Staff Members Reminisce About “The Bright Knight”
People deal with grief differently, and when you lose someone close to you, it often helps to cope with grief by remembering the joy the person who died brought to your life. We here at Dark Knight News are still coming to terms with the loss of actor Adam West – known affectionately to many fans (myself included) as their first Batman. DKN Staff Writer Eric Lee came up with the suggestion that some of us write about our fond memories of Mr. West.
Damian Fasciani, Site Owner – Adam West, you filled the TV with color at 5pm daily when I was growing up! The reruns of the crazy adventures stole attention from what was happening in the house to you and Robin! The Dynamic Duo will never be forgotten!
Chris Foti, Staff Writer – Having been born in 1989, Michael Keaton was my Batman. Dark, brooding, man of few words, and overall badass. My first exposure to Adam West was flipping through the TV guide and seeing that ‘Batman’ was on one of the channels, so naturally thinking this was Keaton, I went to it. Instead of the dark, gothic Gotham I remember, it was bright and colorful. Batman and Robin were on top of a submarine righting the Joker, Penguin, and the Riddler in broad daylight with “WHAM” and “POW” popping on the screen with every hit. I was confused and intrigued. “How could people think this is Batman?” I thought. Then I learned that this was very much how Batman was perceived during that time period, and in fact, during a time when Batman’s sales numbers were failing, Adam West’s show saved the character. He might not have been the Batman I grew up or identified with, but the Bright Knight is just as important to the character as anyone else under the cowl. RIP, Old Chum.
Tyler Harris, Staff Writer – It’s hard to pin-point which came first for me – the comics or Adam West. Growing up, I was so involved with each aspect of Batman that it didn’t really matter. The comics were dark and brooding and full of terrors, but all I had to do was switch on the TV and see this completely different interpretation that was in no way better or worse – it just… was. Everything Adam West’s Batman was, I wanted to be. He was kind and caring, but could also hold his own in a fight. He was only ever righteous – never swayed by anything. When I grew up, I found out that Adam West was all of those things off-screen as well. As an aspiring actor and superhero enthusiast, he was truly a hero of mine. For as long as I live, he will continue to inspire me. Mr. West, thank you for your contributions to not only film and television, but to the world as a whole. You will be sorely missed, but always in my memory. Same Bat-time, same Bat-channel.
Sharna Jahangir, Staff Writer – When I first heard that my beloved hero once carried Shark Spray in his utility belt, I needed to check into the origin of this menacing weapon. I started Adam West’s Batman and got hooked. I saw his Bruce Wayne before I saw his Batman, and Bruce Wayne was just so handsome; he was skilled, altruistic, and importantly, a caring father to his ward. I fell in love! It’s a campy show, but to see so much love come out of Bruce’s tragedy, it felt wholesome. He was my Bright Knight, my sick-days in, my rainy afternoons. I’m proud; his legacy is set in stone and even in centuries yet to come, his name will go down in history, and the world will always know who he is. Safe travels, Batman.
Ryan Lower, Staff Writer and Review Coordinator – I was 10 years old the summer following Batman Forever. One Saturday afternoon, my family and I went to our small town video store (remember those?). I walked down one of the “old movies” aisles and there sat Batman, yet in a style I was totally unaware of. I begged my parents to let me rent it (to which they were enthusiastic), went home and my mind was blown. TV Land soon after started playing episodes of the show every weeknight, which cast me under the Batman spell. Though it’s not “my Batman,” Adam West “WAM!”, “ZAP” and “POW”-ed his way into Batman history, and saved the character from cancellation (if it weren’t for the show, Batman could’ve been no more). My favorite Adam West moment: the Batusi!
Eric Lee, Staff Writer – My first real exposure to the Adam West was when I caught the 1966 Batman movie on TV at my grandmother’s house. I was enthralled by the colorful designs and the neverending stream of villains. It never occurred to me as a kid that Batman had wildly different interpretations. I just knew it was Batman and I loved it. West’s interpretation of Batman was one that I grew to appreciate more as a young adult. His upright, strict morals, his deep intellect, and his uncompromising stance to label everything. West’s Batman was not a dark, tortured soul, but he was still a hero who proved that you can overcome personal trauma to become a better person and have fun doing it.
Adam Poncharoensub, Assistant Editor – As one who prefers the Dark Knight over the Bright Knight, I never really gave too much thought to Adam West’s campy interpretation. I knew my mother loved it, constantly singing the iconic theme song to me. However, his omnipresence in pop culture and Batman fandom was always welcome and beloved. He had so much personality and wit that even if I didn’t know his Batman, I still really enjoyed him for who he was. As an adult, I finally sat down and saw a few episodes and noticed that that same personality was reflected well in his portrayal. I found myself laughing out loud. Thanks for your contribution to such an important character to me.
Steve J. Ray, Staff Writer – I don’t have a one-off single earliest memory of Adam West’s Batman… it seems like he was ALWAYS there, when I was a child. His deep, rich voice. The way he played the role entirely straight, although everything around him was camp as Christmas. He was stoic, strong, smart and logical. He was heroic and larger than life, yet gentle and fatherly. From my earliest memories, I can still see, and feel the colors, the music, the theme tune… the Batmobile! Oh, that car! I later learned that Batman was meant to be dark, brooding, and vengeful. Not cool, calm and colorful… I didn’t care. I love both interpretations equally. Adam West’s Batman was my FIRST Batman. Watching him as Bruce Wayne, and as the Caped Crusader, is what started off my love for this, the most beloved, adaptable, indomitable and famous of all superheroes. I’m sure it’s the same for many of us. I quote him and the 60s show regularly in my writing. Chris O’Donnell’s Robin paid tribute to his 60s counterpart in Batman Forever. Classic British TV sitcom Only Fools And Horses paid a hilarious homage to the show, and Adam West reprised the role numerous times over the years. Mr. West played the Grey Ghost, the character who was the inspiration for the 90s Kevin Conroy Bruce Wayne becoming the Batman, in the classic animated series. How’s that for a tip of the hat? Batman ’66 is a best selling comic in the 21st century. Now he’s gone… He’s hooked his Batarang around the Pearly Gates, and is slowly making the climb up, with his trusty Bat-Rope. Burgess Meredith, Alan Napier, Neil Hamilton and his friends are all there waiting for him. It all started with Adam West. Yes, maybe there were two Batman serials before he took on the role, but he made it his own and set the stage for all who followed. Holy final farewell, Batman… what will we do now? No more will there be a “Join us here next week. Same Bat-Time, same Bat-Channel.” For the last time we say, “Atomic batteries to power, turbines to speed… roger, let’s move out.” Adam West may be gone, but Adam West’s Batman and the memories he left us will live forever. R.I.P.
Kevin Gunn, Editor in Chief – I think I was 3-years-old at the time. My aunt and uncle were babysitting me. My uncle was the epitome of cool; maybe because he was from New York. Whenever my older brother and I would visit, he would let us get away with murder. One faithful visit, instead of watching Captain Kangaroo or Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom, my uncle introduced me to a character in a long navy blue cape and cowl. He also had a kid with him with a red top and yellow cape. I don’t know if I was more enamored by the costumes, the garish villains or the graphics that came on the screen as the heroes punched the bad guys. As I grew a little older, I would learn that Batman was a character played by an actor named Adam West. West was as large of a role as the Caped Crusader himself. Years before Tom Holland was even a thought; West would make appearances in his iconic costume at hospitals. Every time I heard his voice, I was hooked. Every incarnation of Batman played by West held my imagination captive for the duration of the program. The New Adventures of Batman with that pesky Bat-Mite, I watched every episode from start to finish. When West took over cape and cowl duties from Olan Soule on Super Friends: The Legendary Super Powers Team and later Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians, I was a loyal follower. Even the horrendous Legends of the Super Heroes – if Adam West was in it, I was a prisoner. When our heroes die, it is like a wake-up call to deal with our own mortality, but Adam West will continue to live on in the hearts of all of his fans. Thank you, Mr. West, for introducing me to this crazy world of Batman. My world will never be the same.