It is that time of my life. My joints ache after forty hours of work. My body will not let me sleep for more than six hours at a time. Children who were once taught by yours truly have now joined the same workforce as I have and are a daily reminder of my advancing years. And celebrities I grew up watching and idolizing are traveling on to the afterlife faster than a farmer harvests wheat come September.
When Leonard Nimoy passed away, I blogged about it. He was really the first icon of my childhood to leave this mortal coil that affected my emotional state. Which was surprising because he was, after all, a distant celebrity that had no idea of the inspiration he was giving to a hopeful space explorer/poet/photographer/author. There have been a slew of celebrity deaths in the years since then, none of which had the same effect on me as Mr. Nimoy’s departure.
But now Adam West has gone on to the great big Batcave in the next plane of existence.
Years of watching reruns of the 1966-68 Batman television show made Adam West a fixture in my imagination. When I played superheroes with the neighborhood kids, it was Mr. West whom I was trying to emulate as my blanket became a cape and cowl. When I pushed Hot Wheels across my bedroom carpet in mock races, Adam was always driving the Batmobile (yes, the one from the show) to a close second place; only the fabled General Lee from The Dukes of Hazard could beat the fabled rocket engine powered Batmobile.
Am I a Southern racist because a car with the Confederate flag always won the race against a black car? And do people who support keeping the Confederate flag flying from government buildings realize how stupid they are? Do they think the Communist East German flag still flies over parts of Berlin because it was part of their heritage for forty years?
Anyways… back to Adam West.
Watching Batman certainly must have been a contributing factor to my interest in BDSM. Hardly an episode went by where Adam, Burt, or Yvonne were not tied up, or chained, in some devious trap set by the villains. And yes, I know Ms. Craig passed away in 2015 as well, and this blog is supposed to be about Adam West, but who would not rather see a young Batgirl in her sparkly purple outfit chained in a dungeon? But it was always Adam who would come to the rescue, sometimes to the annoyance of my burgeoning interest in penile tumescence.
There is a ten dollar word for you. Okay, fine… some of you demand to see Adam West tied up?
Much like Nimoy, Adam struggled with being associated to such an icon. Being Batman kept him from acting opportunities. Then, again similar to Nimoy, Mr. West embraced the admiration and cult following that came from being the greatest Batman ever. He was one hundred times better than Christian “My Batman Voice Sounds Like I Gargled a Dirty Sailor’s Balls with a Gravel Chaser” Bale. Michael Keaton wishes he could wear the utility belt as well as Adam did. Val Kilmer and George Clooney were not worthy to wax the Bat-pole Adam West used in every episode. And Ben Affleck? At least he’s better than Bale.
But I do remember watching and hearing Adam West in other performances. I remember when he guest-starred on Murder She Wrote (I was having full-on penile tumescence for Angela Lansbury at the time). His voice guest-starred on Rugrats, Johnny Bravo, Animaniacs, and Kim Possible. And yes, I was watching Kim Possible even though I was nearly thirty when it was on. I love cartoons… fuck you. And all the dozens of times Adam appeared on shows as himself… each of those reminded me to not take myself as seriously as my inner self wanted. Of course, his greatest portrayal of himself was on Family Guy as the quirky and lovable mayor of Quahog, where he lived my dream of having romantic encounters with Mila Kunis.
Okay, technically it was just a drawing of himself getting it on with Meg Griffin, who is voiced by Mila… but it is a damn light year closer to bliss than I will ever be.
I may be a small figure in the grand scheme of existence. In fact, I am infinitesimal. But in my existence, there are five famous men who helped make me the sarcastic, humor-loving, mix of self-loathing and narcissism I am today: Mr. Rogers, Christian Slater, Leonard Nimoy, Adam West, and Sigmund Freud. Thanks Mr. West, for keeping life from being boring. I will do my part to pass the humor and cheesy sound effects along.