Whenever you saw Batman and Robin climbing a wall on the show, it was, of course, just the camera turned to a 90 degree angle. But this is how they used to slip big name celebrities into the TV show – by having them pop out of an apartment window to happily greet the Caped Crusaders.
Here is a compilation of all the cameo appearances of celebrities who happened to coincidentally look out the window just when Batman and Robin were climbing up or down a building. They then would proceed to have a bizarre conversation with the dynamic duo. This simple stunt was accomplished by having Adam West and Burt Ward walk on the floor hunched over while the camera was tilted on its side as the celebrity pops out of the floor disguised as a window.
Some of these celebrities like Dick Clark, Jerry Lewis and Sammy Davis Jr. are still recognized by younger audiences today, but many are forgotten such as Suzy Knickerbocker. Take a look for yourself.
1. Jerry Lewis – Appeared in “The Bookworm Turns” (April 20, 1966)
The very first “Bat-climb” cameo occurred at the end of the first season, in Episode 29, “The Bookworm Turns,” which aired in April 1966. Star comedian Jerry Lewis (of Martin and Lewis and The Nutty Professor fame) opens his window to ask Batman if he’s really Batman, before noticing Robin and saying, “Oh, you must be, because that’s Robin. Hi, Robin!”
2. Dick Clark – Appeared in “Shoot a Crooked Arrow” (September 7, 1966)
It was really the second season, when celebrities were reacting to the “Bat-Mania” of the first season of the series, that the cameos really caught on. In the Season 2 premiere, “Shoot a Crooked Arrow,” Batman and Robin encounter American Bandstand host, Dick Clark. Batman quickly deduces that Clark (who was still seven years away from the debut of Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve) was from Philadelphia due to his speech patterns. Clark wonders if perhaps Batman and Robin are a singing duo.
3. Van Williams and Bruce Lee as Green Hornet and Kato – Appeared in “The Spell of Tut” (September 28, 1966)
Three weeks after the debut of their own TV series (also produced by the creator of the Batman TV series, William Dozier), Green Hornet (played by Van Williams) and Kato (played by Bruce Lee) meet Batman and Robin in Episode 7, “The Spell of Tut.” This was months before the two duos would meet in a crossover episode of Batman (an episode where Bruce Lee was rumored to have refused to film if Burt Ward’s Robin was allowed to defeat him in a fight).
4. Sammy Davis Jr. – Appeared in “The Clock King’s Crazy Crimes” (October 12, 1966)
In the 11th episode of Season 2, “The Clock King’s Crazy Crimes,” world famous singer/dancer (and actor) Sammy Davis Jr. invites Batman and Robin in to hear him rehearse when they pass by his window. After they politely decline, he invites them to catch his act some time, as he sure digs their act!
5. Bill Dana as José Jiménez – Appeared in “The Yegg Foes in Gotham” (October 20, 1966)
José Jiménez was an extremely popular comedy character created by comedian Bill Dana. Jiménez was a genial but dim-witted Mexican who Dana had work a series of jobs to comedic effect, none more famous than Jiménez’s attempts to become an astronaut (he famously appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show doing the astronaut bit. A sample joke would be Sullivan asking him, “Well, now I see you have some of your space equipment with you. Uh, what is that called, the crash helmet?” and Jiménez replying, “Oh, I hope not.”). The actual Mercury astronauts were huge fans of the character.
However, as time went by, it became more and more apparent to everyone that a white comedian doing a dumb Mexican character as a comedy bit was pretty offensive. Even Dana conceded as much and officially retired the character in 1970. In Episode 14 of Season 2, “The Yegg Foes in Gotham,” Jimenez is working as a jury foreman on a criminal trial. After Batman and Robin climb away, Jimenez is told what the rest of the jury has decided and he calls down to Batman and Robin to ask if they could leave their rope.