meeting a screen star
November 15, 2010 § 1 Comment
I like, no make that love, the 1960s batman TV series. I absolutely loved it back then and I still love it now. As a little kid, I watched Batman, Robin, and sometime even Alfred get into countless horrifying predicaments. I took the show very seriously and was mortified when at the end of an episode one of my heroes was left to die, strapped to an oversized slicing machine, with the massive blade slowly swinging toward its victim. Or, I had to watch as my hero was left dangling above a bubbling, boiling pool of God-knows-what. I do have to admit, I always wondered where the villains procured their large mechanical killing apparatuses. Each villian had their own unique and theme-appropriate killing machine assembled and ready to go.
Bruce Wayne and/or Batman was the ultimate in smooth class. I couldn’t imagine anyone more polite, more classy, more refined.
I especially was impressed with the Batmobile and thought someday I should probably own one. The closest I came was getting my picture taken as I sat behind the wheel of a batmobile knockoff that some fan created from a kit.
The batcave was a label maker’s dream—every dial and lever of the bat computer was clearly labeled as was the computer itself. (And they didn’t even have the Brother P-touch back then). Even the bat poles were labeled (one marked Bruce and one marked Dick). I never understood why the poles needed labels–maybe it was so Alfred didn’t mistakenly use them. Alfred was able to get to the batcave some other way–not sure how, he would just walk in there somehow. The best feature of the bat poles was their ability to outfit you appropriately as you were sliding down (guess that’s why Bruce and Dick had to make sure they used the correct pole). I just couldn’t imagine how Batman and Robin ended up dressed and ready for work by the time they hit the floor. And what happened to the street clothes they were wearing? I thought maybe Alfred was secretly hidden on a platform somewhere in the pole area, caught them as they were halfway down, dressed them in their costumes, then pushed them to the bottom. Just a thought.
Just a few years ago, I finally met Bruce Wayne, aka Adam West. I paid a few bucks to get in, stood in line and anxiously waited my turn to get his autograph at a local Comic Con. (He looked pretty good for a guy about to taste 80, I might add).
It’s finally my turn up there and I get near my hero and he’s… well…, bored and uninterested. Simple as that. He hardly even looked up at me. He couldn’t even string a few words together to respond to my compliment. I realize that appearing at comic book conventions, signing memorabilia and selling photographs is not super stimulating and maybe even a bit degrading for a once-dashing Hollywood actor, but it’s not a horrible gig either. There are worse ways to spend a weekend.
There’s a happy ending to my story. At that same convention, I had the opportunity to meet Batgirl- Yvonne Craig, catwomen- Lee Meriwether and Julie Newmar as well as Robin- Burt Ward. It was a batman-lover’s dream. Those actors were a joy to interact with—they were friendly, engaging, and funny. They actually seemed to enjoy taking part and were happy to talk about the TV series. Burt Ward even asked me a question or two. It was thrilling to have the whole family of characters assembled in the same room, intriguing to see how they had changed over 40 years.
Batman– you were the most important star of the show way back then, but decades of sparkle faded fast for me that day. Next time, stay home. Holy Disappointment.