A Batman Fan’s Tribute to Adam West (1928-2017)

(Photo property of Greenway Productions, 20th Century Fox Television & Warner Bros. Television Distribution)

By: Jacob Elyachar, jakes-take.com  

Multiple sources included BBC News, Comic Book, The Hollywood Reporter, and Variety have reported that that Adam West has passed away on Friday, June 9 from a brief battle with leukemia.

For this author, this passing means an end of the chapter in Batman’s long history book. I remember sneaking downstairs to the kitchen of my family home to watch the re-runs of the classic Batman television series. It was a thrill to watch Adam West portray the Caped Crusader as he tackled some of Gotham’s greatest villains.

I always loved seeing the romantic interaction between Adam West’s Batman and Julie Newmar’s Catwoman, while waiting to see if West’s Batman and Burt Ward’s Robin would escape the latest deathtraps of Cesar Romero’s Joker and Burgess Meredith’s Penguin.  My interest always peaked when the Caped Crusader solved latest riddles left behind Frank Gorshin’s Riddler or squaring off in an “eggs-cellent” duel with Vincent Price’s Egghead.  Despite being lectured by my parents of waking up them early, it was always a thrill to start off my day with Adam West.

 

Adam West autograph

I had the greatest pleasure of meeting Adam West at the 2002 Planet Comicon and received this article. (Photo property of “Jake’s Take)

In 2002, I received news that Mr. West would be in Kansas City to be one of Planet Comicon’s guests. I jumped for joy when I learned that my childhood hero would be coming to the Overland Park International Trade Center.  My dad, Matthew, took both my brother, Aaron and me to the pop culture convention to meet him.  While there were dozens of fans waiting to meet him, I was keen to meet my childhood hero. I still remember the smile on my face when he signed one of my favorite photo of him as the Caped Crusader: talking to Commissioner Gordon (the late Neil Hamilton) on the Bat Phone.

Adam West’s Batman was my stepping stone into the Dark Knight’s world.  After watching the Batman series, I began to read the comics and watched the Bruce Timm-Paul Dini DC Animated Universe. While I enjoyed hearing Kevin Conroy’s Batman tackle Mark Hamill’s Joker and Arleen Sorkin’s Harley Quinn, one of the series’ best episodes was “Beware the Gray Ghost,” which had Conroy’s Caped Crusader team-up with Simon Trent, an actor who portrayed Bruce Wayne’s favorite childhood hero: The Gray Ghost.  Adam West voiced that character, and together these two “Batmen” tackled a villain named the Mad Bomber, who threatened to blow up Gotham City.

Besides that classic episode of Batman: The Animated Series, West returned to television reminiscing about his time on the series with Burt Ward as they searched for the original Batmobile in CBS’ 2003 television movie: Return to the Batcave: The Misadventures of Adam & Burt. He also lent his voice to Batman: The Brave & The Bold’s “Chill of the Night,” where he voiced Doctor Thomas Wayne.  West also portrayed the Caped Crusader twice more in a particular level dedicated to the classic TV show in the 2014 video game: Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham and the 2016 direct-to-DVD film Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders.

While many fans will consider him to be “Mayor West” from Family Guy or “Catman” from Nickelodeon’s The Fairly OddParents, this Batman fan will always recognize Adam West as the original Caped Crusader.  Rest in peace, old chum. Thank you for the memories, Mr. West. You will be missed.

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Copyright 2015 Jacob Elyachar