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A Tribute to Adam West


Source: 7 News Sydney on Facebook

Batman as a character is iconic. Aside from the comics, TV, and movies, he has appeared on everything. However, while many actors have donned the cape and cowl, including Ben Affleck, Michael Keaton, and Christian Bale (not to mention the hilarious Lego parody voiced by Will Arnett), it is pretty safe to say that Adam West is probably one of the first faces that come into your head when someone mentions Batman.

West’s voice and likeness has been part of all things Batman for decades. Ignoring the original 1960s show, West’s image became iconic for a new generation with the arrival of an official slot machine on the William Hill website. The game, which can be played with the 100% deposit bonus up to £300 listed on the Oddschecker website, is part of a range that features classic heroes and villains like Catwoman and The Joker.

However, many people were first introduced to this version of Batman through repeats on TV. It didn’t matter that the show was first on the sixties; the combination of bright colours, wacky sound effects (who can forget classics like “WHAM” “POW” and “SOCKO”?), and adventure was something that you couldn’t help going along for the ride with. Indeed this particular pop art style remains forever associated with comic books and superheroes.

At the heart of it all was Adam West’s performance as Batman – like Leslie Nielsen, the genius of his performance was the total deadpan nature. Even though the villains and plots were ludicrous, Batman treated it with the utmost seriousness while at the same time playing off Burt Ward’s enthusiastic Robin (including reacting to those classic “Holy [insert noun] Batman!” catchphrases). Anybody, from a small child to a grown adult, can enjoy it on a number of levels.

Legacy

Sadly, for the actor himself, there was a difficult period where he struggled to find work; in fact, he parodied this in a failed pilot called Lookwell as a struggling actor who becomes a detective. While it might not have succeeded, it’s still worth a watch.

Fortunately, in recent times, Adam West had a career renaissance, smartly trading on his persona in a range of roles including the eccentric mayor in Family Guy and coming full circle by appearing as the Grey Ghost, a character that influences Bruce Wayne as a child in the critically acclaimed 90s cartoon Batman: The Animated Series.

It is the latter role that arguably showcases Adam West’s abilities at their best; a highlight includes when Bruce Wayne says how he was influenced by his role and he replies “So, perhaps it was worth it.”

It is easy to forget that Adam West was in his 80s when he very sadly died of leukaemia. As with Gene Wilder’s Willy Wonka, other actors may have played the Batman role but he remains at the forefront of people’s imaginations. The unforgettable theme tune, the sliding down the Batpole, the bizarre gadgets (who can forget the always handy shark repellent?) and classic dialogue (“Some days you can’t get rid of a bomb!”) are all things that once seen are hard to forget.

Perhaps most telling of all was a recent tribute in Los Angeles, where a real life Batsignal was lit up in his honour. While Christian Bale may have been more intense, Michael Keaton more like a man who would dress up like a bat, and Kevin Conroy the distinctive Batman voice; for many people, the image of Adam West will forever be associated with the Caped Crusader.

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