by Lawrence J. J. Leonard
Rest In Peace – William West Anderson, AKA Adam West (1928-2017) whose film and TV credits ranged from Geronimo (1962), Robinson Crusoe on Mars (1964), TV’s iconic Batman series, as well as Diagnosis Murder and The King of Queens. West passed away because of a short but brave battle with leukemia, according to his family.
Why is Adam West significant in the American culture as TV’s Batman?
The Character of Batman/ Bruce Wayne, was owner of the multimillionaire estate Wayne Manor and appreciated the arts.
His duties in life included being a single dad – of sorts. He was legally caring for Dick Grayson/ Robin, portrayed by Burt Ward. His character on screen was in favor of law and justice. He worked with Police Commissioner Gordon (Neil Hamilton) and Police Chief O’Hara (Stafford Repp) to solve crimes. He was a loving nephew to his Aunt Harriet (Madge Blake). He was a fair employer to his Butler Alfred (Alan Napier).
Along with the assistance of Batgirl, played by Yvonne Craig, there was an immediate response to crimes against the city of Gotham and the people in that community. Batman and Robin and Batgirl fought the most colorful of villains with the most famous actors and personalities from Theater, Film and TV:
1. Egghead – Vincent Price (The VINCENT PRICE – Drama)
2. Minerva – Zsa Zsa Gabor
3. Siren – Joan Collins (Dynasty)
4. Louie the Lilac – Milton Berle (THE MILTON BERLE – Comedy)
5. Bookworm – Roddy McDowall
6. The Minstrel – Van Johnson
7. Black Widow – Tallulah Bankhead
8. Colonel Gumm – Roger C. Carmel (Harry Mudd on Star Trek TOS)
9. The Puzzler – Maurice Evans (Samantha’s dad on Bewitched)
10. Marsha, Queen of Diamonds – Carolyn Jones (Morticia of The Addams Family)
11. The Joker – Cesar Romero (The Latin from Manhattan)
12. King Tut – Victor Buono
13. The Riddler – Frank Gorshin
14, Catwoman – * several – Julie Newmar, Eartha Kitt, Lee Meriweather (in film)
15. The Penguin – Burgess Meredith
16. False Face – Malachi Throne
17. Mad Hatter – David Wayne
18. Mr. Freeze – * several – George Sanders, Otto Preminger, Eli Wallach
19. Shame – Cliff Roberston
20. Archer – Art Carney (The Honeymooners)
21. Chandell – Liberace
22. Nora Clavicle – Barbara Rush (Peyton Place, All My Children)
23. Lord Marmaduke – Rudy Vallee
24. Freddy the Fence – Jacques Bergerac
25. Lola Lasagne – Ethel Merman (THAT VOICE)
26. Ma Parker – Shelley Winters (Night of the Hunter, Lolita, Poseidon Adventure)
27. Dr. Cassandra Spellcraft – Ida Lupino – pioneering female Director
28. Zelda The Great – Anne Baxter (The Ten Commandments / Nefretiri)
1. Robin – The Boy Wonder
2. Batman and Robin – The Dynamic Duo
3. Batman, Robin and Batgirl – Terrific Trio
4. Bruce Wayne’s office – The Batcave
5. Batman’s version of The Watusi dance – The Batusi
We can ALL agree that the first major film production which kept true to the TV series was the original 1989 Batman film which stars actor Michael Keaton as our superhero. It was directed by the extremely talented Tim Burton and produced by Jon Peters and Peter Guber.
This film was more than an homage to the TV’s Batman series. It successfully paralleled the TV characters with brilliant performances by Jack Nicholson (The Joker), Kim Basinger (Vicki Vale), Robert Wuhl (Alexander Knox), Pat Hingle (Commissioner Gordon) , Billy Dee Williams (Harvey Dent), Michael Gough (Alfred) and the indomitable Jack Palance (Carl Grissom). Without Keaton channeling Adam West along with Burton channeling Howie Horwitz, plus the rest of the cast and crew, there would have been no Batman film franchise.
Was West a perfect person off screen? No. Who lives up to their own hype? He represented something that we wish we had more of today – rich people and media elites who want a better community WITHOUT political agendas and self-serving narcissism.
Good Knight! Batman.
P.S. Theme song credits: Neil Hefti, Nelson Riddle, and Billy May.
Copyright © 1960-2017 Lawrence J. J. Leonard All rights reserved.