Friday, September 20, 2013
Talk Like a Batman
Shiver me timbers!
September 19th is 45 minutes past being over and The Dread Pirate Blog has been remiss in not telling ya swabbies the reasons why this day be important.
Yer Cap'n must have imbibed in a bottle of rum on a dead man's chest and plum forgot...
September 19th be "International Talk Like a Pirate Day."
Or, if ye be Johnny Depp...
"Talk Like Keith Richards Day."
Yer Cap'n is presumin' that me hearties already knew that and talked accordingly.
If not, ye may be walkin' the plank and goin' to Davy Jones' locker.
No, ye scurvy dogs.
But, batten down the the hatches, secure the yardarm and tie yerselves to the midden-mast.
There be another important thing about September 19th.
That day be also the birthday of the scurvy landlubber,
And, that's enough of the pirate talk until this time next year.
Because that is getting annoying.
So, on to Adam West.
Adam wasn't just the young, future Blog's hero in the late 1960s.
He was also the first celeb that The Blog worked with, in Hollywood.
Not the first.
That distinction goes to 'Green Acres" and "Petticoat Junction's" Hank Kimball.
aka, Alvy Moore.
Working with Alvy on a stage production of "The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe," was great.
Well... not great.
Well... not good.
But, pretty good.
Not pretty good.
(If you don't get the above reference, you are too young. Here is some warm milk and cookies. Now, go to bed.)
But, The Blog worked with Adam in The Blog's first real Hollywood movie.
It was a straight to cable movie in the early '80s called "Young Lady Chatterly II." Adam was comic relief (and moderate "star power,") in a movie that was mostly about young, pretty people getting naked. It starred Richard Belzer's ("Law & Order") wife Harlee McBride and Sybil Danning.
I was quite young when Adam was my favorite caped crusader. In fact, after I spent a couple of days with him, playing it cool, (I had heard that he was bitter that Batman pretty much ended his career.) it turned out he was really nice and had long ago embraced his bit of fame.
I, eventually, asked him about that.
He told me this. (I am paraphrasing, here. It was 30 years ago, so I may not have every word committed to memory, but it went, something, like this.)
"For a long time, I was bitter that I had been so typecast that I couldn't get cast for anything else. But, a few years ago, I had an epiphany. I am, at best, a mediocre actor. In spite of that, during my few years as Batman, I got to work with the best of the best in Hollywood.
Cesar Romero, Burgess Meredith, Frank Gorshin, Anne Baxter, Liberace, Roddy McDowell, Otto Preminger, (the list went on and on.)
I mean, really? Who gets to do that.
So, I have grown to embrace my time as Batman. Those years were the best years of my life."
I got my first clue that he was okay with his Batman fame on my first day with him.
"Do me a favor," he said. "Can you paint a cleft on my chin? My chin did my acting for me for several years, so I like to return the favor and make sure that it looks it's best."
We were eating lunch together, a couple of days in, when I could no longer contain myself. I broke out in a grin. Adam asked me what was so funny and I replied, "I just can't believe that I'm having lunch with Batman!"
The ice broken, at that point, I told him that when I was (x)-years-old he was my hero.
Adam put his arm around me, leaned in and said, "Don't... ever... tell anyone... ever again... how old you were when I was your hero."
Sorry, Adam. But, I'm going to do it, just this once.
I was six years old when Adam West was Batman.
And, goddamn, Batman was my hero. I was obsessed.
Here is a moment in time that I will never forget.
It was morning in my first grade class. We had just finished reciting the Pledge of Allegiance My teacher, Mrs. Barewald told us to put our homework in our desks. I barely opened the desktop and slipped my papers into the storage space under the desktop.
"No!" my teacher exclaimed. "(Young Blogling,) Open your desk and look."
"Weird," I thought, in my six-year-old mind.
But, open and look, I did.
There in my desk, was...
My teacher put it there, because she knew that I would love it.
I have often thought that my 5th grad teacher, Miss Linda Rosso, was the first teacher who "got" me.
But, God bless Mrs. Barewald for this small gesture.
A magazine cover that she knew would reach out to me.
I love public school teachers.
This is an example of why.
We had such fun on that shoot, Adam and I.
My only regret... As I said, it was my first real job in Hollywood. And I was trying to be "professional." So, I never asked him for an autograph. I never got a picture with him. And 30 years later, I have not seen him since.
Happy Birthday, Adam West!
I hope that we will, one day, meet again.
Because, I really need to take a picture with you.