Adam West Wants a Beard
  Matthew Walsh

Ceasar Romero had a moustache, so why couldn’t I have a beard? We always filmed Batman from October to February, the coldest and cruelest months for an actor’s face. The bat mask covered most of it anyway. I just didn’t understand it. It made no sense, and Julie loved beards, the poor girl, no one knew how much. Even trace amounts of stubble had to be removed, and Julie would spend hours crying while she shaved away my shadow.

“I know you’re face the best, Adam,” Julie would say, with a cigarette hanging from her mouth. We’d fuck in her spaceman chair she kept in her dressing room and then hit the set. Later on, at dinner with Burgess we’d eat oysters and crusty bread and go back to her place in Malibu if we had a few days off from filming. It was in these moments I would let my beard germinate. She would rub her face against the sandpaper of my face, and then we’d have cream and scones on the balcony. She would light a cigarette, and over coffee she would say that Batman could have a beard, why not? He could be a more masculine role model for the flaky sixties kids with their long hair and flower power.

“Burgess is right,” Julie would say, “the world’s going to shit.”

When we were done filming, Julie would go to Norway to get away from the city. She had a family no one knew about. I went to vacation at my cottage in Aruba that I had bought from the producer of the show years ago, but never used. It was so frustrating that we would have summers off, when it wasn’t exactly beard weather and when I wanted to finally use my cottage. I let the fucking thing grow, and when my time there was over I would shave it all off and send the discards to Norway, for Julie, who requested they be sent to her directly.

In the third season, there is one scene where I have a slight five o’clock shadow, and in the next scene my face is as smooth as a baby. The scene with the shadow we couldn’t reshoot, because Zsa Zsa couldn’t reshoot her scene. I had a fight with the producers, not only because they wanted the reshoot, but because that was our last show. We got cancelled, and it was funny as hell to me that an evil hairdresser was my Batman’s last fight. Zsa Zsa sent me a wire about it later, laughing because she knew how much I fought for that fucking beard. At least I could have the beard now, darling, she said.

I hardly ever watch those shows, and I lost touch with everyone except for Burt, who still came down to Malibu for old times’ sake. He could never get used to the beard.

“I miss the old Adam,” Burt would say, lying on his back on the beach, his martini getting warm beside him. He was never much of a drinker.

“I miss the old Dick,” I would say. Sometimes he’d come up with those old Dick Grayson/Robin zingers from the show, when I was cooking or when we were playing Parcheesi with the next-door neighbours. He always managed to clean up, and the neighbours, unlike me, loved how sassy he could be. I put up with it because Burt was actually a very sweet man, and over the years had become a good companion on and off the set.

I eventually ended up staying in Aruba most winters, because when you get older the cold weather isn’t exactly kind to you. I got wires from Burt, who rented a cabin in the Yukon most of the year, saying he was working on revamping the Batman we all worked so hard to create, and he would send photos of old stills of me from the show, with a little beard drawn on them.

When I started landing more voice work in the States, I started taking advantage of being away from the camera, and grew my beard out. It turned out to be less than charming, more of a scraggly goat-beard after all. I had been expecting a lumberjack beard, like my father’s, but it wasn’t meant to be. I was more like my mother than I knew. I suppose Julie sensed that all along.

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