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When Batman's Co-Creator Used His 'Gimmicks' on 77 Sunset Strip!

This is "TV Talkin'," a new feature where I spotlight notable episodes of TV series that were written by former comic book writers. Well, it doesn't have to necessarily be FORMER comic book writers in the sense that they don't have to be no longer comic book writers, but what I mean is that they have to be comic book writers FIRST. In other words, no writers who started in television and then did comic books as, well, come on, the reason should be obvious, right? "Wow, check out this Joss Whedon guy. He apparently wrote some good TV episodes."

We begin with a notable episode of 77 Sunset Strip co-written by Batman's co-creator, Bill Finger!

Bill Finger, of course, is famous for the fact that he was NOT famous for many years. My pal Marc Tyler Nobleman spent years trying to help get Bill Finger the credit he deserves and recently, Warner Bros. finally agreed to credit Bill Finger for his part in the creation of Batman. It's not the full credit he deserves, but Finger getting a "with" credit alongside "Batman created by Bob Kane" is still huge. It is huge because Bob Kane's name was the only one ever listed for Batman since the character debuted in 1939 all the way up to the release of the TV series, Gotham (that's where Bill Finger's credit debuted. Well, that week, at least. I forget if it already appeared on a comic during that same week or if Gotham was its "official" debut).

That was a travesty, of course, since Bill Finger had developed the character with Bob Kane and came up with many of the aspects of the character that helped make Batman such a success. He also wrote Batman's first appearance in Detective Comics #27...

Granted, Finger lifted the plot almost word for word from a previous Shadow story, but hey, Bob Kane lifted almost all of his figure layouts in the story from other artists, so it is only fitting that the story was also cribbed from another source! Finger then went on to become the DOMINANT force in the next few decades, as he wrote the vast majority of Batman stories, even after Bob Kane had long given up on working on the strip. I'm also fairly confident that Finger came up with the origin of Batman...

Finger was famous for his collection of so-called "gimmick books." These were notebooks that he wrote ideas in. He would consult these gimmick books for ideas for comic book stories. "How should character X get out of this situation? Oh, I know, I have a scenario that fits that in my gimmick book." Stuff like that. He was SO well known for it that his contemporary writer, Gardner Fox, once created a Green Lantern villain named William HAND, who fought Green Lantern using a gimmick book, as well...

After working in comics for over two decades, Finger began to get some work as a television writer alongside his longtime friend and writing partner, Charles Sinclair. The two men got gigs working for Warner Bros, including a classic episode of the Warner Bros. television series, 77 Sunset Strip.

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