Los Angeles may not have doubled for Gotham City since the classic Batman television series that premiered in 1966, but in honor of that classic Batman, the Bat-signal again saw a display at Los Angeles City Hall as the second-largest city in the United States paid tribute to the late Caped Crusader himself, Adam West.
West passed away earlier this week after a battle with leukemia.
"We don't gather on these steps very often at night," Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti told a crowd of thousands that gathered in downtown Los Angeles, many of whom were wearing Batman-related imagery, "but when we do, it is for a solemn and holy purpose. Tonight, we're going to light up your City Hall for own bright knight, the legendary Adam West."
Garcetti was joined by Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck and several notable guests who came to remember the iconic actor. West's family, including his wife, children, and grandchildren were present, as were DC Entertainment's Diane Nelson and Jim Lee.
KROQ-FM's Ralph Garman, who was present when Adam West was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2012, was also in attendance, as were two of West's Batman co-stars: Burt Ward, who played trusty sidekick Robin throughout the entire series; and Lee Meriwether, who was the second actress to purr-tray Catwoman when she starred in the 1966 Batman feature -- which can currently be seen on Netflix.
"Like you, we all spent many hours in front of the TV, the same Bat-time, the same Bat-channel," Garcetti said when praising West. "There are a lot of people that have been Batman - Michael Keaton, George Clooney, Christian Bale, Ben Affleck - they've all had their time in the cape and the cowl, but did anyone have more fun than Adam West?"
Garcetti described West as family man whose generosity "made us proud to be Angelenos."
"He supported so many causes, including Camp Rainbow Gold, allowing kids with cancer to spend a spirit-lifting week in nature," Mayor Garcetti explained. "He did that because he understood something we should never, ever forget - you don't have to wear a cape, you don't have to be a movie star, you don't have to wear a badge or get elected Mayor to make a difference and to be a hero. Adam West taught us that each one of us had a heart of gold, and that we could have a fun time doing it, too, and there will never be a Batman like Adam West, and there will never be another Adam West."
Garcetti then passed the microphone to Police Chief Charlie Beck, who explained that there were many times in his job that he wished he could turn on the Bat-signal. "At least once a week, something happens in the second biggest city in America here, where we need a little help, and normally, I'd turn to you. I'd turn to the people of Los Angeles, but today, with our Mayor, we get to turn to the Caped Crusader. I cannot say how exciting that is to me."
Before the light was turned on, and introducing himself to the crowd with a "wowie-zowie," Bruce Wayne's favorite chum told the crowd that he realized that 75% of his life had been spent working with Adam West, adding that the actor was "a great family man, a wonderful husband, a wonderful father to his kids... [and] he loved humanity, and he loved his fans."
"We don't have him here physically, but let me tell ya, I think we've got him here spiritually," Ward continued. "And I would tell you what he would be saying to every one of you if he were here: He would tell you that we're all on this planet for such a very short period of time. But make the most of every day you're here. Be with your family. Be with your friends. Be kind to people. It's such a difficult life - it's not just fighting villains like we do - life is difficult, but I'm not hear to preach to you. I'm here to tell you that my friend Adam would want every single one of you to be incredibly happy, and to be joyous, because he spent his entire life as a performer making people happy, making them laugh, and trying to make this world a better place."
Following these kind words, the Bat-signal was displayed on the side of Los Angeles City Hall, in memory of a man whose work meant so much to so many people.