By: Renee Grant
In honor of beloved actor Adam West who was the first to bring the story of Batman to our television screens in the 60’s, the bat-signal will shine brightly over Los Angeles tonight (June 15). L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti and L.A. police chief Charlie Beck will light the iconic beam.
The event is open to the public, taking place at City Hall in L.A.
Over the days since West passed away (June 9), tributes and love for the late star have poured in. West’s former Batman co-star Burt Ward, who played Robin on the show, wrote a guest column for The Hollywood Reporter in honor of his late friend. Speaking of their 52-year friendship, Ward recalled fondly the first time the two met.
“I’d been to the costume trailer and they dressed me in the most uncomfortable thing I’ve ever put on in my life,” Ward remembers. “The tights pulled the hair on my legs, the mask bothered my eyelashes, the vest had these edges that punctured through my t-shirt. I didn’t know what the costume was. I didn’t know Batman. I thought it was some kind of Shakespearean deal. So I get over to the soundstage and there’s this guy dressed in a bigger, worse-looking outfit. He’s got this big cowl over his head. And if you ever looked closely at Adam in the cowl, it made his eyes cross. I thought that was hilarious, so I started laughing. And that was the beginning of a 52-year friendship.”
Ward also says West never felt he had been typecast in his Batman role, and to the contrary, he enjoyed the role more than most understood.
“He was very debonair and suave, kind of almost British. But he had a unique delivery,” Ward continues. “In some ways, Adam was a little difficult for other actors to get used to because he had a stilted speech. He would say, “Okaaay, Robin” in a way that could throw you off balance. But I realized he was playing a game. He understood that this was a 30-minute show, so if he talked slowly the camera would have to be on him for 29 minutes. Sometimes in a scene he would turn unexpectedly off his position and walk right up to the camera and completely block me out of the scene. After a couple of times, I learned to just sneak up under his cape and get in front of him.”
Relive some of the best Batman moments below.