As an adult, it’s easy to poke fun at the cheesiness of Adam West and the original “Batman” TV show – after all, I doubt the show took itself seriously; it reveled in its kitschiness. But for millions of adult men and women, West’s tongue-in-cheek portrayal (of a far-darker original source material) remains comfort food, a personification of a more halcyon, long-ago era. We can watch now, decades later, and smile at the audacity of it’s bold, camp value, and for West’s wonderful, deadpan delivery. But, when I was a child, it brought delight to me (still does). I wasn’t old enough to enjoy the original run of the show, but thanks to the rerun gods of TV, “Batman” – and Adam West – were more than a staple of my childhood – they were an integral part of my – our – our formative years. Some of my fondest memories are of watching the show with my brothers, gathered around the only TV in our wood-paneled living room, lying on the shag-carpet floor, watching joyfully as Batman, with his sidekick Robin, battled the larger-than-life criminals in a color-saturated Gotham City (and when the late, great Yvonne Craig would join in as Batgirl, this little gay kid’s excitement couldn’t be contained).
That West DID take the show seriously, even decades after it ended, made him even more endearing. But not in a condescending way at all, rather as a champion for what was good and valuable in the messages he and the show brought to us.
They are lessons we can surely use still, now, in 2017.
Godspeed, Mr. West…forever my Batman.