This may be considered sacrilege, but I’m not really huge on Batman. I’ve read some of the most iconic comics, like The Dark Knight Returns and The Killing Joke, but I’m a Marvel girl through and through. I’ve watched most, if not all, of the films, but I found The Dark Knight Saga enjoyable yet hugely overrated, and my main memories of Batman in the late 80s and early 90s consists entirely of Seal’s Kiss from a Rose. (Maybe I’m due a re-watch of them all.) But there is one piece of Batman media that remains close to my heart, that I can watch over and over again and feel utter joy. That is 60s Batman.
I realised what a joy West’s Batman was years later, when I was old enough to understand the concept of terribrill, and my dad and I sat down together to watch the film, now commonly referred to as Batman 1966. From the moment Batman has to fight a shark eating his leg on the rope ladder of a helicopter piloted by Robin, to the extended sequence of Batman running through a harbour town with a bomb over his head, every second is pure comedy genius.
Batman: One: "What has yellow skin and writes?"
Robin: A ballpoint banana.
Batman: Right! Two: "What people are always in a hurry?"
Robin: Rushing people? Russians!
Batman: Right again! Now, what would you say they mean?
Robin: Banana... Russian... I've got it! Someone Russian is gonna slip on a banana peel and break their neck!
Batman: Precisely, Robin! The only possible meaning!
Only a special brand of crazy genius could conjure up this script, and that man is Lorenzo Semple Jr. His story is full of silly action pieces and ridiculous dialogue, sure, but also bizarre moral lessons. After a porpoise saves Batman and Robin from a torpedo, Batman says in eulogy, “It was noble of that animal to hurl himself into the path of that final torpedo. He gave his life for ours.” And at one point, Batman pauses his relentless mission to stop the Penguin and co. to warn Robin of the dangers of alcoholism. I’m starting to believe that Lorenzo Semple Jr. is a relative of Tommy Wiseau, so strange, awful and wonderful is his script.
Meanwhile, Adam West has been with me through my entire life, relentlessly entertaining me, and bringing me closer to my dad. It may be mocked, but it means a great deal to me. It’s also the reason why I tend to prefer the Marvel Cinematic Universe and hated Man of Steel. Superheroes are ridiculous. EMBRACE IT, DC.
So while many may argue that The Dark Knight Saga is gritty drama, making superheroes realistic, and while they may argue over who was the better Joker, Heath Ledger or Jack Nicholson, I will be sat in the corner, giggling at Adam West’s antics with my dad and having a hell of a lot more fun.
Holy Twitter Followers Batman! Hayley has a page!