× Home Batman TV Show (1966) Comics (1975-1976) Batman (1989) Batman:The Animated Series (1992) Roller Coaster (1999) The Dark Knight (2008) Video Game (2008) Poetry (2015) Artwork (2019) Joker (2019) Final Thoughts
☰ Navigation

Batman (1966)

Joker 1966

Credit: William Dozier Productions

Cesar Romero's portrayal of the Joker is seen as iconic by many, noteworthy as the first ever live-action Joker. Playing in nineteen episodes of William Dozier's TV show Batman (1966-1968), Romero's Joker consequently adopted the same campiness that the show itself embraced. The show was colorful, bright, and comedic at times, bringing us the Batman who actively worked for the police rather than to make up for their failures. In the very episode the Joker is introduced, Batman remarks how the episode's scenario is "One of the perfect setups for Joker's jolly crimes!" which gives our introduction to this iteration: a jolly antagonist to fit the jolly, fun show he's in ("The Joker is Wild").

However, as the episode progresses, we see the darkness in this Joker. His successes in filling Gotham City with other criminals besides himself lowers Batman's reputation. Then in other episodes as the series progresses, we see that the Joker finds glee in not only chaos but in bodily harm even to minors such as Robin as he exclaims, "Ooh, what a beautiful sight! Beautiful! Oh, what magnificent, beautiful, red blood boy wonder had!" ("Flop Goes the Joker"). He tries multiple times to outright murder the Dynamic Duo. This darkness is on full display, only offset by how he uses wacky contraptions on an equal level of goofiness to the Caped Crusader himself and the fact that the show itself never tries to think too deeply into the Joker's utter disregard for other humans. They instead highlight his strange plans such as to win a surfing competition or to create a flying saucer or even to throw out the art pieces of everyone else but himself.

Romero's voice was always light, laughing, and never dipped into overtly sinister or deep. His costuming was popping with bright colors, fitting the show's cheery atmosphere. Ultimately, Romero's portrayal keeps with the goofy trickster vibe that various Jokers have had since the regulation of the Comics Code, allowing him to shine on a television program watched by young adolescents too, but Romero also injected real twistedness into his character with what he was willing to find joy in — even without a drop of real blood or excessive violence actually shown on screen. The Clown Prince of Crime closeWindow()d the late sixties, setting up the Joker for his descent back into his darker roots come the seventies.

Works Cited

"The Joker is Wild." Batman, ABC, 26 Jan. 1966.

"Batman is Riled." Batman, ABC, 27 Jan. 1966.

"The Impractical Joker." Batman, ABC, 16 Nov. 1966.

"Pop Goes the Joker." Batman, ABC, 22 Mar. 1967.

"Flop Goes the Joker." Batman, ABC, 23 Mar. 1967.

"Surf's Up! Joker's Under!" Batman, ABC, 16 Nov. 1967.

"The Joker's Flying Saucer." Batman, ABC, 29 Feb. 1968.

Dozier, William, creator. Batman. Greenway Productions and 20th Century Fox Television, 1966-1968.