The Batman panel was quite possibly the shortest event at the convention this year, with the entirety of the session lasting little more than twenty-five minutes. However, the experience is one that will make memories that last forever to many. Ward and West were both charming, funny individuals that seemed to relish very moment onstage. Their replies, and their reactions seemed to feed off of and feed into the incredible energy of the room. It was a fantastic experience, only hindered by the short length of the panel itself. One can only hope that the dynamic duo will return for another RI Comic Con in the near future.
Note: There was a strict no-photographs, no media policy at this panel. The audio recorded was strictly for note-taking purposes, and will not be re-distributed.
Burt Ward: What a great crowd you guys are! Geez! I was hoping five, ten people would show up! (Audience laughs)
Announcer: Hey, what do you think? Should we bring someone else up?
Burt Ward: Ah, yeah. But who do you think, though?
Announcer: I don’t know! Let’s see, he’s the mayor on Family Guy… (crowd cheers) Yeah! He’s been on The Simpsons! (crowd cheers) Spongebob! Oh! 30 Rock! He’s done everything! We just can’t get rid of the guy, but we love him! He’s the classic, Mr. Adam West! (crowd erupts in cheers, as West makes his entry)
Announcer: Come on, now! Make some noise! Ladies and gentlemen, the classic dynamic duo! Adam West and Burt Ward! (applause dies down) Quite the turn out, guys! Well, welcome to Rhode Island, Adam and Burt! (West blows into the mic) Is it on?
Adam West: Hello? (crowd laughs)
Announcer: Yeah, Adam, it’s on. So where’s the people with the mics in the room? Where are they? Alright! So, let’s make this easy. There’s a couple of sides, here. Why don’t we line up on each side, we’ll take some questions. Let’s start, put your hands up, first, who’ve we got and we can have a line. How about you in the Robin costume?
Adam West: First…
Adam West: First, before we do, I want to remind these folks, well, thank you for being so nice! (audience cheers and applauds) And I’d like to remind you to turn your clocks back! (audience laughs) And don’t say that we’re backward enough out here, c’mon! We’re not! Anyway, the other thing that really bothers me is that evidently, Burt and I are selling pictures. I want you to be very careful, because my agent from Hollywood is a mean guy (audience laughs) and he’s there selling pictures. And if you don’t keep your hands on your wallets, he’s gonna to get your money! (audience laughs) Be very careful when you come over!
Announcer: Alright. Where’s that guy with the mic? We’ve got to take some questions! No questions? Alright, right there-
Adam West: We leave? (audience laughs)
Announcer: RIght there. Let us know where you’re from
Adam West: Oh. Time for a break, oh there is a question!
Announcer: (looks at person with camera) There’s no photography, sir. Thank you!
Audience 1: My name is [Redacted], and I am from Boston, Massachusetts. And I have a question for Mayer, um, Adam West. (audience laughs) What’s it like to play Batman back in the day?
Adam West: (barely audible)
Audience 1: Yes.
(audience calls for him to speak louder)
Heckler: Speak up, old man!
Adam West: What was that? Just send a check. (audience laughs) Let me tell you something. The most fun I’ve ever had was with this guy, playing Batman and Robin! (audience applauds) I’ve had a fifty year career, and I think it was really the high point. I know, you know, Family Guy, all those other things, the hundred Westerns, whatever I’ve done. Playing, going out and playing Batman and Robin was terrific, because you could be a kid again, and you could do it in a funny light way, so that the adults would get the gags as we went along. And the kids, you know, when you were little, you just believed in all of that stuff. And we could give you some homilies and ethical lessons, which you took to heart. Look how you turned out! (audience cheers and laughs)
Announcer: Alright, thanks! We got someone on this side of the room?
Adam West: What, what, what do you want? Check 1, Check 2…
Audience 2: Alright, guys, Donny from Providence. Welcome to the town, by the way! Big round of applause for all of these people here, by the way. (audience applauds) Who saw Return to the Batcave? yeah, exactly! Round of applause! So that’s my question, when you did Return to the Batcave, how accurate was that? Because, I’ve gotta say, Burt, you got your butt kicked by Bruce Lee, from what I understand. Did you really not have a stuntman? And Adam, did you really have all that kind of fun that I saw in the movie?
Adam West: Well, yes! (audience laughs)
Audience 2: That was really your life. It’s awesome! And what about the Bruce Lee aspect? Did you happen to (inaudible)
Burt Ward: I’m sorry, I couldn’t hear your question. There was too much reverb. Can you say it again?
Adam West: But you’re younger than me! (audience laughs)
Burt Ward: My hearing’s muffled!
Audience 2: In Return to the Batcave, did you really not have a stunt-person when you had to fight Bruce Lee?
Burt Ward: Oh! Wait a minute, I’ll tell you the Bruce Lee story! Bruce Lee and I were friends before Batman. I actually lived in the same complex that he did, and he and I used to spar together. So when we did that scene on Batman, where we meet Kato and the Green Hornet, it wasn’t something that was new. It was something that we actually did that the producer said “we don’t want you to make it look too realistic, and we don’t want any one side to look like it was getting the better of the other, because you’re both supposed to be good guys.” But I, piece of trivia, Bruce Lee’s first filmed fight scene of his career was fighting me! And when we were doing Batman, I remember his wife Linda, and at that time, Brandon his son was six months of age, and we’d go down to Chinatown. And because he was from Hong Kong, he’d order all of the most authentic food. But he was a really terrific martial artist, and it was fun doing that scene. But we used to really go at it, you know, when we, before Batman. (audience applauds)
Audience 3: Hi, my name is [Redacted], I”m a huge fan. I come from Duxbury, and this is a question for both of you. Which Joker do you like better: Jack Nicholson or Heath Ledger? (audience “oohs”) And I think I just broke the fandom!
Announcer: Oh! Who do you guys like better? You know, I think I can answer that for them, Caesar Romero! (audience cheers and applauds) Yeah! Caesar Romero! Can we get security to get this kid kicked out, please? (audience laughs) We got someone else here who can get a question? Go ahead, sir, grab someone from there.
Audience 4: Hi, I’m [redacted] and I’m from Plainfield, Connecticut. And, Adam West, I was wondering about how you were acting in Family Guy. Because you were kind of… naive, I should say? I don’t want to say anything offensive, but how did you feel about portraying that character?
Adam West: I didn’t get the last part.
Announcer: How do you feel about portraying the character Mayor West? How do you feel about portraying him? Is he like yourself?
Adam West: Send a check! (audience laughs) Are you nuts? Of course I like it! What happened was, and I’m asked this, Seth MacFarlane wrote a pilot for me. And then, one day he called, and he said “you know, you and I think funny, and would you do this mayor thing and use your name?” And I said, “you know what, it’s about time I made fun of myself a little bit! Not take myself quite so seriously!” And I was able to kind of invent an Adam West based on the quirkier parts of my personality.
Burt Ward: Which there are very many! (audience laughs)
Adam West: There are way too many stories! But it’s really fun, you know, doing that. And we get a chance to improvise and fool around a little. I’m going to do three more, I think, in a week or so.
Announcer: Awesome, terrific! (Audience applauds) Stand up there, sir, so I can see you!
Audience 5: Well, I have a question, one for Burt, one for Adam, just two quick ones. Burt, new ifnormation, I didn’t realize you did so much charity work for canines, so can we give him a round of applause for that? (Audience applause) Your absolute, number one, What’s your favorite breed of puppy dog?
Burt Ward: Well, let me tell you how we got involved doing this. I’ve always loved dogs and, you know, dogs are probably one of the most American things in the world. There are 85 million dogs in our country. 67 million households have them. And, you know, whether you have the best day or the worst day, they love you unconditionally. And really, the only thing they want back is your love! And I try to encourage people to always be very mature in the way you handle your dogs and make sure you don’t put them at risk, and things like that.
But for me, my wife and I have been rescuing them for nineteen years, 14,600 dogs. We’re very thrilled. This is our charity, we don’t make any money from it. We’ve actually put in several million dollars to support all the food and the medical care, and stuff like that. But what I would like to share with everybody, is that through the years of caring for all of these animals, and trying to do something really good for them, we actually found a way to double the lifespan of dogs. This is real. And you can go on our website at gentlegiantsrescue.com, and you can read that we have dogs, all of them living into their late teens and early twenties, running around like puppies. And for those of you that love animals, and that have a dog, this would be the greatest gift for your dog, as well as for yourself to have them around for twice as long. So anyway, that’s part of what our charity does. Thank you. (Audience applauds)
Audience 5: Thank you!
Announcer: And you had a question for Mr. West?
Audience 5: Just one last question. It seems like there’s all, I just want to get Mayor West’s approval of Ben Affleck for Batman. (Audience boos)
Adam West: The thing is, what can I say? I’m the Bright Knight. (audience laughs)
Burt Ward: And I think there’s only one real Batman, and that’s Adam West! (Audience applauds)
Adam West: I saw Ben, and I said “Ben, for 20 million dollars, shave the beard!” (audience laughs)
Announcer: How ’bout this side, sir? Go ahead, you pick. Sure, why not!?
Audience 6: Hi, I’m [redacted] from Lincoln, Rhode Island. And my qustion for both of you is: you’ve had so many guests come on the show, playing all the villains. Who would you say is the most fun? Who was, like, the most fun guest to have on the show as a villain?
Adam West: Oh, we had so many wonderful people it’s hard to tell! I enjoyed Frank GOerschen as Riddler. (Audience applauds) Frank was the kind of actor who was always intense and manic and on the edge, which is the way I like to work. As you can tell, I’ve been on the edge for years! But Caeser, as we mentioned earlier, had great energy! And Pengie baby, Berges Meredith was a lovely guy. (audience cheers) Really, really funny!
Burt Ward: Well, Of course, part of our series was having Catwoman on the show. And Julie Newmar was a wonderful Catwoman, and she’ll be here tomorrow! She, there was a bit of a little bit of an incident at the LA airport yesterday, that you might have heard about. But so she wasn’t able to take off. But she’s en route now, and so she’ll be here tomorrow to meet everybody. I hope you get a chance to come back and see her.
Adam West: And don’t ask me who my favorite Catwoman was! (audience laughs) We had three Catwomans, or Catwomen. Uh huh, Julie Newmar, Eartha Kitt, LeAnn Merriweather… so see, three Catwomen, that’s 27 lives! (audience laughs) It wasn’t easy, folks!
Announcer: Alright, who else have we got? Over there, sir?
Audience 7: I’m [redacted] from Warren, Rhode Island, and I have two questions: What’s your favorite Batman movie, whether you were in it or not?
Burt Ward: That’s easy! Our Batman movie! (audience cheers)
Audience 7: And I’d like Burt to say his catch phrase, “Holy blank, Batman.”
Announcer: He wants to hear you say a catch phrase.
Burt Ward: Oh! You mean like “Holy strawberries, Batman! Are we in a jam!” (Audience cheers) Thank you!
Announcer: You know, hearing Burt say that reminds of something. How many people follow Adam on Facebook? Oh, that’s, all of you guys have to! On Halloween, you guys are going to love this, Adam did something very special. You have to sign up on his Facebook, follow him… he put the cowl back on for Halloween! So go to his Facebook, have a look! Let’s take another question over here!
Audience 8: I’m [redacted] from Smithfield, Rhode Island. Actually, I have a question for Mr. West and Mr. Ward. Mr. Ward, I’ll start with you. How’s it like to ride in the little cramped sidecar of the Batcycle? (Audience laughs)
Burt Ward: Well, you know, there are two problems. One problem is, when Adam would drive and we made a sharp turn, man, even minding that, the slightest thing you can flip over. That’s number one. But there’s something else that most people don’t know about. I don’t know if you saw on Amazon, recently,
Announcer: Hollywood Treasures.
Burt Ward: Hollywood Treasures that show, where I authenticated that and they had an engine. A very big engine, very hot engine, and my seat wasn’t positioned properly. So talk about getting burned! Let me tell ya, until you got burned by a motor. YOu, I think I was going faster than the little car was going! I’d fly out of that thing! It was quite an experience! I preferred the Batmobile!
Audience 8: And Mr. West, how was it like to be behind the wheel of the Batmobile?
Adam West: Let me say, only now, without stroking him, he was the bravest guy in the world. Playing Robin and riding with me! (Audience laughs) And you mentioned the sidecar. One time, I was supposed to press the button, sidecar with him was supposed to go somewhere where it didn’t when I pressed the button. Instead, he wobbled off and went off the pier into the ocean! (Audience laughs) He went through things like this frequently, and I want to commend him on his nerve, because to be with me, as my sidekick, with all the stuff we had to do was not easy. And Burt was slammed by explosions and fire, and we were gassed! I mean, at least once a week, the people on the other stages at Fox were saying “wait a minute, I heard an ambulance! Oh no, it’s okay, it’s just Burt and Adam going to the medics again!” But that was the worst part, that kind of colored gas on the show! Because at that time, they didn’t know quie how to mix it, and it was very acrid! (coughs) And, you know, it was tough to work in that stuff. But other than that, it was fairly easy, except for the 20-hour days.
Announcer: Great question! Now let’s go way back to the back, sir.
Audience 9: Hi! I’m [Redacted] of Cranston, Rhode Island, and I have a question for both of you guys, and a little favor. Well, first, my favor is I have a comic book that’s new that came out probably, like a month and a half ago. I was wondering if you guys coul sign it because it’s based on the 1966 Batman. And I was my question was “have you guys both had fun on the set of the Batman, well, the show?”
Burt Ward: Well, yeah! We had a lot of fun. I mean, our show was a very fun show to do. And it was written very funny, and we played it very straight, so that for kids it was hero worship. For the adults, it was the nostalgia of the comic book. And for the teenagers and the college kids, it was all the double meanings and the double entendres. And, in fact, we did so much of that that just about every week, the censors came to visit us to complain that we went too far! So we were, of course in today’s world, they can go a lot farther than then, but at the time, we were doing stuff that was really edgy at that time.
Announcer: And to answer your first question, come on by the table, because after they leave here, they’re going back down to the autograph. First they’re doing a photo op, but then they’re going back tot he autograph table. Bring your comic by. Do we have someone else over here?
Audience 10: My name’s [redacted] from West Warwick, and I have two questions. One, how did you feel when Batgirl was added to the TV show, along with Batman and Robin?
Burt Ward: Well, Adam mentioned to me that when he first saw Batgirl in that outfit, that he had strange stirrings in his utility belt! (audience laughs)
Adam West: The oncoming thrust of manhood!
Announcer: Can we get someone else? When you take that question back there, let’s take the mics closer to the front, there’s some more people back here.
Audience 11: He wants to know what episode was the most fun for you guys to film. No, his favorite! Oh, your favorite episode to film. (Editor’s note: This was two people speaking – an adult, and his son. Son in italics)
Announcer: What was your favorite episode, guys?
Adam West: Ah, I think the first one! Frank Goerschen as Riddler, and, you know, the two parter where were on twice a week in color. And In the first one, we were kind of all getting married to the concept, and what we wanted to do. And I could tell after a few days it was beginning to gel! It was coming together so beautifully, because we had so many wonderful people working with us, that I think it remains my favorite, and it gave me a chance to do strange things like the Batussi! (audience laughs)
Announcer: Alright, over there.
Audience 12: Hi, I’m [redacted] from West Warwick, Rhode Island. I have a question for both of you. How did you feel when you knew were going to get the parts of the dynamic duo?
Burt Ward: Well, in my case, um, it was kind of interesting because I was told by an agent who was representing me, that there was something over at 20th Century Fox to go over and try out for. I didn’t even know what it was, and when I got there, I ended up meeting the casting director then the executive producer, and he looked at me and says “You’re kind of big for this part.” And I said “Oh, but sir, I promise you I won’t grow anymore!” So he said, “okay,” and then I got a chance to do a screentest, and I was lucky enough to do the test with Adam.
And I didn’t hear anything for six weeks after, I didn’t even realize that I had the part because the studio thought that my agents told me I had the part, and my agents thought the studio told me I had the part! So for six weeks, I kind of was upset, like “gee, am I gonna get it or not,” and all this time, the wardrobe department’s calling, on “what size shoe do you wear” and this and that. And I said “well gosh, why are they asking these questions? I don’t even know if I have the role!” So when I finally had the role, I got ready to collapse emotionally, because I’d been so, you know, anxious to hear it. But for me, it was a great opportunity, and I think Adam knew that he had it practically from the beginning!
Audience 12: How many kids auditioned for Robin?
Burt Ward: Oh, the part of my character, 1,100 young guys tried out. (audience lets out collective sound of surprise) And actually, which was kind of interesting, when the producers finally did talk to me, tell me, they said “would you like to know why we picked you for the part of Robin?” I said “yeah!” They said, “well, we interviewed extensively, more than 1,100 young actors were interviewed for this part. But the reason, Burt, that we picked you, was because, in our minds, if there really was a Robin, if there really was, you’d be it. So we don’t want you to quote act, we want you really, just be yourself, and be very enthusiastic. And that’s what I did, and it seemed to work pretty good! (Audience applauds)
Adam West: Well, I’ve gotten a cue here to kind of wrap it up. And, all I can say is for the smallest state in the union, you’ve got the biggest heart! (audience applauds and cheers as West and Ward make their exit)