Lorenzo Semple, Jr.

Writer


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his two-and-a-half hour Archive interview, Lorenzo Semple, Jr. (1923-2014) talks about his early life and his first job as a journalist during World War II. He describes his attempts to become a playwright in the 1950s and chronicles his early television work on such shows as Burke's Law and The Aloca Hour. He details writing for The Rogues, Rat Patrol, and the unsold Charlie Chan pilot, Number One Son. He then discusses adapting and creating the Batman series -- writing the series from a remote location in Spain and interacting with the producers, writers and actors Adam West and Burt Ward. Semple comments on the cultural impact of the show and outlines his successful subsequent career in feature films with such movies as "Papillion", "The Parallax View" and "Three Days of the Condor", as well as the cult classics "Pretty Poison" and "Flash Gordon". Lee Goldberg conducted the interview on September 25, 2008 in Los Angeles, CA.

"I think 'Batman' was the best thing I ever wrote, including those big movies. As a whole work, it came out the way that I wanted it to and I was excited by it. I once went down to a fancy wine tasting benefit in Princeton. When people found out I wrote 'Batman' they mobbed me! I was astounded, but that was the way it was."

People Talking About ...
Highlights
Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on how he'd like to be remembered
Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on the villains of Batman
Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on the Batmobile on Batman
Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on Adam West as "Batman" in Batman
Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on advice to aspiring television writers
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early years and influences; on serving in World War II; on plays he wrote
On trying his hand at writing for feature films; on working in live television; on writing for early anthology series
On writing the pilot for The Rat Patrol and Burke's Law; on writing The Rouges and the unsold pilot Number One Son
On how he came to write for Batman; on the comedy of Batman; on the concept behind the show

Chapter 2

On writing the comedy in Batman; on writing the Batma n scripts and the format of the show; on writing Batman from Spain
On critical and audience reaction to Batman; on the actors in Batman; on the writing process of the show and the "Bat rules" for the writers
On the villains of Batman; on the cultural phenomenon of Batman; on the merchandising and legacy of Batman
On writing the feature films "Fathom" and "Pretty Poison"; on writing the feature films "Papillon", "The Parallax View", and "Three Days of the Condor"

Chapter 3

On writing films "The Parallax View", "Three Days of Condor", "Papillon", "The Drowning Pool" and "King Kong"
On writing "Never Say Never Again"; on adapting books into screenplays
On then-current projects; on his Internet series; on how he'd like to be remembered
Shows

Alcoa Hour, The

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Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on writing for The Alcoa Hour

Batman

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Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on how he came to write for Batman and make it a comedy
Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on the comedy of Batman and ABC's reaction to it
Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on the concept behind Batman
Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on writing the comedy in Batman
Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on creating the iconography of Batman
Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on writing the Batman scripts
Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on Batman director Robert Butler
Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on the twice a week "cliffhanger" format of the Batman episodes
Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on writing Batman from Spain
Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on attracting guest stars to perform in Batman
Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on his complete absence from the Batman set and critical and audience reaction
Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on Adam West as "Batman" in Batman
Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on Burt Ward as "Robin" in Batman
Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on Burgess Meredith as "The Penguin" on Batman
Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on Batman going "over the top"
Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on the Batmobile on Batman
Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on the "Bat Rules" for writers of Batman
Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on the writing process for Batman
Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on the villains of Batman
Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on cultural phenomenon of the Batman series
Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on the Batman phenomenon burning out and the "Batman" movie
Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on the merchandising and declining ratings of Batman
Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on why Batman has lasted

Burke's Law

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Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on writing Burke's Law

Green Hornet, The

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Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on the Batman spin-off The Green Hornet

Rat Patrol, The

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Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on writing the pilot for The Rat Patrol

Rogues, The

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Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on writing The Rogues and the pilot Son Number One
Topics

Characters & Catchphrases

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Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on the origin of Batman's "Robin" saying "Holy!"
Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on Adam West as "Batman" in Batman
Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on Burt Ward as "Robin" in Batman

Pop Culture

View Topic
Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on the origin of Batman's "Robin" saying "Holy!"
Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on Adam West as "Batman" in Batman
Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on Burt Ward as "Robin" in Batman
Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on the Batmobile on Batman
Professions

Writers

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Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on advice to aspiring television writers
Genres

Comedy Series

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Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on writing Batman
Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on writing Batman
People

Robert Butler

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Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on Batman director Robert Butler

Burgess Meredith

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Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on Burgess Meredith as "The Penguin" on Batman

Paul Newman

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Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on writing "The Drowning Pool" for Paul Newman

Burt Ward

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Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on Burt Ward as "Robin" in Batman

Adam West

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Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on Adam West as "Batman" in Batman

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