Superhero fans rejoice, because Warner Bros. has now obtained the full merchandising rights to the classic 60's Batman TV series. For those unfamiliar, the show starred Adam West and Burt Ward respectively as Batman and Robin, and aired on ABC from 1966-1968. Despite its short run, the show had a long life in re-runs, and its campy, irreverent take on the caped crusader became iconic.
Unfortunately, the show has never been released to any type of home video format. The reason for this is an almost comedic amount of rights issues between various companies, most prominently between WB and FOX. While the show aired on ABC, FOX was the actual production company and thus owned the show itself, while WB (parent company of DC Comics) owned the characters and universe. Both companies demanded a bigger slice of the pie than the other was comfortable with, and as a result the show has practically vanished. Re-runs no longer air on TV, and the only option for fans are unofficial bootlegs taken from recordings that are several generations old.
While the press release on Warner's legal victory doesn't mention home video products, it does say that they have the full merchandising rights, and one would have to assume that home videos count as a type of merchandise. Obviously, nothing is close to official yet, but you'd think releasing the actual episodes to DVD or Blu-Ray would now be a high priority. Hopefully we hear something soon, as I know a lot of people who would love to own the series.
Do you think we will get a DVD or Blu-Ray release of the classic Batman series? If so, when?
Update: Thanks to Rtruell for bringing the following information to my attention, as this is the first I've heard of it. The link in question is thus: http://www.tvshowsondvd.com/news/Batman-Variety-Story-About-Warner-Licensing-Deal/17060
Near the bottom, the story does in fact say that a contact inside Warner Bros. has confirmed that (shockingly) the new merchandising agreement does NOT extend to home video. Well that just sucks. I would never have posted this story if I would have known it would be squashed so quickly. Sorry to all the "Bat-fans" (of which I am one) who got excited for a possible DVD. I'm just as bummed as you are. Why allow WB to release action figures, t-shirts and such and not allow them to release the actual show? This is completely ridiculous. Oh well. Sigh.