Batman: “Who knows, Robin? This strange mixing of minds may be the greatest single service ever performed for humanity. Let’s go, but, inconspicuously… through the window. We’ll use our Batropes. [long pause] Our job is finished.” – Last scene, Batman: The Movie
Many actors played Batman over the years. All of them owe Adam West a debt. West brought Batman to life in the wildly popular television show, introducing the character to people who never read comics. West had a long career after Batman was canceled, but what were his best roles? Let’s find out. Quickly, to the Bat-Article!
#5 Return to the Batcave: The Misadventures of Adam and Burt
Burt Ward: “Well?”
Adam West: ”I say we fight our way out like we always did.”
Burt Ward: “We had stuntmen then. Even if mine was always on a coffee break.”
Adam West and Burt Ward reunited in 2003 to make a biographical comedy about the 60’s Batman show. Playing themselves, they attend a charity event as Batman and Robin only to be dragged into a mystery when the Batmobile goes missing.West and Ward find clues that can only be deciphered by remembering crazy anecdotes from filming Batman. But which of their enemies/co-stars has stolen the Batmobile? Find out next time, same Bat-article, same Bat-website. Hover for the spoiler.
#4 Beware the Gray Ghost
Batman: “As a child, I used to watch it with my father. The Gray Ghost was my hero.”
Simon Trent: “So it wasn’t all for nothing…” – Batman the Animated Series, “Beware the Gray Ghost”, (Season 1, episode 18)
Because of Batman, Adam West was often typecast as a washed-up superhero actor. That image came full circle in Batman: The Animated Series, where he voiced a washed-up superhero actor who inspired Bruce Wayne to become Batman. It was all very meta.
A crime wave by the Mad Bomber leads Batman to realize he’s basing his crimes on an episode of The Gray Ghost. Batman finds his childhood hero has become jaded and bitter, and reveals how much the Ghost had inspired him. The actor dons his costume and joins Batman to save Gotham City, which brings attention to the Gray Ghost and revitalizes his career.
#3 The Brave and The Bold
(Batman notices a chandelier over some thugs)
Batman: “How’s your aim?”
Thomas Wayne: “Impeccable, old chum.” – Batman: The Brave and the Bold, “Chill of the Night”, (season 2, episode 11)
Adam West played two roles in this show. In the first he voiced Batman’s father, Thomas Wayne.
While searching for his parent’s killer, Batman was sent into the past by the Phantom Stranger. He found his parents at a costume party, with his father dressed as a bat and his mother (voiced by Julie Newmar, Catwoman in Batman) held hostage by criminals. Cue two generations of Batmen taking the thugs apart.
West’s second appearance was in the episode “The Plague of the Prototypes” , where he voiced a bat-robot named Proto. Despite his bumbling nature, Proto repeatedly saved Batman from danger and defeated several superior robots.
#2 Mayor Adam West
Delivery guy: “Pizza for Adam West. ”
Mayor West: “NO! You gave me Canadian bacon instead of bacon?! This misdeed cannot go unpunished. Pizza delivery man, prepare to meet you maker at the hands of my Cat Launcher! ” (Pulls out a crossbow and a quiver of cats ) – Family Guy, “Prick Up Your Ears”, (season 5, episode 6)
Adam West played himself on Family Guy for seventeen years. That’s no mean feat.
Family Guy’s Mayor West was an eccentric lunatic and designated scene-stealer. Whether he was giving a press briefing to a class of kindergartners or killing Domino’s mascot The Noid in single combat, Mayor West was always one to watch.
Unfortunately, much like Domino’s, one skit will leave a bad taste in your mouth. In the episode “Family Guy Viewer Mail #1” , the Griffins developed superpowers after being exposed to nuclear waste. Mayor West decided to stop them from wreaking havoc and exposed himself to nuclear waste. His power? Cancer. In 2017, Adam West died following a battle with leukemia.
#1 Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders
(tied to a giant TV dinner tray)
Robin: “Holy entree, Batman!”
Batman: “You fiends! You will rue this day!”
Penguin: “The only roux here is in the gravy.” – Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders
For the 50th anniversary of Batman, Adam West reunited with Burt Ward and Julie Newmar for an animated sequel to Batman: The Movie. Sadly, Frank Gorshin (The Riddler), Burgess Meredith (The Penguin) and Cesar Romero (The Joker) had passed away and were unable to reprise their roles.
The Joker, Catwoman, Riddler, and The Penguin reunite to conquer the world. They manage to create an army of evil Batmen, forcing Batman and Robin to recruit several villains from the show to help fight these Dark Knights.
The film was successful and received a sequel, Batman vs Two-Face, with William Shatner voicing the titular villain. Unfortunately, Adam West passed away before the movie was released. Even if the movie is a smash hit, it’s not getting a sequel.
Those are our top five. What are yours? Leave a comment.
Adam West photo by Alan Light CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons
Jared Bounacos has written for Movie Rewind since 2017.