With Mr. West's advancing years, this is one of those things that while we all knew would come someday, still comes as a shock and punch to the gut when it becomes reality.
I am very fortunate to have met Mr. West on one occasion, at a book signing for "Back To The Batcave." As so many others here have said, I, too, am glad that Mr. West was around long enough to enjoy and partake in some of the resurgence of popularity of the TV series and his portrayal of Batman. Like many of us here, to me, he will always be the one, true, Batman.
I would like to offer my sincere condolences to Mr. West's family and close friends at the loss of this wonderful man. Just like when anybody close to us dies, some things can never now be "the same"... but one consolation is that Mr. West leaves behind a body of work that we and future generations can enjoy for many, many more years, and when we tune into that "same bat-channel" Mr. West will be forever young, healthy, and a shining Bright Knight for all of us to look up to.
I am unable to cry. For one, yesterday was my son's final day of 12th grade. His commencement will take place on Monday. I wept a lot yesterday as I am an extremely sentimental guy, even at age 50. For another, yesterday marked the 16th anniversary of my mother's passing, so my heart was heavy from that, and the fact that she will be unable to be here in the flesh to enjoy her only grandson graduating from high school.
Although my heart is heavy, I am gratified that Adam lived 88 years, that he knew he was very beloved by so many of us, that he was around long enough to make that sensational animated movie along with Burt and Julie as one last hurrah, as well as him being around long enough to see this iconic series finally make it to DVD and Blu-Ray after a very very long wait.
The Bat Signal will go dark for good in the present day, but we will always have the memories of Adam to keep us going, and that is what he would want.
I close with this quote that Adam, as Batman, once said...
"Time, a one syllable word, yesterday's laughter, tomorrow's tears..."
Of course, I missed out on the original wave of local Batmania in NOLA during the original 1966-8 run on The ABC Television Network and WVUE-TV (Channel 12 at the time), having been born a good half-decade after said wave surged. But naturally, I weaned myself on Batreruns, which became a Sunday ritual for me on 2 local stations: WGNO-TV Channel 26 in the 1970s and WNOL-TV Channel 38 in the 1980s. Even airings of Filmation's The New Adventures of Batman on CBS and WWL-TV Channel 4 (which starred Adam and Burt) on Saturday mornings. I'll forever cherish the memory of seeing the 1966 movie version for the first time on Channel 4's Saturday Matinee; Channel 26 later ran the movie many an occasional Sunday afternoon, which, as they no longer aired the series, was as close as I ever came to seeing it again until Channel 38 signed on in '84.
A great reason I became a Batfan was this very iconic series. Very ironic that the one dastardly villain The Caped Crusader was unable to defeat was leukemia.
Truly a tragic, dark Baturday today in Gotham City...
Edit: This was posted on Jezebel.com and says so much for all of us:
When I moved to LA in 1984, I got in touch with Adam and offered to help find copies of his earlier TV appearances for him. I found the man to be warm, charming, witty and loads of fun. His amazingly dry sense of humor kept you on your toes, and laughing. Always laughing.
We drifted out of touch over the years and I didn't seen him for a decade. We had a nice reunion at the TCM festival in Hollywood last year. He hadn't changed a bit and we shared a nice moment together with some fond recollections - and laughter. Always laughter.
It's a sad day to lose a childhood hero. I'll never forget Adam and my thoughts and prayers are with his family and loved ones.
Rest in peace, my friend.