A myth surrounding the 1960s TV show Batman involves whether or not the show was forced to use seatbelts in the Batmobile. This forced use of seatbelts reportedly came down from the federal government. In a scene from one of the first season’s episodes, Adam West (Batman) talks with Burt Ward (Robin) about the importance of wearing their “Bat Belts.”
People seeing this scene might have reached the conclusion that someone high above pushed this idea on the show. The National Safety Council becomes pinpointed as a suspect of this seatbelt idea. Others thought the seatbelt plan might have come from someone else.
While seatbelt usage was being encouraged, the public pushed back. There were no seatbelt requirements for decades. So, when it became mandatory to use them, those who didn’t want the mandatory enforcement pushed back.
‘Batman’ Gets Seatbelt Push From A Politician
Politicians even pleaded for involvement in the TV show. An item from Chicago’s American in 1966 indicates Democratic Rep. Andrew Jacobs Jr. of Indiana asked the show’s producer to get involved. This was around seatbelt safety awareness.
Seeing a Batman scene where seatbelts get attention raises this “they forced them to do this” idea. It’s funny to think about this happening. What really happened here? The answer involves producer William Dozier, who millions of people know as the narrator of Batman.
Dozier wanted to impress upon viewers the idea that the Batmobile was incredibly fast, according to CBR. Looking at its structure, viewers could be led to believe this was true. Batman and Robin get out on the road, taking sharp curves, and getting to Commissioner Gordon’s office as fast as possible.
Dozier sent out a memo wanting help from the National Safety Council to get more promotion for Batman. In part, the memo states: “Mr. Dozier personally requested that you contact the NATIONAL Safety Council on seat belts and set up the best possible promotion based on the installation of seat belts in the Batmobile.”
William Dozier Joins The Plot
After all, no pressure was on Batman to get seatbelts in the Batmobile. It was all part of a plan to heavily promote Batman. This idea from Dozier just shows what lengths he was willing to go for his television show.
If you look at the show’s history, then you will note now red-hot Batman was for ABC. The show was so popular that it ran two nights a week at one time. Guest stars were lining up to play the show’s “guest villains” week after week. “Bat-mania” struck a chord in America and even in other countries, too. West and Ward became superstars, appearing as their characters on other network TV shows.
Dozier, for a period of time, had two shows locked up on ABC with Batman and The Green Hornet. While Batman was hot, The Green Hornet didn’t produce the same results. The red-hot Caped Crusaders pretty soon cooled off, too. Batman started losing its luster and tried different things to keep it going. Yet it, too, was canceled. Batman caught the fancy of America for a period of time. Watching the reruns these days still brings a lot of joy to people.
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