Adam West

When I was a kid, I never grasped that Adam West’s TV “Batman” was kitschy, ironic, and sarcastic. I just though it was cool.

Like Pixar movies today, that TV show worked on several levels. Adults reveled in the cool 60s references, and sexual innuendo.

I was five. All that went over my head. To me, Adam West’s Batman was the greatest Batman, ever. Hell, it was just about the only live-action super hero for a boy my age.

I was so completely engrossed by Batman that it’s all I ever wanted to play with my friend, Robbie Lomax. When we were at my house, Mom made me let Robbie be Batman, since he was our guest. When we were at his house, somehow that rule didn’t apply and he got to be Batman there too. That seemed patently unfair.

But, I told myself that Batman would do the right thing, and let Robbie be Batman anyway….so…

We watched Adam West’s Batman afternoon, along with the other staples of Gilligans Island and Leave it to Beaver.

Batman was the smartest, coolest, strongest superhero, ever. That bat utility belt. The ability to have just the right tool at just the right time. The wisdom he imparted to Robin. The grace of Alfred.

Catwoman (both of them) what a woman…My Lord….

Again, I didn’t understand at the time just how ridiculous it all was….how intentionally campy. To me, a good guy like Batman was SUPPOSED to be able to do all those things….that’s how the world worked. The good guys won.

Little did I realize, as I’ve said…the show was already poking holes in that mythology. The adults were laughing AT it, not with it…for how ridiculous it was.

Perhaps my favorite birthday party of all time (not just childhood) was my Batman party age five. As you can see from the piecture, every guest got a batman cape and mask.

Mom bought the masks. Mom MADE the capes….that’s right…sewed from scratch…

One of the many things I’ve never thanked her for enough….

But, don’t miss it….at that party, EVERYBODY…boy, girl….everybody was Batman…

As I got older, it gradually dawned on me that people laughed at Adam West’s “Batman.” People laughed at Adam West.

The TV Batman receded into our cultural imagination, hidden away like a pair of bell bottom jeans.

“Oh my God, can you believe we used to wear (watch) that?!”

I realized that some of the laughing wasn’t ironic. It was literally laughing AT the dated faux-hipness of it all.

That Batman got replaced by a series of Batmen who became progressively darker and grittier. I thought they were ALL cool, in their own way.

But unquestionably, the darkness around the Black Knight grew. Christopher Nolan’s Batmen were far darker than Michael Keeton’s…although comparatively it was darker than Adam West’s, sooo….

There seems to be a logical, and ever darkening progression to that. I love the current Batman movies too. Yes, even Ben Affleck. Because I’ve grown to see the world as a more jaded, less innocent place, my love of the newer Batmen have grown. I love their inner moral struggles. I love their struggles with darkness and light. It’s way more “real” somehow…

It fits, somehow…it marks the loss of childhood innocence, and the coming of the all-too dark adult world.

But somewhere back there inside of me, there is still a pure, unsullied, unapologetic love for the first Batman of my heart…the one that started it all for me.

Rest well, Adam West.
And thank you.

Advertisements

Posted by

Eric Folkerth is a minister, musician, author and blogger. He has been Senior Pastor of Northaven United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas since 2001. During his tenure, church membership has grown almost 30 percent, and a completely new church facility (sanctuary and education building) has been constructed. Northaven is a leading progressive Christian congregation in the Southwest. Northaven is an eclectic collection of gay and straight families, artists, musicians, theater folks, academic theologians, lawyers and judges (go figure), socially conscious community activists, people who don't "check their brain at the door," and a wide array of others who either see it as their "last chance" inside the "institutional church," or their first trip back in decades. Eric is an avid blogger and published author.  Eric is also an award-winning singer-songwriter, who performs throughout Texas and the Southwest. He's an engaging live performer whose first CD was released in 2000. His songs have won honorable mention in both the Billboard and Great American song contests; and he's been a finalist in the 5th Street Festival and South Florida Folk Festival songwriter competitions. Eric is also a leader of Connections, a unique band comprised of United Methodist clergy and layfolk from throughout North Texas. Connections performs "cover shows" of artists like Dan Fogelberg, Chicago, Eagles, Doobie Brothers, Billy Joel, Stevie Wonder, James Taylor and others. Their shows draw crowds of between 300 and 1,000 fans, and they have raised more than $240,000 dollars for worthy charities. Eric has led or co-led hundreds of persons on mission trips around the globe, to places such as Mexico, Haiti, Russia, and Nepal. He has worked with lay persons to build ten homes, and one Community Center, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Dallas. He's a popular preacher, and often tackles challenging issues of social justice in his writings and sermons. His wife, Judge Dennise Garcia, is a State District Judge for Dallas, County. As judge of the 303rd Family District Court, she consistently gets high ratings from area lawyers, and was named "best judge" by The Dallas Observer. First elected in 2004, she was the first Latina ever elected to a county-wide bench in Dallas County. She was re-elected for a third term in 2010. They have the world's best daughter, Maria, and an incredible dog, Daisy. (As always, if you like this post, then "like" this on Facebook by clicking the box below, so others can see too...)

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s