The one true Batman has died

The key quote from the recently deceased Adam West:

“You can’t play Batman in a serious, square-jawed, straight-ahead way without giving the audience the sense that there’s something behind that mask waiting to get out, that he’s a little crazed, he’s strange.”



  1. Saganite, a haunter of demons says

    Ah, Batman: A character I only knew from his cinematic appearances growing up (still love Jack Nicholson as the Joker, by the way). As for this actor, I actually learnt of him a few years later and mostly from internet memes about highly specialized sprays, I’m sorry to say. But it sounds like he and the character he portrayed was extremely important to entire generations of fans elsewhere, so I offer my condolences if you’re a bit down after this news. As for me, the heroes I had growing up who weren’t duck-shaped were from a tiny village in Rome-occupied Aremorica. Come on, lads, let’s go punch some imperialists!

  2. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    He WAS Batman who occasionally disguised himself as the wealthiest man in town. I saw the quote posted, during his portrayal of Bruce Wayne. Batman was perfectly natural and “unscripted” (metaphorically, of course) Bruce Wayne was always struggling to maintain the act of a “wealthy elite”. He never really fit into tha role and loved to bust out into his true Bat self.

    as I saw it. yeah I was a huge fan of Batman during my childhood and often objected momentarily to interruptions to report the latest “breaking news” from the latest Gemini craft in orbit.

    always, and still, amazed at how the producers really stuck with the “comic book” look without letting it go ever the edge into campy. Every prop had a prop label identifying the name of the prop, they way comic book artists are prone to inform their readers of the gadget in frame without using word balloons of dialog, which were very costly in comic book art.

    Robin: Holy Restin Peas, Batman ;-(

  3. wsierichs says

    Before he was rescuing Gotham City from villains, he was the commander of an expedition to Mars on The Outer Limits, an episode titled The Invisible Enemy. It aired in the early 1960s -1963 I think. When I re-watched it several years ago (I saw it when it first aired but was too young to have more than a general memory when I saw it again), I realized that Batman was the commander. It also had a black astronaut.

    Spoiler alert if you haven’t seen it and want to look it up:

    Yes, he did get eaten by a monster, but just having a black astronaut on a TV show in the early 60s, several years before Uhura, was a challenge to segregationists. FYI: Nimoy and Shatner appeared in other episodes (not together).

  4. DonDueed says

    I was a faithful viewer during the series’ first year. I was young enough to take it at face value, pretty much.

    By the end of the show’s run, either I’d grown up enough to see how silly it was, or the show itself had grown more campy. Maybe both.

    I think it’s still unique in that it originally comprised two half-hour episodes on successive weekdays, always with a cliffhanger at the end of the first half. That was in the days when network prime time started at 7:00 PM.

    So long, Mr. West… for the last Bat-time.

  5. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I recall watching Batman back in the day. Thought it was cheesy fun. Adam West was a steady working character actor, working steadily from 1954 until this year. I see somebody who loved acting, and with the comic-strip Batman character, had the role of his lifetime. RIP.

  6. says

    Also, he was the second in command of the Mars mission in Robinson Crusoe on Mars. I’m sure you all remember him — he dies in like the first 5 minutes.

    Oops, spoiler alert.

  7. brucegee1962 says

    My memory of the show was that the ones you tuned in to see were the villains. They were like comedians — glorious, scenery-chewing divas. Adam West/Batman was the perpetual straight man. And it’s really hard to be a good straight man — he always seemed to be in black and white while the villains were in technicolor. But without him, what’s the point of having a bunch of crazy villains running around?
    So anyway — yeah, one true Batman.

  8. Matrim says

    Kevin Conroy will always be my one true Batman. But Adam West was a great guy, I’ve never heard anyone speak ill of him. He’ll be missed.

  9. DLC says

    I remember Batman. My Dad controlled the TV back then and we never watched Batman except when he was away on business or something. But he was a big fan of Daniel Boone. (the tv series with Fess Parker) I remember a few other of Adam West’s roles. Go look him up on IMDB. He was always busy, but mostly in B and C material.

  10. cartomancer says

    I am three decades too young to remember the series when it first came out in the 60s, but we did get it as re-runs in the 90s sometimes. It was the first time I had ever encountered anything to do with Batman, so Adam West’s version became the definitive Batman as far as I am concerned. Batman is supposed to be camp and silly.

    This is why I thought the bright, silly Joel Schumacher Batman films were the best ones – far superior to the grim and mopey Christopher Nolan ones. As Charlie Brooker once said, calling Batman “the Dark Knight” with a straight face is rather like calling Papa Smurf “the Blue Patriarch”.

    Adam West was also able to send himself up marvelously in Family Guy. There’s little I appreciate more in someone, particularly a famous someone, than the ability to laugh at themself.

  11. drken says

    I remember watching Batman back in the early ’70s when I was too young to realize how campy the show was and took the whole thing at face value. That I can still watch it today while appreciating it as camp speaks to how good the show was. Adam West was the first Batman I got so see outside the comics, so he’s the standard by which all others will be judged by me.

    For those who are interested, The Adam West Batman show is currently running on MeTV Saturday nights at 12 and 12:30am (right after Svengoolie, which shows old Universal/Hammer horror films), here’s a link to see what channel it’s on in your neck of the woods (assuming it’s in the continental US) They show both episodes back-to-back so no need to wait for “Same Bat-Time, Same Bat-Channel”.

    @cartomancer #14:
    Sorry to burst your bubble, but the Schumacher Batman films were terrible. I like funny, light-hearted Batman as much as the next guy (my current favorite is “How It Should of Ended” Batman), but Batman and Robin was unwatchably bad. Not camp, just bad.

  12. cartomancer says

    A lot of people say that, but it’s the one I enjoyed the most by quite some way. Followed by Batman Forever. They just felt like what Batman is supposed to be in my eyes. I liked them.

  13. Matrim says

    One of my favorite episodes of Batman TAS was the one where Adam West played the Gray Ghost, the superhero/detective that in-universe inspired Bruce to form the Batman persona. It’s a really good one.