It’s that time of the month again, and we at DCWorld are launching the semi-final for October’s HOF chapter. Here is the first entrant for the October Hall of Fame, Zack Snyder.
Is there a more iconic version of a superhero character than the 1960’s Batman? I struggle to think that there is a more memorable hero than the Batman played by the late Adam West; although Christopher Reeve’s Superman is certainly on a par.
Adam West, one of my hero’s during my childhood/teenage years, started his acting career in various films during the 1950/60’s, starring opposite stars, such as Paul Newman. He also went on to guest star in various TV shows of the same era; The Outer Limits, Perry Mason and many others. You may think that it was these roles that got him noticed by producer, Batman series producer, William Dozier, no, in fact West was noticed by Dozier playing a James Bond-like spy in a TV advert for Nestle Quik.
(Fun fact: Mr West was actually considered by James Bond producers for the role in Diamonds Are Forever).
Yes, the Batman TV series ensure that Adam West was a household name, starring in 120 episodes and 1 movie in just over 2 years. It was a role that turned Mr West in to a huge star, an icon and the show was a cultural phenomenon. His turn as the Caped Crusader is one of the most influential versions of the character; we still see the show, his Batman, being parodied today, which shows the effect that his efforts had on so many.
Unfortunately, because of his role as Batman, Mr West was typecast but, rather than let that be a burden, he embraced it and took on many roles playing parodies of himself. He also took on many voice acting roles, most famously in Batman: The Animated Series, playing Simon Trent, a washed up actor who played a TV superhero called The Gray Ghost. I remember reading that producers were close to scrapping the episode due to its similarity to Mr West’s own career. However, Mr West accepted the role happily, it’s a super episode of the show and, more importantly for me, gives a measure of the man he was, gratefully taking on any role asked of him and performing with such aplomb.
In 2016, he returned, along with Batman alumni Burt Ward and Julie Newmar, to the Batman series, voicing his own character in the movie Return of the Caped Crusaders, a cracking return for fans of the original show. Fans are also lucky enough to have a sequel to this coming very soon, Batman vs Two-Face due for release in mid-October. It is perhaps fitting that the part that made Mr West a star, was his final role as, sadly, in June this year, the world lost an icon in Adam West after he lost his battle with leukaemia.
The Bat-Signal will forever shine brightly. RIP Good Sir because, as Batman once said – “Even crimefighters need their sleep, Robin.”