A Closer Look: The Classic ‘Batman’ TV Costumes

By Patrick Phillips

This year, television’s Batman celebrates its 50th anniversary, and by now most of the world knows the two actors who played the Dynamic Duo (Adam West and Burt Ward), the talented composers behind its music (Neal Hefti and Nelson Riddle), and you might even know that its Executive Producer/Narrator were one in the same, William Dozier. But who was responsible for designing the look for those legendary heroes and villains on television?

Batman Comic BookThe colorful, well-designed costumes from the series literally jump off the screen, thanks to seasoned costume designers Jan Kemp and Pat Barto. The wardrobe geniuses were responsible for the iconic look of our favorite heroes and various villains in the television series and the 1966 motion picture, with much of their success due to their literal interpretation straight from the pages of the Batman comic books.

“I decided to introduce a new and brighter combination of colors than had here to fore been used on television, and by so doing give my actor characters the same vivacity that their comic strip counterparts had.” Jan Kemp explained his concept for Batman’s costume in a 1989 “Batman” presentation.

Great attention to detail was given to Adam West’s Bat-suit, with Kemp matching the color of Batman’s leotard to the 4-color process used in the comics. (which appears more of a mauve-gray than flat gray on film) and suede added to the inside of the bat-gloves to prevent tearing.Batman Gloves

Pat Barto who was also the designer/creator of the iconic dresses that were worn by the actresses in Elvis Presley’s films, contributed to the design of many villain costumes as well as Yvonne Craig’s “Batgirl” suit seen in season three.

The ultra-famous costumes have been auctioned throughout the years and in many cases have found themselves on display at restaurants, museums and in the hands of multiple owner’s private collections.

Eagle-eyed bat-fans often take to online forums to share photos and dispute the authenticity of the many costumes and their elements. While some pieces are proven authentic, many of the elements are not.

After scouring the internet and an extensive search, here’s a look at some of the costumes (and a few props) today.

* All copyrights belong to their respective owners. 

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