I never understood how Batman's superhero technology was supposed to work in the 1966 TV series when Bruce and Dick left Stately Wayne Manor via the secret wall panel to enter the Batcave. Is there a canon explanation of how the Dynamic Duo went from wearing civilian clothes at the top of the Batpole to wearing their costumes at the bottom, and how they rode the rocket platform from the bottom in costume and ended up at the top back in street clothes?

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    1. Slide down the Batpole. 2. Get off the Batpole halfway down and change. 3. Slide down the rest of the Batpole. Commented Apr 1, 2014 at 8:51
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    Apart from the "instant costume change lever", there was never a canon explanation, and the flow of action always seemed to imply an "instant costume change" on the way down (or up), non-stop. I think it's just one of those things you're not supposed to think about too much.
    – Anthony X
    Commented May 23, 2015 at 23:53

4 Answers 4


I always understood it that the poles slide down and half way down there is a place they stop get off and change. Then continue to slide down. On the 60's TV show they never actually said they slid from the top to the bottom all in one movement. All they show is them start sliding and then arriving at the bottom.

However, in the 1966 feature film that came out in between the first and second seasons of the television show, midway down the Batpoles there is an "Instant Costume-Change Lever."

enter image description here

They never really explain how this works but apparently being a millionaire has its perks!

  • Now that you mention it, I indeed remember that lever (unless you're tricking me into some fake memory)...
    – Mario
    Commented Oct 6, 2013 at 11:05
  • No, This is an actual lever shown in the movie. No tricks. :) If you select images and google "Instant Costume Change Lever" it will be one of the first pics that will display.
    – Chris
    Commented Oct 16, 2013 at 18:12
  • Aaaaah, it sent me to TV Tropes! However, found a nice pic here. Still leaves the question on how it works under/above that switch. :D
    – Mario
    Commented Oct 21, 2013 at 9:38
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    @Paul D Waite Nice pic. Now I wonder if they had to slide down on their own particular bat-pole every time, but that seems like a question that I can answer. I guess I'll have to tune in some bat-time on the current bat-channel and find out. Commented Apr 1, 2014 at 21:23
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    “They never really explain how this works” — sure they do! It says it right there in the sign! It works instantly. Commented Aug 19, 2020 at 9:35

I think this 1966 canon answers a lot of it:

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    Link-only answers are considered low quality. If the link dies, this answer becomes essentially worthless. Perhaps you could describe what happens in the video that makes you think it answers the question?
    – Valorum
    Commented May 24, 2015 at 0:05

Nanotechnology. This is also the way Superman hides his "undercover" clothes (they're not stored in telephone booths).

Well, probably not, but at the same time I always considered this being part of the whole "super secret Bat Tech" (i.e. you can't explain it). You could as well ask why he always got the perfectly right thing in his girdle, despite the limited amount of space (there might be Time Lord technology involved or some kind of portable time and space displacement module or whatever).

In the end, it's most likely one of those "wouldn't it be cool, if..." things. Just keep in mind we're talking about vehicles with some kind of jet engines built in as well. "Oh look Batman heeds the call, I'll better stop on the side of the road to let him pass more easily." The next thing you'd see is your car flipping off the road, propelled by the Bat Jet Engine built into the Bat Mobile.

On a similar note: Why would you rely solely on the bat signal to call Batman? Just think about it. Wouldn't it be obvious (and the perfect choice) for the bad guys to do their things during the day, especially when you've got a clear blue sky?

I actually remember similar things from some old cartoon show, Filmation's Ghostbusters. They were depicted with clothes being changed by some kind of contraption/Rube Goldberg machine (which involved some demonic or ghostly stuff). Something like that might be involved as well. At least one way probably works in some way, as depicted by Wallace & Grommit.

In the end, I've never heard of any real explanation for the whole "clothing slide". Also keep in mind that the whole series has been meant as some kind of animated comic (weird/odd camera angle, especially for the hideouts of the bad guys; drawn effects during fights; sometimes breaking the fourth wall; repettiive/signature scenes like climbing a wall; etc.). With that in mind you can't necessarily consider a "constant screen time", i.e. just because you see them sliding up/down within seconds doesn't mean we're missing like 5 minutes where they change clothes, especially on their way back up.


Stayed up many a night as a kid thinking about this subject. The midway room change thing was all I could come up with as well. I think there was an episode where Joker gets on one of the poles and Robin/Dick says something like, "Good thing such and such were not set or he would have ended up in a Batsuit." Something like that. So in the fantasy world of TV magic and Batman tech, it just worked and you gotta believe. Reruns come on METV so I'll be watching those poles as well as the rest of the show.

  • Hello and welcome to SFSE! Unfortunately this is not a canon answer and is pure speculation, not adding anything to the post. If you could give a few more references to your quotes and information you cite, that would be excellent :) Commented Apr 1, 2014 at 7:45
  • @N.Soong: “this is not a canon answer and is pure speculation” — apart from the quote from when the Joker gets on the Batpole. That’s from the show. I agree it would be a better answer if that was sourced, but this isn’t pure speculation. Commented Apr 1, 2014 at 8:55
  • @N.Soong: I remember seeing that as well; I don't remember the episode, but it clearly established that for purposes of the show the costume change was automatic. Although the show never explained how the thing worked, some quick-change artists could probably manage the trick on stage if there were ten feet of obscured space between the library and the bat cave, if the "Bruce/Dick" outfits were constructed so they could be yanked off, and portions of the Batman/Robin outfits were underneath. Not sure Bruce/Dick would want to wear identifiable Batman/Robin clothing underneath...
    – supercat
    Commented Nov 11, 2014 at 16:34
  • ...their daily attire when they were out and about town, but they could potentially wear them when they were in domestic situations and they wanted to be ready to change quickly.
    – supercat
    Commented Nov 11, 2014 at 16:35
  • Yes, I also recall that the costume change was done to them, or anyone who slides down whichever pole. Alfred went down the batpole once, but he could have stopped to change; another poster showed a photo of how they had to specify not to be changed if that was desired; and it was stated that Joker would have been changed but didn't work atnthe moment--if it wasn't assumed that the audience would think itnis automatic, they would not have had to contrive a way to prevebt it in one case.
    – JDługosz
    Commented Dec 22, 2014 at 9:53

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