It was an honor for me to be invited to the Adam West & Burt Ward Press Conference, and I was afraid I’d arrived late. Luckily Adam and Burt were delayed so I had more time than I thought. Here I was waiting to interview Batman and Robin, the crime fighting duo I never missed watching as a child.
Adam West arrived first, commenting on the fact that Burt still had not arrived “Where is that boy? He’s always getting lost.” He had also commented that Batman would have used this as an opportunity to teach Robin the importance of not being tardy. Since the Press Conference had been cut short Adam decided to get started, asking the press to submit questions.
How was the Parade?
“We didn’t see the Parade because we were doing a speech, the City Council was there, they declared it Adam West Day and gave me a key to the city of Atlanta…and maybe I’ll get a free beer!” Adam answered. They also declared it Burt Ward day, a plus for the dynamic duo.
Being a political year are there any aspirations of going from Mayor to a higher office? (Adam is the voice of Mayor West in Family Guy )
“That’s a good question, but once you’ve been the Mayor of Quohog, it’s all downhill from there. No, I have no aspirations. I just go on to the next challenge.”
Burt Ward finally arrived and Adam took the opportunity to tease him. “Robin the boy blunder! We had a lot of fun doing the series together, he would ride me and I kid him, that’s how we got through the show.”
Adam West had the opportunity to play James Bond and Burt Ward was offered a role of the Graduate. Burt explained why he did not accept the role: “The studio wouldn’t let me do it, they felt that in some way it would take away the reality to kids of me being Robin. Of course they gave the role to some guy named Dustin Hoffman.” Adam did not answer the question, but I’m sure the reason he turned down playing James Bond was for the same reason.
Looking back, you guys are iconic….Is there any chance you’ll ever be in a Dark Night movie?
“We all have tradeoffs,” Adam answered. “Something good happens, something bad happens. You have to deal with it and try to balance your life in some manner.” We aren’t doing the Dark Knight stuff…because it is too dark for us. We do miss the $20 million dollars, however the responses we get, the turnout and the love we get from our fans makes it all worthwhile. Because how many pop icons do you get in pop culture? Not many. Luckily we became that and it’s all a matter of branding. Whatever come along, and there is a lot of luck involved, it’s all a matter of branding, it’s very important. But we didn’t look at it that way in the beginning. We thought we’re screwed, we’ll never do anything else. People loved the series. We wore costumes, we’ll never get another job…But you know what? About four years after the show folded , I began to think, and I know Burt did too, branding isn’t a bad thing, if you use it and develop it. Look at Coca Cola, Kraft Foods, The Donald. Well now it’s The Burt. Like anything else in life you adjust to the problems if you can. Takes a lot of drinking!” (joking).
I remember how much Adam loved attending events as Batman, the kids loved it, and he enjoyed making the kids happy. After the show ended he continued to make appearances, only to later be ordered by the studio to stop and decease events as Batman. For many years he took whatever role he was offered, including background characters in soft porn movies, until he broke into voice over work.
Do you have any favorite holy (blank) Batman line? (directed to Burt Ward)
West: “See what I had to put up with? But the kids loved it.”
Were there ever times when you made up your own dialog or changed the script?
“I recall one scene where we just kept going on with one liners, and eventually the director said “Wait that’s not in the script!” We were having a great time with it.”
The series is being replayed on cable right now, so you’re being exposed to a whole new generation of kids. Is that re-branded or has it changed the impact?
“One of the nicest things that has happened I think to us is that we’ve been able to go on. For example when I do Family Guy I get a whole new generation. But the wonderful thing about Batman is you watch with your kids, then your grandson, or granddaughter. It’s a whole family spectrum of show. And that’s where we got lucky……We were given roles we could do and do well, and barrow from our personalities, and it made it kind of genuine, and comedy has to be real to be played properly.”
How do you feel about playing Mayor West?
Well you know he’s nothing like Adam West and says things I would never say, in fact he’s a complete nut case! And where do some of those crazy lines come from! …But I have a lot of fun as Mayor West.
I love Adam as the Mayor of Quohog because he is completely nuts, and because he’s voiced by Batman! Here in Los Angeles Batman is re-airing on KDOC 56.3 MeTV and I’ve watched it a few times even though it’s silly to me now, but then so are the Monkees! Unfortunately my son is 29 now so he doesn’t get the humor in the Batman series. I believe his reaction was “it’s stupid” but what can you say about kids these days, they just don’t get the simple humor we enjoyed in the 60’s and 70’s. All I have to say is that you just can’t beat the banter between Batman and Robin. And no other pop culture shows back then had the amount of well known celebrities such as Burgess Meredith, Caesar Romero, Frank Gorshin, Eartha Kitt and Julie Newmar. Of course there’s that classic movie spawned as a result of Julie Newmar as Catwoman, “To Wong Foo: Thanks for Everything Julie Newmar.” Which starred Wesley Snipes, Patrick Swayze and John Leguizamo as female impersonators. In fact, I think I’m going to look that up on Netflix to watch tonight!
And don’t forget you can see Batman on cable at “The same Bat time on the same Bat channel.” Wherever you are… Holy popcorn Batman, it’s a wrap!