On the occasion of actor Adam West‘s death, we recalled that the world premiere of “Batman: The Movie” took place at the Paramount Theatre on Congress Avenue during the sweltering summer of 1966.
Almost immediately, we found pictures and background from the Austin History Center website and other social media.
“In what was perhaps the most successful movie event in Austin’s history, the Paramount Theater hosted the world premiere of ‘Batman: The Movie’ on Saturday, July 30, 1966,” Susan Rittereiser writes on the Austin Public Library blog. “An estimated 30,000 people — kids and adults — filled Congress Avenue, renamed Batman Boulevard for the occasion, to get a glimpse of the stars from the popular television series arriving by motorcade 30 minutes before the afternoon show.”
Attending the campy frolic in front of the theater were West (Batman), Lee Meriwether (Catwoman), Burgess Meredith (the Penguin), and Cesar Romero (the Joker).
“The premiere was intended as a pre-festival benefit for the city’s annual Aqua Festival (started in 1962), with proceeds going to help keep the festival afloat for years to come,” Susan continues. “The Batboat featured in the movie had been designed by local boat company Glastron, and was on display inside the theater during the premiere.”
Confronted with these memories, readers shared theirs on social media.
Natalie Howard: “Austin was a one horse town back then.”
Elly Howard: “OMG, I’m that old?”
As Rittereiser put it, however, the summer of 1966 was “A Season of Extremes” in Austin.
Paul Carpenter: “In a twist of history, (two days later), the University of Texas Tower sniper shootings occurred, and Austin made world news for a far more tragic reason.”
You can’t understand New Austin without delving into Old Austin. One digital avenue for that quest is Austin Found, a series of historical images of Austin and Texas published at statesman.com/austinfound. We’ll share samples here regularly.