1986 Interview with Adam and Burt... IN FULL CHARACTER!

General goings on in the 1966 Batman World

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The Boss
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1986 Interview with Adam and Burt... IN FULL CHARACTER!

Post by The Boss » Wed Jan 04, 2017 5:05 pm

WOWWIE ZOWWIE! This interview is great as both Adam and Burt (especially Burt!) try to keep this on the "Batside". It was done during a time when crime was slow so Batman and Robin were able to take some time and sign some autographs with the good citizens of Evansville, Indiana.

An interesting note is when Adam mentions that they (he actually says "we" as to indicate that it would involve Burt and himself) are developing a new Batman movie.

https://vimeo.com/34763957

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floatinjoe
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Re: 1986 Interview with Adam and Burt... IN FULL CHARACTER!

Post by floatinjoe » Wed Jan 04, 2017 5:50 pm

That was pretty cool to watch. Burt really tried to stay in character.

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Phil B
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Re: 1986 Interview with Adam and Burt... IN FULL CHARACTER!

Post by Phil B » Thu Jan 05, 2017 1:47 am

Burt Ward looks great here. When did he start putting on the pounds?

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SprangFan
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Re: 1986 Interview with Adam and Burt... IN FULL CHARACTER!

Post by SprangFan » Thu Jan 05, 2017 8:45 am

Maybe it was just for the cameras. but they seemed to dive into it with a lot of energy and positivity.

That's probably the most tanned Batman we'll ever see. The sun never shines in modern Gotham.
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AndyFish
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Re: 1986 Interview with Adam and Burt... IN FULL CHARACTER!

Post by AndyFish » Thu Jan 05, 2017 8:48 am

Hard to watch-- you can see the pain in Adam's face. Burt does his best to be enthusiastic but this was a low point for them. It's twenty years since you've gotten paid to be these characters and now you're signing autographs in a 3/4 empty auditorium at a Car Show, not the peak of an actor's career. Keep in mind this is in the days when comic conventions didn't feature celebrities like they do today, so these personal appearances were considered very low brow and sometimes desperate work.

Adam was struggling to find employment as an actor and finally moving into comedy which would end up being his saving grace with no small thanks to Wally helping him get voice work.

At this point the Batman film has been in development for nearly six years at Warner Bros (it was first announced at a New York Comic Con in 1980 complete with a bat signal being shown on the Empire State Building) and the first draft script by James Bond screen writer Tom Mankiewicz based a lot on the Detective Comics series by Steve Englehart from 1977, was very much like the Chris Reeve SUPERMAN movie. Adam was still pushing for the role and WB knew straight out this would never happen. There was even a point at which the film was going to be a comedy with Bill Murray as Batman and Eddie Murphy as Robin, so Adam and Burt were never in the running but no one would have the heart to tell them.

It's around 1988 when filming starts in London on the Burton film that Adam and Burt are given the Lone Ranger treatment and told they can no longer appear in public in costume. Depending on who you believe Adam was either offered a cameo as Thomas Wayne, the full role of Commissioner Gordon or totally ignored by the film makers completely.

It ends up being a turning point, no longer appearing as Batman in costume in his 60s, Adam starts getting work again.

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SprangFan
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Re: 1986 Interview with Adam and Burt... IN FULL CHARACTER!

Post by SprangFan » Thu Jan 05, 2017 1:42 pm

I'm actually kind of surprised DC let it go until 1988 before telling them to stop with the costumes. Also, though it must've hurt on one level to be left out of new Bat-projects, in a way maybe Adam should've wished for that. Sort of like passing on the curse to a new victim.

I was most surprised by Burt's approach here, and I can't decide whether it's maybe kind of brilliant. He never breaks character, either because (1) he's getting paid to appear as Robin, after all or (2) because as long as he's in character, he doesn't have to answer any questions about why Burt Ward, the actor, is still showing up in tights and a yellow cape and pretending to be 15 at his current age.

I guess there was a bit of a pay off for the fans, here, but it's hard not to imagine the other side of this; the sweaty, cigar-chomping promoter who says, "Yeah, alright, you can sell yer autographs, but no costumes, no deal." In a way, it kind of insults the fans, too. Like they won't know who these guys are without the capes and masks.

Hmm...I was about to hit the "submit" button when I remembered that around this same time, I went to a signing at a local video store and met George Takei and Walter Koenig, who either chose or were compelled to appear in their movie-era Starfleet uniforms. Just the way things used to be, I guess...
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Jim K, Bat fan
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Re: 1986 Interview with Adam and Burt... IN FULL CHARACTER!

Post by Jim K, Bat fan » Thu Jan 05, 2017 7:33 pm

AndyFish wrote:Hard to watch-- you can see the pain in Adam's face. Burt does his best to be enthusiastic but this was a low point for them.
I was thinking that Adam's announcement of the Last Precinct was a high point for him - he would be back on Network TV (albeit not for long) and that was exciting...

It really is an interesting clip - Burt almost seems like he's in on the joke - putting on the interviewer with his enthusiasm. It's a great performance!

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floatinjoe
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Re: 1986 Interview with Adam and Burt... IN FULL CHARACTER!

Post by floatinjoe » Fri Jan 06, 2017 5:05 pm

I thought I had read at one point that DC had learned from the Wrather/Lone Ranger mask fiasco with Clayton Moore and didn't ban them from wearing the costumes, but instead made an "arrangement". I might be mistaken though.

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Re: 1986 Interview with Adam and Burt... IN FULL CHARACTER!

Post by tiltinghead » Mon Jan 09, 2017 3:33 pm

Thank you for sharing!

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Progress Pigment
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Re: 1986 Interview with Adam and Burt... IN FULL CHARACTER!

Post by Progress Pigment » Mon Jan 09, 2017 6:35 pm

I don't know where this has been hiding! Burt was always like that. "Gee Whiz, goly gee!" I don't know that I've ever seen his real personality. Maybe in print interviews. He basically does the same thing today. Here, Adam goes from morose to hopeful, and back again. Funny. At the time of 'Last Precinct', I saw a column by Gary Deeb the TV critic who discussed the show and lauded Adam West, and said he looked like a million bucks! He could not have been more complementary. The very next week he referred to (the late) Robert Vaughn, as an "aging hack". Oh well. Adam watched contemporaries like Burt Reynolds & Clint Eastwood become huge film stars, and I'm sure he felt if given the right breaks he could have done equally well. But hey, Adam is older than them and most of the people from the 60's who became stars, and has held up better physically better than any of them other than Shatner, and is still in demand! Living well is the best revenge.
Next week, the Dynamic Duo meets the Clock King!

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The Boss
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Re: 1986 Interview with Adam and Burt... IN FULL CHARACTER!

Post by The Boss » Mon Jan 09, 2017 7:05 pm

AndyFish wrote:It's twenty years since you've gotten paid to be these characters
Actually, they were both paid to be the characters as recently as seven years earlier on Legends of the Superheroes and two years before that on Filmation's The New Adventures of Batman. Five years prior Burt (along with Yvonne Craig as Batgirl) was paid to portray Robin for a public service announcement regaurding equal pay (Adam was offered but declined the chance to reprise his roll of Batman). Adam himself had just been paid the two previous years (84 & 85) to voice Batman on the Superfriends.

And this does not include any of their other paid autograph gigs. So, they had still been portraying the characters semi regularly up to that point.

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AndyFish
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Re: 1986 Interview with Adam and Burt... IN FULL CHARACTER!

Post by AndyFish » Tue Jan 10, 2017 7:59 am

The Boss wrote:
AndyFish wrote:It's twenty years since you've gotten paid to be these characters
Actually, they were both paid to be the characters as recently as seven years earlier on Legends of the Superheroes and two years before that on Filmation's The New Adventures of Batman. Five years prior Burt (along with Yvonne Craig as Batgirl) was paid to portray Robin for a public service announcement regaurding equal pay (Adam was offered but declined the chance to reprise his roll of Batman). Adam himself had just been paid the two previous years (84 & 85) to voice Batman on the Superfriends.

And this does not include any of their other paid autograph gigs. So, they had still been portraying the characters semi regularly up to that point.
Right but keep in mind, in Adam's case anyway-- he was an established ACTOR before Batman came along. He tried to distance himself from the role after the show was cancelled but then had to go back to doing personal appearances. There's a reason he has a drinking problem at this point in his life. To us as fans this is great, they are Batman and Robin again, to them (and I don't know if Burt ever really cared about being an actor) this is being trapped in a job you are trying to move past. The pay they got for Legends was likely very small when you consider the budget-- there's a difference between doing something because you love it and doing it out of desperation to feed your family.

Adam is hopeful at this point that his latest pilot is going to amount to something, but the track record wasn't good. There is no serious actor on the planet who wanted to follow in the footsteps of Clayton Moore, and that was the fear of a lot of these guys who took superhero roles. Kudos to Clayton for embracing it, for believing in what the Lone Ranger stood for and actively using that in all of his personal appearances. But to a serious actor this is not a high point of your career.

Michael Keaton joked about it when he took the Batman role-- imagining himself in 20 years sitting in costume at a supermarket grand opening. It's a real fear among these guys, and Adam lived it.

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Progress Pigment
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Re: 1986 Interview with Adam and Burt... IN FULL CHARACTER!

Post by Progress Pigment » Tue Jan 10, 2017 5:33 pm

AndyFish wrote:Right but keep in mind, in Adam's case anyway-- he was an established ACTOR before Batman came along.
That's a good point. Like Shatner, in the mid 60's he was obviously headed for something. He'd even been considered for Spock. :) Countless times he's mentioned that when his manager brought him "Batman" he said, "Hey, I'm trying to have a serious career here." And although he was not getter the big offers he might have expected after 'Batman' (Every actor from a series generally tells the story of film directors and producers telling them, "If you weren't stuck in that series I'd use you in a minute!"), but he'd managed to grab a few good parts. 'Marriage of a Young Stockbroker', for example. Enough to make him not want to risk doing the Batgirl PSA. In interviews he made remarks like, "I was never terribly happy running around in that silly cape." I read some years ago that Fred Gwynne, Herman from 'The Munsters', after becoming a respected character actor in the 90's practically denied he was the same person who played Herman Munster! He was actually from a wealthy family, and was editor of The Harvard Lampoon in his college days. And a very good cartoonist. He really wanted to distance himself from the big green guy. I wish Adam had had a better post-Batman career. The movie business changed drastically from the 60's to the 70's, and 'Batman' had just been too BIG.
Next week, the Dynamic Duo meets the Clock King!

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Re: 1986 Interview with Adam and Burt... IN FULL CHARACTER!

Post by Mr.Freeze » Wed Jan 18, 2017 7:58 pm

"I don't know that I've ever seen his real personality"

I have....he was grumpy at Comikaze (he had almost no queue while Adams was about 50 people long) :P

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Re: 1986 Interview with Adam and Burt... IN FULL CHARACTER!

Post by BATWINGED HORNET » Sun Jan 29, 2017 12:40 pm

AndyFish wrote:
Tue Jan 10, 2017 7:59 am
Right but keep in mind, in Adam's case anyway-- he was an established ACTOR before Batman came along. He tried to distance himself from the role after the show was cancelled but then had to go back to doing personal appearances. There's a reason he has a drinking problem at this point in his life. To us as fans this is great, they are Batman and Robin again, to them (and I don't know if Burt ever really cared about being an actor) this is being trapped in a job you are trying to move past.
True. Fans need to see the situation from the actors' point of view, where being associated with that TV series was not some neverending joy they lived every day. For some, it might be hard to imagine not wanting to be recognized as one character (one many of the non-initiated see as silly) when as an actor, that's the last thing anyone desires.
The pay they got for Legends was likely very small when you consider the budget-- there's a difference between doing something because you love it and doing it out of desperation to feed your family.
Yes, I doubt anyone saw that cheap production as something exciting or an opportunity to earn serious money; Hanna-Barbera was merely using Adam & Burt to support their Super Friends-esque cast of unknowns in DC costumes. At that point, it seems like they were in "A job is a job" mode.
There is no serious actor on the planet who wanted to follow in the footsteps of Clayton Moore, and that was the fear of a lot of these guys who took superhero roles. Kudos to Clayton for embracing it, for believing in what the Lone Ranger stood for and actively using that in all of his personal appearances. But to a serious actor this is not a high point of your career.
True.
Michael Keaton joked about it when he took the Batman role-- imagining himself in 20 years sitting in costume at a supermarket grand opening. It's a real fear among these guys, and Adam lived it.
On that note, to this day, no matter how much current actors portraying superheroes might enjoy the pay and limelight from being in big budget comic book movies, I doubt any of them want those roles to be the one that defines their career--much like past actors who wanted to avoid the typecasting nightmare.
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