Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Elegy for Adam West

I've hesitated to post this, because I don't want to be seen as making light of his death or the loss his family and friends are feeling right now.  Still, there's something in it that pretty perfectly sums up that very loss.  At least for me.

There were several times in the Batman series when the Caped Crusaders have been presumed dead and Gotham City goes into full-fledged mourning.  This is not from one of those episodes.  In fact, Batman isn't even visible in this scene, which is one of my three favorite scenes from the whole show.  Nevertheless, this is one of those scenes that pretty much sums up the appeal and beauty of the whole show. 

Victor Buono as King Tut seemed to relish his every moment on screen, tearing into every line in order to take it straight over the top chewing every bit of scenery to a pulp as he went there.  Adam West brought that same relish to his portrayal of Batman, only where Buono over-played, he chose to under-play.  His Batman is one that's smooth as hell, cool as all get out, and totally in on the joke, even though he appears to be clueless at times.  You have to watch West closely to pick up on everything he packs into his performance.  It's as stuffed with goodies as Batman's utility belt.

Back to the scene.  Batman and Robin are trying to rescue a kidnapped heiress from the clutches of King Tut, who wants to make her his Cleopatra.  Robin has been nabbed by Tut's men and tied up.  Batman, after a brief Bat-Fight, was clobbered by Tut and placed in a sarcophagus.  This leads to the cliff-hanger ending, as Tut submerges the sarcophagus in a vat of water in order to drown Batman.

And we get this wonderful bit of dialogue:

We had just laid down for a post-yard sale nap on Saturday, when Keith decided to check his phone for news.  He rolled over, shook me and said: "I hate to wake you up with bad news, but Adam West has died."  My first thought was:  "He's on his way to that great, big belfry in the sky."

I know there are those who would probably prefer to use "Bat Cave" in that sentence, but it seems much more appropriate to me to use a line from the show itself.

I'm just a bit too young to have caught the show in its original run.  I had not even turned two when it debuted!  I've watched the reruns since the 70's, though, making up for lost time.  Adam West was a aprt of my childhood, teen-agerdom, and adulthood.  This was one of those blows that hurt.  At this point, unless I've missed somebody, only Julie Newmar and Burt Ward are still with us.  Everyone else is off having a grand cast reunion.  Maybe it's in the belfry.  Maybe it's in the Bat Cave.  Meanwhile, the rest of us are left without a Bat-Channel to tune into tomorrow to see how Batman gets out of this one.

Farewell, Adam West.  Thanks for all the Bat-Memories.  You're already missed.


Pat said...

I have such great memories of watching this as a kid. I am old enough to have watch this in it's first run, and always made sure to be home to watch it. It's funny how your perspective changes as an adult though. As a kid, I didn't care much for the King Tut episodes, but I didn't have an appreciation for Victor Buono's campy performance; now I think it's hilarious. Godspeed Adam West, and "KAPOW!"

Linda @ A La Carte said...

Great memories for a the best Bat Man! I love tongue in cheek humor and that show was full of it!