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Back to the Batcave Paperback – September 1, 1994


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 257 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley Trade; Berkley trade pbk. ed edition (September 1, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425143708
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425143704
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #500,574 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

The appeal of a Batman book by a guy who still regularly appears in public in full Bat-regalia is overwhelming, particularly when in places it reads like the old TV show's dialogue: "[Julie Newmar] caused curious stirrings in my utility belt." But West, Batman's TV avatar, can also be introspective: "The time [the mid-1960s] was wrong for a sinister, film noir Batman." And sometimes, were it not for the possibility that West may soon appear at a mall opening nearby, his narrative would be sad: "I was angry and profoundly disappointed when I was not asked to reprise the role" (in Tim Burton's feature film). In short, this is an informative book about a classic bit of television history by a participant who cared and still cares about the character he portrayed. Oh, some parts seem strained or naive, but this merely makes the book more evocative of its subject. A light but interesting memoir that as pop culture history is valuable for, besides West's insights, its annotated episode guide featuring his commentary. Mike Tribby

From Kirkus Reviews

An amiably ungrandiose, entertaining memoir of TV's Batman by the Caped Crusader himself. Aided by thriller writer Rovin (co-author of The Red Arrow, 1990), West devotes the first quarter of the book to his youth in Walla Walla, Wash., his eclectic early acting career in the thespian un-center of Honolulu, and his move into Hollywood westerns, at which time he jettisoned his birth name of Billy West Anderson. Selected in 1965 to play Batman, the actor prepared by reading novels whose heroes had dual identities, such as The Scarlet Pimpernel, and by scouring 1940s ``Batman'' comic books, trying to make his character ``as plausible as a superhero can be.'' West recalls how producers saved money by using sound-effects cards--``POW''--in place of transition shots, how he improvised the ``Batusi'' into a dance craze, and how difficult it was to shed his tight-fitting outfit on the way to the ``Batroom.'' He repeats his defense of the show as hard-working farce to critics who disparaged it as camp and his response to watchdog groups who suggested the crime-fighting team was gay (``Aunt Harriet wouldn't allow it''). He also offers thumbnail sketches of the actors who played show's villains, including the tormentingly sexy Julie Newmar as Catwoman, the distinguished Cesar Romero as the Joker, and the good-natured Liberace, miscast as an evil twin. After the show went off the air in 1968, West retreated into smaller roles and ``Batman'' nostalgia. While the actor hints that his Bat-fame gained him a good deal of recreational sex, he modestly leaves out the salacious details. Of the 1989 film version starring Michael Keaton, he observes that it showed ``an emotionally scarred Batman'' and regrets he wasn't offered the role. It won't make anyone cry ``Holy Publishing Event,'' but there's good fun for Batfans. -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Customer Reviews

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Write another, Adam West!
Chari Krishnan
All in all, this is an absolute MUST for fans of the 60s Batman series.
Bradley Headstone
Its all here the shows the casts and directors and each series plot.
Dan'The movie man"

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Bradley Headstone on June 15, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you follow my reviews, you know that I like Batman on a whole which probably makes me biased. Now to be sure, this book is probably not for you if you aren't a fan of the old 60s series. Well, that said, the book is absolutely phenomenal. I apologize for the cliche, but I 'just couldn't put it down.' The book is nicely divided into several chapters, and Adam talks about the different aspects of his life. A little bit on his childhood, some of his work before Batman, a moment in his life that foreshadowed his role as Batman, and elements of his domestic life. One thing you will notice in this book is that West is NOT uptight and stiff like his most famous character. He writes very flowingly and at times he touches us closely with his experiences. Some things have a comical aspect. (Like how the mask compromised his vision, so he had to get familiar with the set to avoid tripping.) He also explains that to do a character convincingly, the actor has to understand and know who he is portraying; another amusing thing was he reveals that one of the reasons he often made exaggerated gestures was to compensate for the fact that for obvious reasons, facial expressions were not so much an option for him. He also gives a generous amount of time to the other cast members. (Another thing that shows Adam's abilites as a writer is that while he will admit that his favorite villains were Newmar as Catwoman and Gorshin as the Riddler, he explains why the Joker (Romero) and the Penguin (Meredith) held the most popular villain spots. The only guest star he really knocks is Otto Preminger as Mr. Freeze. He also talks a little about the equipment like the Batmobile. (It wasn't so easy to drive.Read more ›
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Toni VINE VOICE on December 25, 2004
Format: Paperback
First, let me start off by saying that if you go to Mr. West's website, "[...]"; you can get a personally autographed copy of his book. I think this is an absolutely great treasure to give to any "Batman" fan.

Second, my opinion of his tome. Simply stated, it's a fun ride back to your childhood. It gave me the scoop on everything and anything that was "bat-ified" because of that show. The only thing I wished was that there were more stories, even if little ones.

It was like a peek over the shoulder of one of my heroes from my youth. The difference now is that I can appreciate the reality of what went on outside the fantasy of Batman; what Mr. West sacrificed for the character. If you have the chance to see him in any other role, you would then understand "what could have been" in his career, though I think that he was born to be "The Caped Crusader".

What a look into the 60's and what was happening! Some of it delicious, and other parts, sobering. It seems that fame and fortune truly do have a price, but dealing with its effects is what made Mr. West a real man. He does this by being humble, quite honest, and quite funny, depending what part of his on-screen/off-screen life you're reading.

Some of his tales are pleasantly quirky, and others, detailed enough to feel like you were there; you remember an episode he speaks of, then you begin to think about what went on while he was filming it (the cast, the guests, etc.). Pure reading pleasure. Even the story surrounding the movie was wonderful.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Olivia Redwing on November 19, 2000
Format: Paperback
Amazing how his career suddenly took off again after making a fool of himself back in 1989 on a nationally syndicated news interview show by crying and whining that Tim Burton never asked him to reprise his role as Batman. Alot of people felt sorry for him and all of a sudden he started appearing in guest spots on tv shows. The publicity stunt obviously paid off and there's no mention of this revival in his book. In fact he admitted that if he was asked to be in the movie he would've turned it down. What a bunch of baloney.
Another item that slightly ticked me off was that he mentioned he was in the recent Batman the animated series playing a "villian" called the Grey Ghost. He must think the majority of us readers who followed the Batmania trend closely are really stupid. The Grey Ghost mirrored West's life, a fact he may never want to admit.
I have to admit his book was far more digestable than Burt Ward's book. With the exception of Rudy Valley and Otto Preminger he never bad-mouthed anybody. Especially Burt Ward. He mentioned the ego wars between them but thankfully it was resolved peacefully and within a short period of time. Adam West ought to be commended for his maturity and insightfulness. It's a shame Burt Ward chose to run over his mentor for the sake of selling a book. I wouldn't blame Adam if he never spoke to Ward again.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 24, 1998
Format: Paperback
Those of us who were kids growing up during the first Batman "craze" in 1966 are happy that Adam West has decided to take his cowl off and speak. West's loyalty and devotion to the character despite justified reservations about how it might have typecast him and limited opportunities elsewhere is heartening as is his affirmation that he would do it all over again if given the choice. Though West knew that he was doing comedy (it is a revelation that Neil Hamilton, who played Commissioner Gordon on the show, never realized this), he actually appears to have taken his character TOO seriously. His discussions of the TV character and of the TV episodes, particularly as these relate to the Batman comic strips are very thoughtful and analytical. I especially loved his treatment of the issue of "camp". Typical of much of what comes from Hollywood, the book also suffers from a surfeit of political correctness. "Conservatives" were obsessed with the possibility that Batman and Robin were gay? While West rightly recognizes that the show had lost its energy in its third and last season, his vocabulary won't allow him to discover why. He says only that he didn't mind sharing the spotlight with Yvonne Craig's Batgirl, but the lack of an additional superhero was not why the show was losing its steam... I also would have liked to learn more about the supporting cast, but the book is short on insight there too, though Hamilton's unshakable belief that he was doing serious drama is amusing. His character HAD to be played on the level in order for the humor to work, and his notion that he was doing serious drama is no doubt why he did it so well. West explains that he was too busy to socialize to know the other participants very well.Read more ›
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