Thursday, June 15, 2017

196 Super-Size Me!

There's so much to talk about in this episode that I have to SUPER-SIZE it, so fasten your seat belts and hold onto your hats, folks, 'cause HERE. WE. GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


This past weekend, leukemia succeeded where the Joker, Penguin, Riddler and Scarecrow have failed... IT KILLED THE BATMAN. Actually, it killed the best known interpreter of the Caped Crusader, William West Anderson, or, as he was better known, Adam West. Born on September 19,1928 in Walla Walla, WA, Adam began acting professionally in the 50's and gained renown for his appearances on TV shows from SUGARFOOT and BEWITCHED to PERRY MASON and BOURBON STREET BEAT
and in movies from The Three Stooges' last feature film THE OUTLAWS IS COMING to GERONIMO and THE YOUNG PHILADELPHIANS. After producer William Dozier saw Adam in a Nestle Quik commercial (as Bondesque spy Captain Q) he immediately cast him as Batman and the Masked Manhunter's  millionaire playboy alter ego, Bruce Wayne, beating out Lyle Waggoner. Despite a shaky professional relationship with his on-air sidekick Burt Ward (Robin/Dick Grayson),the show became a major "Battraction" and after its initial run from 1966 to 1968 on ABC, it cemented its place in pop culture. I had the pleasure to talk to Adam personally at the Comic Art Convention at the Madison Square Garden Exposition Center in 2000 and 2002 and the Big Apple Comic Con a few years later, (I reminded him I saw him at the Garden and, his eyes lighting up like a Christmas tree, asked, "DID I OPEN FOR SPRINGSTEEN?" before attempting to sing "Born To Run." I cried not because it was a beautiful song, but because it was a beautiful song UNTIL HE MURDERED IT!) He remained active in movies (He was mad, and understandably so, at Tim Burton for rejecting him for the 1989 Bat-movie which ultimately starred Michael Keaton.) and television (Not only as the voice of the Dark Knight, who, he said, was more of a Light Knight, but also as the voice of Mayor Adam West on FAMILY GUY, the Ferret on Disney's KIM POSSIBLE, Young Mermaidman on Nick's SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS, the Gray Ghost in BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES, diverse characters in Disney's CHICKEN LITTLE and MEET THE ROBINSONS,and even Catman on Nick's FAIRLY ODDPARENTS.) through the new millennium, and even engaged in a mock battle with wrestling superstar Jerry "The King" Lawler (who sketched a beautiful portrait of Adam in the cowl which I had the pleasure to obtain at Comic-Con New York last year). He leaves behind four children from two different marriages, and a Batcave full of memories. No matter how turbulent times get, no matter how often our way of life is challenged, whether internally or externally, new generations will always tune in to see Adam West wearing the costume of the world's greatest super hero detective, same Bat-time, same Bat-channel.


One example of how turbulent times have been getting is the shooting at what was originally supposed to be a light-hearted baseball practice in Alexandria, VA on June 14. James T. Hodgkinson, a 66-year-old home inspection business owner from Belleville, IL, who was disappointed with the 2016 Presidential election results, opened fire on GOP lawmakers practicing for a charity event and wounded many, including House Majority Leader Steve Scalise. Hodgkinson was shot and killed by police officers who President Trump congratulated for their bravery despite their own injuries. The game will go on, but, as the saying goes, there is no I in "TEAM." Despite our disagreements, and there are many, we are the UNITED States of America, and an attack on one of us is an attack on all of us. Our best wishes for a speedy recovery go out to those in hospital, and our condolences go out to the families of those who died.


In times like these, we really need a hero, and while Batman, or at least the best-known portrayer of Batman, is no longer with us, we have a hero in his Justice League team-mate, Diana, princess of Themyscira, or, as she is better known, WONDER WOMAN. The just-released DC/Warner Bros. adaptation of the adventures of the Amazing Amazon (and the first super hero movie directed by a woman, Patty Jenkins), is a welcome departure from what has become the norm. Whereas Batman (in the comics) isn't Batman because he loves being Batman but is Batman because he IS Batman, Diana LOVES being Wonder Woman, champion of the Amazons of Paradise Island, determined to eliminate war from Man's World. (Although THIS man supports kicking ISIS' butt, and I mean the terror group, not the WW knockoff from the 70's, I don't think that's a bad idea!) Gal Gadot, a former Miss Israel and Israeli soldier, continues the tradition Lynda Carter (an advisor to the movie, along with the family of Wondy's creator, Dr. William Moulton Marston and people who have guided her destiny in the comics, including Lively Len Wein and George "Pacesetter" Perez) started on 70's TV by infusing a comic book favorite with humanity, passion, and warmth. Other stellar performers include Connie Nielsen as Hippolyta,Queen of the Amazons and Diana's mother, Robin Wright as Antiope, Diana's trainer and Lyta's top general, and Chris Pine as Steve Trevor, the man whose plane crash-landed on Paradise Island and who introduced Diana to the ways of mortals. This is the rare super hero movie for those who love and hate super hero movies, and Allan Heinberg, a comics fan who has written for both page (Marvel's YOUNG AVENGERS) and screen (GREY'S ANATOMY), gives the original Lady Di the respect she deserves. WONDER if I would pick a sandwich over this WOMAN if I only had a few bucks to my name? AS IF!


...New York Racing Association for a 149th Belmont Stakes that didn't (Triple) Crown a champion or feature any winners from the Kentucky Derby or Preakness Stakes. I picked Irish War Cry (not just because he was the favorite, but because of what Seth Meyers calls HIS favorite Irish war cry: "WHADDYA MEAN YOU'RE OUT OF GUINNESS?!?"), but I'm happy he came in second with Tapwrit coming in first and Patch coming in third. Still looking forward to the Belmont Stars and Stripes Festival on July 9th! (I got a free voucher. Can't beat the price!)


Well, ladies and chaps, that puts the wraps on a VERY jam-packed edition of Ye Olde Blogge, but a few more things before I get out of here...

Happy Father's Day to all the dads we look up to, especially Scott Shannon, Ross Brittain, Todd Pettengill, Joe Nolan, Steve Kingston, Brad Blanks, and those who have departed this mortal coil, such as my maternal Gramps Clinton M. Long, my paternal Gramps Sigmund Eisenpreis, and the man without whom there wouldn't be a Steve's Blog, let alone a Steve, Alfred Eisenpreis, as well as all the dads out there. Stay tuned for a special musical tribute to Dad!

Good luck to my CWPF, Congregation Emanu-El Rabbi Allison Tick-Brill, as she gets ready to join the fam in Chicago. We're keeping the door WIIIIIDE open for you, Ali! Mazels!

Bye, Buckaroos!

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