Adam West lit up a boy’s imagination


“Mom, can you fix this?” my brother and I asked, holding up bath towels and rubber bands. She knew the drill: Fasten these around our necks so we would have capes.

I was Batman and my brother, 15 months younger, was Robin. We were about ages 5 and 4, yet we saved our hometown from villains countless times, vaulting over the living room furniture, socking invisible bad guys and retiring to our Batcave, a card table with a sheet draped over it. We even ran with our elbows side to side, like in the opening cartoon montage of our favorite television show.

These great memories came flooding back as I read Adam West, the actor who played “the Dark Knight” in the 1960s television series, passed away at age 88. He was one of those actors who appeared at Comic-cons and would pop up in the media now and then. Yet I never realized this seemingly ageless man was in his late eighties. Wow, guess that means I am 50.

William West Anderson, later Adam West, had a seven-decade career, but he was tied to role — the Batman. He was a huge part of the imaginations of boys during the 1960s and 1970s.

I was too young to realize the show’s campiness; hey, we were dead serious about our heroes and getting bad guys, even if we had to dance the Watusi with Catwoman while making our mark.

But even if we didn’t understand the cheesy humor, we enjoyed the fun. Today’s Batman characters are so dark, maybe even scary to small tikes like we were. (And, yes, I realize the Dark Knight is a dark character.)

West also brought a “cool” to television. The flashy colors, the “ka-pow” graphics and the over-the-top acting were new to television, which in that era consisted of three channels and a lot of “Leave It to Beaver” reruns.

His vocal pronunciations and baritone wordplay were filled with certainty, when figuring out one of the Riddler’s impossible clues. They seemed so knowledgeable, especially compared to poor Robin, who never seemed to know much.

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