This page updated 19 August 2015.
1967 Batgirl = 21st Century Catwoman? We think so!
Born: 16 May 1937 in Taylorville, Illinois, USA
Died: 17 August 2015 in Pacific Palisades, California, USA
Though she fought Eartha Kitt's Catwoman in the 1967-68 season of Batman, Yvonne Craig deserves a mention on this site.
Actress Mary Ann Mobley, Miss America 1959, was the original choice to play Batgirl. However, she was cast for the ABC series Custer, and Ms. Craig was chosen. Yvonne Craig, a dancer, already had 10 years of acting experience by the time she joined the Batman cast.
And she had already had worked with Neil Hamilton. She appeared with him and Raymond Burr in the 31 May 1958 episode of Perry Mason. Nine years later, all three performers had crime-fighting roles on TV. Mr. Burr began his eight-year stint on Ironside. Just as Ms. Craig made history as a female superhero, Mr. Burr did so as a leading man in a wheelchair.
Ms. Craig entered a series in decline. By late 1967, the show was reduced to a half hour, and had become more and more of a parody. Her role, in this respect, was akin to Linda Thorson's in The Avengers.
Neither lady could be blamed for their show's demise. If anything, a Batgirl show was originally planned for Ms. Craig. A pilot was produced in January 1967, and can be accessed here. This series would have shown more of Ms. Craig's fire, making her an American superhero equivalent of Emma Peel, Ms. Thorson's predecessor on The Avengers. Her role wopuld have translated into a Catwoman for the 21st Century-easily! An independent lady who did things on her own terms!
And it is not so far fetched an idea.
According to the Web site TV Party, William Dozier approached comic book editors Julius Schwartz and Carmine Infantino, looking for ideas to bolster Batman’s ratings on television, most likely around late 1966. Mr. Dozier told them that Catwoman was the public’s favourite character on the series, but she couldn't be featured every week.
Hence, the creation of Batgirl.
Batgirl has been covered extensively on the Internet. Yvonne Craig has her own Internet site. While Yvonne is retired from personal appearances, she made personal appearances in 2006 to mark Batman 's 40th anniversary. Among them were the Motor City Comic Con in Novi, Michigan and the Syracuse Heroes Expo in Syracuse, New York.
Yvonne attended the Screaming Tiki Convention, held 17-19 October 2008 in Niles, Ohio. She passed away on Monday, 17 August 2015 at her home in Pacific Palisades, California at age 78.