Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Back to the Batcave Paperback – September 1, 1994
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Customers who bought this item also bought
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
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.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Well, the fears turned out to be unfounded. In a rapid fire succession of short punchy chapters, about 75% of the material here addresses the iconic 1966-68 show and the related '66 movie. Pre-production psychoanalyzing of the title character. Cast. Villains. Costumes. Sets and props. Production mechanics. Finances. Quickie guide to all 120 episodes across its three seasons. All the inside dope you could possibly want--which certainly must be one of the main reasons that brings most of us here. Hosts West and Rovin together have a knack for picking out nothing but interesting detail throughout. West for his part is insightful, witty, and self-effacing. You're happy to see him rise from his rural roots in Washington state, sorry to see him take the inevitable fall when the fickle public starts to look elsewhere by the third season, then relieved when he recovers from his post-cancellation typecasting blues. He'd never approach such prodigious heights of popularity again; but he's reconciled and happy with the once.
At the end of BTTB you can't help but think, what a great guy and a fun show. And the book is right up there with both.
It was fun to read behind-the-scenes anecdotes about the show's storylines or his co-workers. I also enjoyed learning of West's true appreciation for the Batman comic book.
There were some weird things about the book. For example, there were a lot of great photos from West's time on Batman, as well as from his other works. Unfortunately, the photos were scattered haphazardly throughout the book. They didn't line up with what was being discussed in the chapter the picture showed up in. There were times when the pictures would have helped to get across what West was describing in his narrative, yet, for some reason, the pictures would show up chapters earlier or chapters later.
Also, West talks a lot about all the women he slept with (or tried to sleep with). This with mostly uncomfortable because he was married during many of these liaisons with other women.
As a final score, I'd give this book a 3.5 out of 5. I feel comfortable rounding it up to a 4-star rating, though.
This is an enjoyable book about the history of the Batman TV series, and it reads very quickly. I'm glad I had a chance to read this before the release of the television series' Blu-ray collection later this year.
The back of the book has a list of every episode of the Batman TV show, as well as their original air dates. West gives a brief summary of each story, and for many of the episodes, leaves some short comments or insights about the guest stars that appeared on that episode, or something else that he found interesting.
I find the comparisons between William Shatner and Adam West to be frighteningly accurate. Both were extremely famous for roles that were absolute gold. Money and fame, until the series ended and then typecast to the point where finding work is difficult.
The characterization of producers and directors are absolutely unfathomable. People that make the big decisions all appear to be power-hungry jerks will make you dance for a coveted role. The one thing I learned above all else, I would not make it in Hollywood. If I had to deal with one of these guys, they would get punched, I would be blacklisted and...well, I guess I could write a memorable biography. Adam West did that without hitting anyone! He truly is a great actor!