DC Comics’ iconic Dark Knight is celebrating a milestone this year, it’s been seventy five years since he debuted in Detective Comics #27 way back in 1939. I had the opportunity to participate in a Q&A with none other than Adam West recently at New York Comic Con, was at the convention to mix and mingle with fans and talk up the long awaited and highly anticipated release of Batman: The Complete Television Series on DVD/Blu-ray collection which hits shelves this Tuesday.
For many fans as well as myself, West was our first Batman. The show ran from 1966-1969, so it was years into syndication when I first started watching in the early ’80s, and also right about the time I was also getting into other DC heroes through the animated SuperFriends. West is a pop culture icon who has always embraced his role he has in the character’s long history. It’s great to know decades later and at 86 years old, he has become a celebrity to a whole new generation as the voice of Mayor Adam West on Fox’x Family Guy.
It was a pleasure to hear him share his memories of his time playing Gotham City’s Caped Crusader in the ’60s. In the part of of my coverage of this special event, West talks about seeing the remastered footage from the show, working with Bruce Lee and Cesar Romero, if we’ll ever see a Batman/Family Guy cross-over, and who is his favorite Catwoman.
You can check out Part One HERE.
QUESTION: We all remember classic TV shows in our heads as HD crystal clear, but when I first saw the first clip on YouTube re-mastered, the colors were so vibrant, and it just looked amazing. What was your first reaction of seeing it just completely in almost a new different light?
ADAM WEST: Let me tell you, this thing is brilliant. The colors. The resolution. It’s just amazing what they’ve done with it. You guys are very technologically advanced with these gadgets. They did such a job with this. You’ll see.
QUESTION: What was the fan reaction in Argentina when you visited?
ADAM WEST: I have the Adam West battalion in Argentina. They exist, and I had the best time because I love to tango. (Laughing). It was wonderful. There were lots of people too. At the airport, it was like I was the Beatles.
QUESTION: Given how DVD sets are put together now with behind-the-scenes, little snippets and commentaries, were the studios able to find and salvage some of the behind-the-scenes antics? I mean, it was an amazing cast. Maybe commentaries from all of you that are surviving?
ADAM WEST: The curious thing about that is another network stepped in and wanted to do the show, but wanted to destroy all of the big, expensive standing sets, so the other folks thought it was just too expensive.
QUESTION: What was it like to work with Caesar Romero?
ADAM WEST: Caesar Romero. It was remarkable. He was a witty man and he was really brilliant in that part. He had great energy. In between takes, he would sit in his chair, but the moment he was called, it was “Cut!” and that great man would enter the scene, and he never missed a beat. He was terrific.
ADAM WEST: Bruce Lee and I were friends. We used to surf together out on the beach. Bruce Lee was a very quiet, introspective guy, and he was a dream to work with, you know, be he did everything as it was required and more.
QUESTION: Did you get any pointers?
ADAM WEST: Yeah. [Laughing]. No.
QUESTION: What was great Mr. West, was that you came to Batman in a way originally when you were on the animated series.
ADAM WEST: Yes.
QUESTION: Talk about coming back to voice Gray Ghost and the animated series.
ADAM WEST: I enjoyed doing the Gray Ghost, and there’s some talk about doing it as a series, which I did enjoy. Yeah. People ask me about the Gray Ghost a lot and Family Guy. [Laughing]. “As your mayor …” [Laughing].
QUESTION: Mr. West, with America remembering how much they love you and Batman, is there any chance of a crossover Family Guy/Batman edition?
ADAM WEST: I never thought of that. You know how they’ve done that in a lot of their paintings and drawings that I get photographically to sign or whatever. They put Batman with the Mayor, and I don’t think there’ll be any crossover. [Laughing].
QUESTION: You actually hold a world record title for the most screen appearances as Batman and I was actually wondering what was it like to get that World Record Title? And actually coming from Guinness myself, I’m actually asking you now because I was told from my boss to ask you: “Would you like to break any more Guinness World Record titles?”
ADAM WEST: Yes. The highest paid. [Laughing]. [Applause].
QUESTION: What do you think makes the series so memorable, even so long after, after it ended?
ADAM WEST: Well, it’s not my tights. [Laughing].
QUESTION: It was Burt Ward’s right? [Laughter]
ADAM WEST: The fact that Batman the series is in its own little cloud floating out there somewhere in the universes, and it never changes, but it’s always up to fate, because it’s own world. It’s been surreal, kind of expressionistic, a little different, and you guys get it. That’s the thing. You get it.
QUESTION: So wearing the costume. What was that like?
ADAM WEST: The costume was very difficult to get adjusted to. But I always figured let the damn costume work for you, and it did. You know Batman even moved funny. It was dynamic. So you could use that costume. Use the cape. You make it work for you.
MODERATOR: You used the cape quite masterfully in that Shame episode with the cattle.
ADAM WEST: Yes, with the stampeding of cattle. Toro! [Laughing]. You find ways to use stuff, you know.
QUESTION: From the perspective of watching the episodes, which villains were you excited to just watch from a viewer’s perspective?
ADAM WEST: Well, I think Frank Gorshin as Riddler. Yeah, because he was so manic. He brought such energy to the part, and you never knew what he was going to do or say, and I enjoy working that way. Like you never know what you’re going to do or say. I like that guy.
QUESTION: Just a couple weeks ago, they aired a new show called “Gotham.” My 76-year-old mother watched it, and she was so upset when it was over. She said, “Why can’t they be fun like the Batman that I watched in the 60s?” meaning you. What’s your take on that now? Do you think the world needs a little bit more light-hearted superheroes? There’s so many of them out there: Flash, Green Arrow…
ADAM WEST: Well, I think you’re right. I think what’s going to happen is a phase, and it will become tiresome, and I think because we’re funny and we have the energy, that you know, that’s the reason we go on. But the others? Is it the gravitas? Is it the darkness? The gothic aspects? Scaring people? Exploding things? Killing people? Driving over the speed limit? [Laughing]. I don’t know.
QUESTION: If you had to describe Batman in one or two words and sum him up, what would that be?
ADAM WEST: Funny and sane. [Coughing]. Are we covered?
QUESTION: Do you have a particular favorite incarnation of Batman that’s not your own, like in the comics, or TV shows or movies?
ADAM WEST: Well, the new Adam West Batman comic book… [Laughing].
MODERATOR: We’ve got time for one more.
QUESTION: Did you have a favorite Catwoman?
ADAM WEST: Who’s yours?
QUESTION: Julie Newmar.
ADAM WEST: It has to be Julie because I worked with her first and most, and she promised to date me after she got out of jail. [Laughing]. Time off. Good behavior.
MODERATOR: We’re going to put a wrap to it. Thank you very much.
ADAM WEST: Thanks, folks. You’ve been great.
Batman: The Complete Television Series hits DVD and Blu-ray on Tuesday, featuring all 120 episodes of the classic show remastered in HD as well as 3 hours of never-seen-before documentaries. The limited edition box set also comes with a Matchbox replica of the Batmobile, episode guide, a scrap book of Adam West’s personal photos, and a special set of 44 trading cards.