Monday, October 03, 2005
Not to be outdone, even by himself, Walker now sends us this gem.
And that seems like the perfect opportunity to tell my famous Adam West story. I'm a huge Batman fan. My dream is still to write one of the comics someday. I love every variation on the character, from the violent Dark Knight to the crazy 50's stories where he'd turn into a fish. But when I was three, Batman was only Adam West.
I used to hold Adam West in a special place in my heart, one reserved for himself, William Shatner and Bruce Campbell. Then I met him.
It was 1998. My best friend at the time, Howie Weingarten, called me up to let me know the Mets were playing a double header. Loving baseball as much as I do now, I wished him luck. Then he told me Adam West was going to make an appearance. And sing the national anthem. I was there.
We got stuck in traffic on the Grand Central and didn't get inside Shea Stadium until the 2nd inning. To this day, I have no idea if Adam West actually sang the national anthem (it just sounds like something Howie would have found funny). But he was signing autographs by the gate. So we watched the game (I believe the Mets lost to whomever it was on the field with them) and made our way down to get Batman's autograph. The line was huge but we didn't care.
About ten people into the line, Howie noticed a sign listing the prices West was charging for autographs. Today this practice is commonplace but back then it seemed like a real slap in the face (I guess it still does). Howie was incensed. He couldn't get it out of his mind. I said, "Hey, shaking his hand is free. I'm just going to shake his hand." Howie got real quiet. Nobody liked it when Howie got real quiet.
Suddenly he turns to me and asks, "What was the name of that soft core porn movie Adam West made? The one Howard Stern showed?"
Howie got real quiet again. People hated it when Howie asked you a question and then got real quiet.
Howie gets to Adam West first and shakes his hand. Adam West barely looks up. Howie says nothing and I breathe a sigh of relief. I go to shake his hand. Adam West's hand is huge! It wraps around my hand like a gorilla, or Stevie Ray Vaughan. It's limp but it still swallows my hand. I say "Glad to meet you, Mr. West." Suddenly I hear precisely what I do not want to hear.
"Hey Adam! Are you gonna make a sequel to Lady Chatterly?"
All of a sudden, this giant hand flexes. I'm trapped in the grip of an angry Adam West. Batman is going to crush my fingers. He gets real scary, scarier than you've ever seen him and I wonder if maybe he could have played the Dark Knight today. He gets up. Adam West is huge! And Adam West is going to kill us both right here in Shea Stadium.
Then a sound comes out of his mouth. It's one syllable but it is distinctively Adam West. It puts any impression I ever did of him to shame.
I pull my hand out of his grasp. This is not easy to do. It may have taken both hands. I run from Adam West in panic and slam into Howie. I start shoving him out of Shea Stadium but Howie is not fighting me. Instead, his hands are clasped, begging. He's screaming, "Please! Please make another Chatterly! Please!" Howie's got this evil smile on his face. I lived in fear of that evil smile and how it might make strangers beat me up. I shove him in the car and get him the hell out of there before Adam West pulls some batgas out of his belt. At that moment, I truly believe he could have.
I still wonder whatever happened to Howie (we lost touch years ago). I still wonder if anyone else had ever asked Adam West that question. And I still wonder, to this day, if my childhood idol could have murdered me in public.