The myths that actually touched you at that timenot Hercules, Orpheus,
Ulysses, and Aeneasbut Superman, Captain Marvel, Batman . . .
Tom Wolfe imagining Ken Kesey’s boyhood in post–World War II
America, in The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test (1968)
BUT WHAT WAS THE JOKE? And who was the Joker?
Loved and loathed beyond measure, the televised Batman (ABC, 1966–68) arrived sufficiently late in the day to recognize itself as a manufactured craze. The show, initially broadcast cliff-hanger style on successive evenings, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7:30 PM, lasted only two and a half seasonsjust a speed bump in Batman’s nearly eight-decade careerbut its goofy lèse-majesté besmirched the durable icon forever.
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