In the most fitting tribute imaginable, the Bat-Signal lit up the skies of Los Angeles last night, in honor of the late Adam West, the first Batman of television, and one of the most beloved versions of the iconic Dark Knight (or the “Bright Knight,” as West liked to describe his more upbeat version of the character). West died of leukemia late last week; he was 88 years old.
Here’s how thoroughly Batman’s influence has permeated the mainstream: he’s claimed tacit ownership of the very notion of shining a light into the sky. The Bat-Signal, introduced in the comics as Gotham City’s method of summoning the Dark Knight, has been endlessly parodied in the annals of pop-culture — just earlier this month, the poster for Captain Underpants paid homage to the iconic (a word I mean here literally, and not in the ‘a photo of the Kardashians’ sense) design of the skyward spotlight. And all too appropriately, the Bat-Signal will now be used to give one former Batman, the dearly departed Adam West, a proper send-off.
We’re still reeling from the loss of Adam West, TV’s original Batman and “Bright Knight” icon of superhero fans. The actor lost a battle with leukemia this weekend, and now Batman co-stars Julie Newmar and Burt Ward weigh in, along with Family Guy producers and many more.
My 18-month-old daughter is suddenly very into superheroes. Every night before bed we do story time; this week she’s become obsessed with a board book called My First Batman Book. Since she likes when I sing the words of her books to her, I naturally began singing the theme to the classic 1960s Batman as part of our nightly ritual. And she liked that so much that this morning, for the very first time, I showed her the old show’s opening credits.