The Hollywood Reporter marks the passing of Lorenzo Semple, Jr., the screenwriter who is most likely to be remembered as the scribe for the first four episodes of the 1966 Batman TV series and the author of the series “bible,” which set the tone for the iconic superhero show. Semple contributed many instantly recognizable elements of the show, such as the overlaid “Zap! Pow!” graphics during its fight scenes and Robin’s “Holy!” exclamations. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Semple and Batman series co-creator William Dozier had penned a pilot titled Number One Son centering on Charlie Chan’s eldest son, which was canceled by ABC because they didn’t want stories around an ethnic hero. However, the network soon offered writing duties for the pilot to Batman as reparations, and the rest is television history.
In addition to the Batman TV series and the feature film released between seasons 1 and 2, Semple also had screen credits on the Raquel Welch vehicle Fathom, the Alan J. Pakula thriller The Parallax View, Sydney Pollack’s Three Days of the Condor, the 1976 remake of King Kong, the 1980 Flash Gordon feature film, the 1983 Sean-Connery-as-James-Bond revival vehicle Never Say Never Again (on which Semple was offered up as a sacrificial scapegoat for the movie’s production problems), and the 1984 Tanya Roberts vehicle Sheena (based on the comic book character created by Will Eisner and Jerry Iger).