Who was the best Batman?
A while back I did a couple of posts about my favorite portrayal of Superman. Today I want to do the same with the many people who have played the Caped Crusader. Although I want to limit this discussion to the 1966 TV series and the feature films beginning in 1989, I want to also comment on Lewis Wilson who played Batman in the serials of the 1940s. Many of the themes of those shows made it into the comic books. The Batcave is one example. Prior to the inclusion of the Batcave in the serials it did not exist in the comics. At that time in the comics butler Alfred Pennyworth was depicted as being over weight. In the serials he was portrayed as thin by William Austin and has been portrayed that way in the comics and film ever since. Lewis Wilson paved the way for other men to don the cape and cowl.
The first actor I want to look at is Adam West. I know for myself and others Adam West’s portrayal of the character was the first introduction to Batman. This rendition of the caped crusader was far from the dark and gritty origins of those depicted in the pulp fiction comics of the 40s. This Batman was a goodie-two-shoes and we loved every minute of it. The brilliance of the show was its camp. When I first began watching the show in reruns in the 70s I was 10 years old. The black and white portrayal of good vs. evil appealed to my youthful ideals and sensibility. Now as an adult the camp is funny and entertaining yet the boyscout aspect of Batman has not grown stale.
Things I didn’t notice notice as a child was that Adam Wests’ portrayal was a little cold at time. His Batman was a bit distant even if he was always trying to do good. I even noticed that there were times when Batman was dealing with Robin he could be a little condescending and arrogant at times.
While I will always have a soft spot in my heart for Adam West and his portrayal of Batman it isn’t my favorite. I still love the show though and in November the entire series will finally be released on DVD and Blu-Ray and I do plan on picking it up.
Next week…Michael Keaton as Batman.