Beloved actor Adam West passed on Friday, June 9th after a short battle with leukemia. For millions of fans and multiple generations, he was their first exposure to the character of Batman, which he fully embraced playing the role on his ABC series from 1966 through 1968.
As a kid growing up watching reruns during the 1970’s, I never took the show as camp or comedy, nor even make-believe. West’s portrayal inspired kids what it was to be a hero, to aspire to do the right thing, to be the best you could be while being honest, moral, loyal, and strong.
He was an average man who showed you didn’t need super powers to be a hero.
As the years wore on and I became older I recognized the camp elements of the show and for awhile turned away from it, especially during the “Batman renaissance” of the 1980’s when the character was brought back to his darker roots in print and film through the landmark graphic novel “The Dark Knight Returns” and the Tim Burton/Michael Keaton feature film “Batman”, showing the character as a grim vigilante without the humor West brought to the role.
Still, through the different iterations of the character and multiple actors playing the art throughout the years, nostalgia always brought fans back to the man who was their first introduction to Batman, and West continued to carry the mantle of his portrayal as the “Bright Knight” through television and convention appearances, always reminding people of the Batman’s core values that newer generations of kids could still learn from and appreciate through the television reruns of his show.
Adam West has passed. Long live Adam West!