Re-Casting Batman

General goings on in the 1966 Batman World

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AndyFish
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Re: Re-Casting Batman

Post by AndyFish »

I always agreed with Harlan when he'd talk about Garner in a Spirit show.
Mike Henry would have been a great visual choice, but I don't think he would have the droll comedy aspect down-- now you go full comedy actor and you get Batman season 3-- so I want someone more subtle.

John Gavin was going to be my original pick, Sprang, he was almost James Bond despite his very wooden performance in PSYCHO. I think he might have been good.

Dick Gautier is inspired casting-- he had the dark hair Bruce Wayne had and he was great doing an Adam imitation in the PSA-- although if there's no Adam in the first place there's nothing to imitate.

For those of you that can't see anyone but Adam-- I get that- I even stressed that at the opening thread, but this is about the idea ADAM is not available. Ditto if you don't think they would have done it because of other commitments-- that's not a factor.

Imagine the show with Jim Nabors playing it more straight than he did on Gomer Pyle, or Max Baer after his run as Jethro on Beverly Hillbillies. There's also Gary Conaway (Conway?) from Land of the Giants-- he had the right look, so did Mark Goddard from Lost in Space.
elmrgraham
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Re: Re-Casting Batman

Post by elmrgraham »

If Adam West was not available,I would agree with Gary Conway.
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floatinjoe
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Re: Re-Casting Batman

Post by floatinjoe »

Okay, he would have been in his late 40s at the time, but let's put Clayton Moore in a cowl. Is there anyone who could have played the character more straight-laced? I think he could have been convincing in both roles.
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SprangFan
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Re: Re-Casting Batman

Post by SprangFan »

I think what's hanging me up here is that Semple, Dozier, etc had a direction in mind before anyone was cast, and while there were numerous good-looking hero types in the '60s (more than now, for my money), it's hard to imagine most of them pulling off what "Batman" set out to do. That's not to say they couldn't, but I haven't seen much evidence to suggest they could.

Would Mike Henry have filled out the bat-suit impressively? Absolutely. Could he handle the tongue-in-cheek angle? I'm not so sure. I think there might have been another kind of comedy angle if they'd gone with him; while he would've been intimidating -- even fearsome -- in costume, he could've come off as much sillier in the Bruce Wayne role. They could've played up the comedy potential of a muscle-bound Stallone type pretending to be a David Niven; a lunkhead gym rat squeezed into a smoking jacket, sitting around looking like Charles Atlas but drinking tea with his pinkie out. They skirted *this* close to that kind of cognitive dissonance with rough-and-tumble Sean Connery as 007 (and drove right off the cliff in that department with Daniel Craig), but that's not the gag "Batman" was pitching.

I could sort of imagine a Max Baer Batman...less so a Jim Nabors version...but a lot of these guys had an image that would've given us a very different show. It might be fun to visit realities where those shows happened, but if the question is "Who else could've given us the show as we know it," there aren't many options.
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TBolt
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Re: Re-Casting Batman

Post by TBolt »

floatinjoe wrote:Okay, he would have been in his late 40s at the time, but let's put Clayton Moore in a cowl. Is there anyone who could have played the character more straight-laced? I think he could have been convincing in both roles.

Egads, I think you just hit it perfectly. Imagine him playing it Lone Ranger style straight surrounded by all the goofball stuff that happened on the show. He would have owned the role if he had a chance.
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AndyFish
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Re: Re-Casting Batman

Post by AndyFish »

Moore would have been great if he played it completely straight.
Sprang brings up some great points but I still think this alternate universe is interesting to play around in, and keeps me busy until I put together this years March Madness poll.
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Progress Pigment
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Re: Re-Casting Batman

Post by Progress Pigment »

AndyFish wrote: There's also Gary Conaway (Conway?) from Land of the Giants-- he had the right look, so did Mark Goddard from Lost in Space.
Mark Goddard's height might have been an issue. Gary Conway (I googled it!) is interesting. Funny, I used to have a Justice League comic from 1975 or so, that speculated who would could play the characters. They did a mail-in poll & of course Adam West won by a landslide. Second was Gary Lockwood from 2001! They printed the results of an early 1960's poll, and the winner for Batman was, Dean Martin! Rock Hudson for Superman (who else?) Tuesday Weld (?) for The Black Canary, and I can't remember the others.

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Gary Lockwood sort of looked like a younger, less worldly version of Adam West. :) But I think he would have been too young in 1966. Gary Conway certainly would have been sort of a light, Van Williams-esque take on the Batman character. I'd like to see him in a screen test! Looking at William Dozier's taste, Batman was almost certainly not going to be the dark haired Bruce Wayne from the comics or the serials. The pic of West, his hair nearly blonde from the sun and carrying a surfboard was what got his attention. Physically similar to his first choice Ty Hardin.

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Heck, apparently Ronny Knox, a disgraced former football star and 'Skip' Parker from 'Surf's Up, Joker's Under!', was Dozier's first choice for The Green Hornet!

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http://tothebatpoles.blogspot.com/2011/ ... under.html

Oh! and I just googled Clayton Moore. He was born in 1914. He'd have been 52 in 1966! 3 years older that Dean Martin! Okay, I'm changing my vote to Dean Martin.

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SprangFan
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Re: Re-Casting Batman

Post by SprangFan »

Dino is cool, but again it would've been way different. I have a hard time imagining him in the "mentor to a youthful ward" role. But if nothing else, it would've been hilarious seeing him walk into the Way To Go Go Club and ask for an orange juice. :lol:

Never noticed Lockwood's resemblance to Adam before, but now you mention it, it's certainly there. Personally, I found his style very laid back and low-energy in 2001 and the Star Trek pilot; not sure if he was "method" or what, but he took a "natural" approach rather than a "theatrical one", and for me it didn't really fit with the Trek style, and would've been wrong for "Batman." Neither of those shows was known for their restraint when it came to (over?)acting, and that was part of the fun.

Also, by 1975 (when that poll was taken), Lockwood was looking a lot older and less fit, based on his appearance on a Six Million Dollar Man episode, to the point where I almost didn't recognize him. Not sure what happened, there.

Speaking of SMDM guest stars, how about John Saxon?

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Bill S.C.
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Re: Re-Casting Batman

Post by Bill S.C. »

Assuming Adam West wasn't available (because when it comes to Batman; West is the best) how about these folks:

Bob Crane
Richard Long
Edson Stroll
Robert Vaughn
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Progress Pigment
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Re: Re-Casting Batman

Post by Progress Pigment »

Bill S.C. wrote:Assuming Adam West wasn't available (because when it comes to Batman; West is the best) how about these folks:

Bob Crane
Richard Long
Edson Stroll
Robert Vaughn
No! No! No! No!

Actually, I don't know Edson Stroll. But he was born the same year as adam West. I'm starting to see that West was not only the best man for the job, but the only man for the job! Although Jack Lord might pull it off.
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Bill S.C.
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Re: Re-Casting Batman

Post by Bill S.C. »

Progress Pigment wrote: Actually, I don't know Edson Stroll. But he was born the same year as adam West.
He's probably best known for playing Virgil on McHale's Navy, Quatro in Snow White and The Three Stooges, and was also in two Twilight Zone episodes: Eye Of The Beholder & The Trade-Ins."
"Oh soon we'll be out amid the cold world's strife. Soon we'll be sliding down the razor blade of life." - Tom Lehrer
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SprangFan
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Re: Re-Casting Batman

Post by SprangFan »

I don't know about Clayton Moore.

It may be heretical to say it on these boards, but I always felt Adam's Batman was meant to be a lampoon of old-school, square-jawed heroes in general and The Lone Ranger in particular. The steadfast moral correctness, the flag-and-apple-pie speeches, the tea-totaling lifestyle...there's a postmodern irony to it all in the disillusioned era of Vietnam and civil unrest, as if to say to the parents, "Hey, remember when we grew up on this cornball drivel and took it seriously? Were we a bunch of naive blockheads, or what?" Even Batman's sometimes bizarre vocal patterns -- often incorrectly described as "Shatneresque" -- seem to me to be influenced by Clayton Moore's strange delivery as the Ranger (I saw the pilot again recently and Moore's line readings in that production would strike even Christopher Walken as odd.)

I feel like casting Moore would've confused things tremendously; audiences would've been unsure whether "Batman" was meant to be humorous or not. If Moore hadn't gotten the joke, it would've been cruel to him, and if he did get the joke, he'd have been torpedoing his Ranger legacy. I don't think we saw actors deliberately spoofing their own image until "Airplane," and even then only Leslie Nielsen enjoyed it enough to make a second career out of it.

It's fascinating to me that in the long haul the '66 Batman is cherished as an exemplar of old-school straight-arrow heroes, and maybe the last of the breed, because I really believe he was meant to be the parody that retired that old "type" for good. I feel a show that aimed at being -- at most -- a huge (if fleeting) "happening" for adults ended up being more deeply and meaningfully appreciated by their children, who weren't even the primary targeted audience. Yes, the parents got a laugh and moved on as expected (though maybe faster than hoped), but the kids took it to heart and never let go. Because kids in the 60s, "sophisticated" an era as it was or thought it was, are just like kids today: they crave and embrace sincere heroes. Adam's Batman can stand as a "sincere" hero if you forgive the fact that the entire show turns on the inherent "silliness" of the notion. The Lone Ranger, though, was a straight-up "sincere" hero in a show devoid of irony or parody, and I think if Moore had been aboard he not only would've confused the tone of "Batman," he'd have undone the legacy of his earlier character.

Having said all that, It would've been cool to see him cameo on "Green Hornet" as Britt's uncle.
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BATWINGED HORNET
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Re: Re-Casting Batman

Post by BATWINGED HORNET »

AndyFish wrote:
Me? I think I would have gone with James Garner-- he had the right look (in fact he might even have MORE of the look of the comics than either Ty or Adam) then and he was pretty adept at doing comedy.
I think Garner would have pushed it into Captain Nice territory if you can imagine the body (below) in a Batman costume...
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Since the series was not a sitcom, Garner (while an okay leading man In a suit) would have torpedoed Batman!

You also mentioned John Gavin, and from a visual standpoint he could have fit, but I think his acting range did not take him to the occasionally paternalistic or romantic range of Adam. He could be stern, and that's more of a Green Hornet trait than that of the Dozier Batman.
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Progress Pigment
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Re: Re-Casting Batman

Post by Progress Pigment »

Wow, I had another decent candidate right under my nose & never realized it. Christopher Pike from the Star Trek pilot, Jeffery Hunter!

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He was only 3 years older that Adam, and did some fairly physical stuff on Trek. It's a bit surreal seeing him in the GH episode "Freeway of Death". Although Hunter was fairly obviously trying to move into character roles here, maybe to try & live down his "King of Kings", sometimes called "I was a teenage Jesus", past, it made me wonder if the Hornet had been created from his DNA. :)

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And a great perk, he had been previously married to Barbara Rush. And she hated him! So no Nora Clavicle.
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BatBrain
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Re: Re-Casting Batman

Post by BatBrain »

I've seen the Dick Gautier PSA previously, but after reading this thread googled images of him to see what he looked like without the cowl. In doing so, I discovered that he just passed away on January 13th at the age of 85! While on the subject, he did do a fine interpretation of West!
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