Updated: April 12, 2015
YVONNE CRAIG PHOTO GALLERY #03
To popular belief, ABC was never shown a pilot episode for a
proposed Batgirl television series. An eight-minute promotional
short was created to introduce the character of Batgirl to ABC
executives, in an attempt to get her into the Batman show that
was entering its third year.
William Dozier, producer of the popular Batman, decided to add
Batgirl to the series in an attempt to pull in young female viewers.
At the time, the series was widely watched by young males and Dozier
was of the opinion that a strong female character could bring in an
equal number of female viewers.
ABC was impressed with the promotional short and Yvonne Craig was
added to the cast of Batman for its third season (1967-1968), playing
the dual roles of Batgirl and Barbara Gordon, the daughter of
Commissioner Gordon. Unfortunately, Batgirl's first season would be
Batman's last. Despite the addition of Craig, the series (which had
already been cut down from bi-weekly broadcasts) dropped from
consistent top ten weekly rankings to the fifties by January 1968.
In the short, the Batgirl costume worn by Yvonne Craig is a variant
of the costume that would appear later in the Batman series. The
promotional short is the only time this original suit is seen. As the
short begins, the narrator introduces us to a librarian at the Gotham
Library. The library is somewhat empty, a few librarians, a handful
of patrons. The librarian has just found a book for none other than
Bruce Wayne himself, who needs the book to prove something to another
millionaire in the library, Roger Montros. The librarian turns out to
be Barbara Gordon, daughter of the Comissioner Gordon. While chatting,
Bruce points out his ward, Dick Grayson, and then says goodnight, off
to prove his point.
While he is doing so, some of the men sitting around another table discuss
kidnapping one of the millionaires in the library. Bruce Wayne is ruled out;
he's far too close of a friend to Batman, so the other millionaire will have
to do. Bruce and Dick get up to leave, but before doing so they take a look
at the four men sitting at the other table, the Killer Moth and his men. It
looks like it's time for Batman and Robin to show up.
After they leave, the library closes, and the other librarian on duty leaves,
leaving only millionaire Roger Montros, the Killer Moth and his thugs, and
Barbara are left. Commissioner Gordan calls to talk with his daughter, and
after he does, Barbara goes to put away a book. The thugs discuss how they
should kidnap Roger Montros and they finally decide that the thugs will attack
and subdue him, while the Killer Moth takes out Barbara. Roger Montros is
knocked out and Barbara is thrown into a closet. Little do they know that
inside the room is her own secret closet.
Before the Killer Moth and his men can leave, Batman and Robin show up and take
out three of the four thugs. The Killer Moth, the only one still standing,
simply pulls out a gun-like object and points it at the Dynamic Duo! Instead
of firing bullets, however, it creates a cocoon around the crime fighters,
effectively eliminating their threat. Trapped, it looks like the end for
Batman and Robin...
Meanwhile, Barbara has begun transforming into Batgirl: her suit, which she
has on under her regular clothing, her cape, which is actually her skirt
turned inside out, and her mask, which she takes off a coat rack and brings
with her. Once outside, fully transformed, the now raven-haired Batgirl smashes
in through a window into the library, exchanges a few words with Robin, and
then defends herself against the thugs.
Barbara to Batgirl She then frees Batman and Robin with her electronic Batgirl
compact with a laser beam, which destroys anything. The three crime-fighters
take on the thugs one last time. While Robin finishes things up, Batman takes a
moment to ask Batgirl who she is. Batgirl's response? Her identity shall remain
a secret, just as Batman and Robin are mysteries to her. After the thugs are
taken care of, Batman tells Robin to call up Commissioner Gordon and tell him
they've dispatched with the Killer Moth and his Mothmen, with the help of Batgirl,
who has vanished. Batman ponders aloud if they've seen the last of her.
"Man, Batgirlcycle sounds awkward. It should have been like... the Womanpowercycle
or something that flows." Deep9xThe short ends with Batgirl riding her Batgirl cycle,
complete with a bat-shaped mirror, towards her next adventure, which just so
happened to be a role on Batman for its third season and final season.
As shorts go, the Batgirl promotional was above average. At only eight minutes,
the short introduces the character, shows her powers, and allows her to retain
her mystique without rushing anything. There is no mindless expository explaining
where Batgirl came from or how she came about, that would be saved for episodes
of Batman. All that needed to be shown in the short was that Batgirl would be a
good addition to the cast, and it did that.