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Batman loves Barbie? Holy Marketing Strategy!

Mattel is making the most of its product rights to the 1966 Batman television series and introducing the caped crusader to its superstar cash cow, Barbie. In June, Mattel will release a Barbie and Ken version of Julie Neumar as Catwoman and Adam West as Batman. (The dolls will cost around $15 each and there's going to be a Batmobile for around $50.)

Adam West, who played Batman in the live action series, recently attended a launch party at Hollywood's Melt Down Comics for Junk Food Clothing's new line of Batman inspired tee shirts and happily posed next to the various "ka-pow" worthy products in the store, including Batman/Ken and Catwoman/Barbie which are available for pre-order.

While there have been a multitude of Batman-based action dolls and paraphernalia over the years none have been officially tied to the 1966 television series. It was a marketing-rights nightmare with actors, writers, producers, studios and anyone else who could afford a lawyer all claiming to have rights to product royalties. It's taken Mattel years to reach an agreement with all the parties. The fact that the toy-making giant is putting such a marketing push behind its upcoming line of Batman products a testament to the kitschy-staying power and nostalgic appeal of the now almost 50-year-old television series.

There are a couple of obvious differences between the action doll version of Batman (on the left) and the Mattel version of Ken as Batman (on the right). First, action doll Batman has a nifty weapon. We're guessing Barbie's Batman has excellent negotiating skills or runs really fast or something else just as non-confrontational. Second, action doll Batman has a substantial bulk in his trunks. Poor Batman/Ken's trunks seem pretty empty.

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