Updated: May 31, 2014
BATMAN VILLAINS PHOTO GALLERY #03
Holy flashback! Thirty-seven years after Adam West and Burt Ward put on
skintight suits to keep Gotham City safe from the villainous Penguin, Joker
and Riddler, the Dynamic Duo is back together for a peek at what really
happened behind the scenes.
There were on-set explosions that left Ward injured daily, encounters with
lusty female fans, whispers of West and Ward being gay, and complaints
from censors about the sexual innuendo in the ABC series that aired from
"Our show was a lot different," Ward said. "We teased them, taunted them
and played with their minds. For kids, it was kept clean. Teenagers saw
all the double meanings and they appreciated it."
West and Ward play off each other as well as they did during the swinging
'60s in the CBS movie "Return to the Batcave: The Misadventures of Adam
and Burt" airing Sunday at 9 p.m. EST.
"It's dramatized to an extent, but most of it really did happen. All good
comedy is based on truth," West said. "Now they're saying we're a
wonderful comedy team. What were we before?"
In the two-hour movie, West, 74, and Ward, 57, are forced to relive their
past to find clues to recovering the Batmobile after it's stolen from a
Hollywood charity event.
When a bystander suggests calling the police, West in his best deadpan
says, "This is a job for actors. We'll find the Batmobile."
"Us?" Ward replies. "We wouldn't even know where to start."
The movie was done by the same team behind the 2001 CBS hit movie
"Surviving Gilligan's Island." Dawn Wells, who played Mary Ann, is
co-executive producer, Duane Poole wrote the script and Paul Kaufman is
director and executive producer.
"The network realized the value of the 'Batman' series and the way the
public responded to West and Ward," Kaufman said. "There's something about
those two. Watching the series as a child, it was very exciting to work
'People are very funny about the show'
Frank Gorshin plays the Riddler, and Julie Newmar is one of two
Catwomen in the movie.
West saw the movie as a chance to reward fans who clamor for additions to
the "Batman" franchise when they meet him at conventions.
"They always greet me with warmth and humor," he said. "People do lines
from the show, do entire scenes, they ask me to say lines. People are very
funny about the show. I've got three generations who come up to me."
The adventure reunites them with Frank Gorshin (Riddler), Julie Newmar
(Catwoman) and Lee Meriwether (Catwoman). In one bar scene, Newmar plays a
vivacious vixen who grooves with West to the old "Batman" theme.
"That was a reference to Batman drinking the mickey in that first episode
and him doing the Batusi," West said. "I'm always asked, 'Do the Batusi?'
Viewers of the old show will appreciate the inside jokes, as well as
familiar touches like a spinning Batmobile between scenes, cartoonish
exclamations on screen during a fight, and voiceovers (by Lyle Waggoner)
leading into commercials asking if the Caped Crusader and Robin the Boy
Wonder can solve the mystery.
West and Ward haven't kept up with each other over the years, but they
picked up where they left off when filming began.
"I had a fantastic time with Adam," said Ward, who lives outside Los
Angeles and runs Boy Wonder Visual Effects, providing 3-D animation and
special effects for movies and television. "You put the two of us together
and we don't have to say anything and people start laughing. We were doing
things on the first or second take."
'I have such a fondness for it'
After the show was canceled in '68, both actors had the same reaction:
Holy typecasting! West and Ward were virtually unemployable and got stuck
making personal appearances for several years.
"I was rushed into some not very good movies, and I just hit the beach and
nursed my wounds for a while," said West, who eventually got work doing
voiceovers and guest shots. "Part of it was the dinosaurs of Hollywood
went away, people who didn't get it. I was certainly more welcome when the
younger people came in."
Whatever bitterness West felt is gone. He lives in Ketchum, Idaho, with
his third wife. They've been married 31 years and have six grown children
"I have such a fondness for it. It's my signature role," he said. "I'm
grateful I had a chance to create a classic character. I don't want to be
a bitter, aging actor who thinks he's typecast. My God, what man wouldn't
want to be Batman for a night?"
Or maybe longer, since there's already talk of a sequel.
"I may not pursue my plan to become a total recluse," West said.