Farewell, Adam West

adam west BatmanI never needed to say I was Batman. I just showed up.”–Adam West in an episode of “The Big Bang Theory

This is a post I’ve been dreading even though I knew I’d have to do it eventually. With the news last week, I knew I’d have to make a tribute to Adam West. This was a person I would have to make a tribute post for because he was an important part of my childhood.

When I was in fourth grade, a new TV network started in New Orleans, WNOL-38. (It eventually was bought out by Fox and currently the WB/CW network) For its first two years, it was your basic channel that had syndicated reruns. One of these was the Batman TV series from the 1960’s starring Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward as Robin.

It was this show that introduced me to Batman, the Dark Knight. Each weekend, they would air both parts of the original episode back to back. Each week had a great old movie star or TV personality guest star as the villain. There were famous comic book villains such as the Riddler (Frank Gorshin), the Joker (Caesar Romero) or Catwoman (Julie Newar, Lee Meriwether, and Eartha Kitt) . The show even had its own villains like King Tut (Victor Buono) and Egghead (Vincent Price). It was fun and action-packed. I loved how the fights always had sound effects printed on the screen, just like a comic book.

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Memory Lane: Holy 50th Anniversary!

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On January 12, 1966, Batman got his first TV series. Starring Adam West and Burt Ward as the titular caped crusaders, this show became well known for its campy storytelling. For many years it never got a proper home video release (that changed about 2 years ag0), but it was syndicated for quite a long time, which was how I got into it as a child. Thanks to this show and Hanna-Barbera’s Superfriends, I became a big fan of Batman. This year marks the 50th anniversary. I decided to make a countdown of why this show is still great so many years later.

10) Adam West saved Batman. Batman’s comics were on the verge of being cancelled before the show began. Yet, when the show became a hit, DC realized their mistake. Julius Schwartz, who was head of DC at the time, insisted that the comics take on a tone similar to the show.

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9)They actually made their own villains. Joker, Penguin, Catwoman, and even Mr. Freeze were regular villains. But they took things a step further and even made up villains of their own, including Egghead, played by Vincent Price and pictured above.

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8) The Batmobile. Just look at that car! It still looks awesome!

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7) Batgirl. Although Batgirl did exist before the show, she wasn’t like we know her today. The show influenced the comic to make her Commissioner Gordon’s daughter, and I like her this way.

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6) Adam West voiced in Batman the Animated Series. As a way of passing the torch to Kevin Conroy, Adam West appeared in the episode “Beware the Gray Ghost” as an aging actor who is disparaging his role as the Gray Ghost, a TV superhero who influenced Batman. It’s one of the best episodes of the show.

Continue reading “Memory Lane: Holy 50th Anniversary!”