Eclipso '66

Eclipso ’66…Playing Cards With Batman Part Two

Welcome back to the Best Event Ever, an annual team-up of podcasts and blogs. Last year, we looked at Bloodlines, this year we’re tackling the 25th anniversary of Eclipso: The Darkness Within.

A brief recap from the first post about the Batman card game. Eclipso: The Darkness Within was the 2nd attempt by DC Comics to turn the character into a major villain like The Joker, Lex Luthor, and Darkseid. Believe it or not, DC’s first attempt to make him famous occurred all the way back in the Bat-tastic Year 1966.

There is so much cool Eclipso ‘66 stuff, that it will take separate posts to cover it. It all started in fact with Eclipso ‘66…What A Puzzling Beginning! – looking at some wonderful Batman ’66 puzzles made by Whitman.
Eclipso - Batman

In addition, as a reminder these images are courtesy of Vintage Batman and Willie Baronet. The wonderful Batman card game also featured character portraits for:
Eclipso '66
Eclipso '66
Batman and Robin out of costume.

Eclipso '66
Their amazing butler, who unfortunately looks nothing like the wonderful Alan Napier.

Eclipso '66
Since Dick Grayson is an orphan, I always assumed that Harriet Cooper was Bruce Wayne’s Aunt. I was surprised to learn that she is in fact Dick Grayson’s Aunt.

Eclipso '66
Unfortunately, Commissioner Gordon’s sidekick Chief O’Hara didn’t get a card.

Eclipso '66
Instead, the boys in blue are represented by this card.

Eclipso '66
The Mayor of Gotham City also makes an appearance. Again, he looks nothing like Mayor Linseed.

Batman has the coolest vehicles around, so thankfully they get their own cards as well.
Eclipso '66

Of all the Batmobiles, the one from this TV series is my favorite. Launchpad McQuack could do a better job flying the Batplane!
Eclipso '66

Eclipso '66
This is probably my favorite card in the whole set. It is so silly. It looks even less air worthy than the Flintstone Flyer. Image from the amazing Cartoon Brew.
Eclipso '66 - Flintstone Flyer

What would Batman be without his rogues gallery? This card game features seven more villains in addition to Eclipso ’66 and the Queen Bee. Batman’s big four – Joker, Penguin, Catwoman, and Riddler are present.
Eclipso '66
Eclipso '66
Eclipso '66
These days, Cat Woman is one word.

Eclipso '66
Did you know that before Frank Gorshin’s wonderful performance as the Riddler, he was a minor Batman villain who didn’t appear in comics very often?

Eclipso '66
Mr. Zero was the original name of Mr. Freeze. But, I don’t think he was ever referred to as Mr. Zero in Batman ‘66.

Eclipso '66
Calendar Man is a really odd choice because in back in 1966, he was a minor villain with only a handful of appearances. It wasn’t until 1996 and Batman: The Long Halloween that he became popular.

Eclipso '66
Blockbuster was a brand new Bat-villain who first appeared in November 1965. While he is still around, he never became a major Bat-villain.


Image courtesy of YvonneCraig.Com My only complaint about this set of cards is that Batgirl wasn’t included. But in all fairness, Yvonne Craig didn’t appear on Batman ‘66 until September 1967. That is a year after these cards were produced. So, I think I can forgive her absence. :)

Remember to revisit The Retroist in a few days for the conclusion of the Eclipso ‘66 trilogy.


Next time out, we’ll be reading comic books together. You won’t want to miss this because one of Eclipso’s relatives and the Queen Bee’s fiancé will be joining us. Hint: they both also appeared in this post. Want to read or listen to more about Eclipso? Check out the other amazing Best Event Ever members:
Chris and Reggie’s Cosmic Treadmill
Chris is on Infinite Earths
Coffee & Comics Podcast
For the Non-Discerning Reader
I’m The Gun
The Pop Culture Palace
Relatively Geeky Network
Rolle Spine Podcasts

Eclipso - Batman Card Header

Eclipso ’66…Playing Cards With Batman – Part One

Welcome to Best Event Ever, an annual team-up of podcasts and blogs. Last year, we looked at Bloodlines, this year we’re tackling the 25th anniversary of Eclipso: The Darkness Within.

Eclipso - 25 Logo

Eclipso: The Darkness Within was the 2nd attempt by DC Comics to turn the character into a major villain like The Joker, Lex Luthor, and Darkseid. Believe it or not, DC’s first attempt to make him famous occurred all the way back in the Bat-tastic Year 1966.

There is so much cool Eclipso ‘66 stuff, that it will take three separate posts to cover it. This is my 2nd post about the character. My first post – Eclipso ‘66…What A Puzzling Beginning! – looked at some wonderful Batman ‘66 puzzles made by Whitman.

Eclipso - Batman

Writing this post has been hard, because while working on it, Adam West passed away. I wrote a tribute to Adam West as well as Vic Sage.

If you would like to see what Vic had to say about the passing of Adam West

In addition to amazing puzzles, in 1966 Whitman released a wonderful Batman ‘66 card game.
Eclipso - Batman Cards

Images of these cards come from Vintage Batman and Willie Baronet.
Eclipso - Batman Card Game
Eclipso - Rules

The game is a variation on old maid with Batman…
Eclipso - Batman

…and Robin. With Robin replacing the Old Maid.

Mixed in with Batman’s friends and foes are certainly two unusual choices:
The star of our post!

Last time out, I promised I’d introduce the femme fatale of Eclipso ‘66! So without further ado, let me introduce – The Queen Bee!

Other than the Batman ‘66 puzzles, the Queen Bee and our star villain went hand in hand back in 1966. So the Queen Bee will also be returning in my final Eclipso ‘66 post. What I find interesting is that while these two were a matched set, there wasn’t any chemistry between them. The Queen Bee was already engaged to … But I’m getting ahead of my self. For that story, tune in same Eclipso time, same Eclipso channel for part 3 of this trilogy.

Want to read or listen to more about this legendary DC Comics villain? Check out the other amazing Best Event Ever members:
Chris and Reggie’s Cosmic Treadmill
Chris is on Infinite Earths
Coffee & Comics Podcast
For the Non-Discerning Reader
I’m The Gun
Pop Culture Palace
Relatively Geeky Network
Rolled Spine Podcasts

Adam West

Rest In Peace: Adam West (1928 – 2017)

It very much hurts my heart to write that Adam West passed away yesterday. I was stunned this morning when I saw the various news feeds were sharing this information. I had to stop and collect myself for a few moments. As I find it hard to imagine that Adam West, the man who was the epitome of Batman in my younger years is gone.
Adam West

Born William West Anderson in Walla Walla, Washington back in 1928. Adam West got his start as an television actor as a co-host for the The Kini Popo Show. A children’s program that aired in Hawaii.

Image courtesy of Neatorama.

It was in 1959 when William moved to Hollwood with his Wife and two children that he changed his name. Picking Adam West as he once said because of how it looked and sounded with his middle name. West would appear in supporting character roles in film as well as television for about 7 years. I would say his most notable roles included his 30 episode run on 1961’s The Detectives. Furthermore he also had a memorable performance in the 1964 science fiction film, Robinson Crusoe on Mars.
Adam West - Robinson Crusoe on Mars

In fact at the same time he was appearing in the likes of Colt .45, Maverick, and Bonanza. Adam West was also busy working in various commercials.

[Via] Shock Cinema Magazine

Including the one that would secure him the lead for the Batman TV series. That was of course as the suave Captain Q for Nestle Quik!

[Via] Jon Ganahl

It was certainly that commercial that caught Batman producer William Dozier’s attention. However there was one actor considered besides Adam West to play the part of Bruce Wayne and Gotham’s protector. That was future Wonder Woman co-star Lyle Waggoner!

[Via] Just Wondering 50

While I personally think that Waggoner would have been fine as the lead. I cannot on the other hand imagine it being as fun as what Adam West brought to the role. Having said that I think we need to share this bit of information…Adam West had to stand his ground with William Dozier on how to play the character!

[Via] PBS

While of course the popularity of the Batman TV series catapulted all the stars of the show into fame. The truth of the matter is that for West, Burt Ward, as well as Yvonne Craig – they were now typecast. Adam West and Ward managed to make appearances in character as a way to make ends meet after the show. In addition, Adam still continued to do guest roles in popular TV shows of the time like Night Gallery, Mannix, and The Love Boat to name a few.

I am sure that Adam West couldn’t help but feel a little resentment however small towards Batman. However that didn’t stop him from lending his memorable voice to the role in numerous animated series. Such as The New Adventures of Batman, SuperFriends: The Legendary Super Powers Show. As well as The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians!

[Via] Hewey 1972

All in all West amassed 193 acting credits. Including playing a fictionalized version of himself in Seth MacFarlane’s long running Family Guy. In addition to lending his voice alongside Burt Ward as Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy in SpongeBob SquarePants.
Adam West - Mermaid Man

In fact, just last year West alongside Ward and Julie Newmar appeared in the animated Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders. An exceptional love letter to fans of the legacy of the Batman ’66. In addition it was also announced last year that the three would team up once again. This time for the upcoming Batman vs. Two-Face. Moreover the actor portraying the character that couldn’t appear on Batman ’66 is William Shatner!
Adam West - William Shatner

[Via] DC Entertainment

I am of course very sad that Adam West has passed on. My own sadness is relieved a little however thanks to the many hours of entertainment he has left us as his legacy. Now I plan on going back down into the Retroist Vault and pay tribute to West. By watching what is essentially a tribute episode to the actor on the 1992 episode of Batman: The Animated Series

Adam West as the Gray Ghost!

[Via] Tim Geraci

Eclipso - DC Comics

Eclipso ‘66…What A Puzzling Beginning!

Welcome to Best Event Ever, an annual team-up of podcasts and blogs. Last year, we looked at Bloodlines, this year we’re tackling the 25th anniversary of Eclipso: The Darkness Within.
Eclipso - 25 Logo

Eclipso: The Darkness Within was the 2nd attempt by DC Comics to turn the character into a major villain like The Joker, Lex Luthor, and Darkseid. Believe it or not, DC’s first attempt to make him famous occurred all the way back in the Bat-tastic Year 1966. There is so much cool Eclipso ‘66 stuff, that it will take three separate posts to cover it.

In 1966, Whitman released a series of Batman puzzles. They were frame tray puzzles, i.e. puzzles which had large pieces which fit into a cardboard frame. The puzzles measured 11 1/2″ x 14 1/2″. I wanted to thank Batman Yesterday, Today, and Beyond for some of these images.
Eclipso - Batman and Robin

These puzzles featured Batman and Robin in each one.
Eclipso - Joker

Eclipso

Since the Joker was Batman’s best known foe, he was featured in more than one puzzle. You’d think there’d be puzzles featuring Batman and Robin facing Penguin or Catwoman.

Instead, they made this amazing puzzle with Eclipso. I think this puzzle is the best of the series. Robin is down on one knee and clearly injured. Batman is swinging on a chain winch over a vat of boiling chemicals, while the villain is using his black diamond to melt the chain. Talk about a great image.
Eclipso - Batman

I have a really cool story about this puzzle. When I first heard that Best Event Ever was covering Eclipso: The Darkness Within, I decided to opt out. I’d never read a comic book featuring the character and the only thing I knew about him was from his one appearance in the Justice League Animated Series.
Eclipso - Justice League

When I told my husband about the crossover, he explain to me that he has loved Eclipso ever since he was a little kid. In fact, he considers him to be the very first super villain that he was a fan of.

When my husband was little he and his brother had that frame puzzle. It was missing a piece, so he didn’t know exactly what Eclipso looked like. Plus, his name didn’t appear on the puzzle, so he didn’t even know the bad guy’s name. Since he’d never heard of him before, he had to make up his powers and back story. The only thing my husband knew for certain was that he must be a major Batman villain since he was featured in such a cool puzzle. It wasn’t until years later that my husband spotted a comic book featuring Eclipso and found out that everything he knew about Eclipso was wrong.

Remember to revisit The Retroist in a few days for the 2nd installment of Eclipso ‘66. Next time out, we’ll play cards against Batman and introduce the femme fatale of Eclipso ‘66!

Want to read or listen to more about Eclipso? Check out the other amazing Best Event Ever members:
Chris and Reggie’s Cosmic Treadmill
Chris on Infinite Earths
Coffee & Comics Podcast
For the Non-Discerning Reader
I’m The Gun
Pop Culture Palace
Relatively Geek Network
Rolled Spine Podcasts

Batman ’66 3¾” Figures Revealed: Finally, The Heroes We Both Deserve AND Need

Retroist readers, it took me a minute or two to literally stop dancing in my office (believe me, I’m getting some looks), stop singing the Nelson Riddle Batman theme, and write this up for you. If the news from the real world is getting you down, this news is guaranteed to pick you up. Friends, bear with me and forgive my journalistic trespasses, for this brief article is bereft of any objectivity whatsoever.

Funko’s ReAction line is bringing characters and vehicles from the 1966 Batman TV series to the 3¾” scale (known almost by default as “Kenner Star Wars scale”.

Take a moment to let that sink in. Like the recently announced Twin Peaks figures also expected this year from Funko, the Batman figures will have more than 5 points of articulation.




(I wonder if they will release a variant edition of Mister Freeze – who was also portrayed by George Saunders and Eli Wallach. This toy design certainly appears to be based off the time that Otto Preminger played the character in the Batman ’66 series. – Vic)

And get a load of this glorious, glorious Batmobile.

The show’s villains are well-represented, and not even the most obvious ones: Mr. Freeze, King Tut and Catwoman are just the tip of the iceberg of memorable baddies that could be commemorated in plastic.
Conspicuous by their absence: the Joker, the Riddler, and the Penguin. (I have no insider info, but just between you and me and the Batcave, I smell a box set waiting to happen there. There’s clearly no issue with likeness rights, as both the Riddler and the Penguin will be appearing in the second wave of Funko’s Batman ’66 Vinyl Pops.)
Batman '66

And while she may have been a late addition to the show, Batgirl will be one of the first arrivals in figure form.

If you, like me, have been waiting for this moment since you were six years old, well, I’m gonna start up the Batman soundtrack in my office and start dancing again until these are in the stores.

When he’s not keeping score at the Retroist, Earl Green is the founder, head writer and podcaster-in-chief at theLogBook.om, a site devoted in roughly equal parts to classic sci-fi, classic video games, classic soundtracks, and space history. He can be heard on theLogBook.com’s Escape Pod daily mini-podcast of geek history, and monthly on the Select Game, Don’t Give This Tape To Earl, and In The Grand Theme Of Things podcasts.