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Why Andy Griffith Should Have Been a Guest Villian on ‘Batman’

Why Andy Griffith Should Have Been a Guest Villian on ‘Batman’

Adam West’s outing as TV’s Batman has one of the most colorful rogue galleries around, and Andy Griffith should have been among them. The 1966 Batman was a pop culture phenomenon. The camp humor was the forerunner of spoof films like Airplane! and The Naked Gun, which was a hit with adults and teens. Meanwhile, younger viewers could appreciate the colorful characters and action.

Of course, Batman was chock full of the biggest stars of the era. Sammy Davis Jr, Jerry Lewis, Dick Clark, and Edward G. Robinson were among the many celebrity cameos.

Meanwhile, some of the most talented actors around lined up to play villains of the week. Heavy hitters like Milton Berle, Vincent Price, and Eartha Kitt all took swings at the Caped Crusaders. The Twilight Zone MVP Burgess Meredith made multiple appearances as the Penguin, while Caser Romero was the prototype for all future live-action Jokers.

However, missing from the Adam West Batman TV series is another 60s small-screen standout. Andy Griffith should have stepped right out of Mayberry and into Batman’s Gotham. There are even a couple of bad guys that would have been tailor-made for him.

The ‘Batman’ Villians That Andy Griffith Would Have Been Perfect For

First off, let’s establish that Andy Griffith, despite his Mayberry image, can play a great bad guy. His film debut, 1957’s A Face in the Crowd, had him playing a sneering media personality that manipulates the masses for power. So he has the villainous chops and perfect comedic timing to play opposite Adam West and Burt Ward’s straight-faced Batman and Robin.

That said, an obvious role from the Batman series that would have been great for Andy Griffith was none other than Shame. Played by Cliff Robertson in the series, Shame was a send-up of popular Western heroes of the era (his name is an obvious play on Shane). He would often team up with other Western-themed criminals like Okie Annie and Calamity Jan in his schemes. It’s easy to imagine Andy Giffith in cowboy attire, snarling with an exaggerated Southern drawl, hamming it up alongside Adam West’s Batman.

However, in retrospect, a popular villain that never made it on the 60s Batman TV series would have been an intriguing role for Andy Griffith. Demented defense attorney Two-Face made his debut in the Batman comics back in 1942. Yet, he never stepped foot onto the technicolor Gotham of the 60s TV series.

Two-Face’s tragedy lies in his downfall. Harvey Dent, Gotham’s District Attorney and Batman’s ally was transformed into Two-Face when a mob boss disfigured him with acid, shattering his sanity. Andy Griffith would have been ideal as both the do-gooder Dent, as well as the troubled Two-Face. Imagine Griffith shifting from his Andy Taylor persona as Dent, only to devolve into sinister evil as Two-Face. Of course, Griffith went on to play a lawyer of an entirely different sort in Matlock, further underlining how perfect he would have been for the role.

Holy missed opportunity, Batman.