(Sorry about no post yesterday. I just wasn’t feeling well and went to bed early.)
Well, I learned today that Adam West has lost his fight with Leukemia and headed for that Bat Cave in the sky.
West was one of a number of iconic actors that filled my childhood. The cast of Batman, the cast of Star Trek, John Steed and Emma Peel, Napoleon Solo and Ilya Kuryakin, Daniel Boone and Taramingo, a few others. So many of them are gone now.
When the Batman TV show was on the air I was young. I didn’t get the camp and humor. I didn’t have the experience to see how utterly ridiculous the series was. To me it was real, superhero drama.
As I got older, and caught the show in reruns, that view changed of course. I still loved it. Not everything has to be treated with utmost seriousness and we’re allowed to let our hair down and have a little fun sometimes.
I’ve seen a lot of folk turn up their noses at the 60’s Batman series but a good argument can be made that without that show we would never have what came after, not the 80’s Michael Keaton Batman, not Not Chris Nolan’s, and not the Batman of the current DCU. Nor would we have had some of the best small-screen Batman stories ever: the continuity that started with Batman The Animated Adventures and continued through Justice League Unlimited (with a side trip into Batman Beyond).
In addition to the 60’s TV show, West also gave us a less campy, albeit still quite juvenile presentation of Batman in the various 70’s cartoons.
Another memory I have of Adam West was a Thanksgiving special presentation of Mystery Science Theater 3000 dubbed “Turkey Day” where Adam West served as a guest host. If I remember correctly he part of a “wrapper” around the usual MST3K format, introducing and doing little bits around commercial breaks. The movie in question that I specifically remember was “Zombie Nightmare” which also featured Adam West as Capt. Tom Churchman. A really bad movie (well? It was on MST3K so that follows) but I found it interesting in that it was a return to the pre-Romero idea of Zombies–someone brought back from the dead using Voodoo with enormous strength and being nearly impossible to re-kill. (As opposed to shambling hordes that aren’t all that hard to rekill, just numerous.)
Looking at West’s IMDB page it looks like he had fairly steady work if not a lot of it, at least a couple of roles each year since the production of Batman, many of them in Batman related projects, including various animated series and in many cases playing “himself”.
So it is with sadness that I bid farewell to the Caped Crusader, who showed me that no matter how dark things look now, the good guys will win Next Week.
Same Bat-Time. Same Bat-Channel.