Adam West, TVs “Batman” ’66 – and Walla Walla’s favorite son – was appearing at Emerald City Comicon in 2013, along with his partner-in-crimefighting, Burt Ward (Robin). As a member of the press, I was invited to a special press conference with the pair at the Sheraton Grand Seattle Hotel.
I was giddy. I had met both before, as a naïve kid, fully believing I had met Batman and Robin. But now I was an adult, a “serious” journalist (of sorts) with important questions that needed answering. Like, “did you fool around with your co-stars?”
A handful of us – radio, newspaper, TV and magazine writers – were escorted to a conference room and told that Adam and Burt would be with us shortly. They were probably finishing up one of the days autograph sessions before being rushed over to chat with us.
When they entered the conference room, it was impossible not to smile, and feel like a kid again. Sure, they were older, but they were still those familiar faces from television reruns that I watched daily. Same Bat Time, same Bat Station.
When the time came, I asked my question.
Dan: You had a lot of beautiful guest stars on the Batman TV series. Was there ever any dating among cast members?
Camera shutters start clicking.
Adam: No, because nobody knew whether we were gay or straight. You know, guys who wear tights and run around. We decided not to date. Until the end of the day. And then we dated like crazy.
The room erupts in laughter at this euphemism, no one louder than me. West’s comic timing is still impeccable.
Adam: It was womanizing… And booze…
Burt: Yes. He’s 100% correct.
Adam: (laughing) No… We dated occasionally. I’ve always made it kind of a rule never to date the leading lady. Because things happen. Either – I guess you might say “wonderfully” – but usually the repercussions are there.
Burt: He’s referring to not dating leading ladies like Shelley Winters, who was on our show.
Adam: Never touched her.
Burt: And some of the older actresses. But the younger ones, I think you made an exception for, didn’t you?
Adam: You married them.
To keep these quotes in context, Adam West was just 38 years old at the time of Batman. Burt Ward was 21.
Burt: We actually did have a lot of fun, but that was a different period than today’s world.
Adam: That’s right. 47 years since we’ve done that. Man, it’s amazing that it’s still there, all over the world. They have the new Batman movies; The Dark Knight. I prefer to think of myself as “The Bright Knight.”
Rapid clicking of cameras.
It was at this time that TV’s dynamic duo teased new Batman ’66 merchandise, the first new collectibles in years, at least on this large a scale. Figures using the likenesses of Adam West and Burt Ward would soon appear on shelves at Target and other big retailers, along with their core villains; the Joker (Caesar Romero), Catwoman (Julie Newmar), Penguin (Burgess Meredith), and the Riddler (Frank Gorshin). This renewed focus on Batman ’66 would lead to two animated reunion movies, which you can take a look at here.
Adam West passed away in 2017, at the age of 88. I’m so glad he got to see a career resurgence before he left us, not only with Batman, but voicing characters like Mayor West on Family Guy. And I’m glad that his hometown of Walla Walla has started the relatively new tradition of Adam West Day.
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