The Batman TV panel at New York Comic Con played to a full house, with fans excited to see the remastered footage and any other goodies that would be revealed. The moderator was Damian Holbrook, Senior Writer for TV Guide and Adam West, star of the 1960s television series, kicked things off immediately with a joke.
"What are you doing in my house?" quipped West.
Off the bat [pun intended] Holbrook asked West if he had seen the restoration. "It's a work of art," the actor proudly replied.
They ran the trailer, which garnered huge applause. There will be over 3 hours of special features on the Blu-ray release, including interviews with Julie Newmar, Burt Ward, and of course Adam West. The packaging comes with full vintage trading cards as well as a Hot Wheels Batmobile.
"It's very exciting. I have a lot of great memories of this and the older movie. My best memories were working with all those great people. We had wonderful guest stars." West exclaimed. "When it came to great villains, people were lining up to get on it."
Holbrook asked why West thought the show was such a big deal at the time, and why America latched on to it so easily. "Well, we ran it in color, for one. Also twice a week. Naturally, every actor in town wanted to do it." West continued with more talk about the villains and guest stars. "The villains were sketched out and almost Shakespearean."
West then recalled what his life was like when he was offered the role, because it was the commercial featuring himself as Captain Quick that got him noticed. "When I read that pilot script, I fell down laughing and knew I wanted to do it."
Holbrook switched things up and asked about working with Burt Ward. "It was instant chemistry," West replied. "He was so enthusiastic, silly, and young and worshipful of Batman. Holy Guacamole, Batman!"
When asked about the details of the costume, West made sure they didn't make him look too goofy. "I worked with them about two weeks with the designers and costume makers on getting the costume just right. First day I put it on, I took a deep breath, and I walked across the stage in that Batman attitude and the entire crew stood in awe. It made me realize these guys believed in Batman."
West later went on to say that the costume really does make the man, or Batman, as it were. "You can do anything in that uniform. As I told Ben Affleck, let the costume do the work. You don't have to buff up, you've got it in the costume."
He spoke candidly about meeting George Clooney and how Clooney blames himself for "killing the franchise." "You didn't kill the franchise, I tell him. Look how it's thriving!"
Holbrook asked what the schedule was like during the early days of the first season and later on having to film the movie at the same time. West did not fondly look back on that aspect. "It was <i>awful</i>."
Holbrook also mentioned that there will be an episode guide for all 120 episodes and asked West if he had maybe a top five. "My favorites were the first two Riddler episodes with Frank Gorshin. We were all married to the idea of the show and Gorshin was just manic intensity." He also later recalled working with Vincent Price and the now famous food fight. "We made this huge mess of an omelet. Eggsactly!"
West was asked what the fandom was like back in the day, and he has great memories of that. "To be very sincere, I have always loved the fans. I am the luckiest actor in the world. That's where it is, it's all in the fans. This is why I do Comic Cons! I get a chance to sign autographs and see you face-to-face. It's a way to keep this alive."
Holbrook then signaled for a side-by-side comparison with a scene with the Joker, showing the level of quality of the digital remaster, compared with the original print. Colors are definitely brighter and textures come out amazingly. It looks incredible!
Speaking of the Joker, Holbrook asked what was working with Cesar Romero like? "He was amazing. He would sit in his chair and go to sleep, but the moment he was called on stage, he would leap up and had this instant energy and paced himself. It's like being a great athlete."
Holbrook then went on to talking about the actual features of the show itself. Yes, Leslie Gore's two numbers are in the episode. Yes, the Green Hornet and Kato appearances are included. Yes, episodes are labeled "in color", and yes, the end of the episodes give hints of the next week's episode. Also – all the window cameos.
West mentioned about the window scenes. "I had guys with fishing lines pull on our capes. I knew eventually you would see those lines, just like seeing Romero's mustache. He thought his entire career rested on that mustache."
Holbrook asked if he remembered what he bought with his first paycheck from the show. West smirked and said that he couldn't say.
He was also asked if he ever borrowed the Batmobile? "I did. One Halloween, but I couldn't take it off the lot. So, I went around the neighbors to the studio in my truck and this one lady fainted, but at least I did get a bag of candy."
Holbrook mentioned that West does some great impressions, including Mr. Freeze ("Baked Alaskan, Batman?) as well as Liberace. "He played the Musician, and he was supposed to be really tough. All week long he went around saying 'Adaaaam, I'm going to get you!'" West nailed Liberace's high-pitched giggle as well.
West opened up about when he knew he had a hit on his hands. "I knew I was losing any sort of anonymity when I was at the market where the customers were yelling at the register to hurry up because Batman was on TV that night!"
When asked about any weird fan experiences, West had some fun stories on that, too. "I get asked to sign things and then I get stopped when people act out scenes in front of me when I try to catch a plane. It's odd, but I have to admire the dedication."
West did mention that there will be a "Back to the Batcave" re-release and he has just written a sequel which is looking to be released next year.
And then, time for the fan Q&A. First one up asked if there is a favorite Batman story that wasn't in the TV show
"I could never say that. It's too tantalizing. It would get me in such trouble with my wife." He ended with "read the book."
Second up was a young fan who requested a hug and admitted he was her first crush as a child. "Shucks, I'm in awe." He did deny her because of safety reasons, but jokingly asked, "what are you doing later?"
Then a fan asked a question about where did you pull from to make sure you were your own Batman, especially since you were the first in a generation.
"I don't want to give an acting lesson, but what I did was let the costume work for me," West explained. "I remember as a kid playing Batman. I felt if I could bring the same level of enthusiasm, it could work. That's all I tried to do. Not wink at the camera and think you're funny. Say something funny, though. Every time I put on that cowl, it was instant, I was Batman. They were called the Dynamic Duo because we were always moving. I don't want to bore you with all this, though."
A clip of the collectables of Ralph Garman was shown. Adam was amazed walking through it all. "This is a lifetime of appreciating your work," Garman said. "It's like pop culture archeology."
West thanked Garman and the crowd. Favorite piece of memorbilia, though? "My copy of my first check."
Another fan asked if he would reprise the role of Bruce Wayne in a Batman Beyond movie. West simply replied with "How could I refuse?"
The next fan was wondering what was it like working on Batman: The Animated Series? "It went well. It was great fun and people come up to me a lot about the Grey Ghost. I hear it is rumored to be made into an animated series in the future."
An enthusiastic fan was next that actually exclaimed "Holy Dream Come True, Batman! How does it feel to be a legend and just, an awesome guy?"
West replied back with how nice that was to hear. "I am going to cry. It feels great, and you're the reason why." He continued with his motivations behind working on the show. "What does an actor want to do? Be loved? I guess. I say to entertain, make them entertained, give the audience something to live outside of their lives and I think I've done that."
Another young fan jokingly asked if would adopt her as well as who was his favorite Batman. "You know I can't play favorites and I'm not a critic, so the only one I like is myself," he joked.
Next up was a fan asking if Batman is the secret Mayor of Quahog right now because he sounds a lot like him. "Are you going to vote for me?," West replied. "You know the Mayor is so silly and fun. When Seth called me, I said yes because it gave me a chance to made fun of myself and to do something absurd and different."
Next up, somebody asked about what he thought of the new versions of Batman when he first saw them. "I haven't watched them all the way through. I just feel like because I'm not a critic, I just don't want to say either way. I can't criticize the movies, but they are too dark and too violent because I think I'm sort of stuck of playing Batman with an edge of humor and something that can appeal to an entire family question."
Last question and the fan asked a two-parter about which was his favorite gadget and favorite Batmobile. West didn't miss a beat with the answers. "I drove the world's most famous car; anything else would be like stepping from a Rolls Royce into a 3-wheeled Honda! As for the gadgets, the Bat-shield! So ridiculous to think Batman could have that in his pocket."
Holbrook talked about Gotham and West's thoughts on it. "I like it", he said. "The opportunity to do Batman, almost pre-Batman is good. Batman can be done on any parallel universe, these days we are getting smarter everyday. You could believe that there is a Batman from anywhere and anytime."
Last clip which was more of a highlight reel. Showing a scene from the first episode as well as a window scene, another scene with the Puzzler, another scene with Riddler, the scene with Liberace, Batman fighting a tiger, Batusi, Julie Newmar as Catwoman showing the sexual chemistry, Joker and Batman surfing, fight scenes with the pow, ziff, etc graphics. It finally ended with Adam West as Batman telling Commissioner Gordon "If you need us again gentlemen, we are as close as your batphone."