Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Yvonne Craig, "The" Batgirl, R.I.P.

I had a crush on Yvonne Craig's Batgirl.

I won't be surprised to see that on a lot of blog posts in the days ahead. And rightly so - I had a huge crush on Yvonne Craig's Batgirl and Barbara Gordon. She had amazing legs...thick and shapely, and then the episode of Batman where she's in a black bathing suit that revealed her impressive cleavage and left nothing to the imagination...oh yeahhh.

I'll leave it at that and try to keep things classy from here on...

Batgirl was cool when Yvonne Craig played her in the final season of the 1966 Batman TV series. She wasn't just likable - she was intelligent, confident, sincere, enthusiastic and feisty. She had a great body ( more curves than Julie Newmar, surprisingly ), but it was her charming, energetic performance that made her sexy. Add to that a shiny tight purple costume and she actually outclassed Adam West and Burt Ward's Batman and Robin. Before and after the show ended, her career was a series of guest-appearances and co-starring roles on film and television during the 60's and 70's, including appearances on Star Trek, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., My Favorite Martian and Mannix, but Batgirl was her career-defining role - the first female superhero from the comic books ever portrayed in live-action film/television.

That final season has often been written off as the time when the series was "..limping along", as Dennis O'Neill once put it, iirc. It had become too formulaic and predictable, plus, watching those later episodes, particularly the scenes where West is out of costume as Bruce Wayne...he looked strangely haggard - like he'd been enjoying the Hollywood night life too often and the carousing was beginning to take a toll, but the batsuit hid it well. And then they changed the format slightly: the stories eschewed 2-part stories in favor of single one-off tales ( aside from a deadly dull 3-part episode featuring Rudy Valle as Lord Fogg that NOBODY liked ), though the cliffhangers would persist to help promote the next episode.

This Batgirl didn't really exist in the comic books. The comics incarnation of Barbara Gordon was capable and amicable, allowed little moments of cleverness and flair  ( e.g.: possesing a photographic memory, making her casualwear a reversible Batsuit, running for congress and winning an election, enjoying a flirtation with Superman ), but she was less-artful and never so masterful. It's only within the last year that the comics are offering a take on Barbara that is reminiscent of Yvonne's Batgirl; prior to that, I did enjoy the episodes of the 2004-2008 cartoon, The Batman featuring her, a younger, spunkier take that revived the purple costume for the first time in a long time...

I do find it ironic that Yvonne's passing will likely reverse judgment on that last season. It was a silly show, but there was nothing silly about her. To many fans, she is not just the definitive Batgirl..she was Batgirl.


  1. Well done! I felt – and continue to feel – the same way!

    I linked to this for my upcoming post on Yvonne Craig!

    1. Thank you very much, Joe! As soon as I heard the news - it was actually on a Facebook fanpage devoted to Yvonne's portrayal of Batgirl - I couldn't think of anything else to write until after THIS essay/entry was posted. When it comes to portrayals of classic female comic book superheroes/supporting cast capturing/resonating with the public , you have Lynda Carter's Wonder Woman, Dana Delany's voiceover work as Lois Lane, Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy and Yvonne's Batgirl/Barbara Gordon...she's among classy company. :)