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....
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:
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!
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
Batman Closed mouthRobin Painted mask
Joker Purple outfit, no utility belt
Bruce Wayne Navy blue jacket
Dick Grayson Red shirt
Penguin with pipe and monocle, no mask
Crime Fighting Accessories Pack,
"Batman Classic TV Series" collectors case for 8 inch dolls, available in 2014
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)
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
Series 4 Available for pre-order in Aug 2015 for a tentative release date of Oct 2015
Alfred Pennyworth, black suit (no apron)
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
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
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)
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.
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!!!
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)
Pussycat (Catwoman's protégé), in pink outfit
Catwoman's Henchman - Spayed, in striped tiger pattern outfit and black "cat" hat
Sandman, in fur coat with doctor outfit underneath
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)
Black Beauty (Green Hornet's Car)
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
Here is the Hot Toys website page for the Robin doll:
Here is the Hot Toys website page for the Batman doll:
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.
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
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
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.
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'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