Saturday, June 10, 2017
MY BATMAN IS DEAD. LONG LIVE MY BATMAN!
I've been something of a hermit for the past week, all holed up in a cabin with a pile of books and DVDs. Not having consistent interwebs is pretty excellent sometimes, but then you come back to it and see that Adam West has passed away. Yeah, that pretty much sucked.
I remember watching reruns of the old Batman TV series when I was in Kindergarten after school. As a little kid I was drawn to the cartoonish nature of the show, the bright colors, and all the crazy gadgets that Batman and Robin had. As I got older I saw it in a more campy vein, but I also appreciated just how funny and surreal the show was. When I couldn't get the DVD through official channels (it was suppressed so that this version wouldn't dilute the modern blockbuster versions) I tracked down some bootlegs and got my nieces hooked on it. This was a Batman for the ages.
The only Adam West I ever really knew was Batman, and then later I became familiar with his lean years work (Happy Hooker Goes To Hollywood, anyone?) It always seemed like West fell into a trap similar to the original Star Trek cast, where they weren't able to escape that one defining work. To his credit, Adam West embraced his work in Batman, built a strong career out of it, and his fans remained loyal to the end.
Two of those loyal fans were Conan O'Brien and Robert Smigel. Together they created a TV pilot for West that has become legendary despite never going to series. Lookwell features Adam West as a washed up 1970s TV detective that never let go of the role. Still on the hunt for roles, as well as teaching acting classes, Lookwell find ways to inject himself into real police investigations, all the while being completely oblivious to the fact that the cops didn't want his help. West brought all of the acting tics that his fans have always loved to the role, and his performance is masterful. The pilot aired once in 1991, coming in 92nd out of 92 shows. Conan O'Brien joked that it only beat a test patter in Nova Scotia in the ratings.
Aw hell, I loved Lookwell. I don't care what anyone else things. So long, Mr. West. You were my Batman.