Towards the end of the second season, ratings for Batman were declining and declining fast! The show came across as simply too repetitive for the adult audiences, the children however stayed loyal. The show was facing the possibility of becoming axed. In an attempt to freshen-up the series, in 1967, William Dozier and the team behind the series had the idea to add a new character into the mix – Batgirl. So a 10 minute presentation was filmed and shown to ABC executives, featuring Yvonne Craig as Batgirl, Tim Herbert as the villain Killer Moth with of corse Adam & Burt as the dynamic duo. A link to watch the presentation can be found via my video webpage. ABC liked the idea and decided to give the series a final shot however, cut the show down to once a week (Thursday night) and cut the budget (which usually meant cheaply made & poor sets). Unfortunately, the third season was not a turnaround success, only 26 episodes were made with Batgirl featuring in them all. The series was cancelled in 1968 after a total of three seasons and 120 episodes!
Weight: 109 lbs.
Hair colour: Brown (Her red hair were extensions/fake)
Batgirl is Barbara Gordon’s alter ego. Barbara is the daughter of Commissioner Gordon, who is first mentioned at the end of season two in the episode ‘Batman’s Waterloo’, where Gordon mentions her to Batman as she is an expert of egyptology (linked in with the episode being a King Tut caper) and that she is returning to Gotham City soon. For the third season she has returned from college and takes up the job as a librarian in Gotham City. Barbara lives in apartment in Gotham City, her apartment number is 8A but I’ve never heard the address mentioned in the TV series. You can check out the ‘locations‘ page to view images inside the apartment as well as the secret Batgirl lair.
The only person who knows she’s Batgirl is Alfred (Bruce Wayne’s butler), this happened in the first episode of season three where Barbara had to reveal her true identity to save them both from the clutches of the Penguin. She drives a purple Batgirl Cycle around the streets of Gotham City. Introduced in the episode, “Enter Batgirl, Exit Penguin” (first aired September 14, 1967), in which the Penguin planned to gain immunity from the law by marrying the police commissioner’s librarian daughter, Yvonne Craig’s Batgirl had no judo or karate skills, no photographic memory, nor even actual red hair. She still managed to give Gotham’s underworld a hard time, however, usually with a well-placed fan kick and effectively turned TV’s Dynamic Duo into the Terrific Trio.
Like Batman, Batgirl had her own utility belt which included; her communicator, vat opener, drug antidote pills and an automatic fuse extinguisher.
Barbara had a pet parrot named Charlie – she would regularly talk to him / think over aloud how to foil the schemes of various villains.
Batgirl was even given her own theme tune/song. The instrumental score you would hear in all her episodes but the lyrics were seldom used. Notably at the end of the episode ‘Louie the Lilac’ we get to hear the theme in full;
Where do you come from and where do you go?
What is your scene baby, we just gotta know.
Are you a chick who fell from outer space?
Or are you real with a tender warm embrace?
Yeah, whose baby are you?
Yeah, whose baby are you?
“When they called me and asked if I would like to do Batgirl in the Batman series, I was very interested. I had been looking around for a series. When I went into Mr Doziers office, he said ‘And of course you’ve seen our show’ and I said that I hadn’t but tyhat I would watch it all summer long in re-runs if I get this job because I need to know how it looks and how I fit in. He didn’t seem offended by that at all.”
Yvonne was born on the 16th May 1937, in her early life before her television carrer she was trained to be a ballet teacher. She gradually moved into acting during the 1950s. Before appearing on television she starred in a few films including; “The Young Land, The Gene Krupa Story, and High Time. She even played alongside Elvis Presley in “Kissin’ Cousins”.
During the mid-1960s Yvonne moved from film into television, where in 1965 she appeared in “The Man from U.N.C.L.E”. More famously she played as “Marta” (a green skinned Orion) in the third series Star Trek episode entitled “Whom Gods Destroy” in 1968. Of course, she played Batgirl from 1967-68 on “Batman’s” last season which came to be her most famous role.
“I realised that I was in a dream situation of every actress who aspires to play a television role. There was no worries about an audience as Batman is an established show! There was no concerns as it would not sell as it was already sold. As a veteran of four unsold TV pilots, I appreciated that security”