still fondly think of him today.
The 1960s BATMAN TV show ran on ABC from 1966-1968, and it remains one of the funniest interpretations of a superhero ever. Of course, when I was a tyke watching this on TV, the comedy went over my head. I just thought it was a fun action adventure.
The movie version, BATMAN (1966), was originally slated to premiere before the show, but it didn’t happen that way and was actually released after the show had already started airing.
Let’s take a look now at some of the memorable lines in this incredibly entertaining superhero vehicle, starring Adam West as Batman, Burt Ward as Robin, Cesar Romero as the Joker, Burgess Meredith at the Penguin, Lee Meriwether as Catwoman, and Frank Gorshin as the Riddler, screenplay by Lorenzo Semple, Jr.
Semple Jr. also wrote the scripts for KING KONG (1976), FLASH GORDON (1980) and the last Sean Connery Bond film, NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN (1983). BATMAN is full of quotable lines. Let’s have a listen.
For me, the most memorable line from the movie, and the one that always pops into my mind first whenever I think of BATMAN, comes from one of its most memorable sequences, where Batman (Adam West) and Robin (Burt Ward) infiltrate a seedy bar and discover a bomb there. Batman grabs the bomb and attempts to dispose of it, but everywhere he runs, someone is there, and he can’t find any place to get rid of it. At one point, he’s about to chuck it into the ocean, but he doesn’t when he sees baby ducklings swimming.
Finally, he says exasperatedly:
BATMAN: Some days you just can’t get rid of a bomb.”
Moments later, it explodes, but no worries, Batman was able to shield himself and survive the blast.
Robin criticizes Batman for risking his life to safe the ruffians in the bar, to which Batman replies, teaching his young sidekick:
BATMAN: They may be drinkers, Robin, but they’re still human beings.
Of course, a lot of the humor comes from Batman and Robin’s attempts to decipher the Riddler’s riddles. For example:
BATMAN (reading the Riddler’s riddle): What has yellow skin and writes?
ROBIN: A ball-point banana!
BATMAN (reading): What people are always in a hurry?
ROBIN: Rushing people… Russians!
BATMAN: So this means—.
ROBIN: Someone Russian is going to slip on a banana and break their neck!
BATMAN (excitedly): Precisely, Robin!
Later, Commissioner Gordon (Neil Hamilton) and Chief O’Hara (Stafford Repp) join in on the riddling solving business:
CHIEF O’HARA (reading): What does a turkey do when he flies upside down?
ROBIN: He gobbles up!
CHIEF O’HARA: Of course.
BATMAN: And, number two?
COMMISSIONER GORDON (reading): What weighs six ounces, sits in a tree and is very dangerous?
ROBIN: A sparrow with a machine gun!
COMMISSIONER GORDON: Yes, of course.
Of course, these scenes work so well because everyone involved handles them so seriously. Both O’Hara and Gordon keep a straight face and react to Robin’s answers as if they are as straightforward as the time of day.
And who can forget Adam West’s energetic peformance and boisterous delivery of lines as Batman? His Batman is as much a 1960s icon as James Bond, Star Trek, and the Beatles. The ongoing joke in the show, and in this movie, is that Batman simply doesn’t realize how funny he is. He plays everything straight, even though his lines of dialogue are hilarious.
Here’s more riddle fun:
BATMAN (reading a message written in the sky by one of Riddler’s missiles): What goes up white and comes down yellow and white?
ROBIN: An egg!
BATMAN (reading another skywritten message): How do you divide seventeen apples among sixteen people?
ROBIN: Make applesauce!
BATMAN: Apples into applesauce. A unification into one smooth mixture. An egg—nature’s perfect container. The container of all our hopes for the future.
ROBIN: A unification and a container of hope? United World Organization!
BATMAN (Excitedly): Precisely, Robin!
Right after this, with their bat copter out of commission, Robin suggests they hail a cab to make it to the United World Organization building, but Batman won’t hear of it. Why ride when you can walk?
BATMAN: Luckily, we’re in tip-top condition. It’ll be faster if we run. Let’s go!
One of Batman’s best bits of dialogue comes in this scene where Catwoman (Lee Meriwether) disguised as Russian reporter Miss Kitka asks Batman and Robin to take off their masks, much to the horror of Commissioner Gordon and Chief O’Hara.
KITKA: If you please, to take off the mask to give the better picture?
COMMISSIONER GORDON: Great Scott! Batman take off his mask?
CHIEF O’HARA: The woman must be mad!
BATMAN (calmly): Please, Chief O’Hara. All of you. This young lady is a stranger to our shores. Her request is not unnatural, however, impossible to grant.
BATMAN: Indeed. If Robin and I were to remove our masks, the secret of our true identities would be revealed.
COMMISSIONER GORDON: Completely destroying their value as ace crimefighters.
CHIEF O’HARA: Sure, ma’am. Not even Commisioner Gordon and myself know who they really are.
ROBIN: In fact, our own relatives we live with don’t know.
KITKA: But your so curious costumes—.
ROBIN: Don’t be put off by them, ma’am. Underneath this garb, we’re perfectly ordinary Americans.
KITKA: You are like the masked vigilantes in the Westerns, no?
COMMISSIONER GORDON: Certainly not! Batman and Robin are fully deputized agents of the law.
ROBIN: Support your police! That’s our message!
BATMAN: Well said, Robin, and no better way to end this press conference. Thank you, and good day.
And in fitting fashion, when the movie ends, and Batman and Robin have saved the day, rather than leaving through the door, Batman suggests a better and more unassuming way to exit the proceedings.
BATMAN (deliberately): Let’s go, but, inconspicuously, through the window.
Batman (Adam West) and Robin (Burt Ward) getting ready to leave inconspicuously through the window.
We end with the dialogue that always breaks me up whenever I watch this movie. Batman is trying to locate the whereabouts of the four supervillains and acts on a tip that they have in their possession a submarine. He telephones a Navy Admiral in the hope of learning more, and he finds out that yes, the Navy has sold the submarine, and when he asks for a forwarding address, the Admiral replies that he didn’t get one from the buyer.
ADMIRAL: Your tone sounds rather grim. We haven’t done anything foolish, have we?
BATMAN (with the slightest agitation in his voice): Disposing a pre-atomic submarine to persons who don’t even leave their full addresses—. Good day, Admiral!
ADMIRAL (after Batman hangs up): Gosh!
There you have it. I hope you enjoyed these quotes from BATMAN. Join me again next time when we look at more memorable quotes from another memorable movie.
Thanks for reading!