Editor's Note: With the news of Adam West's passing on June 9, 2017, here is a 2014 interview with Adam West talking about the first home video release of his 1960s Batman series.
For generations, the only way to watch the 1966 Batman TV show was through random airings on TV, illegal internet downloads, or through bootleg DVDs sold through vendor floors at conventions. Well, coming on November 11th, The Batman TV show, which launched the careers of Adam West, Burt Ward, and more, and still remains a staple in pop culture, will finally get an official Blu-ray and DVD release.
Adam West will possibly be forever tied to the Batman mythos and Newsarama had the chance to sit down with the television legend to talk about the release of the series, as well as his voice work projects, and what he'd like to do next in his Bat-career.
Newsarama: So, Mr. West, the Batman TV show is finally coming to Blu-ray and DVD this holiday season. It's restored and remastered, and for so long fans have had to suffer through bootlegs. Are you excited for the release? Have you seen it?
Adam West: I really am, yeah! Because people have been asking me for so long "when is it coming out". They clamor and I never really know what to say, except for [WB and Fox] couldn't get together about it. Well, finally they have. It was complicated for sure, legally, I suppose. You know, where do the payments go and what have you; the slices of the pie [laughs].
Nrama: So you have seen it?
West: It is the best looking remastering that I've ever seen. We were one of the first shows in color and on twice a week and now the colors are vivid and I look like a young boy, c'mon [laughs].
Nrama: Why do you think this show has such longevity? There was a time it went away, but it was still a big staple in pop culture. Why do you think your performance and the show has constantly prevailed through the ages?
West: We created our own little fantasy world out there on multiple levels. The kids loved the adventures, the excitement, the color, the splash, and the parents loved the morality lessons we slipped in "use your left/right turn signal indicator", or whatever. On another level we succeeded in making it funny and it became social satire. So when you have that broad family spectrum, people have a certain affection for the lead characters in a show; it can go on and on. We were fortunate.
Nrama: What was it like working on set back then? Can you tell us what the chemistry was like between you and Burt, Yvonne, and even Alan Napier?
West: It was pretty good. I felt my purpose was to come on to that sound set every day and create an environment of fun and having a great time and doing characters that were almost Shakespearean in dimension. I think that worked. If you're going to do something funny like that, do it all out. Look at "Family Guy" now. I do an absurd version of myself. It's so mundane, but I love it, too. "Paul, that's a silly name for a cat."
Nrama: I remember you saying that somebody at ABC saw you in a commercial and even from that tiny bit, they knew you were the guy.
West: Seems to me they just had a pretty good idea of what they wanted.
Nrama: Well, you obviously proved them right [laughs].
West: [laughs] Well, yeah, I guess so!
Nrama: When did you have your first instance of celebrity? Like, when did you realize this was going to be as big as it became?
West: Well I had done a lot of work, TV and some movies, with the late Robert Taylor as I was under contract at Warners. That moment occured when I was at the market with my steak and six-pack and trying to get out go home and watch Batman. The women, and the guys, too, were yelling at the check out people. "Go faster! Get us out of there! Batman's on tonight and I don't want to miss it!" So you see what a great job the studio did by beating those drums getting the interest up.
Nrama: Do you feel like the 60's could be defined with three B's: Bond, Beatles, and Batman?
West: Well what if I had done all three? [laughs] Maybe then Ringo would let me play drums.
Nrama: You've lent your voice to both Batman: The Animated Series, The Batman, as well the upcoming Lego Batman 3. What is it like still, and forever, being associated with Batman culture?
West: You know what I'd like to do now? Really, I'd like to play Batman's father.
Nrama: Really? You'd love to be Thomas Wayne?
West: Well, sure! Who comes back, you see, in a parallel universe kind of thing. One night, stormy of course, and poor Bruce Wayne finds a book in the library. Now the book indicates that maybe there's something he didn't know about his life...that his father could have been Batman for God's sake! He's about to give up on the problems of Gotham City-they're so severe-and suddenly the storm breaks the library window wide open and in comes the old Batman and I say "son, I'm here to help".
Nrama: Sounds like a fun comic pitch! Speaking of which, have you had the chance to read the Batman '66 comic yet?
West: Yes! I think they're doing a great job bringing back our Batman in the comics. It captures the spirit so well. There's even a comic book called the Misadventures of Adam West.
Nrama: Can you tell us about voicing Bruce Wayne and Batman on the new Lego Batman 3 game?
West: Well, it's sort of an exaggerated version of myself since it's a game, but I do that and I have a series I do a voiceover for called "What You Get For the Money with Adam West", I recently did an animated pilot with Rob Lowe, and a bunch of stuff.
Nrama: It's hard to separate Adam West and Batman, do you think they will always be one and the same?
West: I have a feeling it will be. Until that great role comes along and I knock them dead.
Nrama: Are you still having fun almost 40 years later?
West: Absolutely! You make it fun! You have to! Look at me, do I look 86? Don't answer. [laughs]