​Starring Adam West press mentions

Starring Adam West - The Digital Bits

  • Film/Program Grade:B+
  • Video Grade:B
  • Audio Grade:B
  • Extras Grade:N/A


James E. Tooley


2013 (December 17, 2014)


Chromatic Films


Several months ago, while surfing the program guide on my DirecTV, I came across a film playing on Starz Encore with a name in the title I recognized instantly: Starring Adam West. This was, of course, several months after Warner’s announcement that the 60s Batman TV series was finally coming to Blu-ray, so my interest in anything related to the series was already piqued. But I’d never heard of this particular film before. I’d come to find out later that it was a Kickstarter-funded project, launched back in 2011. But all I knew while channel-surfing on that lazy Sunday afternoon is that I was intrigued. Was this some tongue-in-cheek art film, like Being John Malkovich? Based on the program guide, it was already half over and there wasn’t another showing on the schedule, so I quickly switched channels to check it out. It turned out to be a fairly straightforward documentary about actor Adam West... and it instantly sucked me in.

The basic conceit of Starring Adam West is that it documents the multi-year effort by Batman super-fan Ralph Garman (of KROQ and Family Guy fame), Adam’s daughter Nina, and his manager and friend Fred Westbrook, to get Adam a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. But the true purpose of the film is to document Adam’s life and career – both the highs and the lows – in his own words and in those of the people who know him best, starting from his days growing up on a farm in Walla Walla, Washington, all the way to the present day. His early acting career is covered in detail, along with his time working on Batman, the struggles he faced after the show ended, and the more recent career resurgence that’s happened with Adam now well into his 80s. We hear stories from West himself about his life and experiences – interview footage that’s both honest and charming. We hear from his wife, his children and friends, we hear from Batman co-stars Burt Ward and Lee Meriwether. We even hear from his fans. We also get to see scores of rare and vintage film and video clips, personal photographs, and press clippings. In between these biographical segments, we follow West in the present to various conventions (including San Diego Comic-Con), media interviews, and other appearances, and we see him interacting with his many fans. All of this is cut together in such a way that the two narratives blend perfectly. The film is by turns fascinating, funny, and occasionally even poignant. It takes its time to cover its subject matter, but never seems to drag. I found the film to be completely entertaining.

After watching just half of Starring Adam West, I was convinced that the documentary needed to be included on Warner’s Batman: The Complete Television Series – Limited Edition Blu-ray box set (see my review here at The Bits). Of course, that means it wasn’t. Nevertheless, I was so impressed by the film that I made an effort to contact its director, James Tooley, directly to ask if any kind of home video release was planned. To my surprise, James got back to me very quickly to say that he was still working to make the film available on disc to fans, but that in the meantime he’d be happy to send me a Blu-ray copy. How could I possibly resist? At long last, I was able to see the complete film and I enjoyed it just as much the second time. I told James that I’d be happy to post a review, but I thought we should wait until he’d worked out the details on making the disc available for purchase. So I’m thrilled to be able to share this review with you all now, and to announce that – starting today – you can finally purchase a copy of the documentary for yourself, on either Blu-ray or DVD, from the film’s official website: Starring Adam

To be fair, the Blu-ray version of the release is fairly bare-bones. The film itself runs 84 minutes. It’s presented in 1080p (aspect ratio 1.78:1) and the video is of excellent quality. The audio is English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo, also of good quality. The disc’s menus are basic as can be and the only extra is the film’s trailer in HD. Still, there’s not much more I could want here. This film itself is a bonus as far as I’m concerned. My only real complaint about the disc is that I wish there were captions or English subtitles for those who might need or appreciate them.

Still, I’m thrilled to have Starring Adam West on Blu-ray. Trust me when I say that you’ll learn way more about West’s work on Batman, about his life and career overall – about who he really is as a human being – in this documentary than you will in anything Warner included among their Blu-ray bonus features. If you’re a serious enough fan of Batman to have purchased Warner’s Limited Edition BD box, you really owe it to yourself to get a copy this documentary on BD too and add it to the set. Give Starring Adam West five minutes of your time and I’m betting you’ll be hard-pressed not to watch the whole thing… and that you’ll enjoy it as much as I did. Highly recommended.

- Bill Hunt

Sun Valley Film Fest Day Two


"...In the same venue at 5:30, the labor of love "Starring Adam West" documentary, helmed by James Tooley, Ketchum-born-and-bred filmmaker son-in-law of West, was pure pleasure. There’s the inherent charm of the puckish, witty 84-year-old West, the poignant nature of West’s career – three years of success as Batman, followed by decades of struggling to escape typecasting, and a current renaissance of voice-over work for Seth MacFarlane and adulation from Comicon crowds – and a cleverly intertwined multi-year quest of getting West a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  We expected the Ketchum-dweller to appear onstage afterwards, alongside his beautiful daughter Nina, Tooley, the film’s editor, Matthew Johnston, and cinematographer Blair Madigan, but were told he was home sick, alas.  Tales were told of raising half the film’s budget through Kickstarter, and locking the print just last week.  A distributor will be sought through the film festival circuit – “We’re taking business cards!”

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SVFF: The 'Classic' Batman Stars at the Sun Valley Film Festival

Boise Weekly

"Before there was Christian Bale and before Clooney, Kilmer or Keaton, there was Adam West. The Ketchum resident likes to correct fans when they call him "the original Batman."

"That's the 'classic' Batman,'" he says with smile.

West, 84, has an amazing sense of humor about his days as the Caped Crusader and his wry, often naughty, wit usually catches fans by surprise. But it wasn't always that way. After three years as the bigest television star on the planet in the 1960s, West couldn't get a break. He was shackled to the biggest type-cast in the business.

Starring Adam West, a new documentary which chornicles the Seattle native's life as a Northwest farm boy and mid-20th Century matinee idol, is sweet. It doesn't break any new ground. It doesn't shock or awe. It entertains. And while the film is probably 20 minutes too long—coming in at 100 minutes—it's a must-see for any baby boomer and all of those fans who can't get enough Batman.

Today, West enjoys his Idaho life with his wife and blended family of six children. He has even enjoyed new-found fame as Mayor West on Fox's Family Guy. It turns out that Seth McFarlane is a huge Adam West fan..."

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Sun Valley Film Festival Kicks Off This Weekend

"...James Tooley, a graduate of Sun Valley's Community School, will show his film, "Starring Adam West," which chronicles his effort to get his father-in-law a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Tooley said it's fitting that he will premiere the film in the same theater where he presented his Community School senior project in 1990.

"I had no intention of making a film about my father-in-law, but the more time I spent with him, the more I wanted to document," he said. "Most people know that Adam was incredibly successful in the late ‘60s and early '70s with his iconic portrayal of Batman on the ABC series.

“Fewer people know about his subsequent struggle to break free from that role. He's a man who has had incredible highs and lows both professionally and personally. His story is a fascinating tale of a Hollywood survivor but it 's also much deeper than that."

Programming Director Laura Mehlhaff selected the 60 films that will be shown this year from hundreds of films submitted from 22 countries around the world. Nearly all the films will have filmmakers, directors, writers, producers, actors and even makeup artists on hand to do question and answer sessions with the audiences..."

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Adam West and Burt Ward Thrill Fans at Emerald City Comicon

Cinema Lowdown

"Fans of the original ‘60s Batman TV series gathered in the main hall at the Washington State Convention Center to cheer two of their heroes, Adam West and Burt Ward—the original Batman and Robin. The pair told mostly well-worn stories, but were warmly welcomed by the hundreds of enthusiastic attendees. West and Ward starred in 120 episodes of the classic series between 1966-68 and also the motion picture adaptation in ’66.

West, a recurring voice actor on The Family Guy (as Mayor Adam West), was asked by panel moderator Spike O’Neill (of Seattle radio program The Bob Rivers Show), for an opinion of Seth MacFarlane’s performance as Oscar host. While West acknowledged the many critical notices MacFarlane received, he stated, “Seth did a great job. He pulled back a little, but not much.”

Adam West Burt Ward2 (300x225).jpg

Once O’Neill opened the panel up for audience questions, one burning issue was clearly at the forefront of many fans minds: when will the Batman TV series finally make its official DVD and Blu-ray debut? West played extremely coy, stating “a little bird” informed him that a home video release is, in fact, imminent. He also referenced the signing of a deal with Warner Bros. and Mattel that supposedly will lead to a release of the series in the near future. While the news certainly could’ve been much more definitive, it seems like a step in the right direction. 

West also referenced the upcoming documentary based on his career, Starring Adam West, scheduled to make its world premiere at the Sun Valley Film Festival, March 14-17 in Sun Valley, Idaho. He said that being the subject of a documentary feature “humbled” him."

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Bat Signal Alert

"Why doesn't Adam West have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame? The answer to that question is being explored in a new documentary about West that seeks all Batman and West supporters

West, a Wood River Valley resident, is best known for his role in the original Batman series. The documentary was created by family, friends and fans. The film is intended to draw attention to the fact that even after 50 years of entertaining, West has not yet been honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

The documentary, which captures the two-year campaign to get West this customary honor, is being funded by a fan-generated effort that is prompting contributions from across the country. The documentary will ultimately be used to try to convince the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce to honor West with a star.

West, and his wife Marcelle, moved to Sun Valley in 1986 and have been full-time residents since. He continues to work on projects, including the Fox television show "Family Guy," commuting from Idaho. Marcelle owns the local French gift shop Maison et Cadeaux in Ketchum. The West children, Nina and Perrin, attended Hemingway Elementary School in Ketchum before graduating from the Community School in Sun Valley..."

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