One of the most anticipated press events I had the privilege of attending at San Diego Comic-Con was the press conference with ADAM WEST, BURT WARD, AND JULIE NEWMAR. Holy Smokes! I got to see Batman, Robin, and Catwoman!
The Dynamic Duo and iconic villainess were at hand to discuss the upcoming DVD release of the complete, read that, complete “Batman: the complete series.”
Adam West played Batman and has lent his distinctive voice on many animated shows including Family Guy. Thanks to the fan efforts of KROQ radio personality, Ralph Garman, West was also granted his own star in Hollywood.
Burt Ward played Robin, the sidekick that would let out the standard “Holy (fill in the blank), Batman!” saying whenever he was excited.Julie Newmar was one of the women who played Catwoman on the show. She was phenomenal in that role exuding intelligence, charm, and a side of danger.
In that small room reserved for press, in front of these three amazing people, no matter which media outlet we hailed from, every single person became adoring and loving fans. It took a moment for everyone to collect themselves because of the sense of overwhelming awe and happiness just to know that right in front of us were Batman , Robin, and Catwoman.
Thank goodness there was the most cutest and nonsensical performance to break us out of our trance. A Gotham Police Commissioner came onstage to plead with Batman to help Gotham/San Diego to keep comic con in the city. I’m still not exactly sure what exactly happened but it was fun. With a side request for his phone number, she granted Adam West a badge. From that, the questions began.
Instead of transcribing the whole 50 minute press release, you can click here and view it in its entirety. I attempted to film it but being completely new to the process I was unable to provide something cohesive. Note to self: never forget the screw attachment for the camera to the tripod.
Adam West is a presence that I can only describe as suave with a sharp edge. Despite being a bit hard of hearing, this 86 year old actor was able to throw out jokes with double entendres like no other. With a voice like Adam Wests, it’s hard not to enjoy his banter. He traded many jokes with his lovely co-star Julie Newmar beside him. Even going so far as to mention that she “could get away with much in that costume”.
Julie Newmar is a fascinating person to watch. She exudes this elegance with an ephemeral focus. Even though West commanded the jokes, Newmar still had great delivery that earned many laughs.
It was Burt Ward that really captured my attention. To be honest, I never paid much attention to him other than the occasional snicker of the “Holy ____, Batman!” repertoire. I was surprised by what a great story-teller he is. Ward regaled us with many stories from the set, including one that I had been curious about. There is an episode where Robin is fighting two Bengal tigers. Ward confirmed that those were real tigers and dryly mentioned that they were barely trained. For the rest of the crew to be above him in steel cages as Ward is left to fend off the tigers alone is truly terrifying to find out. Definitely makes me really want to analyze the DVD collection. There were many dangerous feats that Ward did all for the sake of the show.He has also written a book tiled “Boy Wonder: My Life in Tights”. After glimpsing at the cover art, Holy tight-wads indeed, Batman!
Throughout it all, you can see the strong connection between Ward and West. These two are truly great friends. There is also great story of how Ward became suspicious of West when he kept botching his lines. It turns out that West was planning to slip in a very shocking line so that the company would be forced to leave it in.
Amidst all the questions, I did finally get the nerve to ask one. If you watch the video, you hear my tiny, shy voice at the 17:39 mark. My question was “Was there a time you hated playing your characters”? Adam West honestly answered that it was the few months after filming that he hated he was known purely as Batman. It was memorable being that character but he was ultimately typecast. Luckily for him, he outlasted all those people who thought like that in the Hollywood industry.
This show was my first introduction to Batman,as I’m sure that was also true for most people. I watched the episodes out of order but the show followed such a predictable story plot that it was all right. The show was completed decades ago but due to the strong legion of fans and admirers, they will all be remembered with the new upcoming DVD collection.
I am still in awe that I was able to be in the same room as these iconic actors and actress who brought comic books to life for the first time so memorably on television. They were the gateway to the possibility that the worlds in comic books and books did not have to stay within pages. I truly credit the Batman series from the sixties for popularizing comic books. If you find the right people, with enough passion, and the right timing, then it will all come together to create something monumental and influential.
San Diego Comic Con committee also agreed. Adam West, Burt Ward, and Julie Newmar were awarded the Inkpot Award at San Diego Comic Con this year. The Inkpot Award is “given to individuals for their contributions to the worlds of comics, science fiction/fantasy, film, television, animation, and fandom services”.
“Batman: the Complete Series” will be available on NOVEMBER 11,2014. It will definitely be a treat for everyone in the family.