by Graham Pierrepoint
In a year where we have already lost many big names in entertainment, the film and TV industry continues to pay tribute to the man, whom for generations, embodied Batman – Adam West, who sadly passed away recently at the age of 88. West played Batman on the small screen in the 1960s and became synonymous with audiences as the ever-ready caped crusader. West’s mannerisms, charm and voice arguably helped him to become so memorable in the role, one which is just the tip of the iceberg of a career that spanned decades. For younger viewers he will likely be better known for playing his namesake, the eccentric Mayor Adam West, in animated series Family Guy – which will be paying tribute to the star, who has been a part of the regular cast since its earlier episodes.
The most fitting tribute to West, perhaps, took place on Thursday 15th June – when, in downtown LA, the city skyline was lit up by the familiar symbol and calling card of West’s most enduring character. A public event set up in the actor’s honor saw the famous Bat-Signal projected high above crowds at City Hall, where the famous symbol took center stage on the building itself to celebrate the life and work of West – and the legacy that his time as Batman left behind. Whether or not you saw West’s take on the caped crusader – who has, of course, been portrayed by many more actors on the big screen – he set the bar high for interpretation of the comic book standard, and the original Batman series arguably opened the gates for comic books to make their way to the visual medium sooner rather than later.
Many will now see the original Batman series and associated movie as somewhat cheesy and unintentionally humorous – however, Adam West gave the character an undeniable charm and charisma that, as some may argue, will always be hard to match. The camp and cheesy original Batman serial may not sit shoulder-to-shoulder with darker interpretations of the character, but respect for the original series – and West’s portrayal – will always run high.
Many tributes have poured in for the late star, who passed away from leukaemia last week, from his former co-star – original Robin Burt Ward – to Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane, who referred to West’s passing as the loss of a friend.