Tuesday, 11 July 2017
BATMAN & ADAM WEST - WHAT IF...?
Back around 1988, when the BATMAN movie was going into production, ADAM WEST was trying to drum up support for him getting the opportunity of reprising his role as the Caped Crusader. Interviewed on TV-am, he said he'd only be interested in doing it if it was a film noir, gothic, serious type of movie, but was certainly up for playing Batman on the big screen.
TIM BURTON wasn't interested in West though, beyond offering him a cameo role as Dr. THOMAS WAYNE, young BRUCE's father. Perhaps West felt that Wayne Sr. being killed at the beginning of the movie would somehow symbolise the demise of his ownership of the role of Batman, but whatever the reason, he declined. If he couldn't play Bruce then he wouldn't play at all.
At the time of the movie being made, West was only around 59-60, so it wasn't altogether impossible for him to have carried it off, especially if the producers had followed FRANK MILLER's concept of an older, retired Batman returning to the fray. As Batman in action was mainly a stuntman in the suit, I feel there was no real impediment to West's participation.
Except one perhaps. That being, with West's involvement, audiences would've anticipated the movie being like the '60s TV show. In the end, it didn't matter, because that's exactly what they expected anyway. On my first visit to see the movie, I overheard departing viewers at the film's finish saying "I thought it was going to be just like the TV show!" They sounded disappointed that it wasn't, much to my surprise.
Perhaps I shouldn't have been. A TV-am technicians strike in November '87 resulted in the '60s show being hastily drafted in to fill airtime and, surprisingly, it became quite a hit with early morning viewers, sparking a resurgence in 'Batmania' that almost rivalled its '60s heyday. It was relatively short-lived, but the camp version of Batman was freshly re-established - in the minds of British viewers at least.
It would've been interesting to see West getting a crack at playing the DARK KNIGHT persona of Batman. I think he could've pulled it off, but alas it was not to be. On reflection, perhaps it was for the best. Maybe Adam West's Batman belongs in the '60s, as much as The BEATLES and SEAN CONNERY's version of BOND - at least to people around my age.
And yet... I still think it could've worked, and it would've been great to see West finally getting what he so richly deserved - a major, motion picture blockbuster movie, reprising the role with which he'd been so long associated, but playing it straight and without the laughs. C'mon, admit it - you'd have loved to see that movie too, wouldn't you? Do tell.
Posted by Kid at Tuesday, July 11, 2017