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."

Highlights
Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on how he'd like to be remembered
02:21
Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on the villains of Batman
01:01
Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on the Batmobile on Batman
00:38
Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on Adam West as "Batman" in Batman
00:35
Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on advice to aspiring television writers
06:20
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
04:48

Batman

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Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on how he came to write for Batman and make it a comedy
04:08
Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on the comedy of Batman and ABC's reaction to it
05:17
Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on the concept behind Batman
02:17
Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on writing the comedy in Batman
02:38
Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on creating the iconography of Batman
02:22
Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on writing the Batman scripts
02:03
Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on Batman director Robert Butler
01:27
Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on the twice a week "cliffhanger" format of the Batman episodes
01:22
Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on writing Batman from Spain
04:19
Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on attracting guest stars to perform in Batman
00:51
Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on his complete absence from the Batman set and critical and audience reaction
02:02
Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on Adam West as "Batman" in Batman
00:35
Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on Burt Ward as "Robin" in Batman
00:34
Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on Burgess Meredith as "The Penguin" on Batman
02:00
Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on Batman going "over the top"
03:01
Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on the Batmobile on Batman
00:38
Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on the "Bat Rules" for writers of Batman
01:53
Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on the writing process for Batman
01:44
Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on the villains of Batman
01:01
Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on cultural phenomenon of the Batman series
01:34
Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on the Batman phenomenon burning out and the "Batman" movie
03:38
Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on the merchandising and declining ratings of Batman
01:58
Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on why Batman has lasted
02:20

Burke's Law

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Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on writing Burke's Law
05:48

Green Hornet, The

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Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on the Batman spin-off The Green Hornet
02:49

Rat Patrol, The

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Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on writing the pilot for The Rat Patrol
02:51

Rogues, The

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Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on writing The Rogues and the pilot Son Number One
03:08
Topics

Characters & Catchphrases

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Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on the origin of Batman's "Robin" saying "Holy!"
01:45
Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on Adam West as "Batman" in Batman
00:45
Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on Burt Ward as "Robin" in Batman
00:34

Pop Culture

View Topic
Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on the origin of Batman's "Robin" saying "Holy!"
01:59
Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on Adam West as "Batman" in Batman
00:35
Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on Burt Ward as "Robin" in Batman
00:34
Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on the Batmobile on Batman
00:38
Professions

Writers

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Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on advice to aspiring television writers
06:20
Genres

Comedy Series

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Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on writing Batman
11:42
Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on writing Batman
43:03
People

Robert Butler

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Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on Batman director Robert Butler
01:27

Burgess Meredith

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Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on Burgess Meredith as "The Penguin" on Batman
02:00

Paul Newman

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Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on writing "The Drowning Pool" for Paul Newman
03:36

Burt Ward

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Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on Burt Ward as "Robin" in Batman
00:34

Adam West

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Lorenzo Semple, Jr. on Adam West as "Batman" in Batman
00:35

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