Vintage BATMAN Television Slide Promo (WEWS-TV 5, Cleveland)

Listen, you love Adam West Batman, I love Adam West Batman, everybody loves Adam West Batman. Well, unless, they don’t; the campiness may not be suited to everyone’s liking, particularly those raised on newer, darker iterations of the character. Now, you could point out that the character/stories were darker in tone from the onset, but I ask that you don’t. You could also point out that we all have different tastes and just because someone doesn’t enjoy the 1960s television (and movie) incarnation of Bats, hey, that doesn’t necessarily make them a bad or untrustworthy person, but I won’t believe you.

Of course I’m joshin’ (yes I am), but nevertheless, even I must admit that the allure of the campy, goofy 1966-1968 Batman television series starring Adam West (as well as its 1966 big screen adaptation) may well be lost on younger viewers and/or comic book purists. Honestly, I get it; the idea of Batman squaring off against The Riddler in a boxing match or inexplicably facing The Joker in a surfing contest, that kinda stuff may not sit well with everyone, regardless of how delightful the results ultimately were.

For the record, I was introduced to 60s Batman in the wake of Tim Burton’s much, much different take on the character (that is,1989’s big screen Batman), and while even at that young age I was fully cognizant of the monumental differences between the two Batguys, I also didn’t care. I grew up with a healthy fandom for both iterations, something that continues to this very day.

So it stands to reason that I tend to go batty (see what I did there??? HAW HAW HAW!!!) when faced with particularly cool and/or unique pieces of memorabilia pertaining to either version of the superhero. As you may well have surmised by now, our subject today relates to Adam West’s Batman, and boy is it neato. Dig this…

Cool? Unique? Check and check!

What you’re looking at is a vintage television slide promo for an airing of Batman on Cleveland’s WEWS-TV 5. Man that’s not just cool, that’s painfully cool. Also, please enjoy the special guest cameo by my thumb.

What’s a television slide, you ask? Literally, it was a slide that would be shown on TV during a broadcast, obviously as a still, and usually with an accompanying voiceover. You could see these stills as bumpers, tacked on to the end of a ‘real’ commercial, or – as was almost certainly the case here – used specifically as a promo for an upcoming broadcast of whatever. (There were probably exceptions, but when used as a promo, they tended to be shorter spots, 5 or 10 or 15 seconds total.) In my experience, the usage of slides, both nationally and locally, was largely (but not entirely) over by the early 1990s, but in the years prior, they were very, very common on TV, particularly during local broadcasts.

So when exactly does this particular slide hail from? I have no exact date, but probably somewhere in the 1970s. The art style used for Bats here (which, it must be noted, I really, really love) fits with my general understanding of WEWS slides from (at least part of) the decade. I could certainly be wrong though. Finding an old local TV listing for a Sunday 6pm showing of Batman on WEWS would be mighty helpful, but I have neither the time nor the inclination to scour the many, many TV Guides at the downtown library to find out. Besides, where would I start?!

An old TV listing would also settle the question of whether this was a promo for an airing of the TV series or of the movie that came out between the first and second seasons of said series. My initial thought upon picking this up months and months ago was that it was for the show, though that left me a bit puzzled; WEWS was and is Cleveland’s ABC affiliate, ABC being the channel Batman originally aired on first run, but this appears to be for a strictly local airing, and my understanding was that reruns of the show in these parts ran solely on WUAB-43 for quite awhile. Of course, then I remembered the related movie, which then became the more likely candidate to me. (Unless there was a period in which rights to reruns went from WUAB to WEWS before going back to WUAB?)

Though I guess it doesn’t really matter; Adam West Batman is Adam West Batman, i.e. awesome. I will admit I never found the concept to work quite as well on the big screen as it did on the small screen, but as far as this promo slide goes, who really cares? It’s Adam West Batman, man!

I had to buy this online, and while it wasn’t particularly cheap, it also wasn’t terribly unreasonable – especially when you consider this may very well be one of a kind. I mean, how many of these could the station have had? (That’s an actual question: was there generally a set number of identical slides for a given program, or…?) And furthermore, how many could have survived over the years?

Regardless of how many were produced or potentially still out there, I’ve never regretted dropping the coin on this one. It’s a piece of local broadcasting memorabilia, it’s related to Adam West Batman, it’s old, and it’s cool lookin’. Really, how many bullet points does something need to check off in my brain before I slam on the “buy dis” button? Truthfully, probably not even that many, but the fact this one did, that just made ordering not just a necessity, but also a pleasure.

(Shout out to my buddy Jacob, for no other reason than that he’s a mega Batman Batfan. Dude even has a legit Batshelf at his place.)


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