Last week, beloved actor Adam West passed away. He was 88. What was it about him playing Batman that got our attention? I can remember watching the campy Batman series when I was a child. The original program ran for 120 episodes from 1966 to 1968. Sure, it was corny and fit in with the 70s culture, but it was great. It was also a Who’s Who of some popular icons.
For instance, the following stars made guest appearances: Burgess Meredith, Julie Newmar, Cesar Romero, Vincent Price, Carolyn Jones, Milton Berle, and Eartha Kitt. Back in the 50s and 60s, many of these actors and actresses were the best in the business. They all came together to make a terrific show. However, it was Burt Ward as Robin the Boy Wonder and Adam West as Batman that made the show so great.
I can remember my brothers and I becoming glued to the television set whenever Batman came on. Who didn’t like watching him punching out the bad guys? Even better, nothing beat the large word balloons that appeared when someone received a knuckle sandwich from the dynamic duo.
Although Adam West appeared in other programs, he will forever be remembered as Batman. I have seen Ben Affleck, George Clooney, Val Kilmer, and Michael Keaton play Batman. They were just okay. I preferred West over any other actors who played Batman. West just had the best demeanor. Even when tied to an explosive or getting attacked by a horde of hired henchman, the Adam West Batman always kept his cool and somehow had the proper tool in his utility belt to escape any situation.
I always loved superheroes as a child. They always had an answer for the evildoers in our society. Batman was one of the first superheroes that I admired. What made him so special was that he had no powers. He was just an ordinary person who chose to keep crime from overtaking Gotham.
Although West acted in more than 60 movies and appeared in many television programs, he couldn’t shake the Batman image. Fans would always know him as the caped crusader. But there was more to Adam West than Batman. Here are some great facts about West:
– He graduated from Whitman College with a Bachelor’s degree in Literature and a minor in Psychology
– West remained friends with actor Burt Ward after Batman ended
– Otto West Anderson, West’s father, was a farmer
Batman did well in the ratings but was cancelled because of production costs
– West received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2012
– West provided his voice for characters on Sponge Bob Squarepants and The Simpsons
I have to admit that I cannot imagine or think of West as anyone other than Batman. But he made many children happy back in the day. I mean who didn’t watch Batman and want to run around with a cape and fight crime? I would also like to think West’s Batman started the superhero craze that has led to today’s fascination with superheroes.
The Wonder Woman movie is a great example. The movie has already earned more than $100 million dollars in box office receipts. We are also waiting for the latest Spiderman and Thor movies that will soon be appearing at theaters everywhere. When Adam West first donned the Batman costume back in the 60s, did he think the superhero business would eventually become so successful? Like other icons who have passed away, West will forever appear in reruns of Batman until the end of time.
Marc is a grandparent and longtime resident of Clermont County. Visit his author page Life with Grandpa and he also just wrote Just Bite Me: A Guide to Zombies, Vampires, Werewolves, and Other Walking Nightmares, which is available on Amazon.com.