The self-proclaimed “Bright Knight” passed away in June. In October 2016, Joseph McCabe spoke to the late Batman star about his life as the Caped Crusader...
So many different versions of the Caped Crusader have appeared in the last few decades that it’s easy to forget there was once, in the eyes of the world for almost 25 years, just one – adam West.
Born William West Anderson on 19 September 1928 in Walla Walla, Washington, the man who would be Batman performed in a number of TV and film roles (including science fiction classic Robinson Crusoe On Mars and the three stooges’ last movie, The Outlaw Is Coming) but was looking for a vehicle to elevate his career. While auditioning for bigger projects, he featured in a commercial for Nestle Quik, in which he played a James Bond-like character called “Captain Q”. it showcased his ability to be dashing in the midst of madness, and caught the eye of producer William dozier, who was looking for someone to star in his humorous take on Gotham City’s protector.
“When i read the pilot script,” West told SFX in October 2016, “i was interviewed and we had a lot of discussions, and we really were of one accord and goal with this thing, and what the tone was going to be.”
Partnered with Burt Ward’s robin, West achieved something all too few actors do – he created an icon. as both the Holmesian Batman and his debonaire alter-ego, millionaire Bruce Wayne, he was tasked with negotiating the trickiest of tightropes – making entertainment that would keep children on the edge of their seats while eliciting laughs from adult viewers. He wound up creating an unmistakable rhythm and cadence, applying Shakespearean intensity to absurdism. West was quick to credit the first season’s executive story editor Lorenzo Semple Jr for much of the show’s success.
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