"Myths" Surrounding The Show

General goings on in the 1966 Batman World

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Keith Mayo
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"Myths" Surrounding The Show

Post by Keith Mayo » Thu Aug 23, 2018 7:19 pm

Here on the board there have been various discussions concerning "myths" about the show. Fourth Season, Highest Rated Episode, etc. Another subject that I believe falls into that category is one I see repeated time and time again with no end in sight and that's the myth that Adam West had a beer gut. In the many books and articles I've read over the years concerning Batman, words such as, "gut", "paunch" "distended belly" and others show up continuously. Trying to debunk them is like playing Wack-A-Mole. Every time you hammer one down, another pops up.

Adam possesed what is sometimes refered to as a swimmer's body. Basically he had a trim athletic look that included a large rib cage. I've never seen a photo of him taken during the run of the show where he looked fat, chubby or was sporting "love handles". I think this piece of misinformation derives from two aspects:

1. His stunt double Hubie Kerns was a bit wide in the waste.
2. The utility belt rode so high on his body that it made him look bigger.

In the scheme of things I guess this isn't really a big deal. With all the problems in the world today I probably shouldn't concern myself with it, but it bothers me for two reasons. First, Adam West as Batman was my idol in my childhood who's memory I hate to see derided. Secondly I'm bothered by the fact that in many cases those who repeat this falsehood are otherwise known as excellent authors who do vast research before publishing.
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bat-rss
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Re: "Myths" Surrounding The Show

Post by bat-rss » Fri Aug 24, 2018 12:55 am

Another reason for it might be that he didn't have a superhero "muscleman" body, like you would see in comics, and people exaggerate that into "Adam was fat". Not many actors are built like comic-book superheroes, and I suspect the perception that the fans demanded MUSCULAR filmed superheroes may be the reason that Batman films from Burton onwards have gone the rubber-costume route.

Interestingly, though (as we'll discuss in the next TO THE BATPOLES), BATMANIA #12 contains a report on an appearance by West and Gorshin in Shea Stadium, where "Riddler" makes a joke about "Batman's" paunch.
Screen Shot 2018-08-24 at 4.51.28 PM.png
So, whether he had a paunch or not, clearly they were playing into the idea for a gag.

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High C
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Re: "Myths" Surrounding The Show

Post by High C » Fri Aug 24, 2018 3:15 am

More than 50 years later, the mystery of why the Mets can't hit has yet to be solved, despite the intervention of the Bat-computer. :( Although signing veteran players more washed up than Cabala might be part of the problem, but I digress.

To be fair, I always thought the teaser scene of the series finale was an effort to set the record straight. If you'll recall, Adam as Bruce is topless and getting a massage from one of Minerva's minions (William Smith, actually) and when he sits up, his abs seem to be pretty clearly defined, and not at all flabby.
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Jim Akin
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Re: "Myths" Surrounding The Show

Post by Jim Akin » Fri Aug 24, 2018 5:14 am

Riddler had a mother-in-law? Holy husbandry!

I'm surprised Batman didn't tell the Prince of Puzzlers his gag would work better if it had been about cake, not cookies: "Cake is made from batter, Riddler, but cookies come from dough — and if your wife came from dough, maybe you wouldn't be an arch criminal!"

Stanley Ralph Ross, eat your heart out. :)

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John Mack
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Re: "Myths" Surrounding The Show

Post by John Mack » Fri Aug 24, 2018 5:34 am

I agree Keith. But I think when all this started was the first episode of season Two, the Archer. Adam had let himself go a bit and it's not a big deal. Shatter as Kirk wasn't called out, to my knowledge and should have been. I guess it's just that Batman was the show to pick on.
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Keith Mayo
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Re: "Myths" Surrounding The Show

Post by Keith Mayo » Fri Aug 24, 2018 9:21 am

High C wrote:
Fri Aug 24, 2018 3:15 am
To be fair, I always thought the teaser scene of the series finale was an effort to set the record straight. If you'll recall, Adam as Bruce is topless and getting a massage from one of Minerva's minions (William Smith, actually) and when he sits up, his abs seem to be pretty clearly defined, and not at all flabby.
You are correct and I added that photo to the OP. Thanks for bringing it up.
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clavierankh
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Re: "Myths" Surrounding The Show

Post by clavierankh » Fri Aug 24, 2018 9:35 am

He kind of looks like he is ducking it in. I don't think he was flabby though.

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Bob Furmanek
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Re: "Myths" Surrounding The Show

Post by Bob Furmanek » Fri Aug 24, 2018 12:40 pm

What's the origin of claiming the movie was supposed to precede the TV show?

In looking at the trades and Adam's schedule in 1965, that would not have been possible.

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Keith Mayo
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Re: "Myths" Surrounding The Show

Post by Keith Mayo » Fri Aug 24, 2018 2:25 pm

Bob Furmanek wrote:
Fri Aug 24, 2018 12:40 pm
What's the origin of claiming the movie was supposed to precede the TV show?

In looking at the trades and Adam's schedule in 1965, that would not have been possible.
It could be that the producers hatched the idea of the film being made prior to the show as a way to introduce it to televison audiences. This has been stated numerous times but for brevity's sake I'll point to the February 1994 issue of "Cinefantastique", specifically the article"Making The Original Move" by Bob Garcia, pg 55 - 58.
Therein it is stated that Dozier and Greenway Productions pushed 20th Century Fox to make the feature film before the series aired. Fox declined to invest the money needed until the show proved to be a sucess. Garcia quotes Charles FizSimmons discussing Fox head Richard Zanuck's reluctance to follow Dozier's wishes.

Additonally there is a letter to Bob Lee (Fox PR Manager) from the PR Manager of Glastron Boat Company dated Jan 31st, 1966 with attached designs for the Batboat used in the film. This would put the original discussions concerning the Batboat used in the film to have occurred quite some time prior to the show's debut that same month. It would take some time for the actual schematics of the Batboat to be conceived and drawn up in the days before computers. Therefore as the Batboat was in the budget for the film and not the tv show, the discussions between Fox and Glastron would have commenced months prior to the actual plans being drawn up. Although not proof positive, I believe this lends credence to the idea that the film was being planned prior to the show.
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Therin of Andor
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Re: "Myths" Surrounding The Show

Post by Therin of Andor » Fri Aug 24, 2018 5:44 pm

Bob Furmanek wrote:
Fri Aug 24, 2018 12:40 pm
What's the origin of claiming the movie was supposed to precede the TV show?

In looking at the trades and Adam's schedule in 1965, that would not have been possible.
But wasn't the TV series screened earlier than originally planned? Had they been going to do the movie first, the TV series would simply have been made and screened much later than actually happened.

I didn't think there was any doubt that the movie was originally planned to be done first, and used in overseas markets to draw attention to the TV show.
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BATWINGED HORNET
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Re: "Myths" Surrounding The Show

Post by BATWINGED HORNET » Fri Aug 24, 2018 11:59 pm

bat-rss wrote:
Fri Aug 24, 2018 12:55 am
Another reason for it might be that he didn't have a superhero "muscleman" body, like you would see in comics, and people exaggerate that into "Adam was fat". Not many actors are built like comic-book superheroes, and I suspect the perception that the fans demanded MUSCULAR filmed superheroes may be the reason that Batman films from Burton onwards have gone the rubber-costume route.
Well, some comic and/or fantasy actors had muscular builds even back in the 60s...

Image


One could guess it boiled down to personal dedication to fitness?
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Commodore Schmidlapp
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Re: "Myths" Surrounding The Show

Post by Commodore Schmidlapp » Sat Aug 25, 2018 1:35 pm

Bruce Wayne was a millionaire philanthropist in his mid thirties. Even today when one can roid their way to an exaggerated body, it would look odd for someone in Wayne's position.

And besides, we'd have to suspend our disbelief even further whenever a villain dressed up a henchman as Batman - or Alfred! ;)

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John Mack
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Re: "Myths" Surrounding The Show

Post by John Mack » Sat Aug 25, 2018 4:48 pm

Commodore Schmidlapp wrote:
Sat Aug 25, 2018 1:35 pm
Bruce Wayne was a millionaire philanthropist in his mid thirties. Even today when one can roid their way to an exaggerated body, it would look odd for someone in Wayne's position.

And besides, we'd have to suspend our disbelief even further whenever a villain dressed up a henchman as Batman - or Alfred! ;)
Good points all.
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Progress Pigment
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Re: "Myths" Surrounding The Show

Post by Progress Pigment » Sat Aug 25, 2018 11:54 pm

BATWINGED HORNET wrote:
Fri Aug 24, 2018 11:59 pm
bat-rss wrote:
Fri Aug 24, 2018 12:55 am
Another reason for it might be that he didn't have a superhero "muscleman" body, like you would see in comics, and people exaggerate that into "Adam was fat". Not many actors are built like comic-book superheroes, and I suspect the perception that the fans demanded MUSCULAR filmed superheroes may be the reason that Batman films from Burton onwards have gone the rubber-costume route.
Well, some comic and/or fantasy actors had muscular builds even back in the 60s...
Van Williams was thinner, which made him look more "ripped", but Adam West was obviously more powerfully built.

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You can't really compare Van Williams physically to the legendary Bruce Lee, who dedicated himself to a particular discipline. Williams had early 1960's "Tab Hunter" muscles. :) And by the time he did Westwinds, he was younger than Adam West was when he played Batman, but was apparently not so "personally dedicated" anymore. Except maybe to mashed potatoes.

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Adam was very physical, an ex-army man and an avid sportsman and scuba diver, and had hobby & work muscles, not a few hours a week in the gym muscles. Williams was a contact-player pretty boy. West, pre-Hollywood, had lived a life.

Yikes those Bruce Lee pics are creepy!

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WOW. I wish I could un-see those.

Here's some more creepy pics!

Williams with Robert Wagner! :) At least Wagner isn't taking it seriously.

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Williams with Robert Conrad!

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Williams with Troy Donahue!

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Adam West would not have ever lowered himself to do this sort of stuff. Certainly not to the extent Van Williams did. And West was obviously physically stronger & tougher than Van Williams ever was. I love the Hornet, but Van Williams was a great looking and talented contract player who managed to get a gig that got him remembered. Adam West, during his lifetime, WAS Batman, and was in contention for both James Bond And Mr. Spock!

You know how this would end! Oh yes you do!

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Next week, the Dynamic Duo meets the Clock King!

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Progress Pigment
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Re: "Myths" Surrounding The Show

Post by Progress Pigment » Sun Aug 26, 2018 1:04 am

Here's West without the cape. An adult male in extremely good physical shape. No cut to a stunt double here.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XW5rgX9ekuA
Next week, the Dynamic Duo meets the Clock King!

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