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by Marc Gravelle
I received a terrible phone call from my sister; her voice carried a sense of urgency as she delivered the heartbreaking and unwanted news of the passing of my childhood hero, Adam West – Batman. “I’ve been trying to get a hold of you,” she spoke with a tone combined of dread and sorrow, “someone died.”
As the news shook my emotions violently, my younger sibling continued, “It’s so weird. You were just talking last week about how you thought that he didn’t have much time left.” It was true. She was reflecting on a conversation between the two of us where I had speculated that, after hearing of a recent appearance cancellation at a local convention, Adam West’s days may be numbered. At 88 years of age you certainly don’t need to be a fortune teller to speculate that a cancelled appearance may be related to health issues, but the news of his death still struck me hard. Talking about something happening and actually have it happen are two completely different things.
Phone calls from my sister informing me of celebrity deaths have been far too frequent lately. Strictly speaking from a sci-fi perspective, the world of fandom has recently lost Carrie Fisher and Roger Moore. With Carrie Fisher, the one and only Leia Organa, her death came unexpectedly – and in the middle of the cinematic resurgence of her most famous portrayal. In Roger Moore’s case, he was but one of many actors to portray James Bond. Roger Moore was my definitive James Bond, the one I grew up with as a child.
Adam West, though, will always be my tried and true Caped Crusader. No other actor has ever left such a lasting impression on me. Without the existence of Adam West’s Batman, Buy Sci-Fi may very well have never come to be. The real life Dynamic Duo of myself and Rob, the creators of the site, have been – and will continue to be – influenced by the classic 1966 TV show. As dark and serious as modern interpretations of Batman have become, they still owe their existence to West’s endearing and sincere delivery of the character. That was, after all, when Bat-mania first began.
I’m very grateful that Adam West was able to revisit his career-defining role recently as Batman/Bruce Wayne’s voice over actor as Batman/Bruce Wayne for the animated movie Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders and the upcoming Batman: Two-Face. It’s simply a treat to hear West interact again alongside the most memorable of his former Batman cast mates, Burt Ward as Robin the Boy Wonder and Julie Newmar as Catwoman. I can’t wait to hear the chemistry between his Batman and William Shatner’s Two-Face. Adam’s voice may have shown definite signs of ageing in these final Batman portrayals, but I’ll gladly take it.
The words Same Bat-time Same Bat-channel may never be heard the same way again, but fond memories of Mr. West and his legacy will live on in the hearts of Rob, myself, my sister and the countless others who were fortunate enough to experience Adam West’s Batman growing up. If you haven’t experienced classic Bat-Man, you really should. His adventures, both old and new, are readily available on Blu-Ray and DVD to cherish over and over again.
I raise a glass of milk to toast your loving memory, Adam West.
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