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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 


For the week of December 24 - 30, 2002

Arts and Entertainment

Batman returns 
to forever


By DANA DUGAN
Express Staff Writer

As cultural icons go, Batman is one of those tongue-in-check characters three generations of TV watchers and moviegoers continue to love. In the 1960s the ABC show, "Batman," starring Ketchum resident Adam West as millionaire Bruce Wayne and the eponymous super hero, was a highlight for TV viewers of all ages. And if you grew up with him chasing the bad guys on the boob tube, chances are you and your kids have seen some or all of the feature Batman movies.

Needless to say, they were not half as funny as the TV show. A big reason why? No Adam West.

Adam West at Maison et Cadeaux. Express photo by Willy Cook

West, who’s been in the valley for more than 15 years, said during a rare interview, "Thank God, I have a signature role that three generations respond to in a wonderful way. People appreciate the humor and warmth of that nutty role."

That signature role lives on. In fact, he recently filmed a CBS TV movie of the week with Burt Ward, who played Robin in the TV series. "Return to the Batcave, the Misadventures of Adam and Burt," will air in the spring. The movie puts the two actors, playing themselves, on a caper that begins in a Los Angeles car museum.

But why at this point in his career, when most folks are relaxing, is West still doing Batman conventions, commercial voice-overs and voicing characters in a number of cartoons, like "The Simpsons," "Rugrats," and "Spy Dogs"?

"I’m just too young and pretty to quit," he laughs, then tries to explain his drive more seriously. "Creative people—maybe because of insecurity—if they’re asked to do something, the creative juices get flowing. We all work to find a good story and the challenge. Unless you’re the hit star of the moment and offered a deluge of scripts, you have to find the work to go on with the career. Otherwise it gets boring."

But West is not simply a highly recognizable actor with a long list of feature film, television, and theater credits on his resume. He is also an artist whose self-described whimsical paintings and sketches are sold in galleries, though not locally. And he’s a writer with an autobiography under his belt; "Back to the Batcave"; a new memoir, "Climbing the Walls," in the works, and is developing a film.

He is also a raconteur of some merit.

In fact, having a chat with him about his career is not effortless. The self-effacing 74-year-old, who, by the way, looks a good 15 years younger, likes to cover lots of subjects—intellectually curious and well read, he jumps from politics, to religion, history and war, to opinions on acting and comedy—and he likes to tell stories to make his points. Good stories, funny stories, with a few slight impersonations thrown in.

But the facts of this native of Walla Walla, Wash., are refreshingly hidden within his anecdotes, and his ego, while alive and well, is secure enough to not demand that the conversation remain in his court at all times.

As well as his own work, West helps out his wife, Michelle, with her store in Ketchum, Maison et Cadeaux, where Batman himself claims to be chief handyman and shlepper. Makes you wonder if Catwoman had known he’d turn out to be a father many times over and a helpmate whether she might have hung around. Wham!

 

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The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.