"HOLY NOSTALGIA, Batman!"
WHO DOESN'T remember the fun and frolic of the 1966 "Batman" series, starring Adam West (still working steadily on "Family Guy") and Burt Ward as Robin?
"Batman" with it cartoonish visuals and sound effects -- not to mention the likes of guest stars such as Julie Newmar and Eartha Kitt (Catwoman), Liberace as "Fingers" Cesar Romero as "The Joker" and Tallulah Bankhead as "Black Widow" -- was fun for kids and adults. It spoofed the pop culture of the time, while heartily embracing it. Interestingly, the show had no laugh track. A rare omission even these days.
Now, so many years later, Warner Bros., which owns the Batman franchise, has launched a marketing campaign based on the old series -- action figures in the likeness of West, Ward and various guests, as well as a "Batman '66" comic book. The entire series is also, finally, being put on crisp, re-mastered DVD.
Also in the works, a "Batman" feature film that will hark back to the fun of the series, as an antidote to the much darker world offered by many of the other big-screen efforts. Batman, aka Bruce Wayne, is a tortured soul, but there's tortured and then there's "Come on, snap out of it!"
At this point, it is almost impossible to remember just how many "Batmen" there have been since Adam West, and how many reboots of the franchise. Let's see -- Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, George Clooney, Christian Bale and Ben Affleck (a highly controversial choice in the coming untitled Superman/Batman movie.) And there were also several little-known actors who played Batman in movie serials -- Lewis G. Wilson and Robert Lowery.
I guess it's time to bring back some mindless fun to the legend of "Batman" -- I for one couldn't stand the super-deep voice used by Christian Bale as soon as he donned the Bat cape and cowl.
BIG MUSIC noise on the West Coast is the pop/soul singers David and Devine (Dave Yaden and Candace Devine.) They have been generating buzz on YouTube and via their club appearances. (Candace was once a backup singer for Christina Aguilera.)
More buzz has come as the duo attract stellar fans. The fabulous Pink caught them at The Mint Club in L.A. last week. Bette Midler and Gwyneth Paltrow have also enjoyed their show, as has "Glee" cast member Darren Criss.
Candace's signature "anthem" is a little thing called "Treat Me Like a Lady, But Love Me Like a Man." Can't go wrong with a song that tells you exactly what a woman wants! (Maria Muldaur's rendition of Henry Glover's "It Ain't the Meat (It's the Motion)" also comes to mind.)
MORE MUSIC Notes: Talented Roslyn Kind returns to her solo cabaret career on April 6 and April 20 at the wonderful 54 Below supper club.
Rosyln, who really does have a killer voice, has recently been touring the U.S., Canada, Europe and Israel with her nephew, Jason Gould, and her sister -- some woman named Barbra Streisand. Roslyn was a big deal back in the heyday of nightclubs in Manhattan, but it has been 20 years since her last stint in that arena. Call 646-476-3551 for ticket info.
ALSO: Broadway's acclaimed "A Night with Janis Joplin" moves from the Lyceum Theatre to the more intimate Gramercy on East 23rd Street. Mary Bridget Davies will reprise her role as Janis, and many of the original members of the Broadway production return as well, including the "Joplinaires." These are fabulous females who sing in the style of various Joplin contemporaries or influences -- icons such as Aretha Franklin, Nina Simone, Odetta and Bessie Smith.
Opening night for this powerful show is April 10. Go to http://www.anightwithjanisjoplin.com for info.
"DEVOID OF sensationalism." That's what the press release for "Icon: The Life, Times and Films of Marilyn Monroe" insists. I know -- you thought that once the 50th anniversary of Monroe's death passed, it would all be over, this obsession. Nope!
Author Gary Vitacco-Robles says he "reframes and re-designs" Marilyn through an analysis of "her psyche" and appreciation of her work.
I'm always willing to give these books a chance, but I must say it was a bad day for the living Monroe when she fell into analysis, especially the Freudian concept, which she admired. If there was ever a public person who did not need to "look inward" and explore her past, it was Marilyn! (Her acting coach, Lee Strasberg, encouraged this, insisting that only through knowing herself, could she become a better actress. She was actually pretty fine when they met, and the world's biggest movie star. Analysis and "the Method" seemed only to weaken her and encourage her lack of discipline.) Analysis of the dead star seems kind of pointless, as she is a touchstone for every kind of interpretation/theory -- positive or negative.
The author promises "You thought you knew her ... but never before like this."
Actually, I don't think anyone ever really knew or understood her. Or even thought they did. But we shall see what "Icon" brings to the table, now crowded with 600 Monroe biographies!
OOOPS! Yesterday's column gave Queen Victoria eight children. In fact, she had nine. But who's counting? (My readers, apparently!)
(E-mail Liz Smith at MES3838@aol.com.)
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