There’s one Christmas song that every school kid knows by heart, but it doesn’t exist in an official songbook. Nonetheless, kids have been merrily singing it for years. Obviously, we’re talking about the schoolyard classic, “Jingle Bells Batman Smells“.
But have you ever wondered where this silly Christmas song came from? Here’s everything we know about this snarky Christmas carol and how it started.
What Is The Jingle Bells Batman Smells Origin Story?
Kids have been singing it for decades, but the origin of Jingle Bells Batman Smells remains largely a mystery. Evidence of the song’s existence dates back to the late 1960s. This coincides with the debut of the popular Batman TV show starring Adam West and Burt Ward. Althrough there’s no direct evidence making a connection, singing a snarky holiday song seems to match the vibe of a campy 1960s superhero TV show.
The original version of the song was probably just a simple alteration of the lyrics to Jingle Bells, with Batman’s name inserted wherever possible. But over time it became a more imaginative parody, making fun of Batman’s odor, his car, and his sidekick’s incompetence. Basically, Robin screws up each episode and Batman has to set things right.
Theory On How “Jingle Bells Batman Smells” Gained International Popularity
In the late 1960s, an unknown child, or group of children, likely created the song Jingle Bells Batman Smells and unleashed it upon their piers. From there, it quickly spread from playground to playground across the United States.
The original Batman TV show started in January 1966 and only ran for three seasons. Despite its relatively short run, the show found new life in reruns. In the 1980s, the original Batman TV show was often grouped with other classic TV shows such as Gilligan’s Island and The Brady Bunch into an after school programming block. This made kids in both the Boomer and Gen X generations fans of the classic Batman TV show.
That can help explain the song’s popularity in America, but how did it spread throughout the world? Kids in Canada, Australia, the U.K., Europe, and even Japan all knew the lyrics. But how did it spread globally before the Internet?
From games to sex advice, grade school kids learn all sorts of “things” on school playgrounds. One of those things are songs. Frequently, those songs might just be schoolyard rhymes and the latest pop song. But there are a few songs that have been passed on between grades and generations without fail.
We think the song traveled with the kids of military families who were moved to different parts of the world during the Vietnam Era and Cold War years. As kids from the US moved around the world, they brought the song with them and taught it to a new group of friends. Those friends taught it to new friends, and so on.
What Are The Jingle Bells Batman Smells Song Lyrics?
Sung to the same melody as “Jingle Bells,” the lyrics for “Jingle Bells, Batman Smells” are altered to tell a humorous story about Batman and a failed encounter with The Joker.
The lyrics to the song Jingle Bells Batman Smells are simple:
Robin laid an egg.
The Batmobile lost a wheel,
And The Joker got away
That’s the main version of the song, although there are several variations. For information on the lesser known versions of the song, like the “Joker flew away”, watch this video.
An In-Depth Analysis Of The Jingle Bells Batman Smells Lyrics
In the song, Batman and Robin are in the Batmobile trying to catch The Joker and put an end to his nefarious plans. However, things don’t go as smoothly as the heroes had hoped. The Joker is able to outsmart them and escape, and Batman and Robin are left feeling frustrated and defeated. Let’s analyze the song line by line.
Why Does Batman Smell?
Why does Batman smell? The most obvious explanation is his body odor. He probably smells terrible because he spends a lot of time doing intense physical activities, like fighting bad guys, while wearing a rubber suit. Yuck!
Why Did Robin Lay An Egg?
“Robin laid an egg.“
In the song, is Robin actually laying an egg like a bird? No. “Laying an egg” is an idiom for a major failed effort. Engaging in a task that ends in failure, often dramatically, is commonly referred to as “laying an egg”.
Fans of the 1960s Batman TV show are all too familiar with Robin “laying an egg”. In the show, Robin was basically useless. He would frequently make big mistakes that Batman, of course, had to fix.
The Batmobile Lost A Wheel
The Batmobile lost a wheel,
Why did the Batmobile lose a wheel? Perhaps it was Robin’s fault. If so, this might be the “egg” that he laid. Maybe Robin forgot to tighten the lug nuts when he rotated the tires on the Batmobile?
And The Joker Got Away
And The Joker got away
The Joker got away, and let’s be honest, in the 1960s Batman TV show, the Joker always got away. Even if he didn’t directly escape Batman, the Joker always found a way to escape. Even if Batman or the Police put the Joker in prison, he would still always find a way to escape.
Why? He had to escape. If the Joker and the other villains didn’t always get away, then who would Batman fight each episode? At that point, Batman might as well retire.
Mentions Of The Song Jingle Bells Batman Smells In Pop Culture
Since its creation in the 1960s, the song “Jingle Bells Batman Smells” has been featured in various movies, television shows, and even video games.
The song shows up again in a 1993 episode of The Simpsons. In Season 5, episode 10, Bart tricks Robert Goulet into singing at a gig inside his treehouse.
Several years later, Mark Hamill (Star Wars) sang “Jingle Bells Batman Smells” in a 1992 episode of Batman: The Animated Series. Hamill famously voiced the Joker in the series and cheekily sang it to make fun of Batman.
The book series Junie B. Jones mentions the song. If you search YouTube, you’ll find videos of various theater productions performing it as well.
The SpongeBob cartoon also did a variation on “Jingle Bells Batman Smells”:
The song has even been used in a holiday promotion campaign for the kids’ cable TV network, Nickelodeon.
Accepting “Jingle Bells Batman Smells” As Part Of The Holiday Season And A Popular Kids Christmas Carol
For decades, most parents and teachers discouraged kids from singing “Jingle Bells Batman Smells”, especially at Church and school events. But those kids, and even their kids, are now parents. Why fight it anymore?
After decades on the fringe of Christmas celebrations, Jingle Bells Batman Smells is now a classic Christmas carol. It is happily sung by school choirs and church choirs alike.
The Christmas season is a time for joy, but it’s also a time for singing. Whether it’s caroling around the neighborhood or singing in the car, Christmas songs are a beloved Christmas tradition, and “Jingle Bells Batman Smells” is no exception. Happy Holidays!
Frank Wilson is a retired teacher with over 30 years of combined experience in the education, small business technology, and real estate business. He now blogs as a hobby and spends most days tinkering with old computers. Wilson is passionate about tech, enjoys fishing, and loves drinking beer.