Friday, May 20, 2005

The Last Laugh

Could this week possibly suck more??

On top of my ongoing work travails comes something far more grave and depressing. Frank Gorshin, the one and ONLY Riddler, has died at the age of 72. But first, a little AKA history lesson.

By all accounts, I was a very placid and peaceful baby. Hardly ever cried, always smiling, never shouting. However, according to my Mum, once a week I would freak out. My younger self, despite having absolutely no concept of time, always, always, always instinctively knew when Batman was coming on TV. (And, I know it goes without saying, but I mean the Adam West / Burt Ward pop classic). Undoubtedly, they must have been reruns by this point. I was far too young to have seen them the first time round

Barely one year old, I would spend the entire morning bouncing around the house going, “Nana nana nana nana, nana nana nana nana, BATMAN!”, driving everyone nuts. And once the show came on, I would sit in complete and utter silence, in an almost trancelike state, gazing at the TV in wonder and awe. The show was a revelation to me. It was my first Favourite Show Ever.

And so, to me, Batman can never be Michael Keaton or Christian Bale. He’s always Adam West. And he’s not a Dark Knight or a vengeful borderline psychotic. He’s Gotham City’s Caped Crusader, living with his young ward Dick Grayson and his unflappable butler Alfred, with that cool red phone patching him directly through to Commissioner Gordon, and that kickass car!

And Jack Nicholson is not the Joker. The phenomenal Cesar Romero holds the undisputed title as the Clown Prince of Crime. And, of course, Jim Carrey is not the Riddler…

Frank Gorshin was amazing. That incredible cackling laugh. That wiry, manic physical presence and boundless energy. A frenzied emerald dervish whirling in a blur of question marks. A voice that could effortlessly slip from playful trickster to chilling menace. It was, and remains, perfection.

Frank’s final screen performance is in Tarantino’s feature-length season finale of CSI airing in the UK in a couple of months. I was looking forward to it anyway, but now it’s become unmissable.

And I’ve just ordered the 1966 feature-length Batman movie on DVD, so I can reclaim that part of me that remembers how to sit in wonder and awe, hypnotised by the blisterlingly bright primary colours of the heroes and villains of Gotham City.

And as for Frank? I can picture him right now: “Hey, St. Peter, riddle me this…”


Bert said...

I too was a happy placid smiling baby until Sunday nights when a Scottish country dancing programme came on the TV and apparently I used to bounce up and down on my bottom with joy to it.
How different are we?

AKA said...

Scary, isn't it?

b antalizing said...

My dad was in a Cesar Romero movie.

AKA said...

Shweet! That is so undeniably COOL!