MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: Batman and Godzilla almost shared a film together.
This is a fascinating subject, because what we know is, in and of itself, really interesting, but perhaps even MORE interesting is what we do NOT know, which is namely how much of a connection there was between William Dozier's Greenway Productions (the producers of the Batman TV series) and Toho Co., the producers behind Godzilla.
First off, what we know is that Toho was shocked by big of a hit that they had with their 1962 film featuring Godzilla and King Kong...
The movie was an absolute blockbuster, and logically enough, Toho was interested in keeping the good times going by coming up with another big inter-company crossover, featuring Godzilla face off against another company's character.
Okay, we also know that in 1966, the Batman TV series came out and it was a smash hit...
In 1966, William Dozier produced a film spin-off of the Batman TV series that aired during the Summer of 1966. That's how hot Batman was. He debuted in January 1966 and he was already starring in a major motion picture by the summer of 1966.
Finally, we also know that in the collection of William Dozier that is at the University of Wymoning there exists a 22-page treatment for a possible sequel to the 1966 Batman film that would feature Batman meeting Godzilla. Here's the description in their archive:
Batman Meets Godzilla, no date
22 pgs, mimeo and carbon, annotated, no author, Greenway Productions
The treatment suggests a trip to Japan for Batman and his supporting cast and then a fight with Godzilla involving all sorts of Batman vehicles.
Here's where things get tricky. We know that there was an American attempt to get Batman together with Godzilla (Dozier also looked into Batman meeting King Kong), but what I am unsure about is what the Japanese response was.
According to the Toho Kingdom website, then series writer of the Godzilla films, Shinichi Sekizawa, allegedly submitted a manuscript for a proposal of a Batman meets Gozilla film in November of 1965.
Here's my issue - I'm not positive that the two projects weren't intermingled. The November 1965 date would place the film BEFORE Batman gained a hit TV series. Now, could it be possible that they just thought that Batman would be a great guy to have Godzilla fight? Sure, it's possible. However, while Batman did become HUGE in Japan (I mean HUUUUUUUUUUGE), it was not until the TV series debuted. April 1966 is when Bat-Mania very famously hit Japan (and, again, it hit there big time. There were so many classic Japanese products spinning out of the Batman TV series).
The debate, then, is whether the Sekizawa project wasn't actually a little bit later. As part of the Zikezawa proposal, there was a wedding machine the film, something that would later appear in the 1967 film, Son of Godzilla...
Batgirl is in the Sekizawa proposal, despite the now-famous version of Barbara Gordon as Batgirl would not have been created yet (there WAS a Batgirl in 1965, so the timing doesn't eliminate the existence of Batgirl).
So I think that it is very possible that the two proposals are somehow connected, which would only be possible if the Sekizawa proposal took place a little bit later.
Still, even if they were completely unrelated, it is definitely true that there WERE plans for a Batman/Godzilla movie at one time, which is the major takeaway from this legend, so the legend is...
Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.