WALLA WALLA — Walla Wallan Dan Minteer is an Adam West fan. The musician even wrote “Adam West Blues,” especially for Adam West Day in fair Gotham City, errr, Walla Walla.
Dan was on hand for the third annual Adam West celebration here Sept. 21-22 and shared a variety of observations about the event.
Really, Walla Wallan Jonathan Grant is creator and instigator of the event that celebrates the city’s own native son, TV and movie star William West Anderson, who went professionally by Adam West before his death June 9, 2017.
Jonathan knew Adam and his family and each year has passionately organized a passel of activities to honor the man who got his acting start on stage at The Little Theatre of Walla Walla, including roles in “The Importance of Being Earnest,” “Laura” and “An Inspector Calls.” Adam’s father, Otto Anderson, founded LTWW around 1944.
This year’s fete in downtown saw many West supporters, friends and families in attendance, including organizing committee members Don Roff and Adam Lore; Adam’s wife Marcelle, city of Walla Walla’s Mayor Barbara Clark and a ribbon cutting by Perrin West, Adam’s youngest son.
Batman impersonator Clint Young pulled up to Land Title Plaza that weekend with his “very cool” replica 1960s Batmobile for the third year in a row, Dan said.
No matter where the Billings, Mont., resident goes in his Bat-guise, he and that sleek Batmobile draw attention, including numerous comic cons and special shows.
“This has been going on for decades so it is no surprise that Clint has personally met and known many celebrities. His Batmobile has been adored by numerous stars as well, including none other than Adam West and Evel Knievel, who have both signed its dashboard,” Dan said.
Evel rode in Clint’s Batmobile during a parade in Butte, Mont., Evel’s hometown. Clint “is a very convincing impersonator of Gene Simmons — from rock group KISS — often mistaken for the real deal. He could pass for Alice Cooper as well,” Dan said.
Fire-eating accomplished musician, actor and entertainer Johnny Green returned to Walla Walla for a second year. Johnny said in a Billings Gazette interview that he helped write the “Batman Theme” song with Billy May and Neal Hefti. To a decidedly surfer-style beat and guitar riff, the lyrics repeat “Batman!” until the end, “Da da da da da da da da da da da da da da da da da — Batman!”
Now of Bismarck, N.D., Johnny appeared in many episodes of the original 1960s Batman TV series as one of the Joker’s henchmen. He’s sported green hair since 1961 and eats fire, including during the past two annual celebrations here.
Johnny, who performs with the Green taught Gene Simmons how to breathe fire. In the music business since the 1950s, Green performs with his band, Johnny Green and the Green Men. He’s toured with The Beatles and The Rolling Stones among others, has played music for the president, at a World’s Fair and for Woodstock’s 25th year anniversary, toured more than 100 countries, including with consummate entertainer Bob Hope, can boast being a top Las Vegas attraction and was tapped into the Iowa Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame.
Calling All Aliens Band members Johnny on bass guitar, Dan on guitar, and Whitman College students Spencer Thulin on keyboard and Noah Dunn on drums, performed the tribute songs, “Adam West Blues” and “ ’60’s Star (a.k.a. Batman).”
Dan observed other super heroes protecting city streets, such as Captain American, Iron Man and Wonder Woman and The Joker was seen creating “havoc’ and kids could climb aboard The Bat Copter.
Kirkman House Museum opened with free admission and featured an expanded, one-of-a-kind Adam West and Batman memorabilia collection. Gesa Power House Theatre showed the “Starring Adam West” movie for free, after first screening a highlight video from the 2018 Adam West Day.
The Bat Signal was lit on the side of The Marcus Whitman Hotel the evening of Sept. 21, under the watchful eye of Walla Walla Police Chief Scott Bieber. Earlier that day Burt Ward, who played Robin to Adam’s Batman was interviewed via video conference during the question and answer celebrity panel. A costume contest and many weird and wonderful photo opportunities prevailed, Dan said.
On Sept. 22, Clint Young and Johnny Green were at a meet and greet; director David Goehner talked about his film and screened “Holy Television Phenomenon: Adam West and the Story of the Batman TV Series,” viewers could watch a screening of 1966 “Batman: The Movie,” and funds were raised for an Adam West statue.
The official Adam West Day Walla Walla 2019 music video has just been completed, with candid clips of Jonathan, the West family, Young/Batman, Green and the Calling All Aliens Band, Don Roff (Joker), guest superheroes, the Batmobile, Bat Copter and the many West and Batman fans.
The video credits feature vintage West pictures from high school and college and lists Adam West Day sponsors. Find this video on YouTube at ubne.ws/32lFuif or search for Adam West Day Walla Walla to find highlight videos from 2017, 2018 and 2019 by Dan and Deborah Minteer.