Batman Crush

Two-episodes a week, it’s that good!
Donnie 1966, June 13
Batman’s biggest fan 1966-As I blow out six candles on my Birthday cake, notice my T-shirt, I never took it off. The front is Batman. His wings are spread and his name is transposed inside the cape. My best friend Jimmy sits next to me. My mom serves a cake she baked, iced with Bat Frosting, it’s a Batcake…yummy, let’s eat!!

Probably unable to make my party due to filming a feature, here is Batman at work in the MGM Lot 3 water tank. Batman at its peak was needed on the big screen, as were The Munsters. Fans of these series may not realize their heroes broke out beyond their TV screens. You could enjoy them in theaters unlike anything you ever saw. Bat gadgetry hits another level.
Those clouds won’t move, they’re painted on the iconic backdrop at MGM lot 3. This same tank kicked off its film history with Ben-Hur 1924. Scenic artists are who control the sky backings and weather opticals.
This is a sequence that was partially done on location in Santa Barbara. Full scale effects easily take place here, easier than the ocean, anyway…this is the famous MGM watertank/backdrop.

Santa Barbara Pier...
What you don’t see in the movie, this angle...

Now showing at the Culver Theater…

The Culver Theater- who hasn’t spent a birthday inside here?…
A big screen in a little city…
Ohh Good- My guests are arriving…
The Best Theater Ever!
The place I watched so many MGM films, especially in the sixties…
Refreshments anyone?
Notice the hanging brass lights…women’s powder room.
These are those…original to theater. These were located in the ladies restroom. My theater souvenirs.

Batman- Big Screen, fancy lights…

This big screen version of my hero was must see stuff. My life changed when my Bat cape and mask arrived in the mail. I sucessfully saved 10 zillion Blue Chip Stamps to earn this item. It fit like a glove, I looked cool. I wanted to wear it to school, but the nuns were the only ones allowed in a costume like that!

Next, I put playing cards with clothespins into my bicycle spokes to sound like a souped-up Batmobile bicycle. Then I raced around Desilu in costume looking for my role model. I was always disappointed with Pow! and Zap! during his fight scenes, thinking it ruins his credibility. He was real to me…really cool!

I saw him drive by in the Batmobile with Robin while looking through the chain link fence on Higuera, so I knew then, this is real stuff. His car kicked up a dirt cloud as it sped by, real Bat dust, from a real Batmobile.

I saw Batman and Robin speed by me on the Mayberry Dirt Highway while looking through the chain link fence.
I saw this group in front of the Desilu Plantation while sitting in the backseat of my dad’s station wagon. Our entire family was in the car and dad slowed to a crawl to watch all the characters banding about. 20 seconds- I’ll never forget, it was quite the sight…
Backlot Desilu, this was easily seen from the public street of Higuera.

Yes, my first crush was with this purple, black and gray adorned crime fighter. I even had him in front of Julie Newmar, barely, and Marlo Thomas. Everything I loved was located on Ince Blvd. There was a Sergeant at MGM that I fancied named Saunders. It depends on whether I want WW2 or just clean up my city. I circled these backlots in my costume, daily. The seed was germinating inside me, so sneaking in was a matter of- not if, but when…

Later in life, I worked on the three Bat features, I was the only guy on set that saw the original Batman in living, real life color.

I never got to see this feline, but I did see Eartha Kitt and a car that looked like a cat.
Amazon recently tore down this stage Batman is fighting-crime on…The old Desilu lot with the plantation just behind him. Those three red chimneys are the Desilu headqaurters plantation building. That will stay as the moniker for this lot. Maybe the new roof will get the old MGM Lion put up in lights- I would, I’ll tell you that.I can’t wait for this merger to take on a face. I could give them some stories of their past. Thanks for coming to my 6th birthday party
Musical chairs...

Written and lived by Donnie Norden…

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