Farewell, old chum
June 10, 2017 9:00 AM   Subscribe

Adam West, the ardent actor who managed to keep his tongue in cheek while wearing the iconic cowl of the Caped Crusader on the classic 1960s series Batman, has died. He was 88. β€œOur dad always saw himself as The Bright Knight and aspired to make a positive impact on his fans' lives. He was and always will be our hero,” his family said in a statement.
posted by rewil (165 comments total) 35 users marked this as a favorite
posted by belarius at 9:03 AM on June 10

Still my favorite Batman.

posted by freecellwizard at 9:04 AM on June 10 [22 favorites]


A good life. Good enough.
posted by Artw at 9:04 AM on June 10 [8 favorites]

I always admired how he managed to turn being Adam West into something mighty that extended far beyond his Batman heritage. RIP, Mayer Of Quahog.

posted by hippybear at 9:06 AM on June 10 [20 favorites]

posted by Wordshore at 9:06 AM on June 10

posted by evilDoug at 9:06 AM on June 10

Despite Mrs. Thomas' objection to Family Guy ever being shown or discussed or thought about in our house, I maintain that Mayor West was the best mayor ever.

posted by DoubtingThomas at 9:07 AM on June 10 [10 favorites]

A hell of a voice and a man who loomed large in my childhood. I still get a little choked up when Alfred puts on the classic costume in the Lego Batman movie. I hope he saw that.

Thanks, Adam.
posted by middleclasstool at 9:07 AM on June 10 [5 favorites]

Well darn: another chunk of my childhood gone. Thanks for the memories!

posted by easily confused at 9:07 AM on June 10 [3 favorites]

RIP, Mayer Of Quahog.

That's Mayor Chapstick to you.
posted by Talez at 9:08 AM on June 10 [3 favorites]

posted by zombieflanders at 9:11 AM on June 10

posted by Strange Interlude at 9:14 AM on June 10 [4 favorites]


posted by Fizz at 9:15 AM on June 10 [4 favorites]

*turns on Bat-signal one last time*
posted by furtive at 9:16 AM on June 10 [3 favorites]

posted by tonycpsu at 9:16 AM on June 10

Thank you for everything Mister West, including hosting the 1994 MST3K Turkey Day marathon, which included the debut of episode 604, Zombie Nightmare (wikia).

posted by ZeusHumms at 9:17 AM on June 10 [15 favorites]

He was my intro to Batman and thereby DC superheroes as a child - a love that has remained through my life. I'm going to miss him.

posted by darchildre at 9:17 AM on June 10 [3 favorites]

I was fascinated by those poles they slid down each episode as a kid. I wanted to slide down a Batpole so badly. Godspeed Mr. West.
posted by downtohisturtles at 9:18 AM on June 10 [5 favorites]

Alan Sepinwall points to two recent bits of writing about West's performance.
posted by rewil at 9:19 AM on June 10 [5 favorites]

In any serious superhero fan's life, there comes a time when you're ashamed of West's Batman, because it's so corny and cheesy and makes fun of superheroes and don't you know superheroes are serious business?

But then you regain some perspective, grow up a little and realise that not only did West's Batman help revive the Batman comics, he himself was a positive role model, a Batman who took the trauma of his parents being murdered and turned it into something positive. His is the Batman that helps people, rather than just fight criminals.

West on Family Guy was a golden idea, but it overstated his weirdness and completely ran the joke in the ground in a couple of seasons, as it does with any joke.
posted by MartinWisse at 9:22 AM on June 10 [17 favorites]

posted by tommasz at 9:23 AM on June 10

Holy long-and-productive-lives, Batman!

posted by lalochezia at 9:23 AM on June 10 [1 favorite]

Aw, man.

I keep a mental list of actors who have leading-man looks and presence, but also have this deep streak of weirdness that keeps them from being quite vanilla enough to fit the leading man mold. Adam West was right up there at the top of that list. Good night, bat prince.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:23 AM on June 10 [13 favorites]

In everything I saw of him, he looked like he was having fun while making things fun.
As bad as Family Guy has been in the past 10 years or so, an appearance of Mayor West would be easily one of the highlights of the show, because it still relies on weirdness rather than meanness.
posted by lmfsilva at 9:24 AM on June 10 [8 favorites]

If you haven't seen his bravura performance as Principal Ken Schwinger, from the legendary Adventures of Pete and Pete, take a moment to feast your eyes.

He was truly, uniquely great.
posted by MrVisible at 9:24 AM on June 10 [16 favorites]

One of my wife's childhood friends had appeared in an episode of The Adventures of Pete and Pete, I thought I couldn't be any more impressed until I learned she had appeared in the episode with Adam West. When I finally got a chance to meet her, I immediately asked in a frenzied fanboy tone, "What is Adam West really like!?" To which she laughed and replied, "He really is just like that... just... Adam West, all the time. The funniest man I ever met."

You owe it to yourself to track down the pilot he did with Conan O'Brien before Conan got snatched up by the Simpson's as a writer, Lookwell. Still one of my favorite Adam West roles, sadly a one off...
posted by 1f2frfbf at 9:25 AM on June 10 [12 favorites]

"Some days you just can't get rid of a bomb!"

Adam West was my Batman. Many Wednesday lunch hours at school discussing how he was going to get out of Tuesday's cliffhanger.

Na-Na Na-Na Na-Na Na-Na BATMAN!
posted by Zedcaster at 9:27 AM on June 10 [11 favorites]

posted by detachd at 9:28 AM on June 10

I have a lot of fond memories of watching Adam West as Batman after school; the show was in syndication and I loved it. He brought a level of class to the camp.

posted by nubs at 9:28 AM on June 10 [6 favorites]

His greatest work was "Lookwell." RIP.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 9:29 AM on June 10 [8 favorites]

Not only did he bring joy to so many people, he was such a good sport about bringing joy to so many.
posted by Hypatia at 9:30 AM on June 10 [3 favorites]

Mr West is Batman, there have been pale substitutes since with bigger budgets faux serious darkness but ZAP POW he was the original and authentic Batman.

posted by sammyo at 9:34 AM on June 10 [1 favorite]

Loved the Dr. Demento staple "Adam West," a parody of "Wild Wild West."

Yup, he IS Batman.

posted by Melismata at 9:34 AM on June 10 [1 favorite]

Oh Shit.

RIP and enjoy BatHeaven.
posted by jonmc at 9:36 AM on June 10

posted by JoeXIII007 at 9:37 AM on June 10

BatHeaven must surely look like stately Wayne Manor.
posted by nubs at 9:37 AM on June 10 [5 favorites]

You can date people by their favourite Batman, just as you can date them by their favourite Doctor Who - mine was Adam West. Really sorry to see him go.

posted by Fuchsoid at 9:40 AM on June 10 [2 favorites]

As mentioned a few posts above, Wally Wingert's "Adam West"
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:41 AM on June 10 [1 favorite]

posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 9:41 AM on June 10 [7 favorites]

posted by drezdn at 9:42 AM on June 10

*sad Batusi*

posted by Sys Rq at 9:44 AM on June 10 [8 favorites]

I can't tell you how many Sundays I pretended to be sick so my parents would let me stay home from church so I could sneak into the livingroom and watch Batman but it was enough that, if they were believing my bs, they probably should have taken me to a doctor.

Sometimes my dad would drop the rest of the family off and come back home to make sure I stayed in bed. That was the worst.
posted by The Hamms Bear at 9:45 AM on June 10 [3 favorites]

BatHeaven must surely look like stately Wayne Manor.

How cool would it be if he had a red phone that would periodically ring and tell him his city needs him.
posted by middleclasstool at 9:49 AM on June 10 [2 favorites]

He sure could climb a wall.

posted by peeedro at 9:52 AM on June 10 [2 favorites]

I've known and worked with Adam west for over 30 years, and I have some amazing stories, but my favorite is what happened when he met my five year old.

He was a good man, he did good things, I loved him dearly, as do we all, and I am saddened by his passing, but so glad it was fast and painless, and he was surrounded by those who loved him.

Pow, kablaam, zarp! The one true batman will always live in our hearts.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 9:54 AM on June 10 [65 favorites]

Of all the various versions of Batman that have existed, in the screen or on the page, there is one thing they all have in common: their favorite Batman was Adam West.
posted by Etrigan at 9:56 AM on June 10 [8 favorites]


I just yelled out "ADAM WEST DIED!" to my certified non-geek dad, and Dad yelled back "BATMAN?!" in equal shock, if you want an example of Adam West's lasting cultural impact.

Long before I read comics, I grew up watching Batman: The Animated Series and reruns of live-action Batman with Adam West. Both were equally, gloriously Batseries to me as a kid. I remember being glad that the reruns aired 2 episodes back-to-back so I didn't have to wait through a "same Bat-time! same Bat-channel!" cliffhanger.

Thank you for Batman, Adam West, and for that incomparable voice.
posted by nicebookrack at 9:56 AM on June 10 [3 favorites]

By far my favorite Batman. Sorry to see him go, but so glad he was here in the first place.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 10:01 AM on June 10 [3 favorites]

In the general "Adam West, best Batman" vein, I'm glad that the current Batman '66 comics based on the live-action series are more wonderful than they have any right to be. Read them with Adam West's voice.
posted by nicebookrack at 10:03 AM on June 10 [2 favorites]

posted by Atom Eyes at 10:05 AM on June 10

posted by ceejaytee at 10:07 AM on June 10

You can date people by their favourite Batman, just as you can date them by their favourite Doctor Who - mine was Adam West.

Lego Batman (slight preference for Lego Movie over Lego Batman) and Derbyshire's original Doctor Who Theme for me.
posted by effbot at 10:08 AM on June 10

IMDb filmography
posted by Brian B. at 10:14 AM on June 10

Childhood icon. His looks and voice were perfect for the role, not to mention his physique.

We love you Batman. Ride that batmobile into the great beyond.
posted by GospelofWesleyWillis at 10:16 AM on June 10 [1 favorite]

posted by thelonius at 10:16 AM on June 10

He was my first Batman.
posted by 80 Cats in a Dog Suit at 10:19 AM on June 10 [1 favorite]

posted by cazoo at 10:19 AM on June 10

posted by radwolf76 at 10:21 AM on June 10

When I was in piano school as a kid, we petitioned our teachers to get us the sheet music to the Batman theme. Bless their hearts, they did. (As my fellow student who's now an in-demand session player in NYC put it, "And that was my first clue that orchestration and arranging were a thing.")

RIP, Mr. West, and thanks for having such good humour about it all.
posted by Philofacts at 10:23 AM on June 10 [6 favorites]

One of my sons sang the Batman theme song in his crib. Another, in his 40s, still has his Adam West Batman ceramic bank, and works in graphics special effects for movies. He was a perfect Batman for Halloween several times and is still a big Superhero fan. RIP Batman, so many good memories.
posted by mermayd at 10:27 AM on June 10 [4 favorites]

Adam West's Batman was camp, but he was a very human--and, ultimately, convincing--version of what could've been a snarky, we-and-I-know-this-is-dumb reading of it. I came to Batman in its first run and absolutely loved it. Young enough to be grabbed by the cliffhangers and villains (Frank Gorshin's Riddler FTW) and action, old enough to get most of the jokes and even some of the ironic take on the superhero. And it was West and his performance around whom all the other characters orbited. That voice, those measured line readings, the weight of "old chum" when he'd say it to a wanna-bust-out! Robin. He was closer to Billy Batson-as-Captain Marvel or The Middleman than to modern Batman--a big Boy Scout who was shy around girls (even Julie Newmar's Catwoman!) and voluntarily bound by conventions of just plain good manners. Would Captain Marvel dispose of a bomb on top of a mother duck and her ducklings? Nuh-uh!

Thank you for all those hours in front of the TV, Mr. West. Best Batman ever.


posted by the sobsister at 10:28 AM on June 10 [10 favorites]

He brought a level of class to the camp.

He brought a sheer talent for deadpan comedy to the camp that made it worth watching. Go in peace, Adam.
posted by orange swan at 10:30 AM on June 10 [6 favorites]

A few years ago, I got curious about the old Batman film serials and I came away from them appreciating Adam West's Batman as never before. The Batman in the old serials was a bellowing, histrionic oaf with crooked ears. He yelled and he never told jokes. It was Adam West who brought the dry, deadpan, one-liner vibe to Batman and it resonated so hard that it reshaped the ur-text. Batman would be forever written and performed as an ice cool one liner guy from that point forward. I used to sneer at his show back when I was a non-fun orthodox nerd, blind to its brilliance.

The 66 movie is up on Netflix still, and I'll rewatch it tonight. Reckon I won't be the only one. Godspeed, Old Chum.
posted by EatTheWeak at 10:32 AM on June 10 [10 favorites]

You can date people by their favourite Batman

No, in this case, "Adam West" is just the correct answer. Nothing generational about it at all. Silly optimism > grimdark mangst. Biff! Zonk!

posted by byanyothername at 10:33 AM on June 10 [6 favorites]

posted by Pendragon at 10:39 AM on June 10

posted by ricochet biscuit at 10:41 AM on June 10 [1 favorite]

posted by susanbeeswax at 10:47 AM on June 10

Also, my best nerd friend from school has a son now, who just turned six. They watch Adam West Batman together at least once a week, and the kid loves it. When he was first learning to talk, he called 66 Batman "Tiny Bateman" and I just wanted all of you to know that.

posted by EatTheWeak at 10:48 AM on June 10 [1 favorite]

Still my favorite Batman.

taught me at an early age that superheroes were inherently ridiculous. I imagine that this has saved me thousands of dollars over time in comic books not bought, movies not gone to, toys and games and whatever other merchandise not bought.

I did see the original TV series when it was new. I would've been seven at the time and fully on board with the drama of it, not for a moment thinking it was in any way a spoof. But I was having my doubts by the time I was nine. Batman was now dumb, stupid, beneath me. Then, age ten, I suddenly realized just how funny it was. And it still is. Thank you, Mr. West for schooling me well in the complexities of irony.

And yes, as a matter of fact, he could act ...

posted by philip-random at 10:50 AM on June 10 [1 favorite]


posted by chavenet at 11:01 AM on June 10

posted by greermahoney at 11:02 AM on June 10

Ouch this one sucks. I hope he's sidling up to a bar somewhere and ordering a large, fresh orange juice. And dancing.

posted by chococat at 11:06 AM on June 10

Here is a little-known bit of Adam West awesomeness.

There is an otherwise undistinguished game for the original Playstation, a casino gambling game licensed by the Golden Nugget casino. The only awesome thing about it is they got Adam West to appear in filmed cutscenes, hamming it up and obviously having a wonderful time. Here it is, although you might want to skip forward to Adam's parts. (I think I was clued onto this by the gaming blog Dream And Friends.)
posted by JHarris at 11:06 AM on June 10 [4 favorites]

posted by Rhomboid at 11:11 AM on June 10 [3 favorites]

Others have done a fine job with the role, but he's still my only Batman.

Farewell, old chum. Many times overcoming fears I had as a kid involved thinking about what Batman and Robin would do the way West and Ward played them.

It made me a better person.
posted by lon_star at 11:12 AM on June 10 [2 favorites]

posted by device55 at 11:13 AM on June 10 [1 favorite]

posted by Token Meme at 11:13 AM on June 10

posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 11:14 AM on June 10

On Twitter, the delightful Batman '66 Labels account has been tweeting choice clips of Adam West as Batman, and there's loose assembly who'll be live-tweeting The Batman Movie (on Netflix) tonight.
posted by nicebookrack at 11:25 AM on June 10 [2 favorites]

posted by pjmoy at 11:31 AM on June 10

Well, this is some bullshit.

posted by tobascodagama at 11:36 AM on June 10

There have been many Batmen, and will be many more. Some are better than others. They tend to be products of their time, to a large degree.

But of all there have been, for better and worse, there's only one people have loved for 50 years, and I have no doubt that's the one people will still love 50 years from now.

"Of what use is a dream, if not a blueprint for courageous action?"

Well said. Farewell, old chum.
posted by Phobos the Space Potato at 11:45 AM on June 10 [9 favorites]

posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 11:56 AM on June 10

My first crush!

posted by Gin and Broadband at 12:01 PM on June 10 [1 favorite]

I found this out when I woke up, and told my wife when she did. She and I had a good cry, and now we're watching the '66 movie, with my B:TAS season 1 DVDs out to watch "Beware the Grey Ghost!" after that.

posted by mephron at 12:07 PM on June 10 [6 favorites]

posted by dannyboybell at 12:07 PM on June 10

Also, this was, to me, great, from Esquire in 2004. They did their "What I've Learned" issue, and one of the themes was Superheroes. Adam West was one, and this was his: What I've Learned

(The other two were Lynda Carter and Christopher Reeve.)
posted by mephron at 12:11 PM on June 10 [5 favorites]

Holy Crappy-News-I-Really-Didn't-To-Hear-Today-Damn-It Batman!

I hope he went smoothly and painlessly, he deserved it.

posted by Samizdata at 12:16 PM on June 10

posted by camyram at 12:22 PM on June 10

Somebody on Twitter was pointing out that West's role as the Grey Ghost on BTAS makes him not only my generation's parents' childhood Batman, but also my generation's childhood Batman's childhood Batman.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:32 PM on June 10 [20 favorites]

As a girl who grew up before the modern Batman movies came to be, Adam West will always be my Batman. And he was ridiculously handsome to boot. It was a delight seeing (and hearing) him pop up in other shows through the years and I am sad that those days have come to an end.
posted by kimberussell at 12:35 PM on June 10 [1 favorite]

When my son was two, he would run around singing 'Da-da-da-da da-da-da-da Fat Man'.
Which was a little overstated- he was just a little chubby.
(And speaking of Lynda Carter, he called her Under Woman)

Farewell, old friend.
posted by MtDewd at 12:44 PM on June 10

posted by bstreep at 12:48 PM on June 10


posted by JohnFromGR at 1:00 PM on June 10

First-run Mr. West's Batman made third grade bearable.

Previously, he was in a pilot for a series based on Alexander the Great with some other '60's actor who also narrowly avoided typecasting.
posted by a person of few words at 1:22 PM on June 10

One of the great near-misses of history was Adam West turning down the role of James Bond. He was offered the role after Lazenby quit and before Connery was re-hired, and he turned it down.

Imagine Adam West as James Bond through the 1970s. Roger Moore was great -- and cut from the same cloth, I'd argue -- but Adam West...oh my... Imagine him in the lead for Diamonds Are Forever, Live and Let Die, Moonraker... It would have been beautiful. But such was too perfect to grace this fallen world.

Let us honor his memory by being as hilariously awesome as we can be.
posted by Harvey Jerkwater at 1:34 PM on June 10 [10 favorites]

Adam West's Batman was my first exposure to comic book superheroes (except for Underdog cartoons) and it gave me a permanent disdain for anyone putting on a costume and taking themselves too seriously. I will be forever grateful for Dr. McNinja and other webcomics, Batman '66 and Squirrel Girl for keeping that tradition alive. Not to mention the Batlabels tumblr for reminding me of the well-labeled good old days.

Because some days you just can't get rid of a bomb. (Two of my top 10 gif bookmarks)

posted by oneswellfoop at 1:38 PM on June 10 [2 favorites]

posted by ckape at 1:42 PM on June 10 [1 favorite]

Mournfully dances the Batusi.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:52 PM on June 10 [1 favorite]

Here's another Adam West classic, the failed pilot to Lookwell.
posted by JHarris at 2:03 PM on June 10

Adam West is the ONE TRUE BATMAN.

Plus I'm gonna miss his voice work something terrible. It was such a lovely afternoon and now I am seriously bummed. Crap.
posted by kinnakeet at 2:18 PM on June 10 [1 favorite]

posted by rhizome at 2:29 PM on June 10

posted by andraste at 2:38 PM on June 10

The Beware the Gray Ghost episode of B:TAS has long been one of my favorites, primarily because of West's performance and the layers he brings to it. (Also: that title card!)

Farewell, old chum. Thank you for Batman, Lookwell, Simon Trent, and most of all, for you.

posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 2:40 PM on June 10 [5 favorites]

I maintain that Mayor West was the best mayor ever.

Truth. Nobody messes with Adam We.

posted by Mr. Bad Example at 2:42 PM on June 10 [2 favorites]

posted by vrakatar at 3:07 PM on June 10

For me, he wasn't so much Batman, but a man with that voice. I just loved it.

posted by droplet at 3:21 PM on June 10 [1 favorite]

And me without my Bat-tear-repellent.
posted by Capt. Renault at 3:39 PM on June 10 [2 favorites]

I seem too young to have Adam West as my Batman, but there were plenty of reruns in 90s Asian television.

The Vanity Fair obit said that his Batman role kept keeping him out of serious roles because people kept thinking audiences will never be able to escape that association. It took him a while for him to not resent Batman and actually appreciate it for what it is.
posted by divabat at 4:14 PM on June 10 [1 favorite]

posted by SonInLawOfSam at 4:39 PM on June 10

Adam West wasn't just my Batman. He was my superhero. I am so thankful we had him for as long as we did.
posted by The Wrong Kind of Cheese at 4:54 PM on June 10

No one's mentioned the Batman: Brave and the Bold episode where Adam West plays Batman's father, Thomas Wayne, which is filled with B:TAS references, and for one terrific scene has Batman and his dad fighting criminals in bat suits together?

Also, Lego Batman 3 has you searching for Adam Wests in trouble throughout the game, and if you rescue them all you get to play as an Adam West minifig.
posted by JHarris at 5:25 PM on June 10 [8 favorites]

Is this when I mentioned watching classic Batman as a child with my weighted base inflatable Batman I would re-enact fight scenes with?
posted by Samizdata at 5:49 PM on June 10


I'm not really a fan of the animated B&B show but after looking up that episode on IMDB and seeing the cast list, I think I'm going to have to hunt it down and watch it. Thanks for mentioning it.

Like most people here, Adam West in Batman was one of my earliest exposures to super heroes (I'm guessing I was around four or five), introducing me to a genre that I've been able to appreciate in one form or another throughout most of my life. He definitely had a certain presence that cemented itself in my mind, even from that young age.

I don't know anything about the man or his personal life (and I'm pretty happy to keep it that way), but he always gave off the impression that he was a good sport about the way his career developed, and he seemed to be able to laugh at himself. Now whether that was just an act, or that was his reality, it was an attitude that I appreciate seeing in somebody who found fame the way he did.

So many bat thanks for a job well done, RIP, Mr. West.
posted by sardonyx at 6:36 PM on June 10 [2 favorites]

One more thing. It's funny that most posts here skip from his live action Batman to his modern voice-over work, but throughout the 1970s and 1980s, he was Batman to generations of kids who watched the Filmation Batman and Hanna-Barbera Super Friends cartoons. Think about that: for three decades he defined what the role and the character meant, especially for young kids who got their first exposure to super heroes through TV. I honestly don't think there is any other actor who will live up to that record. (Kevin Conroy comes close in many ways, but he'll never have the household name recognition of West. Robert Downey Jr. seems to have longevity as Tony Stark, but we'll have to wait and see if he can carry it for as long. Christopher Reeve was iconic as Superman, but I still say he didn't have the same reach as West.)
posted by sardonyx at 6:49 PM on June 10 [3 favorites]

Adam West as Batman was my first and truest hero, the one against whom all others were to be measured. As a child, that was a huge thing, and his portrayal stayed with me my whole life, even though I hadn't seen the series since those early days.

Last year, I picked up the collected series for a rewatch. I was somewhat nervous about it, knowing that some childhood impressions were best left alone. However, adult me was more than pleases to find out that the series was even better than I had remembered, and it was a joy to watch it again night after night after night. And it all rested on Adam West. A renaissance man in a cowl with a twinkle in his eye.

West was a good man in real life, too, even though I --as everyone -- can only see him as Batman. He was and will always be my hero. He did good work and leaves this Earth and Gotham City and our hearts all better places.

Godspeed, Caped Crusader.
posted by Capt. Renault at 6:51 PM on June 10 [2 favorites]

Speaking of the Gray Ghost, Kevin Conroy bids a farewell and it just got dusty in here.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 6:52 PM on June 10 [6 favorites]

Just rewatched Batman (1966) and it really holds up. I remembered the majesty that is the "Some days you just can't get rid of a bomb" sequence, but I'd completely forgotten the "Bruce Wayne falls in love with Miss Kitka" subplot! How could I have forgotten the delightful sight gag of Alfred driving the Batmobile and tailing a horse-drawn carriage?!?

Speaking of his book, he plugs it a bit on an episode of Space Ghost: Coast to Coast that also features Lee Meriwether and Eartha Kitt. One of the greatest episodes. "Shoot a ray, get a word!!"
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 6:56 PM on June 10

I'm not really a fan of the animated B&B show but after looking up that episode on IMDB and seeing the cast list, I think I'm going to have to hunt it down and watch it. Thanks for mentioning it.

If you like Adam West, you might also want to check out any of the Brave and the Bold episodes with Aquaman.
posted by straight at 7:05 PM on June 10 [3 favorites]

i only ever knew him from Space Ghost: Coast to Coast, which was so weird and awesome that Ma never tried to enforce bedtimes on friday nights. thanks, Adam West, for the laughs and for being a rock-solid excuse to stay up til all hours on the weekend.

posted by floweringjudas at 7:30 PM on June 10 [1 favorite]

I love all the crazy camp of Batman'66, but I loved it when I was a little kid who didn't realize any of it was supposed to be silly (or at least no sillier than the real comic books). And I think that's mostly because of the way West just dove in and did it, trusting the audience to get it the jokes without him needing to wink and condescend to it.

ckape already linked it above, but that scene where Commissioner Gordon asks Bruce Wayne to talk to Batman on the phone is just the greatest.
posted by straight at 7:36 PM on June 10 [3 favorites]

posted by Faint of Butt at 7:51 PM on June 10

posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 8:26 PM on June 10

Johnny Bravo Meets Adam West. (full cartoon, about 7m)
posted by JHarris at 8:50 PM on June 10 [1 favorite]

posted by Ignorantsavage at 8:55 PM on June 10

And he wasn't just good at light comedy. His performance in this episode of The Big Valley is both chilling and heartbreaking.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:01 PM on June 10

He was always so kind, and appreciative of his fans. He went on twitter to brag about his pot-roast, and in the same tweet offered to write out the recipe. And you could hear his voice in your head tweeting this, and nod, because of course Batman's pot-roast is delicious, and of course Batman would do his best to make your pot-roast delicious, too!

Adam West's Batman is the best Batman. We just didn't appreciate this until we got over Frank Miller.

(Kevin Conroy is almost as good. Yes, they got to act together.)

posted by Slap*Happy at 9:09 PM on June 10 [4 favorites]

Adam West was my Batman, too. Only I didn't laugh at the show when I was younger; for me, it was serious business. I ... may have had some difficulties in separating fantasy and reality. Only much later in life did I see that there were jokes, such as Bruce and Dick sliding down the Batpoles and Batman and Robin appearing in the Batcave on the opposite poles.

In Batman 66 (spoiler alert), Batman and Robin catch up with the four supervillians just as they have kidnapped the United World Security Council. Batman shouts, "Surrender ... you ... criminals!" I realized that for Batman, nothing could be lower than a criminal. Properly labeling a criminal to his face was the worst possible insult. And West nailed that aspect of Batman in that moment.

I guess some of this is still serious business for me.

posted by bryon at 9:21 PM on June 10 [6 favorites]

I appreciate any actor who can perfectly execute a Deadpan performance; to deliver the most ridiculous lines with absolute seriousness, but without overacting. That's what set Adam West apart from (for obvious comparison) William Shatner. Shat always oversold his roles and often let slip that he knew he was being ridiculous. But Adam lived within the ridiculousness and gave a relatively understated performance. Perfect Deadpan.

Which raises the question: do there exist any outtakes of Adam West breaking up?
posted by oneswellfoop at 9:40 PM on June 10 [1 favorite]

do there exist any outtakes of Adam West breaking up?

Too soon! TOO SOON!!!
posted by hippybear at 9:51 PM on June 10

Was just talking about how I'd love to see Adam West do more Batman even now and came home to read this. He'll be missed.

posted by asperity at 9:53 PM on June 10

I don't know if these are real or not, but I want them to be. Ostensibly, these are the listings for Adam West in the Ketchum, Idaho phone book.
posted by JHarris at 11:54 PM on June 10 [5 favorites]

posted by mikelieman at 1:45 AM on June 11

Oh Batman my Batman!
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:39 AM on June 11 [2 favorites]

Wow! A close relative of mine lived in Ketchum. I'll have to ask because that person was well up on all the local gossip.
The best Batman will be missed! He was a good man! β€’πŸ¦‡
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 5:49 AM on June 11

The one with the best, well-labeled BatCave, sparking my childhood imagination.
posted by filtergik at 6:47 AM on June 11 [2 favorites]

posted by scruss at 7:25 AM on June 11

posted by XtinaS at 8:41 AM on June 11 [1 favorite]

posted by eckeric at 10:23 AM on June 11

do there exist any outtakes of Adam West breaking up?

Of course not. But there may be some alternate takes where he acted like he was breaking up.
posted by Etrigan at 10:28 AM on June 11 [3 favorites]

Growing up as a kid in the UK, with no real experience of American comics, Adam West simply was Batman for me. For about a year (ie forever back then) the show was on every Saturday morning.

Also I remember it being repeated when I was at University and I could appreciate it again for a load of different reasons... I have a strong, deliriously and surreal memory of watching the surfing ep slumped in front of an old flickering tv whilst suffering from a blistering hangover.


RIP Bats
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:51 PM on June 11

I had a look down the cast listing on IMDb just now; omitting actors who showed up for a single two-part episode, almost everyone is gone, fifty years on. Burt Ward and Julie Newmar are, I think, the only ones left of an iconic show.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 3:33 PM on June 11

posted by Fibognocchi at 3:49 PM on June 11

Last year, for the 40th anniversary of the original show and movie, West, Ward, and Newmar got back together for Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders.
posted by ckape at 4:36 PM on June 11 [3 favorites]

As he noted in his blogging below, Bizarro's Dan Piraro made a comic weeks ago that, by pure scheduling coincidence, became a timely Batman tribute. With more of his Bat-toons following.
posted by oneswellfoop at 5:37 PM on June 11 [6 favorites]

Whoops, 50th anniversary not 40th. Dang relentless march of time.
posted by ckape at 9:31 PM on June 11

From Julie Newmar:

Stellar, exemplar, a king to the end.
He was bright, witty and fun to work with.
I’ll miss him in the physical world and savor him in the world of imagination and creativity. He meant so much to people. A friend said: β€œHe was the father that we wanted.” That is a great gift no matter how you live it.

posted by Capt. Renault at 9:59 PM on June 11 [5 favorites]

posted by pjsky at 2:22 PM on June 12

posted by PROD_TPSL at 5:21 PM on June 12

Factoid: Adam West was the 3rd actor to portray the Caped Crusader: Lewis G Wilson and Robert Lowrey were less than spectacular in '40s serials (and passed away years ago). 5 more actors in the movies since, and 7 voice actors, including '60s veteran Olan Soule who West replaced in the early '70s, the most ubiquitous in the last 25 years Kevin Conroy, and Lego Batman Will Arnett (although I really liked Deidrich Bader in the Brave&Bold series). But Adam West was the One True Batman.
posted by oneswellfoop at 8:41 PM on June 12 [1 favorite]

Is West the only voice and live-action Batman?
posted by Etrigan at 3:52 AM on June 13 [2 favorites]

I see no evidence otherwise, Etrigan.

One piece of good news: Currently in production is a sequel to the "Return of the Caped Crusaders" animated feature, and they report that Adam had completed all his voice recording for it. The title of the toon is "Batman vs. Two-Face", who was one major bat-villain who'd never appeared in the original TV show... and he's being portrayed by William Shatner.
posted by oneswellfoop at 5:43 PM on June 13 [3 favorites]

Just ran into a random YouPotato who did a good summation of why West's Batman was so great.
posted by JHarris at 7:55 PM on June 13 [1 favorite]

posted by Chrysostom at 8:32 PM on June 13

posted by On the Corner at 2:43 AM on June 14

L.A. to light the Bat-Signal in tribute to West.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:53 PM on June 14 [4 favorites]

L.A. to light the Bat-Signal in tribute to West.

From the article
It ran for 120 episodes from January 1966-March 2968 on ABC.
Will probably be fixed first thing in the morning, sadly.
posted by hippybear at 2:34 AM on June 15

Adam West on Gilbert Gottfried's Amazing Colossal Podcast
Remembering Adam West (same)
posted by rhizome at 11:00 PM on June 15 [1 favorite]

DC has posted an unaired episode of Powerless featuring an appearance by Adam West to their Youtube channel.
posted by ckape at 1:15 AM on June 18 [3 favorites]

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