The Cast of BatmanWe all loved the show, but I can say with all honesty, I think Adam West is an asshole. Burt Ward, not far behind. I'll get in to that later. The show ran from 1966 until 1968. As a young homosexual, I thought it was quite a sexy show. Buckling the bat belts was almost religious. There is a TON of information about a TON of people involved with this show. This is just a small portion, and all I really care to write about. The rest of em (including that bitch Eartha) can rot. Let's deal with the dead stuff.
January 2, 2002 - Findadeath.com friend Dave sends this in about Mr. West: I work for a band, and we were doing a show in Sun Valley Idaho. It was a tribute to Jack Hemingway and the nature conservancy that he founded. Adam West was one of the presenters and as he was making his presentation, he made creepy wife-swapping innuendos about Jack Hemingway and his wife. I was standing behind the sound rig at the end of the bar, and Adam West looked over and gave me a really creepy faggy wink. I think it was because I had black fingernail polish on. I later stuck a piece of gaf tape on the back of the sound rig that said "Batman is creepy." The band made me take it off the next time we were in Sun Valley so we wouldn't offend any of Adam West's rich Californian friends. I shot a roll of film that I have yet to develop - hopefully some of the Adam West stuff turned out.
Send it on Dave. Great!
October 1, 2000 - Findadeath.com friend Monica Crimmins sends this in - I just HAD to add it - what fun!
GOOD FOR YOU HUN!!!! I realize that it was years ago that this happened, but somebody had to do it. You know one of my cousins happened to see Burt Ward in LAX one time and asked him about the Great Danes he was raising now. He told my cousin not to get one cause he could never afford it. All I can say is--PIG!!! Well, cuz has one now, in fact he has a pair. Their attack word: Burt. No lie. Thought it was the best. Anyway, still a good job on the site. Keep it up. (Great Stuff Monica - keep snapping those ghosts, and send a few in! We'd all like to see them!)
I have to add it Dept, March 2002: Mr. Michaels,
I'm a little surprised at all the complaints from you and your readers about Adam West. I'm no fan of Batman, but my son is a university student, and Adam West came recently to speak to the students. Not only was he very warm and accessible, but he let my son go up on stage afterwards and talk with him and even be photographed with him.
When he got his pictures developed, he sent a copy to Mr. West, asking for his autograph. Adam West signed it and mailed it back. There was no charge.
I still get a kick out of your site...one of the few I bother to look at.
Dalyn D. Helbling
Thanks for another point of view. - S.
May 31, 1899 - February 19, 1969
"I wanted to get a mini skirt, but the salesgirl wasn't sure I had the face for it."
Madge Blake, who played Aunt Harriet, was the first to go. She died on February 19, 1969. She had been in poor health for quite a while. She fractured her left ankle, and then died of Arteriosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries (heart attack), at the Huntington Hospital, where Robert Reed died.
A little clarification from Findadeath.com friend Michael LaFerriere: I would like to clarify a few misconceptions concerning the medical definition of a "heart attack", which you said Madge Blake died of. Most people think that any kind of acute episode of heart disease is a heart attack. However, that is not true. A heart attack occurs when the cells of the heart die due to lack of oxygenated blood. It is possible, however, to die of "hardening of the arteries" without actually having a heart attack. The heart is constantly receiving electrical signals that keep it beating, similar to a pacemaker. In many cases, the arterial plaque can be sufficient enough to stop the electrical pulsing of the heart, causing cardiac arrest, without killing a portion of the heart cells. It is apparent to me, based on the death certificate, that Madge Blake did not suffer a heart attack, but merely the arteriosclerosis was bad enough to stop her heart.
Findadeath.com friend Mark Masek sends these pictures of Madge's house in South Pasadena.
Weird thing is, it's directly behind a good friend of mine's house, and I never knew it. That's why I love LA. My pal David Sutton, who has the best Batman Tribute Site sent me this information: "Madge and her husband both worked for the government during World War Two, and both had top secret clearances. They ended up in Utah, working on the detonator for the atomic bomb. She started working in local plays in Riverside, Ca, and was discovered by Fanny Brice. Now this is the good part: Madge got a call about a new series starting and they wanted her to accept a role. Due to conflicts with the Leave it to Beaver show, where she was already under contract, she had to turn it down, but recommended a friend. Frances Bavier was able to accept the role of Aunt Bee on The Andy Griffith Show." Interesting, eh?
More, sent in February 2002 from Findadeath.com friend and smartie Dave St. Jean: Here's some Bat trivia that I think you'll get a kick out of: The character of Aunt Harriet (Madge Blake) was never in the Bob Kane comic books. It was created exclusively for the 60's TV show. The producers said they did it so Bruce, Dick, and Alfred wouldn't look like homosexuals. I thought there was still something weird about those three anyway. No shit. That show is full of subliminal gay, S & M, phallic, and other twisted kink just below the surface. Especially when Julie Newmar or Cesar Romero were around. The only thing the Batcave was missing was the Village People chained to the wall. I love it. Thanks Dave, and love to all your pals at the big M.
THIS in from Joel Eisner, author of the Official Batbook: I would like to correct something that you have listed under Madge Blake/Batman, and you will find this in my book. Aunt Harriet originally did appear in the comic books. It was during the time when Alfred had developed amnesia, and he became a hooded villain called the Outsider. Aunt Harriet showed up to take care of Bruce and Dick while Alfred was away.
February 15, 1907 - January 1, 1994
"We who laugh and run away, live to laugh another day!"
Cesar Romero played The Joker. His look totally freaked me out. He was basically a nice guy. No one had a bad thing to say about him. Gay, you know. Did you see him in Lust in the Dust? Unbearable. I wrote him a fan letter once, and he sent me the photograph above. Interestingly, this was included in the letter, to keep it from bending.
Tribute to Oprah. Whatever. Give me Jerry, any day. Anyway. Cesar lived in this home, on San Vicente Boulevard, in LA.
Here is his front door.
He died in St. John's Hospital, in Santa Monica, on January 1, 1994.
He was 86 years old, and still a dapper old queen. His funeral was held at Inglewood Cemetery, and that is where he lives now, in this cool urn thing.
Update February 2015:Thanks to Rob Hayes for sending this funny.
January 7, 1903 - August 8, 1988
"A matter of grave importance has arisen sir, your attention would be appreciated, a contract to be ahem... red."
Alan Napier played Alfred, the butler. He was living in a house in Pacific Palisades, which is now demolished. It was located at 17919 Porto Marina Way. Here is what it looks like now.
He died on Monday, August 8, 1988, in the Berkeley East Convalescent Hospital in Santa Monica, where he had been living since June.
He had a stroke in 1987, and he died of respiratory failure. He was 85 years old. He was cremated, and stuck in the Chapel of the Pines.
Trivia from Findadeath.com friend Kay: Here's an interesting (maybe) bit of trivia for you....I just read the updates to the site, including the Batman section...DID YOU KNOW that Alan Napier's grandson is Brian Forster, who played "Chris # 2" on the Partridge Family??
No I didn't Kay! Thanks so much for letting us in. Very cool trivia!
October 2003 - I met Brian Forster, the Partridge Family kid, at a recent autograph show. I asked him about Napier, and he told me that Alan was actually his step-grandfather. He said that Alan Napier was really into beach volleyball, which had to be fascinating to watch. He confirmed that Alan's house is now demolished, and had very fond memories of Christmas dinners put on at the house. He also told me that Alan was paid $1750 for the Batman pilot, of which Brian still has the original contract. Interesting stuff, and I do love living here.
February 2002: Findadeath.com friend Darren Langley sends this in: Little piece of info for you. Alan Napier, Alfred in the 60's Batman series, was also the cousin of British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain (1937 - 1940).
I had a couple of close encounters with the Bat Things. Once, in the 70s, I stood in line at Cobo Hall in Detroit, to meet the caped crusaders. Hours, I waited. I bought some stupid comic book for them to sign (I hated the comic book, they should have at least sold stills) and they signed it. "Batman and Robin."
This is how they looked then.
Cut to January of 1989. I moved to Chicago, and dragged my friend Bun to see them again, at yet another dull auto show, but we went. Out of love. Again, we stood in line for hours. I brought my special Batman soundtrack album for them to sign. Assholes. They wouldn't sign anything, except these stupid pictures they were selling there. That's not the worst part. They had pre-printed autographs.
All they did was fill in YOUR name. Livid. I was really really pissed off, and was swearing up a storm. This nice woman asked what was wrong, and I went off, explaining my experience. Funny, because it turned out that she was a reporter for a local rag, and the next week, this story ran. I was embarrassed at first, but then I felt vindicated.
For those of you who think my attitude is prompted by this website, keep in mind that was almost 12 years ago. I've always been a bitch.
Mark Masek adds: I was reading about your experiences with Batman, and read the article with your complaints about the pre-printed autographs. I just wanted you to know that the reporter who interviewed you, Achy Obejas, later became a popular columnist for the Chicago Tribune, writing about local entertainment and cultural issues. She has also written a few books, most centering on her experiences as a Cuban-born lesbian. Thanks for everything, Mark!
Bob Kane, who actually created the superhero in 1939, died at the age of 83, in 1998.
Neil Hamilton, who played Commissioner Gordon died on September 24, 1984, of complications due to asthma. He was 85.
Stafford Repp played Chief O'Hara, and he died in 1974.
To see where a bunch of the villains are buried, check out Findagrave's Batman page here.
Here's a picture of the real Batcave entrance, in Griffith Park.
I went up there quite a few years ago (blonde tips, you figure it out) and they were filming Back to the Future 2 and 3 up there.
Here are the two models of Batmobiles. I didn't like the modern Batman movies, or Batmobiles. Compare them for yourself.
October 1, 2000 - Trivia from Jon. C. Darby: Speaking of Eartha Kitt- she hears voices. The woman is decidedly schizo in addition to being (along with Cloris Leachman and Mary Steenbergen) one of the world's nastiest bitches. There's a rumor that at one point Orson Welles' limo arrived too early for a premiere and the door was opened to reveal her getting to the center of his Tootsie pop, but I've heard the same legend applied to Oja Kodar so I doubt it's factuality. (funny tho - Scott)
Also: Speaking of Alan Napier, have you ever seen a picture of his home? It was gorgeous in its day. He was a good friend of Mr. and Mrs. Boris Karloff (there were quite a few of the latter) and they used the same very tasteful English decorators.
Thanks, Jon. Great stuff as usual.
I thank Steve Goldstein (as always) of Beneath Los Angeles.com for his photographs of Cesar Romero and Alan Napier's locales. Much appreciation Steve, and your website is looking great!
More Dish added April 2001, from Findadeath.com friend Dave:
I was reading about your various experiences standing in line waiting for Adam "Batman was the only thing of note I've ever done, and PLEASE let me bleed it until your grandchildren are dead" West, and felt I had to write to relay to you MY very similar experience!
It was in 93 at the 25th anniversary reunion convention for the cast and crew of the movie "Night of the Living Dead" (quite appropriate, don't you think...not only for your web site, but also for Mr. West's incredible career! Hee hee). Why he was there, I'll never know. All I know is that throughout the convention, VERY annoying announcements frequently came over the loud speakers about Adam "Batman" West being available for autographs. It was cool at first, because hell, it was Batman, and I wasn't yet cynical towards him and his bastardish ways (sorry, had to make up a word to describe him).
So I stood in line and waited, not for hours, because really, not that many people were interested in him since they were there to see George Romero and the cast of NOTLD. Anyway, I stood in line, about a half hour it took. And as I was getting closer to the front of the line, I noticed that he had a HUGE stack of his own pictures in front of him, and he was charging 5 dollars a picture, and he would ONLY sign those pictures!
I was all set to call him a bastard to his face, but then I just HAD to figure out a way to get him to sign something for me for free! So I got an idea, and put it into motion. When I got to the front, I said to him, "Mr. West, I came all the way from Canada in order to get your autograph for my best friend, who is your biggest fan. He's dying from a rare blood disorder, and I just know it would brighten his day to get an autograph from you." This weasel of a man standing behind him (probably his manager, must be a GOOD one if THE Adam West is one of his clients) started to tell him not to do it! I mean, we're talking his NUMBER 1 FAN dying of a blood disease, for Christ sakes! Have some PITY!
So Adam thought for a moment, pondering what to do almost as an old King would ponder whether to "behead" a peasant or not, and finally he said he would do it. I gave him a loose sheet of paper, and he just signed it "To Jeff, from Adam West". I later gave it to my friend, who said, "Who the fuck is Adam West?"
It was quite cool to pull one over the great Batman's eyes. At least he didn't refuse the request...so it proves that he has at least SOME humanity in him. Funny thing...he just MC'd the Yuk Yuk's (a comedy club chain in Canada) search for the best new comic in Canada (wow...talk about a career high!)
On another note...I was working on a TV show in Toronto, and had to go to the airport to pick up Eartha "I'm the biggest bag of horse crap bitch in the world" Kitt. She looked at me like I was a bug under her shoe. I was quite polite to her and her daughter (who's VERY white, btw), and even extended my hand to her, but she wouldn't take it. I felt like acting like a monkey, flinging some feces at her, but alas, none was available to me. I can only take solace in the fact that she's a bitter old woman, who's nearing having a footnote on your wonderful page.
Anyway, that's all I wanted to say! Thanks for the laughs and info, feel free to post my Adam West story on your page!
This just in, April 2003, from Findadeath friend Darren Gilbert:
I love your Findadeath site. I wanted to get on your mailing list, but the link did not respond or was not working. I read the news article about your grievance toward the Batman and Robin stars and their cheap, lazy-assed autographing ploys. Did you know that Burt "Robin" Ward did a fight scene with Bruce Lee, when Batman and Robin guest starred on "The Green Hornet"? According to the A & E biography of Bruce Lee, Burt was afraid of Bruce. Can't really blame him for that, at least. Bruce Lee, whether as himself or
as Kato, could kick Burt/Robin's ass all over Gotham city! Agreed? Speakingof Bruce Lee, I wish I had known him when I was a kid, before he died, but I was only five at that time. I also miss Brandon Lee. He was just as good an actor and martial artist as his father. I can't believe he's been dead all these years, now. Brandon was awesome in Rapid Fire! In fact Brandon was awesome, period!
Thanks for the info, Darren!
A different point of view, December 2004, from Findadeath friend David S:
Hi, just found your site and love it. I grew up in the Chicago area myself, and I was reading one of your bits about Adam West and Burt Ward. I have to say I went to the same car shows at McCormack Place to meet them. I have some fun pics of the two goofs. This was the second time I met Adam, and he was a real great guy to me both times.
The first time was a few years earlier when he came by himself to the car show, I called his hotel and they put me right through. I lied like every good fan should, and said I worked for my school paper and would love to interview him, and he agreed. He had me sit next to him at the table, while he signed and answered my stupid questions and made my day. He even prodded me into signing a few autographs as ROBIN, as little kids must have assumed that's who I was, sitting next to Batman.
Anyway at the show you mentioned, I saw the pre printed pics, it was annoying. I had my little 1 year old dressed as Batman and they posed for a pic and when they saw that I had the Batman movie poster, they signed it quickly for me and were real cool. Later, after the show, I got the skinny on the stupid pre-printed pics. Here's the story so hopefully you can lay down your bitterness and understand.
Most times the shows that invite the stars require a cut of the autographs so they provide the pics and the stars get a cut of the sales. It is contractual that they cannot sign anything else as it is not the agreement of the show and the people running the show can't charge for an autograph if they didn't supply the item.
I overheard Burt Ward complaining to one of the show officials about how cheap and shitty it looked to do it on those cards and nothing else. I asked the official about the deal after Burt walked away.
Now the next year I waited 4 hours for Shatner, and that bastard wouldn't sign anything, not even for pay. He was a complete prick.
Love the site, keep up the good work. Feel free to print any portion of this letter or all of it if you like.