Holy headline opportunity — it’s a Bat-reunion in San Diego!
Friday at Comic-Con is loaded with big-name stars and creators, but no panel is groovier than the “Batman” reunion that brings Adam West and fellow 1960s television stars Burt Ward and Julie Newmar together for (shockingly) the first time in the four-decade history of the convention. The panel is the handiwork of the Hub, which brings Gotham City to your screen to remind us all that once upon a time in pop culture, Bruce Wayne was more of a bright knight. We caught up with each of the three stars to talk about the 45th anniversary reunion, and here are some Bat-highlights.
Adam West: “Comic-Con is wonderful. There’s so much to see. It’s so crowded. There are so many dweebs. These are strange people. The stranger they are, the more extreme they are, the more costumed they are, the more lost in fantasy they are — that’s when I think these are my people.”
Burt Ward: “Adam and I do maybe a dozen events a year, but I’ve never even been to the San Diego Comic-Con, and I think he’s only been there once before. Adam and I have worked together for 45 years, and we’re very good friends. Every place we go, it’s always standing room only. We don’t plan anything, either. We both have a crazy sense of humor. We’re liable to say anything, particularly Adam. Sometimes, I almost have to grab the microphone from him. It doesn’t stay G-rated for long with Adam. I just love the guy to death. We’ve been great friends since we screen-tested together for ‘Batman.’ He was like a big brother to me.”
Julie Newmar: “I’m attempting to getting some new cat ears for Comic-Con. And these are some cat ears. They’re not from the original production, they’re from Paris, France, from the biggest of the biggies: Chanel. Chanel himself designed something, and they’re made of lace. That’s how I’m getting prepared [for San Diego]: Take a deep breath and get some cat ears and let it all happen to me. I get catted. You have to give the crowd something to look at and enjoy. It has to be worthwhile.”
West: “I don’t know how I feel about Comic-Con. I wonder, ‘Am I just another sort of curiosity like something in the Ripley’s museum?’ It is good to continue working for me. With ‘Family Guy’ and everything — I don’t care how old you are, it’s important to keep going. If they want me, I’ll be there. I like the money and the roar of the grease paint.”
Ward: “We not only worked together, we partied together. I mean, I never drank or smoke or took drugs or anything. I probably shouldn’t have even been an actor because of all that. But we had a lot of fun. It was the ’60s, with all the free love and all the wild things. Believe me, Adam and I had some wild time together. And we became friends for life. You get so well-connected to someone, it’s almost an unspoken thing.”
Newmar: “It’s amazing that all this time has passed and we’re all still great good friends. We adore each other. We admire each other for what we were and what we are now. That’s a wonderful thing…I think all of us are like bluebirds, you are born in a certain place to certain parents and you go out into the world but, essentially, you come back and live more or less like you came in. I was born in Hollywood and I’m still here just a few miles west of where I started.”
West: “Why do we get along so well? We don’t see each other too often. Actually, they are lovely people, and it’s always fun. It’s interesting through the years when we get together to hear their changes in attitudes and their outlooks on life. Julie is a remarkable woman. She is fascinating in the different adjuncts of her personality. It made her delightful and interesting to work with. I really enjoy working with inventive people who pick up the nuances and play the moment, and she always did.”
Ward: Adam was always Mr. Debonair. He wrote a book in which he compared himself to Winston Churchill. I’m this wild, unpredictable, do-anything kind of guy. I was dangerous for Adam. I guess we’re dangerous for each other. But all in good fun. We used to go out on weekends and play tennis together, and we’d be on a public court like over in Pacific Palisades where he was living and people would come on the court and be like, ‘Oh my God, it’s Batman and Robin playing tennis!’ ”
Newmar: “Our show is a good thing to come back to. A lighter era of TV and such. The fans mean so much to me. They just come up and want to express their original emotion. If you stood in the down current of that for one moment, you would know how lucky I am. It feels like kisses all over. It’s that sweet. I have a lump in my throat thinking about this very experience.”
West: “I wouldn’t play Batman as a stiff. There were some battles in the beginning, but I fought them. I don’t think the show would have worked — stiff becomes brittle, and it breaks. You’ve got to have a sense of humor and timing, and you can never be afraid to make fun of yourself. I’ll be at Comic-Con on Saturday too for ‘Family Guy,’ and everywhere I travel now, I turn on the TV and there’s ‘Family Guy.’ It’s really blanketing out there.”
Ward: “We used to say, ‘We put on our tights to put on the world.’ We wore our underwear on the outside of our clothes. And it was fantastic. The show is now in re-runs everywhere in the United States and Canada, every day, twice a day. It’s like we have a whole new crop of viewers. New generations keep finding it. Whenever people see us together, too, they just laugh. It even makes me self-conscious sometimes — ‘Did I leave my zipper down?’ They just laugh. Still.”
— Geoff Boucher
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