The Third Annual Adam West Day Festivities in Walla Walla, WA
By Patrick Donovan – Author/Screenwriter
Seattle, WA (The Hollywood Times) 9/10/2019
“William West Anderson (Adam West) became the iconic superhero we’ve all come to know and love. I know I did and remember watching Batman from 1966 after I got home from school at a small 10” B&W TV when there were only 3 TV Channels then. Today, Walla Walla, WA honors that man and his legacy with Adam West Day.”
– Patrick Donovan
About the Day:
Adam West Day was started by two people: Jonathan Grant and Adam Lore got it started as they both connected with each other shortly after the passing of Adam West. Adam Lore put up a petition online to see what kind of interest there was for the possibility of an Adam West statue. Jonathan Grant had the idea of creating a special day in honor of him. From there it took off quickly.
The rest of the commentary was from an interview with Jonathan Grant.
THT: Did Adam ever attend?
JONATHAN: No unfortunately Adam West Day started after his passing. The truth is I actually had the ideal much earlier when Adam was alive. I started to reach out to Adam West but realized his agent had just died so I gave him some time to mourn. I started to reach out to Adam not long after my sister’s death and someone told me that he had just died. At that point I made it my mission to do this no matter what. To show his family and the world how proud we have always been of Adam West of not only his incredible acting career but for the man and what he stood for.
THT: What are your plans for future AWD’s and will you make them bigger?
JONATHAN: People keep telling me to make it a huge event and to make it a huge Comi-con, etc. I don’t want Adam West Day to become that. I think Adam West Day should be all about Adam and should be an intimate experience for the dedicated fan who appreciated the man behind the mask. Adam was so much more than just Batman. He has this amazing career spanning well over 50+ years in TV, FILM, STAGE AND RADIO. For the lucky few that had the honor to meet this incredible man, they understand, as I do, that he was truly the most gracious, kind hearted man you would ever meet. That is why we are celebrating Adam West Day. I always liked Batman, but after meeting Adam in person, he became my hero. The man himself…not batman.
THT: The virtual thing was fantastic and I believe was a great way to meet and greet, save money for the event. Do you believe, however that medium detracts from the “live” panels like with a Star Trek Convention?
JONATHAN: I think having the staples like the Adam West museum, Adam West Documentary, The Batmobile, etc. I would like to get more people involved from other projects Adam was in like Family guy, The Detectives, Lookwell, etc. Seth MacFarlane from The Family guy would be awesome. Ralph Garman was a personal friend of Adam’s and colleague on The Family guy. He was here in WW for the first celebration and even did a live virtual appearance for us this year. He is always amazing to talk with because he and I share the same feeling that Adam was so much more than just Batman. Our big goal is to have an Adam West statue sometime in the next couple years. We just submitted our application to the Arts committee and they will be voting on their recommendation to the City Council this October. Once the City Council approves the idea then we will open up our fundraising efforts. The statue will be of Adam West the man.
THT: How did the rest of the events go on Saturday night and Sunday?
JONATHAN: The events were phenomenal. It is an amazing feeling because everyone is there to honor our hometown hero and bright knight. You can feel the love in the room. Saturday night we had a great turn out for the Bat signal on the side of The Marcus Whitman Hotel. On Sunday I really enjoyed watching a phenomenal presentation by David Goehner. He put on this detailed presentation on not only Adam but great detail into the Batman Tv Show. He travels the state presenting and I would highly recommend you to go to his detailed presentation. Of course it was a blast to watch the 1966 feature film, “Batman” on the big screen.
THT: Tell me how you met Clint Young, Johnny Green, Ralph Garman and Ruben Procorpio?
JONATHAN: I actually met Clint Young at a private event here in Walla Walla a number of years ago. The hosts hired Clint to bring his Batmobile and I was in awe from that very first moment. I met Johnny Green for the first time last year from the suggestion of Clint Young. Both Clint and Johnny are friends. I had the pleasure of meeting Ralph Garman during the first annual AW day when he traveled with Adam’s family. I met Ruben when he reached out to us wanting to sculpt the statue two years ago during the first annual AW Day. I consider them all good friends and great supporters in what I am doing. They all love and admire Adam West.
THT: Tell me about the historic Marcus Whitman Hotel and Convention Center and why did you choose that for the event?
JONATHAN: I actually have been the front office manager for the Marcus Whitman Hotel for the last 9 years. It is the tallest building in the city so it seemed like a natural fit to display the bat signal. The hotel also has ample conference center space and is close to downtown so I definitely make the hotel a big part of the celebration year after year.
THT: What is the FB page and other ways for fans to interact with AWD?
JONATHAN: Go to www.adamwestday.com. That is the best way to communicate with me and the future plans for AWD and updates for the statue. Fans should definitely go to www.adamwest.com which is the official site run by his amazing and wonderful family. The thanks goes to them for their loving support and allowing me to carry on Adam’s legacy in Walla Walla.
About Adam West (William West Anderson) from the bio on www.adamwest.com
Adam West was a true American icon. From his humble beginnings on a wheat farm in Walla Walla, Washington, Adam skyrocketed to fame in Hollywood, pursuing an extraordinary career in entertainment that has spanned half a century. His role as Batman in the classic television series and feature of the same name continues to be seen throughout the world more than fifty years after its debut. While Batman, and his alter ego, Bruce Wayne, remains his signature role, Adam has a multitude of motion picture, theater, and TV credits to his name.
He made nearly 50 movies, including starring or co-starring roles in Drop Dead Gorgeous, The New Age, The Young Philadelphians, An American Vampire Story, Soldier in the Rain, Robinson Crusoe on Mars, and Nevada Smith. He has had starring roles in several TV series other than Batman, including The Detectives, The Last Precinct, and The Clinic. He made countless other TV appearances, including on Big Bang Theory, 30 Rock, Powerless, The Tonight Show and Conan. His theater credits include Volpone at the Mark Taper Forum at the Los Angeles Music Center.
In Adam West’s words, “Sometimes, when I think about my career over the past many years, it is hard to remember all of it. Of course, Batman has been an important part of it, and recently, Family Guy. Thanks to your loyalty, both shows have become an enormous success, and Batman has become iconic all over the world. You have no idea how much I appreciate this. We worked hard to make the Caped Crusader innovative, fun and fresh. The colorful characters were brought to life by some great and amazing guest stars. The same thing is happening with Family Guy. When I think of the other TV series, the TV pilots and all those years of movies and stage work I have done, they fade a bit from memory. But I am able to continue my work because of the enormous and positive reaction you’ve given to batman and Family Guy. Thank you.”
Adam West was a devoted and loving family man. He was married to his wife Marcelle West for over 46 years and was father to six children, grandfather to five and great-grandfather to two. He resided in his beloved Ketchum, Idaho until his passing on June 9th, 2017 after a battle with Leukemia. His positive legacy as The Bright Knight continues to shine through the impact he made both personally as well as through his prodigious body of work.
What a day this was! I had the distinct privilege of going to Walla Walla, WA for the first time and what a gorgeous place. It’s the home of Washington State’s wine country. Adam West was born William (Billy) West Anderson and was raised in Walla Walla. He is revered and admired as Batman and a wonderful, honorable and true “superhero” in his own right.
I first met Kathy Rossi, Luz Medrano, Ralph Rider and his son Roy Rider. They were in a mini version of the Batmobile (a three wheeler Polaris). Luz and Kathy were dressed as Robin and Roy (the Sausage King) was Batman. His son Roy, who resembles Hulk Hogan, was there wearing a Harley Davidson t-shirt. (See pictures)
Then I went over to the park bench where the Batmobile and Batcopter would be and met “The Hatman.” Tommy Laver has been doing this for over 7 years. He’s known in the town and well respected. Check him out on his facebook page. http://facebook.com/wallawallahatman.
Then I met Chuck and his daughter, Hope, who had a camera just like mine. She’s a student journalist and I happened to have an extra “Bat Press Pass” so, in trying to make a difference in someone’s life, I gave that to Hope which totally changed her life. She was so happy and took more pics for this story. Later on, you’ll see that she asked a cool question of Burt Ward which the story he told was totally unbelievable. Her father and Hope thanked me and like Brannon Braga wrote in Star Trek: Generations, “You can make a difference…”, which influenced me in my life, I hope that I pointed her in a new direction so they can make a difference.
Finally, I had the pleasure of meeting Clint and Teresa Cluzel celebrating their 38th year of marriage on Adam West day. See them standing with Clint Young (Batman) in front of the Batmobile. Congratulations!
MARCUS WHITMAN American Missionary
Also, there’s a history of Walla Walla that I didn’t know about. The Marcus Whitman Hotel was named for Marcus Whitman an American Missionary (born September 4, 1802, Rushville, New York, U.S.—died November 29, 1847, Waiilatpu, Oregon Territory [now in Washington, U.S.]), American physician, Congregational missionary to the Indians in the territories of present-day Washington and Oregon, and a pioneer who helped open the Pacific Northwest to settlement.
In 1836 Whitman founded a mission among the Cayuse Indians at Waiilatpu, 6 miles (10 km) west of present-day Walla Walla. The Spaldings established a mission among the Nez Percé at Lapwai, Idaho, 125 miles (200 km) northeast of Waiilatpu. The men helped the Indians build houses, till their fields, and irrigate their crops. They also taught them how to erect mills for grinding corn and wheat. The wives established mission schools. Progress was slow, however, and the board in 1842 decided to abandon its missions at Waiilatpu and Lapwai and concentrate on those in what is now the area of Spokane, Washington.
This was the site of a bloody massacre that was due to fact that the White Man (who grew an immunity to Measles) brought it to the Cayuse Indians. They saw it as he was practicing sorcery as the white children recovered and many of the Indians didn’t. Learn more about Marcus Whitman.
JOHHNY GREEN & and Greenmen
I then met Johnny Green (Johnny Green & the Greenmen, four time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, bandleader and singer in the Batman episode when the Joker and Batman were surfing) and Clint Young (Batman and the owner of the Batmobile). Johnny’s father is well known in the industry. https://www.facebook.com/johnnygreenandthegreenmen/
Johnny has toured over 100 countries, played for the President and First Lady of the United States, toured with the Rolling Stones and the Beatles, parlayed on the TV Series Batman and is a top attraction in Las Vegas.
“The life of Johnny Green is the stuff that epic movies are made of,” as noted in an article by Robert Martin. “With a career that spans four decades, the musicians and artists that Johnny has worked with forms a ‘Who’s Who’ of popular music. Johnny taught Gene Simmons from Kiss to breathe fire, toured with Bob Hope in Vietnam, and played at the 25th anniversary of Woodstock.” In 2003, Johnny Green received a Life Time Achievement Award from the Rock Country Hall of Fame. Johnny Green & the Greenmen are a band audiences love. (This information was pulled directly from: http://www.martyconnentertainment.com/band_JohnnyGreen.htm)
Johnny recalls how he got involved with Batman. Johnny is a flame-eating green haired entertainment machine who found that fire-eating was the least interesting thing about him. He co-wrote the Batman theme in the 60’s and the ending part with the chorus singing Da na na na Batman, was all his idea. Neil Hefti and the Billie Mays Orchestra performed the theme for the show. The episode with him and his Greenmen on the beach where the Joker and Batman were in a surfing contest, filmed at Torin Beach, CA, was one of the best in the entire run of the series.
Johnny performs a lot of tours and promos which helps makes the youngsters of today and older folks, like me, be more aware of Adam West’s heritage in Walla Walla, Washington.
Johnny was once given $5000.00 and a plane ticket for him and his band giving up a slot at the infamous Woodstock, NY to be the personal band for the Shah of Iran. Here’s how it was reported in the Bismark Tribune by Tony Spilde. “I was the Shah of Iran’s personal musician for 18 months,” Green said. It’s true. In 1969, Green gave up a slot at Woodstock to head to Paris. Shah Reza Pahlavi’s brother saw the band and approached them with $5,000 and a plane ticket to Iran. Also, I give credit for the above paragraph to Tony for the information about Johnny. Click to read the entire story of Johnny Green.
There was a virtual interview with Ralph Garman. Ralph has been a fixture and a star on Los Angeles radio for almost two decades. For over 18 years, Ralph reached over one million listeners a day on the highly-rated KEVIN AND BEAN SHOW on the World Famous KROQ-FM. Serving as the show’s resident pop culture expert, celebrity impersonator and character voice actor, his entertainment news report THE SHOWBIZ BEAT was a highlight of the program.
In November 2017, Ralph was unexpectedly removed from the LA air waves. Long-time listeners took to social media to express their shock and outrage. It was clear. The fans wanted -they needed – Ralph. Thus, THE RALPH REPORT debuted in January 2018.
THE RALPH REPORT is a daily podcast that showcases Ralph’s unique comic take of news, current events, and the world of entertainment. All the elements Ralph’s fans love from the radio; impressions, characters and his biting, sarcastic wit, will return, plus sit-down interviews with his personal celebrity friends. Joining Ralph on his new show are Seth MacFarlane, Jimmy Kimmel, Dave Grohl, Patton Oswalt, Eric Stonestreet (MODERN FAMILY), Chris Harrison (THE BACHELOR) and many, many more. (The aforementioned information was pulled directly from: https://theralphreport.com/about.)
Ralph is a personal friend of Adam. He met Adam at 11 years old at a signing. Years later, the two would meet on the set of Family Guy. The worked together on projects during the last decade of Adam’s life.
He recalls that Adam was a goofball and had a big personality. Ralph does a great impression of Adam and recalled a story when he was asked to do it with Adam at dinner with friends. Adam, being the goofball he was, just absolutely loved it and simply ran with it. Ralph revealed he’s in the new Jay and Silent Bob reboot movie coming out by Legion M.
Ralph recalls the most memorable moment with Adam was when the were premiering the Adam West Documentary. After the screening they went back to the hotel and the discussion was about Adam as a man. Batman didn’t come up once in that discussion.
We also met, virtually, from the Warner Bros lot, in front of the old Batman set, Ruben Procorpio. Rubén Procopio (born November 21, 1961) is an American animation and comic book artist, animator and sculptor. Long affiliated with Walt Disney Feature Animation as an animator and sculptor, Rubén is credited with restoring the maquette process to feature animation film production in the early 1980s. He is the founder of Masked Avenger Studios, whose clients include Walt Disney Studios, Warner Bros. Studios, New Line Cinema, Cartoon Network, Electric Tiki and DC Comics. He is known for his versatile sculpting and illustration style in both cartoony and realistic characters, with an emphasis on Disney characters, superheroes, and the masked heroes of yesteryear. (This was taken directly from Wikipedia)
Ruben has been commissioned to make the sculpture of Adam West that will be digitally done and made to be over nine feet tall. This statue will either be in Walla Walla or at the West family farm in Prescott Washington and Ruben will be making the statue in conjunction with the Mark Anderson Foundry in Walla Walla.
OF NOTE: A maquette is used to visualize and test forms and ideas without incurring the expense and effort of producing a full-scale piece. It is the analogue of the painter’s cartoon, modello, oil sketch, or drawn sketch.
Ruben plans to do a nine foot tall statue with the base digitally created and completely cast in resin. Ruben met Adam when he was 18 years old and they quickly became friends. When Ruben’s parents came to America, the first show they saw on TV was “Batman.” Adam called Ruben his “Personal Sculptor” because he created Adam’s bust. What Adam West day means to Ruben is something really special because of Adam’s Lore along Jonathan Grant who circulated a petition for an Adam West statue and it became a hit! Ruben is working on Space Jam 2 and a special note: Clint Young rushed to make props for that upcoming film as well as tons of other films.
STUDENT JOURNALIST: Stormy Hope (Yes, that’s her real name)
Stormy Hope and her father Chuck joined us as I extended our press coverage through Jonathan Grant giving this student photo-journalist an exciting and memorable day she never expected. Be sure to see her pictures at the links below in the fantastic 80+ picture gallery with videos and interviews. This is in Stormy’s own words.
Adam West day was an amazing experience! We started off by listening to a speech about everything that would happen over the next two days. Soon after, the Batmobile and Batcopter arrived as everyone swarmed the vehicles without hesitation. I was able to get multiple pictures with Batman (Clint Young a double for Adam West) and fans alike. About an hour later we walked to the Marcus Whitman Hotel. It was beautiful! We entered into the giant ballroom where they had a costume contest for the kids, speeches by Johnny Green, Clint Young and Jonathan Grant (the host). Then, as if on cue, the Batphone rang! We had multiple conversations with famous people from the original Batman TV Series including Robin himself, Burt Ward, who I was able to interview! All in all, it was an amazing day for me.
Clint Young was the man who owns the Batmobile that appeared at the even on Saturday, September 21st and 22nd, 2019. His Batmobile was jumped by Robbie Knievel and signed the dashboard of his car. He’s been doing this for over 30 years and feels that he was destined to “be” Batman and thoroughly enjoys what he does. He makes replicas, props and performs, as Batman at events around the country.
Adam West once said about Clint while Adam was watching him from a vehicle behind the Batmobile to a the driver, “Clint is the best Adam West impersonator and it’s like watching myself back in the 60’s.”
Clint recalls that the show premiered on his birthday when he turned four. He felt it was a sign for the next 30 years. Sign number two cam when he was present at the dedication for Adam West Way in Walla Walla. The cross street is Clinton which is Clint’s full name.
Evil Knievel paid Clint $3000.00 to drive him in a parade 1 year before he died. Clint’s the only owner of any Batmobile around that has both autographs of Evil Knievel and Adam West on the dashboard. I asked Clint, does his Batmobile really shoot fire? He said that his Batmobile is an EXACT replica of the original Lincoln Futura. That was a pretty cool car, actually.
THE KIRKMAN HOUSE MUSEUM:
In Walla Walla, there’s a place called, The Kirkman House. It has the only Batman memorabilia that even Hollywood doesn’t have. I visited it and was amazed at what I saw. You enter a small room and see the bust of Shakespeare. The woman in the room tilts the head back, presses the button the bookcase slides open to the left revealing the Batpoles to the Batcave, each having “Bruce” and “Dick” at the top of the poles. You can step in an take pictures.
Then, on the desk, you see the real Batphone. She pushes the button and it lights up. See the video of the Adam West Exhibit at the Kirkman House Museum.
Student Journalist Credit: Stormy Hope
Clint Young Productions: http://www.cyproductions.com/clint.htm
Johnny Green and the Greenmen: http://www.martyconnentertainment.com/band_JohnnyGreen.htm
Photo Credits: Patrick Donovan/The Hollywood Times – © 2019 All Rights Reserved
Student Journalist Credit: Stormy Hope
Clint Young Productions: http://www.cyproductions.com/clint.htm
Johnny Green and the Greenmen: http://www.martyconnentertainment.com/band_JohnnyGreen.htm
Link to the Photo Journal Gallery and Videos: http://adamwestday.webparity.net/
Photo Credits: Patrick Donovan/The Hollywood Times and Stormy Hope, Student Journalist – © 2019 All Rights Reserved