2014 - present: Batman 1966 TV Series Dolls

 
Due to a complication over the rights to the Classic Batman TV series, merchandise based directly on the hugely popular program has been scarce since the late 1970s. Miraculously, more than 30 years later in 2014, it seems that all parties involved in the ownership of the program have settled their differences and allowed the show to be licenced once again!!!
 
The complete TV series has also at long last made it's way onto DVD, having never been previously available in any home video format. Only the movie based on the TV series, also from 1966, was available on VHS and other home video formats. As Fans of the show are now finally able to watch every episode once again, many toy companies have taken this opportunity to offer the long awaited for memorabilia based on this classic TV program.
 
Therefore, this page of my blog is dedicated to documenting the variety of dolls that have been produced, including the remarkably detailed (and expensive) collection by Hot Toys, the talking dolls by Wonderland Toys, the awesome Mego style series by Toys Figure Company, and any others that I find are worth mentioning (as unfortunately there are some that really aren't!). I'll start things off with my favourite, and what I consider to be the "must-have" collection of all of the above....
 
Batman Classic TV Series, 8 inch dolls by Figures Toy Company, 2014 - present
 
These are the 8 inch dolls of Adam West and Burt Ward as Batman and Robin from the awesome 1966 Batman TV series!
 
In 2014 Figures Toy Company released two series of 8 inch dolls based on the live action 1966 Batman TV show starring Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward as Robin. These are all original dolls created by FTC, that were not previously available. The first series includes Batman, Robin, Joker and Riddler. The latter two are shown below.
 
Here are FTC's 8 inch dolls of Cesar Romero as The Joker and Frank Gorshin as The Riddler.

The back of the card for the series one dolls shows the characters from series one and two.

Series two includes Penguin, Egghead (shown above), Bruce Wayne, and Dick Grayson (shown below). The Penguin was performed by Burgess Meredith and Egghead by Vincent Price.

FTC went all out on the Penguin with details such as attaching a plastic monocle and a pipe, while also including a removable top hat.
 
Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson from series 2. The head sculpt for Bruce Wayne is well done as it looks like actor Adam West. However, I find the head sculpt for Dick Grayson (and for Robin) could have been much better as they don't really look very much like actor Burt Ward. For some strange reason, FTC made Dick Grayson's mouth quite small.

The back of the packaging for series two shows characters for series 1 to 4. Several exclusive dolls have also been released of Batman, Robin, Joker and Riddler with different costumes or accessories. Special limited edition two-packs of selected characters have also been released....
 
This is a two-pack set of the Batman and Robin dolls from series 1 that was produced in a limited edition of 500 units worldwide.  I think it's really awesome and am glad to have this item in my collection.

This is the back of the card for the two-pack set. It has a very well done graphic that suits the classic Batman TV series perfectly. All four of the limited edition two-pack sets from series 1 are shown as well.

My plan was to never open this two-pack set, because it's a limited edition, but when it arrived I noticed that Robin's right hand had fallen off and was loose inside the package! There were other quality control issues as well, so I posted my comments about this topic here:
http://mikeysdolls.blogspot.ca/2015_05_01_archive.html

While Batman's head sculpt is perfect, and the costumes for Batman and Robin are amazing, I have serious reservations about the head sculpt used for the Robin doll. It doesn't look like Burt Ward at all which is a shame as Ward made quite a handsome Robin....

 
 
The nose and the shape of the painted mask on FTC's Robin head are the only things that they got right. This head sculpt has a tiny expressionless mouth, a huge chin that sticks out too far, and flat cheeks, which does not look a thing like Burt Ward. The tiny mouth is especially puzzling. Ward's mouth doesn't look too difficult to sculpt, and it has such distinct character. They didn't even part his hair the same! It would be nice to see a new Robin head sculpt issued at some point in this series, 'cause this one sucks!
 
 
The thing that saves this Robin doll for me is that the fabric costume is so awesome. I'm quite impressed with how well made the costume is, such as the double sided cape with finished edges and the laced rivets on the front of Robin's shirt. This is all amazing detail! Mego would never have done that much work, likely they would have used a printed illustration for the detail on Robin's shirt. That would have been okay too. It's odd that the edges of the green sleeves on FTC's Robin aren't finished, as they did so much work on the rest of the outfit, but this doesn't distract from the look of the costume.

For the hands and feet, FTC used rubber parts that attach to a round post. I'd much rather that they used original Mego-style feet and coloured hands for the gloves, rather than the round pegs because you can't take off the shoes! The rubber hands and feet will also undoubtedly dry out over time and turn to powder (15 or 20 years from now), which is a problem with the hands on some original G.I.Joe dolls and the arms on Big Jim dolls. To me it's also not a genuine Mego-style doll if you can't take off the shoes and see that it has the classic leotard socks. Gotta have the leotard socks!!! :)

I suspect that by introducing the non-Mego style hands and feet FTC was trying to mimic the Hot Toys 12 inch Batman dolls released the year before in 2013 (shown below after this section) which I don't think is needed in the least. Mego dolls and Hot Toys dolls are in to two completely different categories of collectables. You either want realism in an art piece and are willing to pay top dollar for it, or you want a classic Mego-style doll that you can play with or customize. The two types of dolls don't compete with each other on the market. So it puzzles me as to why FTC would want to give up their distinct niche market by making their product look like someone else's rather than a Mego.

Here is a list of the FTC 8 inch dolls from the Batman Classic TV Series Collection:
New dolls for this series are released quite randomly, so I'm attempting to keep this list as complete and up to date as possible...
 
Available in 2014
 
 Series 1
Batman Closed mouth
Robin Painted mask
Joker Purple outfit, no utility belt
Riddler
 
Series 2
Bruce Wayne Navy blue jacket
Dick Grayson Red shirt
Penguin with pipe and monocle, no mask
Egghead
 
Crime Fighting Accessories Pack,
"Batman Classic TV Series" collectors case for 8 inch dolls, available in 2014
 
 
Exclusive Variants
These were only available through selected stores and online sites.
Batman in pink cowl FTC Exclusive (shown above)
Batman Boxing outfit FTC Exclusive (shown above)
Riddler Boxing outfit FTC Exclusive (shown above)
Joker Grey outfit FTC Exclusive (shown above)
Batman "In Peril" Series 1 doll packaged tied up to a table, FTC Exclusive (shown below)
Robin "In Peril" Series 1 doll packaged tied up to a table, FTC Exclusive (shown below)
Joker Baseball outfit Entertainment Earth Exclusive (shown below)
Joker Opera clown outfit Toycade Exclusive (shown below)
 
 
 
 Limited Edition Two-Pack Exclusives
Series 1 Batman and Robin 500 made, FTC Exclusive
Series 1 Riddler and Joker, 100 made, FTC Exclusive
Series 1 Riddler vs. Batman, 100 made, FTC Exclusive
Series 1 Joker vs. Robin, 100 made, FTC Exclusive
Series 2 Penguin and Egghead, 100 made, FTC Exclusive
Series 2 and 1, Bruce Wayne and Batman, 100 made, Retro Action Toys Exclusive
Series 1 and 2, Robin and Dick Grayson, 100 made, Retro Action Toys Exclusive
 
 
Available in 2015
 
Series 3 April 2015
Batman Open mouth
Robin Removable mask
Mad Hatter
Shame
 
Series 4 Available for pre-order in Aug 2015 for a tentative release date of Oct 2015
Alfred Pennyworth, black suit (no apron)
Mr. Freeze
King Tutt
Bookworm
 
Limited Edition Two-Pack Exclusives Available in early 2015
Series 1 variant and 3, Batman with pink cowl vs. Mad Hatter, 300 made, Entertainment Earth Exclusive
Series 2 and 1, Penguin vs. Batman, 300 made, FTC Exclusive
Series 3 Robin and Batman, 300 made, FTC Exclusive
Series 2 and 1, Egghead and Robin, 300 made, FTC Exclusive
 
Limited Edition Four-Pack Exclusives Available in early 2015
All four dolls in Series 1, 100 made, FTC Exclusive
All four dolls in Series 2, 100 made, FTC Exclusive
All four dolls in Series 3, 100 made, FTC Exclusive
 
Entertainment Earth Limited Edition series First made available in March or April 2015
Bruce Wayne with red lounge jacket
Dick Grayson Undercover Agent, wearing a black leather biker style jacket
Alfred the Butler with a green apron, no black suit coat
Penguin with his mask on, no monocle
Joker Purple outfit with the Joker's Utility Belt (shown below)
 
Exclusive Variants Available in late 2015
Batman, Vote for Batman variant, Toycade Exclusive
Riddler, Unmasked variant, wearing Riddler suit (jacket and pants with question mark pattern), green vest, black shirt and black bowler hat, no mask, Emerald City Comics Exclusive
 
 
Exclusive Variants Available in mid 2016
These two dolls use the heads and accessories that were originally included with the "Crime Fighting Accessory Pack" released in 2014.
Batman, "Breather" Deluxe Variant with Accessories, FTC Exclusive, limited to 300
Robin, "Breather" Deluxe Variant with Accessories, FTC Exclusive, limited to 300
 
Coming Soon
Upcoming dolls in the 1966 Batman TV Series collection Announced in March or April 2015 but have yet to be released as of January 2016. An image of the first four dolls was released in Aug 2015 (shown below). Still no image available for the two Catwoman dolls.
Batman with removable cowl
Chief O'Hara (in police outfit)
Batgirl
Barbra Gordon (in yellow jacket, white shirt and blue skirt)
Catwoman, Julie Newmar version
Catwoman, Eartha Kitt version

This is the first look of the series five dolls: Barbara Gordon, Batgirl, Removable Cowl Batman and Chief O'Hara. The Batman and Chief O'Hara dolls look well done, though I find Chief O'Hara's forehead is a tad long (he looks almost like Egghead). I also find that the head sculpts for Barbara and Batgirl look awful. The expression (or lack of one) on Batgirl's face makes her look stoned and her jaw is too wide. There's also something wrong with Barbara's nose and mouth. Just like Robin/Dick Grayson shown above, her mouth is small and expressionless. What's wrong with smiling faces? It's disappointing and frustrating that Figures Toy Company keeps using expressionless faces like this, especially as once again the outfits are awesome. FTC also uses extra large heads for some reason which I also find odd. Compared with original Mego dolls, many of the FTC heads are quite huge.

Announced Nov 2015 but have yet to be released as of January 2016, a series of four dolls based on the Season 3 episode "Surfs Up, Joker's Under":
Batman (Series 1 Batman with a pair of surf shorts and a surf board)
Joker (Series 1 Joker with a pair of surf shorts and a surf board)
Chief O'Hara (in beach outfit)
Barbra Gordon (in beach outfit)

If a doll of Chief O'Hara is being offered, I hope one of Commissioner Gordon will also be added to the series, as the collection would seem incomplete without him. More importantly though, I  hope FTC improves the quality of their basic doll so that they don't fall apart when taken out of the package. That's really disappointing and pathetic.

In any case, with all of this product having been produced and the demand for the 1966 Batman TV series proving to be well worth the investment for FTC, it seems quite an odd omission that a Batmobile has yet to be produced for this series. It would be a real shame if that doesn't come to pass.

What makes this even more bizarre is that the original Mego Batmobile was based on the 1966 TV series (the show was playing on TV in reruns during the early to mid 1970s and very popular) so all FTC needs to do is reissue the same toy with an improved, more detailed paint job (such as adding the red stripe around the edge). As FTC has reissued so many of Megos other products it is only a natural fit that they do the same for the Batmobile. Of course, if they wanted to go the original route and produce an all-new version of the Batmobile that's fine with me too!!! While they're at it, it would be nice to add a Batcycle, Batcopter, Batboat and Batcave/Wayne Manner playset (with bat-poles) to the mix. It all certainly seems justified considering the number of dolls now in the collection. We'll wait and see what happens!!!

In May 2013 Burt Ward was one of the guest celebrities at Ottawa Comic Con. Just by chance I found this original Mego Batmobile for sale at one of the Comic Con vendor booths. It's in awesome condition and I picked it up for only $25! I couldn't resist asking my childhood hero to sign it for me! Robin has always been my favourite superhero and I recall sitting in front of the TV watching the re-runs of Batman as a kid during the mid 70s.

Just before Burt Ward signed my Batmobile he signed this awesome photo for me. I was a total geek and brought my original Robin Mego doll with me too! I still find it surreal that I actually met Burt Ward and now have these signed items. I'll cherish them forever!!!

Now that the TV series has been released on DVD I've been able to watch all the episodes again having bought all four of the DVD sets (Season 1, Season 2 part one and part two, and Season 3). I've noticed several other characters that would be interesting to see in this Mego-style doll series:

Catwoman (Julie Newmar)
Commissioner Gordon
Green Hornet
Kato
Pussycat (Catwoman's protégé), in pink outfit
Catwoman's Henchman - Spayed, in striped tiger pattern outfit and black "cat" hat
Chandell (Liberace)
Sandman, in fur coat with doctor outfit underneath
Clock King
Aunt Harriet Cooper
Marsha Queen of Diamonds, in grey sparkly outfit and in shiny silver Greek toga
False Face, with different faces and outfits
Puzzler, in grey suit
Venus, in multi-coloured dress

It would also be interesting to see these accessories made as part of the collection:

Batcave Playset/Wayne Manor Playset (living room and office with bat-poles)
Alfred's car
Black Beauty (Green Hornet's Car)
Batgirl's Bat-cycle
Batman's Bat-cycle (with sidecar for Robin that shoots off just like on the show)
Joker Mobile (jalopy style car)
Gotham Police Car
Pengy Mobile and megaphone (golf cart style car)
Catwoman's Cat-illac (a black Cadillac)
Catwoman's Lair playset
Commissioner Gordon's Office

More Batman TV Series Dolls and Collectables
The rest of the dolls shown below are not in my collection. I've included them here in order to document what is available all in one place. Images were found online...

Batman and Robin, 12 inch dolls by Hot Toys, 2013

Hot Toys is a company that produces exceptionally detailed dolls for the collectors market. All of their dolls are marketed as "action figures" however, which I find diminishes the artistry of what they are doing by supporting the outdated and foolish idea that boys (or men) shouldn't own dolls. Yet, Hot Toys have themselves proven how awesome dolls can be, so I don't see why there's such fuss over calling these toys what they are, rather than pretending they're something else. (I also can't help but wonder why collectors of these dolls keep being so silly and delude themselves about the obvious...they like dolls! Deal with it already!) And these dolls aren't cheep either! Doll collectors all over the world have for years willingly paid $200 or more for just one Hot Toys doll.

In 2013, the year before Figures Toy Company began producing their 8 inch Mego style Batman collection, Hot Toys produced dolls of Batman and Robin based on the 1966 TV series. I would love to own these but they're priced way out of my budget. My favourite of the two is Robin, which I'd buy first if ever I invested in these toys. Robin was made with remarkable detail though he doesn't quite look like Burt Ward, while the Batman doll is a perfect likeness of Adam West.

When these dolls were announced in 2013, Hot Toys displayed them with a 1/6 scale Batmobile to go with them. This prototype Batmobile was also seen in the official product images that Hot Toys used to sell the dolls on their website (see the links below). Unfortunately, as of January 2016 the Batmobile has yet to be produced and likely will never become available. To me, it seems like false advertising to use a 1/6 Batmobile to sell the dolls, but then not make one available.

At such a large size, this was an astonishing model of the Batmobile and would have been an amazing item to own. According to discussions on various online chat sites, many collectors and fans of the show have been quite disappointed that this item was not released as Hot Toys had apparently displayed it at the San Diego Comic Con in 2013 and again in 2014, but did not display it in 2015. The company has yet to give an official update on what has become of this prized collectors item.


Here is the Hot Toys website page for the Robin doll:
http://www.hottoys.com.hk/productDetail.php?productID=201

Here is the Hot Toys website page for the Batman doll:
http://www.hottoys.com.hk/productDetail.php?productID=200

Batman and Catwoman, 12 inch dolls by Mattel, 2013

Also in 2013, Mattel released their Ken and Barbie dolls based on Batman (above) and Catwoman (below). I find Ken is too thin to be a superhero. Both this Batman Ken doll and the Superman Returns Ken doll from 2006 look weird to me. Mattel has yet to produce Robin in the Ken doll style. The artwork of Batman, Robin and Catwoman used on these boxes is the same art that Figures Toy Company would also use the same year for the packaging of their 8 inch "World's Greatest Heroes" Batman doll series, seen here on this blog: http://mikeysdolls.blogspot.ca/p/more-dc-super-hero-dolls.html.
 
Usually I avoid Barbie dolls and give them away if they are included in a set with a Ken doll that I want, but this Catwoman Barbie is actually quite well done. I'm more interested in it than the scrawny Batman Ken. This is actually the third time Mattel has made a Catwoman Barbie, as two were offered in 2004. One of them was based on the Catwoman movie starring Halle Berry and sold in retail stores. The other was loosely based on the comic book version and sold as a limited edition collectable through specialized distributors.

Mattel has offered several Barbie dolls dressed as various DC Comics Heroines including Wonder Woman (three different versions), Batgirl (three different versions: two were each packaged separately and a third version came with a Batcycle), Supergirl (two different versions), Lois Lane based on the Superman Returns movie, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, and Black Canary.

Batman, 12 inch doll by Tonner, 2015

The Tonner 1966 TV series Batman doll was released in January 2015, selling for $199.99 US on the Entertainment Earth website. It is now sold out and no longer available. While I find this to be a well made doll, I dislike how thin the Tonner dolls are. These dolls are perfect as fashion dolls but do not make very good superheroes. Previous to this Batman doll's release, Tonner had produced a Batman doll based on the comic books, wearing his light blue and grey outfit, as well as a doll of the Joker. To date Tonner has not produced a Robin doll of any kind which I find odd as Robin (especially the 1966 Robin) would actually be more suited to the Tonner doll style than Batman.

In January 2016, the Tonner website stated that a Batgirl doll based on the TV series was "coming soon" and available for pre-order at $189.99 US: http://www.tonnerdoll.com/tonner/pop-culture/batman-1966


Batman, Robin and Joker, 18 inch talking dolls by Wonderland Toys, 2015
This series of talking dolls were released in 2015 and are at he top of my wish list. I think these are awesome! Wonderland Toys went all out and offered collectors not just Batman, but Robin and the Joker as well. I love the style of these dolls and the campiness of them suits the characters perfectly. These were sold on the Entertainment Earth website: http://www.entertainmentearth.com/prodinfo.asp?number=WYTLKDOLL401

Batman Classic TV Series, 6 inch action figures by Mattel, 2014
The first wave of the "Batman Classic TV Series" articulated action figure collection was made available in 2014 by Mattel. The set included six individually packaged figures: Batman, Surfs Up Batman with surf board, Joker, Penguin, Riddler, and Catwoman. The Batmobile was also available separately, as was a boxed set with Batman and Robin climbing the side of a building. The two pack Batman and Robin set was the only way to get the Robin action figure until the Batmobile was later re-released with the Batman and Robin figures included. Later additions to the series include a Surf's Up Joker figure, and a "To the Batcave Batman" boxed figure of Batman which comes with the Batcomputer, an interchangeable Bruce Wayne head, and various accessories.

 In 2015 a three pack set with Batman, Robin and Batgirl was made available (shown above). Batgirl was also sold separately in a similar styled box package, as a limited edition exclusive figure for San Diego Comic Con in 2015. To date the Robin figure has yet to be released separately.

The artwork on the back of the box is a lot of fun! The first wave of figures are listed along the bottom edge. It would be nice if Mattel made an Alfred figure for this series as well as some of the other villains such as Egghead, Bookworm, Mr. Freeze (the Otto Preminger version), and Mad Hatter. A Batcave playset would complete this series nicely.
 
Here are closer views of the three figures... Mattel did a good job on the Batman and Batgirl head sculpts, but I find Robin's head could have been better. His mouth is sculpted to be frowning, and his head is permanently positioned to be tilted down, unlike Batman which is titled up at a normal angle. Robin's legs are also tinted grey rather than white, which would match with his costume on the TV show. I always thought Batman's costume was blue and think it looks better that way, which is how Mattel coloured it, though it's actually dark purple. Therefore, it would be interesting if Mattel released a purple variant of Batman just for the fun of it.

 

 
I don't have the Batmobile that Mattel made for the figures (yet!) so I put Batman and Robin in the Mego Batmobile, which Burt Ward signed for me in 2013.

I'm still working away at this page, so more info is coming soon!

Batman and Robin, plastic banks by Diamond Select

Batman and Robin, 18 inch action figures by NECA

Batman Classic TV Series, Mini-busts by Diamond Select

Batman Classic TV Series, bobble heads by Funko

Vintage Batman Toys

Here are some vintage Batmobile toy cars that are based on the 1966 TV series. The car on the left is 3.5 inches long and has two small figures of Batman and Robin attached. There used to be stickers with a bat logo on the wheels, but they've been peeled off. It was made by Azrak-Hamway in 1975 and appears to have been a friction toy but no longer works. (Friction toy cars have a mechanism inside that you wind up, by placing the car down on a surface and pulling back, to make the car drive forward on it's own.)

The smaller car is made out of metal with some plastic parts, and is very well played with. This one is 2 3/4 inches long and was made by Playart sometime between 1966 and 1975. Both of these cars were made in Honk Kong. Below is a closer view of the figures from the Azrak-Hamway Batmobile.


Text © Mike Artelle 2011, 2016

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