There’s some grainy footage on YouTube from the 1970s that features Adam West as Batman fronting up to WWE wrestler Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler. Lawler is dressed as a superhero while West wears his Batman cowl… and a tracksuit. The madness reaches its apex as he tells the wrestler to “stop being naughty and use your indicators correctly when driving”. These were the lean times.
West had enjoyed huge success as Batman in the late-1960s, but despite the show’s success it only ran for two years. After that, despite being offered the role of James Bond in Diamonds Are Forever (he turned it down believing it the domain of an Englishman), he found himself typecast… immortalised, at least to the mind of almost every TV executive in town, in grey Lycra. Thankfully, pop culture is a cyclical business.
While the low octave growl of modern-day Batman is quite rightly lauded, the cartoonish villains and crackpot schemes of the TV series is the comic book character in its truest form.
It’s part of the reason why, at the age of 87, Adam West remains a part of your consciousness – although that could also be down to roles in The Simpsons or Family Guy or as the voice of your favourite video game. West, like any superhero worth his salt, endures.
Batman: Return Of The Caped Crusaders. Expect insane plotlines, stupid catchphrases and the most fun you’ll have all month.”
debuts at New York Comic-Con, October 6