A giant Bat-signal lit up the side of City Hall in Los Angeles Thursday night to honour Batman actor Adam West, who played the superhero role in the 1960s television series.
He died on Friday at age 88 following a battle with leukaemia. The caped crusader helped protect the fictional Gotham City in a franchise that began as a DC Comics strip before also moving to television and film. When Gotham’s authorities needed Batman’s help, they projected a light beam with his logo into the sky.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and police Chief Charlie Beck led Thursday’s tribute. Hundreds of fans thronged the ceremony, many dressed up in costumes from the television series and films. Two replicas of the 1960s-era Batmobile were parked outside the building. Burt Ward, 71, who played Batman’s sidekick Robin on the show, also took part.
“I’m here to tell you that my friend Adam would want every single one of you to be incredibly happy and to be joyous,”
The 1966-68 TV series had a low-brow comedy touch that made it far different from the darker “Batman” movies of today. West delivered his often corny lines with deadpan earnestness, entertaining children and adding a touch of satirical humour for adults.
The series epitomised the era’s kitsch, with exclamations like “POW!” and “BAM!” written in pop-art script flashing across television screens.
The show gave rise to a movie version in 1966, in which West also starred, and fueled a franchise that included merchandise like toy Batmobiles, Batphones, dolls and lunchboxes.