The flamboyant nature of the series was reflected in the costumes for all characters. Costume designer Jan Kemp researched many Batman comics and took inspiration from Infantino’s new style. He quickly established that new combinations of bright colours needed to be introduced, so the characters carried the same exuberance on screen as they did in the comic strips.
Batman’s costume was one of the first designs envisioned by Kemp, who had to other sites like hot or not keep in mind that the costume needed to withstand stunt work. The Caped Crusader’s costume comprised of a blue satin cowl displaying painted ear, eyebrow, and nose detailing; a grey leotard decorated with the yellow chest emblem and Helenca tights (both garments were dyed that specific shade of grey for the production); a lightweight blue satin cape with the signature scalloped edges; a pair of blue gloves with winglets; a bright yellow utility belt; blue satin trunks and custom blue leather boots.
The choice of casting suave actor Cesar Romero to play the Joker seemed an unusual choice, but his eccentric adaptation made a real impact throughout all three series. Kemp wanted to still keep some of Romero’s charming image and decided on tailcoat, waistcoat, and striped trousers. But to give if that flair of the Joker, the suit was created in a bright magenta, the ideal contrast to Batman’s ensemble.
(LEFT) Lot 69 – Batman’s (Adam West) Surfboard Logo, Batman (TV 1966-1968) and (RIGHT) Lot 70 – The Joker’s (Cesar Romero) Surfboard Logo, Batman (TV 1966-1968)
Producers Michael E. Uslan and Benjamin Melniker acquired the film rights from DC Comics and Ulsan wanted to explore a gloomier and more serious version of Batman for the silver screen.
Burton bought on Academy-Award winning costume designer Bob Ringwood who transformed the look of Gotham’s hero. Ringwood produced a more armoured and muscular design and introduced the combination of prop-making techniques within his costume design. This version of the Batsuit reflected the original comic book designs and stepped away from the boldness seen in the series back in the 60s. The blue and grey colour scheme was replaced with an all-black ensemble, with hints of yellow. It was this design that would become the template for the Batsuits in all subsequent live-action film adaptations.
And who better to help steer the character into a darker setting then director Tim Burton, who was already well-known for his love for the weird and gothic visuals
Producing this new Batsuit was a lengthy process and required many trials with varying materials. The tight-fitting suit was made from Neoprene with sculpted foam-rubber body armour sections.
Romero famously refused to shave off his trademark moustache, so the classic white face makeup was applied over the top
There were also several trials in creating the cowl and cape – both fundamental elements of the costume. Thick latex featuring a bat-skin texture was used to produce a heavy cape which created impact when it moved on screen. The bottom of the cowl featured scalloped seams which were glued and bolted down to the cape to produce a seamless finish. However, this meant that Keaton could not physically turn his head without damaging the costume, and the suit caused a variety of mobility issues for the actor and stunt actors. This was a problem that remained with subsequent Batsuits for many years to come. It was also known to be a very claustrophobic costume to wear, something that Keaton used as an advantage as it helped him get into character. Black makeup was also applied around Keaton’s eyes and worn under the mask to produce a more menacing appearance.