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Old July 18 2012, 03:42 AM   #1
A beaker full of death
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Serious Adam West Batman

There are some interesting glimpses here of what could have been - starting around 3:32 through 6:45. Personally, I think it works.

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Old July 18 2012, 06:54 AM   #2
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Re: Serious Adam West Batman

Having watched Batman: The Brave and the Bold, this comes as no surprise.
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Old July 18 2012, 07:00 AM   #3
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Re: Serious Adam West Batman

Warners should hire Adam West to play the old and serious Bruce Wayne for the future live action The Dark Knight Returns.
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Old July 18 2012, 07:49 AM   #4
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Re: Serious Adam West Batman

Interesting. I wonder why they didn't go that way. Likely, the network that bought it wanted the camp. I think if they had gone with serious instead of campy, it could have felt less dated. That's not to say I didn't like the series though, as I watched it a lot when I was young.
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Old July 18 2012, 08:42 AM   #5
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Re: Serious Adam West Batman

There were frequently moments in the show when Adam West was giving straight delivery, but never like that. That's fabulous.
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Old July 18 2012, 01:35 PM   #6
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Re: Serious Adam West Batman

"Supposed fishing trips of ours..."

Yeah.

I've gotten the impression Dozier pushed the campiness. Ever seen the partial Dozier produced 60's Wonder Woman pilot that's out there?

I wonder if a more serious interpretation would've lasted 3 seasons, or just been a one season thing like The Green Hornet.
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Old July 18 2012, 03:02 PM   #7
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Re: Serious Adam West Batman

A beaker full of death wrote: View Post
There are some interesting glimpses here of what could have been - starting around 3:32 through 6:45. Personally, I think it works.
The whole video was pretty interesting. Burt Ward actually came off better in the screen tests than he did in the show, with the different hairstyle and the less over-the-top performance. And it was great to get to see some of that Batgirl test reel at last. (A compact with a laser beam "that destroys anything?" Wow, vicious!) I liked the depiction of her transforming her regular clothes into her Batgirl costume, which is how it was done in her comic debut.

Lyle Waggoner was definitely not Batman material. He didn't have the voice for it, and he didn't bring the same exceptional blend of gravitas and comic timing that West had. The actor who auditioned with him as Robin certainly had a more Robinesque, boyish voice than Ward had, which would've been a plus. I'm not sure he would've worked out otherwise. He didn't feel as right for the part, though of course I'd naturally think that way because I've grown up with Ward as Robin.

I definitely think the cast of the '66 show could've pulled off a more serious interpretation of Batman. After seeing those screen tests, I think even Ward could've pulled it off. But they would've had no reason to. At the time the show was made, the comic had been a goofy, bizarre comedy-adventure for a couple of decades. It had started to get a bit less goofy as of the late '60s, but it wouldn't be until the '70s that Denny O'Neill would take it back in a fully serious direction. It was different for The Green Hornet, which had always been a fairly serious pulp-adventure franchise.
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Old July 18 2012, 04:45 PM   #8
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Re: Serious Adam West Batman

It'd have been interesting if they had kept more of the style of that test batsuit.

It's interesting to see "what if" but as much as it irks some I don't think it would've had the same cultural impact had it been less campy.
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Old July 18 2012, 05:09 PM   #9
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Re: Serious Adam West Batman

Mr. Adventure wrote: View Post
It'd have been interesting if they had kept more of the style of that test batsuit.
Personally, I prefer the "New Look"/yellow oval emblem. What I do wish they'd done in the series was have them take off their masks when they were alone in the Batcave. But then, that's not what the comics at the time generally did, I think, so it's not what the show did. Even today, comics and animation have a tendency to keep superheroes in full costume even when it would be unwieldy or unnecessary (like that widely meme-ified "Batman digs this day" panel from a '70s comic where Batman is just casually strolling down the street in daytime, in full Batman gear, or in episodes of the current Avengers animated series where Tony Stark spends most of the time wearing his Iron Man armor even when he's just hanging around the mansion). It's one of the unrealistic conceits of comics that the show was having fun with by translating literally.


It's interesting to see "what if" but as much as it irks some I don't think it would've had the same cultural impact had it been less campy.
Yeah, that's what the culture of the day was primed for. And it's simply what the comics were like back then, so it's not like the option of playing it seriously would even have occurred to them.
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Old July 18 2012, 05:14 PM   #10
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Re: Serious Adam West Batman

Christopher wrote: View Post
What I do wish they'd done in the series was have them take off their masks when they were alone in the Batcave.
Yes, this was another element of those screen tests I really liked.

For what they did do, I suppose being in the Batcave implied being on the job, and being on the job implied being in full costume.
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Old July 18 2012, 05:23 PM   #11
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Re: Serious Adam West Batman

^Like I said, it's just what they did in the comics of the time. Batman was usually drawn as Batman, and was rarely seen without his cowl unless there was a specific story reason for it. Batman: The Brave and the Bold, which was a series-long homage to the Silver-Age Batman, took it even further: We never even saw Batman out of costume or heard him referred to as Bruce Wayne (aside from a couple of flashbacks to his childhood) until more than halfway through the series, in episode #37 out of 65. (Which made it a much more potent moment when he finally revealed his face in a retelling of his classic original confrontation with Joe Chill.)

There's also the in-show mechanics of it -- they didn't change costume themselves, but rather there was some sort of mechanism that changed their clothes while they descended/ascended the Batpoles. So it was kind of an all-or-nothing approach, either in-costume or out with no middle ground.
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Old July 18 2012, 05:51 PM   #12
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Re: Serious Adam West Batman

Owain Taggart wrote: View Post
Interesting. I wonder why they didn't go that way. Likely, the network that bought it wanted the camp. I think if they had gone with serious instead of campy, it could have felt less dated. That's not to say I didn't like the series though, as I watched it a lot when I was young.
Hell, I watch it alot NOW, and I don't care one bit that it's dated.

In fact, that's one of my favorite things about it.
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Old July 18 2012, 06:35 PM   #13
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Re: Serious Adam West Batman

One thing I particularly noted during the West/Ward ("westward"?) screen test. The lighting. Yeah, I realize they don't usually "polish" the prints for those tests and they don't get too elaborate with the lighting. But it actually gave a bit of a quasi "film noir" to the scene befitting the more serious delivery of there lines. Plus the fact West as Wayne even mentioning his murdered parents was a bit of an eye opener. Did the series proper ever reference his parents, even if just in dialog, or was that aspect never mentioned? I certainly don't remember it being discussed. In fact, I didn't even know Wayne's parents were murdered until an episode of the "SuperFriends" briefly discussed the infamous "crime alley".

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Old July 18 2012, 06:51 PM   #14
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Re: Serious Adam West Batman

Good point about the comics. I hadn't thought of that, and of course they would have had an influence on the style of the show, as that's what people would have expected.

But Burt Gervis? Did he change his last name to Ward once he knew he got the part?
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Old July 18 2012, 06:56 PM   #15
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Re: Serious Adam West Batman

Redfern wrote: View Post
Plus the fact West as Wayne even mentioning his murdered parents was a bit of an eye opener. Did the series proper ever reference his parents, even if just in dialog, or was that aspect never mentioned? I certainly don't remember it being discussed.
Those scenes in the screen test were variants of scenes from the premiere episode, "Hi Diddle Riddle." Here it is on YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D4EwtTWy1R4

The dialogue from the screen test starts at about 12:30, though Alfred was written into the final scene and some of the lines were transferred to him. Bruce also mentions that "my own parents were murdered by dastardly criminals" at 2:55, so it's referenced twice in the first episode.

I also seem to remember a party scene where Commissioner Gordon was at Stately Wayne Manor and mentioned the murder of Bruce's parents to another guest, but I can't remember what episode it was in.

It's worth noting that the tone in the first few episodes isn't quite as blatantly campy as it later became. There's plenty of campy/comical stuff, like the Batusi and "What a way to go-go," but offset by more serious moments.


Owain Taggart wrote: View Post
But Burt Gervis? Did he change his last name to Ward once he knew he got the part?
Yes. Apparently he thought Gervis would be hard to pronounce, so he adopted his mother's maiden name. And changed his real first name "Bert" to "Burt" because it seemed stronger.
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