Friday, July 25, 2014

Adam West

It was the fall of 1983, (or, maybe the spring of '84.) I was hired to work on my first Hollywood movie production. A semi-awful, straight to cable, super soft-core skin flick that had a pretty impressive "C-List" cast. (A story for another day.)

And who was the first actor to sit in my chair? 

None other than my very first, (okay, maybe second, Capt, Kangaroo was probably my first,) childhood, celebrity idol. Batman, himself, Adam West. 

I was nervous. I had always heard that Adam was bitter about the fact that he was forever typecast as The Caped Crusader.

And, I had been taught, in make-up school, "Be professional. Stay cool. Never get all fan-boy when an actor/actress sits in your chair."

Man, that was some stupid advice. 

Actors live to be recognized. I learned that, eventually.

But, in this case, I struggled to maintain my cool, totally missing the signals. 

Not minutes in my chair, Adam said, "I have just one request. Could you draw a cleft on my chin? I spent three years acting with just my chin, so I like to take good care of it."

On Day Two, the make-up trailer had been improperly leveled, and, by that I mean, not leveled at all. The floor slanted at what must have been about a 30 degree grade. My rather weak filter failed for a moment as I quipped, "We had this done to make you feel at home." 

Adam laughed. 

On Day Three, I found myself having lunch with Adam. And, I could control myself, no longer. As we ate and talked, I broke out in an ear-to-ear grin. 

"What?" Adam asked. 

"I'm sorry," I replied. "But, I just can't believe that I am having lunch with Batman!"

Adam smiled, and, feeling emboldened, I went on...

"Can I tell you something?" I continued. "When I was six-years-old, you were my hero." 

Adam got all serious looking and put his hand on my shoulder. 

("Aw shit!" I thought, "I just fucked up, royally."}

"Do me a favor," Adam said, as he looked straight into my eyes. "Do not EVER tell anyone how young you were, when I was your hero."


Then, he burst out laughing. 

Relived, I followed. 

On Day Four, I took a Sharpie™ and wrote "BAM!"  on the back of his powder puff.

He loved it. 

And that was when I, finally, got up the nerve to ask him...

"I had always heard that you were bitter about being typecast as Batman. That it ruined your career. But, I'm not sensing that that is true."

His response blew me away.

"You know," he said, "For a lot of years, that was true. I was bitter. I couldn't get cast in anything. The only jobs I could book were car shows and shopping center openings, and only if I wore the costume. But, one day, I had an epiphany. I realized that I am, at best, a mediocre actor. But, for three glorious years, I got to work with some of the finest actors in Hollywood. Caesar Romero, Burgess Meredith, Vincent Price, Otto Preminger, Victor Buono. I mean, who gets to do that? And now, all these years later, the kids who grew up watching Batman all want to cast me in their movies and TV shows. I mean, how lucky can a bad actor get? I realize, now, that I am blessed beyond belief. 

Which brings us to today's USA Today, ComicCon interview with Adam. 

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