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October 10, 2015

Adam West Talks Batman, 'Family Guy' and Using the Batmobile to Pick Up Women

by Chris Jancelewicz, posted Aug 25th 2010 4:00PM
Adam West might just be the most mischievous man in Hollywood. Talking with the 82-year-old icon as he's about to make his way to Toronto's Fan Expo, he is sneaky and sly -- it's tough to tell when he's being serious or when he's pulling your leg. He is constantly chuckling.

West's career has been all about Batman (he played the superhero on the original TV series from 1966-68), but unlike other typecast stars, West took the caricature of his campy character and ran with it.

Now he has a recurring role as the lunatic Mayor West on 'Family Guy,' where he pokes fun at himself, and his image, on a regular basis. As a result, he has garnered a whole new generation of fans – one that might not even be aware of his Bat past. TV Squad sat down to talk with the legend about the 'Batman' legacy, 'Family Guy,' and why he turned down the role of James Bond.

Everyone loves you, whether it's because of 'Batman' or 'Family Guy'...
If you just hang on long enough... [Laughs]

Not many people have done what you've done, which is to make a caricature of yourself and run with it, and be successful.
You're making me very tired just thinking about it.

Was it something planned, or did it just happen?
I think it evolved. I learned a long time ago that because people love Batman, I should too. I learned that I shouldn't resent it even though it prevented me from getting other roles. I really had to become fond of Batman in order to deal with it. I embraced it.

So now you don't look in the mirror and get upset.
Oh, I still get upset every time I look in the mirror, yes. [Laughs] But no, not really. Batman has been very good to me. What if I didn't embrace it? I'd be a bitter, aging actor.

And we have too many of those.
I know! Who's left? Who are icons now? Only myself and [William] Shatner.

Betty White could probably be included there.
You're right. You know what? I think she and I have the same attitude. In other words, I continue to be curious and I continue to have a sense of humor, certainly about myself. I fully grasp the absurdity, the irony of life and some of the things I do. I mean, 'Family Guy' is totally absurd. But I enjoy doing the nutty stuff.

Do you still own a Batman costume?

Nope. But I do have my Bat-jammies.

You're lying to me.
Yes. [Laughs]

What was it like wearing that costume on the original show?
It brought me an occasional reward. [Laughs] The tights were itchy, and it was really, really hot. Believe me, it was 180 degrees under that cowl. But it was magic. I'd pull it on and I'd think – let's go out and play Batman & Robin! It's the only way you could get at it, to be childlike and remember those times.

Did you drive the Batmobile?
Oh, I've driven it, yes. Many, many times. Would you like to drive it?

Why yes!
Let me see if I can arrange it. It's great for getting lucky.

TV Squad Hits Fan Expo!

Do you have a favorite episode from the original 'Batman' series?
The first one.

There was dancing in that episode, right?

[Laughs] Oh yes. That's when I invented my infamous 'Batusi,' which became a worldwide dance craze.

Do you ever dance it anymore when you're alone? Or better yet, in public?
[Whispering] Only when nobody is watching.

[Still whispering] Can you hold on for a second? There's a moose at my door. I'm serious! [Rustling noises] Oh my God... I took my dog out for a walk this morning, and I looked up and there was a moose staring at me! I swung his leash around and I scared it enough that it ran into the woods. I was very lucky.

Like a real-life superhero! Do you have any desire to appear in any of the new 'Batman' movies?
No. I don't think I'd want to. It depends on the role. Definitely not a walk-on cameo. If it was a solid role, perhaps.

I read somewhere that you were offered the role of James Bond, but you turned it down. Is that true?
I believe that was a dinner conversation in London in the '70s. I had another contract so I couldn't do it, plus I thought that the role should go to a British person, not a farm boy from Walla Walla.

How did you get involved with 'Family Guy'?
Seth [MacFarlane] and I had worked on another project before, and he just called me and asked me if I wanted to take part. He and I share the same comic sensibilities. He also knew that I thought funny.

You make yourself seem insane on 'Family Guy!' It's hilarious.
[Laughs] Well thank you. It's nice to hear because sometimes it's just so hard to do, to walk that tight wire of making fun of yourself. I have to draw on the quirkier aspects of my personality. Pure West.

Adam West 'Family Guy' Clip

Is there any Mayor West line or scene that particularly tickles you?
I'm partial to the cat launcher scene. Oh, and I love taffy. Mmmm... I love taffy.

OK, one more question and then I'm setting you free to run with the moose.
With a knife in my teeth and my leather thong on! I want to chase that damn moose out of the woods. Skin him! I need meat this winter!

What's next for you?

I'm up for a very big film. I hope I get the role.

And you can't tell me which film that is, can you?

Nope. Can't do it. But I'm also doing some voicework for Disney.

Catch Adam at Fan Expo this weekend, or hear him as Mayor West on 'Family Guy' any day of the week.

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