Resquiescat in Pace: Adam West

Share on facebook
Facebook 0
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn 0
Share on reddit
Reddit 0
Share on delicious
Delicious
Share on digg
Digg
Share on stumbleupon
StumbleUpon 0
Share on whatsapp
WhatsApp
Share on email
Email
Share on print
Print

 

William West Anderson, better known by his stage name of Adam West, has passed away at age 88.  As a kid I did not like the Batman show in which he starred in the sixties.  Too campy and too silly for even my childish tastes.  The show was a long term disaster for Adam West, typecasting him with a vengeance and largely destroying his acting career.  After a self destructive period involving lots of alcohol, he bore his ill fortune with grace and good will, directing a large amount of self deprecating humor at himself.  Eventually he established a respectable niche for himself in the entertainment industry.  Atque vale Mr. Wayne.

More to explorer

Brightness to the Sun

  This is the one hundred and tenth anniversary of the birth-day of Washington. We are met to celebrate this day. Washington

Hate Crime

News that I missed courtesy of The Babylon Bee:   WASHINGTON, D.C.—In a statement to D.C. police given Tuesday, senator and presidential

PopeWatch: Cardenal

  Hattip to commenter Greg Mockeridge.  Pope John Paul II shaking his finger at Ernesto Cardenal, Culture Minister for the Sandinista government

24 Comments

  1. This brings back memories.

    I never did take a liking to Batman though I avidly watched it. My older brother always asked me about the atomic batteries in the Batmobile and the nuclear reactor in the Batcave because even from a young age I was the “nuke” in the family, reading all the books about atomic power that my 8 year old mind could understand. I still have my Nuclear Engineering handbook of 1958 (the year I was born) from Etherington – one of the first books I bought from lawn mowing money as a kid in the late-60s. Indeed, my preference in TV shows was Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and Star Trek – aboard ships powered by reactors (one fission and the other matter-antimatter) for long distance journeys into the unknown (hence my later career aboard submarines and in commercial nuclear power). Nevertheless, I really liked Adam West and I never laughed at the buffoonery on and ridiculousness of the Batman TV show. I just saw the nuclear reactor in the Batcave and heard reference to those atomic batteries in the Batmobile, and drew diagrams – lots and lot of diagrams with reference to all those books (the math at that time was beyond my 8 year old ability).

    I never knew about Adam West’s alcoholism (though because of this post I did a little research and discovered that supposedly he had had a drunken encounter with Pope presumably on a trip to Italy???). He kept this part of this life quite anonymous. But I can identify with the self-destructiveness. And to his eternal credit he picked himself up afterwards. I wonder if he was an AA member – a friend of Bill Wilson? The stories I read claim that his third wife was instrumental in his sobriety. Yes, he was thrice married, and the third one seemed to have worked: 47 years right to his death. We Catholics can say what we want about serial marriages; nevertheless, Adam West was successful in the 3rd and if the stories are true, his 3rd wife merits much credit in getting him sober. Thank God that it is He Who does the judging and not we.

    I sincerely hope that Adam West made it to Heaven (perhaps with a stop at Purgatory – we will never know in this life, but surely the alcoholism is purgatory enough).

  2. Love his version of Batman. It’s fun.
    If you’ve seen the “Adam West: See: Bruce Wayne” phonebook listing thing– apparently it’s real, from his home town.

  3. Adam West was one of a number of actors who were, thankfully, eventually able to make peace with being typecast and just be grateful for the opportunities they had. The alternative is to wallow in bitterness about not being taken seriously. A good example of those two approaches can be see in Tina Louise and Dawn Wells, Ginger and Mary Ann from “Gilligan’s Island” (and now the only two surviving cast members). Louise bitterly resented being typecast as Ginger, blamed the show for ruining her career and refused to participate in any of the subsequent reunion movies, whereas Wells embraced her identity as Mary Ann and exudes gratitude just for having had the chance to entertain people. She goes to small town festivals, does small market TV interviews, etc., has a website and Facebook page and is still beautiful, inside and out, at age 78 (!).

  4. Former Eagles lead guitarist Don Felder (he composed most of the instrumental part of the mega hit song Hotel California) had Adam West as Le Maz classmate when his wife was expecting their second child recalls:

    ““One of the other fathers-to-be in the class was Adam West, who played Bruce Wayne, alias Batman, in the popular television series. He was in his mid-forties and into his second marriage, and I’ll never forget sitting alongside him on the floor, each of us cradling our heavily pregnant wives while urging them on. His looks and voice were so distinctive that each time he said “Breathe!” or “Push now!” Susan and I half-expected the Penguin or the Joker to come flying through the window and attack him with an umbrella.”

    Check out this book on the iBooks Store: https://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewBook?id=635426905

  5. Louise bitterly resented being typecast as Ginger, blamed the show for ruining her career and refused to participate in any of the subsequent reunion movies, whereas Wells embraced her identity as Mary Ann and exudes gratitude just for having had the chance to entertain people.

    I’ve found it interesting that, heavy participation in different aspects of the Star Trek franchise notwithstanding, Wm. Shatner was able to rebuild his career and Leonard Nimoy never stopped being salable in other roles. It was something James Doohan and DeForrest Kelley could not manage.

  6. Partly it was generational, both Doohan and Kelley were around 50 when Star Trek ended, partly it was that their careers hadn’t been that great prior to the show, but mostly it was that Shatner and Nimoy received most of the press attention from the show, a fact that still gripes most of the surviving other members of the show, as well as their loathing of Shatner for being Shatner.

  7. An excellent choice of tribute, Don. One of my favorite B:tAS episodes.

    Infamously, one of Adam West’s “drunker” moments of life was probably captured on film in “Zombie Nightmare” – which mst3k lambasted in season 6.

    Rest in peace, good sir.

  8. Batman: The Animated Series was excellent television. Yes, it was animated but the stories were excellent. They were watchable by child and adult alike. Kevin Conroy was the voice of Batman, who portrayed the character in Justice League as well. Below is a lint to one of the better performances:

  9. Penguins fan, Justice League was in the same continuity as B:tAS and Superman’s animated series (and batman beyond).

    And yes, every true fan knows the first Batman to compare all others against is Kevin Conroy.

  10. It’s uncanny how Conroy does such different voices for Wayne and Batman. When I initially saw the cartoon show with my kids during the nineties I thought two voice actors had been engaged. Those cartoons really captured classic Batman before the Dark Knight image went over the top.

  11. Don, can you still believe that the voice of the Joker (and best joker) in those cartoons was none other than Luke Skywalker himself?

    I’ve seen videos of him doing the voice and I still can’t believe it.

    Those classic shows had a knack for finding singular talents.

  12. Partly it was generational, both Doohan and Kelley were around 50 when Star Trek ended, partly it was that their careers hadn’t been that great prior to the show, but mostly it was that Shatner and Nimoy received most of the press attention from the show, a fact that still gripes most of the surviving other members of the show, as well as their loathing of Shatner for being Shatner.

    Kelley and Doohan were 11 years older than Shatner and Nimoy, so a fragment of a generation. Kelley’s first screen credit is dated 1945, Doohan’s 1950, and Shatner’s and Nimoy’s 1951. Over the period running from 1945 to 1966, Kelley had 150 or so screen performances. Doohan had about 140; Shatner, 120-odd; and Nimoy 90 or so. Nimoy had a couple of years out for military service. (Kelley and Doohan had WWii service and Shatner I think was a Canadian citizen of the post-WWii service cohorts). Nimoy I think was making his steadiest living in those years from setting up and cleaning fish tanks in doctor’s offices. Not sure what the others’ balance sheets looked like, but I’d say at least superficially Kelley and Doohan had busier schedules.

    Unless I’m misinformed, Doohan and George Takei had issues with Shatner, not the others. Shatner when asked Takei’s public attacks said he couldn’t make sense of it. Takei he said had only been on the set a couple days a week and they only ever had brief stereotyped conversations.

  13. lol @ the Joker’s defense team.

    How would you like that job, Don?

    There’s ideas for ya if you ever need material. “Worst possible legal cases from fiction.” Or “Fictional presidents measured by my Washington scale.”

  14. That’s fairly mild compared to what Takei has said, and concerns day-to-day business on the set ca. 1968, not anything recently. Supposedly, jabs at Shatner were part of Doohan’s shtick at Star Trek conventions and Takei after nearly 50 years still has his panties in a wad.

    Star or no, Shatner was ca. 1971 broke and living in a trailer park, if I’m not mistaken. Nimoy said about his Star Trek years that after 17 years of living hand-to-mouth as an actor, he was bound and determined to lay away as much money as he could manage. (“I never turn down a paid appearance…”).

  15. Walter Koenig declined to be interviewed for an unauthorized biography written by a man who writes for a fairly vulgar newspaper. I’m not seeing how that’s hostile. The point of Koenig’s joke is obscure.

  16. The point of Koenig’s statement is clear as a bell

    No, it’s not. It’s some sort of joke that did not come off. It doesn’t make much sense at all.

  17. Completely disagree Art. He obviously is conveying the fact that he would be unwilling to cooperate with the bio unless it painted Shatner in the worst light possible. This isn’t brain surgery.

  18. It puts one in mind of the roast of Chevy Chase which went horribly, horribly wrong. Anyone heard of that ordeal?

  19. He obviously is conveying the fact that he would be unwilling to cooperate with the bio unless it painted Shatner in the worst light possible. T

    It’s an unauthorized biography by a man employed by the newspaper which publishes “Page Six”. Koenig had every reason to believe they would be pleased to hear anything catty he had to say about a man employed on the same set between 1967 and 1969.

Comments are closed.