Sunday, June 11, 2017

Sunday Globe Special: He Is Batman

He will always be to some of us, despite the Keatons, Kilmers, Clooneys, Afflecks, and Bales.

"Adam West, 88, noted for playing Batman" by Anita Gates New York Times  June 10, 2017

Adam West, the classically handsome baritone actor who turned a comic-book superhero into live-action Pop Art in the 1960s television series “Batman,” died Friday in Los Angeles. He was 88.

“Batman” lasted only 2 ½ seasons, from January 1966 to March 1968, but the show was a phenomenon. The show’s off-kilter camera angles and superimposed dialogue balloons representing fight-scene sound effects like “pow!” and “splat!” were among the elements that led it to be viewed as high camp. Mr. West dismissed that label but proudly described the show as farce.

Kind of like the war that got rolling in the wake of the show, namely Vietnam.

Batman, the crime-fighting alias of Bruce Wayne, a bachelor millionaire in Gotham City, was created as a comic-book character in 1939 by Bob Kane and Bill Finger. (He was soon joined by a young sidekick, Robin the Boy Wonder.) Mr. West’s television version was painfully clean-cut, a milk-drinking model citizen whose reaction to extreme frustration might be, “He’s right, darn it!”

I'm thinking the young sidekick comes out in the 21st-century version. Was suspected at the time. Or at least people were asking questions.

Two episodes were broadcast each week for most of the show’s run and featured a number of celebrity guest stars. 

Yeah, they would end the first episode with some sort of cliffhanger wondering how Batman and the Boy Wonder were going to escape the trap and avoid demise.

Before “Batman” came along, Mr. West kept busy with guest roles on television series, including “Perry Mason,” “77 Sunset Strip,” and just about every Western on television, including “Maverick,” “Bonanza,” and “Gunsmoke.” He also appeared in close to a dozen feature films.

After “Batman” ended, Mr. West struggled to find meaningful acting jobs because he was so closely identified with his superhero role, but he continued to work in both movies and TV, often playing roles that spoofed his Batman character. In later decades, he did a great deal of voice work, including a spectacularly long run (2000-2017) on the animated series “Family Guy” as Mayor Adam West, a politician who might best be described as sadistic, corrupt, vacant, clueless, and utterly charming.....

Sorry, I'm not part of that family.



"On June 11, 1962, three prisoners at Alcatraz in San Francisco Bay staged an escape, leaving the island on a makeshift raft; they were never found or heard from again."

You can turn off the Batlight now.