Bruce Lee 'Petrified' Burt Ward During The Green Hornet's Batman Crossover

Believe it or not, the "Batman" television series from 1966 had a legendary crossover with another beloved superhero series that ran at the same time. On the 52nd episode of season 2 in 1967, "Batman" welcomed Green Hornet (Van Williams) and Kato (Bruce Lee) from, you guessed it, the original "The Green Hornet" series. The Caped Crusader and his trusty sidekick, Robin (Burt Ward), encountered the "Green Hornet" duo during a devious heist concocted by Colonel Gumm (Roger C. Carmel). The vigilantes crossing paths made sense, especially since Britt Reid, a.k.a. the Green Hornet, was revealed to be longtime friends with Bruce Wayne (Adam West). However, the on-screen scuffle between the sidekicks was a major point of contention behind the scenes.

Unknowingly battling the good guys while stopping a robbery, Batman and Robin throw hands with the Green Hornet and Kato in "Batman's Satisfaction." Naturally, there is a brief fight scene between Robin and Kato in the "Batman" crossover episode. The bout ends in a draw between the crime-fighting superheroes, both showcasing their martial arts skills in quite a dramatic fashion. Obviously, Lee is no stranger to a good hand-to-hand combat scene, but Ward holds his own in the "Batman" sequence (he's a real-life martial artist, too). That said, Ward was initially not very keen on showing off his skills against the incredibly talented Lee.

'Absolutely petrified'

During an interview for the "Remembering Bruce Lee" documentary (via Newsweek), Green Hornet himself, Van Williams, revealed that Burt Ward was terrified that he had to battle Bruce Lee onscreen in a scene that originally had Robin beating Kato in the fight:

"Burt Ward was absolutely petrified when he was going to work with him, and he didn't want to work with him. And Bruce got the script, and in the original script he lost to Robin. Well, that didn't go over too good with Bruce. He walked off the show. He said, 'I'm not going to do that.' He said, 'There's no way that anyone would believe I go in there and fight Robin and lose.'"

Alright, let's be honest here. I think anyone would have been "petrified" at the idea of fighting Lee on-camera, especially since Robin was going to get the leg-up on Kato before the forced rewrite. And, any signs of ego aside, it honestly makes little to no sense that Kato would lose to the Boy Wonder. Kato may be Green Hornet's sidekick, but he is no slouch. Lee was right to demand the edit on "Batman," and Ward acted as most humans that want to preserve their bodies would. It was all love behind the scenes, though. Ward, who had already known Lee off-camera, thought of the martial arts legend as "a really nice guy" (via CheatSheet).

While the Adam West-led series may be more popular, both shows are the foundation of the live-action superhero television genre. The '60s "Batman" series is available to stream on Roku, while "The Green Hornet" is free to watch on Tubi.