One of my earliest memories was watching Batman (“in color!”) on ABC. I was born in 1964, so I was 4 years old when the show made its last “atomic batteries to power, turbines to speed” checklist.
Adam West is as much a part of my life as any late baby boomer. He was my babysitter, my first super hero, and a calm voice in my life which at that point was full of instability.
I remember going to Boston to see the Batmobile at Channel 56’s studios on Morrissey Boulevard in Dorchester. My dad took me. It was the real Batmobile and as a 10-year-old, I couldn’t have been happier.
For me Batman will always be Adam West.
But West did so much more than that. My wife and I, right after our wedding, escaped to the mountains for a few days, and on our way back, we watched the movie Meet the Robinsons, which was playing in theaters.
That voice was unmistakable. “A North Montana man doesn’t care about hat hair!” West still had that dry wit, perfect timing, and that calm voice penetrating through an otherwise insane romp into sensory overstimulation.
Hollywood is a cruel, cold, and unforgiving place. Actors who become typecast in campy superhero movies featuring top-star billing villains end up with very few career options. But West opened up Batman for the likes of Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer and George Clooney (who ruined the role).
Then for Christian Bale (who revived it), Ben Affleck (who ruined it again), and Will Arnett (who brought it all the way back to West).
In fact, as much as I thought The Lego Batman Movie was mediocre, the best part of it was it’s unapologetic homage to Adam West’s original Batman.
I’m glad my kids enjoyed Arnett’s portrayal, and revival of the campy, yet edgy Batman from 1966. Another generation will now enjoy the caped crusader the way he was meant to be played.
Born William West Anderson in 1928 in Walla Walla, Wash., the actor later adopted his stage name, and began his career in earnest when he moved to Hawaii in the 1950s to star in a local children’s program.
He is survived by his wife Marcelle, six children, five grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.
My thoughts and prayers go out to his wife and extended family. As for me, I feel like they are all part of mine. I will miss West greatly.
Rest in peace, Adam West, and one more time, on your way to eternal rest, let’s race to the Batmobile!