Adam West’s unforgettable answer (7:45 p.m. UPTAIT June 13)

My friend:

Adam West thought for the question and took a deep, almost painful, sigh, throwing his eyes skyward in thought.

“Probably,” he said, pronouncing every syllable of the word with crystal clear clarity to rinse out every dramatic tone possible, “right now.”

He looked at astonished look on my face which, judging by his reaction, was expected. I was flabbergasted. Speechless. Started fumbling with my pocket tape recorder.

Then, Mr. West smiled and let out an earnest, yet small, chuckle.

“I’m serious,” he said, widening his smile.

I knew he was joking: of course he was. But what a set-up, what a moment, and what a sense of impeccable unrehearsed timing to a question.

We’ll get to that question a little later.

It’s sad, and a shame, a person’s passing forces us to remember those fond memories — which is all the point to call someone, even in the middle of reading this blog post, to tell them you appreciate them.

Over the weekend, Mr. West died at the age of 88 in Los Angeles. He was best known — and, unfortunately, played himself into a stereotypical role — as Batman. With colourful costumes and attracting some of Hollywood’s biggest names, Batman brought the comic book character to television.

I searched You Tube finding old Batman shows. Mr. West was hilarious with his dialogue delivery and timing — something I didn’t appreciate as a kid, but can  as an adult.

I was hooked. As an eight-year-old kid I couldn’t wait for Batman to come. It was always a two-part series, with Batman and his young sidekick Robin getting in a near death experience at the hands of The Riddler, Cat Woman, Mr. Freze, the Bookworm and other Gotham City criminals at the end of the first show. Then, somehow, in the next show, Batman and Robin inched their way out of their near death situation, had a good old dust-up with the henchmen of the criminal they were apprehending and then, much to police Commissioner Gordon’s delight, have them returned to jail.

I loved the show. I was Batman for countless Halloween’s. I had my mother write away for an autograph from Mr. West.  My request returned with, not only a signature. But a picture of Mr. West.

Those childhood television shows. They never leave us, do they?

In 1989, the first Batman movie with Micheal Keaton as the caped crusader hit the silver screen, some 21 years since the television series faded to black. Klondike Days brought Mr. West to Edmonton to be part of Edmonton’s summer exhibition. Mr. West conducted a question and answer session in the Agricom on his role as Batman.

I was extra lucky: as an Edmonton Journal columnist I had the honour of sharing 20 minutes with Mr. West. He was honest, sincere, shared some great behind the scene stories and always was looking for fun.

Which brings me back to the answer to my question.

The question: what was your most rewarding moment in show business.

“Probably,” he said. “right now. This very moment, with you.”

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