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Even if we’re only counting live action movies, no less than eight actors have portrayed Batman on film. That’s not even counting people like Will Arnett who voiced the character in the Lego movies, or David Mazouz as a young Bruce Wayne in the Gotham television series.
So maybe we can forgive a Hollywood Reporter poll that doesn’t list every man to have played the caped crusader. Sure, Lewis G. Wilson might have been the first big screen Batman, but his turn in The Electric Brain probably wouldn’t have fared well against heavy hitters like Christian Bale and Michael Keaton.
But there was a much more glaring omission, one that fans found far less forgivable. Only five actors were listed in the poll, and while it’s not surprising that Bale and Keaton were practically tied for the top spot, Adam West didn’t even make the list.
In 1966, West played the title role in the first ever feature-length Batman film—as well as the first one in color. It was based on the iconic and intentionally campy Batman television series that aired from 1966-1968. The series gave us things like the “BIF! POW!” graphics during fight scenes and Robin’s well known “Holy ___ Batman!” quotes.
The movie itself was a true work of genius, and if you haven’t seen West running around with a giant bomb over his head, it’s really worth two and a half minutes of your time.
West not only played Batman in the series and movie; he also voiced the character for cartoons like The New Adventures Of Batman, The Super Friends, and Scooby Doo, and more recently, the full-length animated features Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders and Batman vs. Two-Face. West died in 2017 having portrayed Batman more than any actor ever has, or probably ever will.
So you can see why fans were a tad upset that he didn’t make it into a poll titled “America’s Favorite Batman Actor”.
What the absolute fuckery is this? There is ONLY ONE BATMAN. pic.twitter.com/ykAktZ4Eef— John Player (@JohnPlayerNo6) June 18, 2019
He wasn’t the first, but he is the best.— Chris Royster (@CartoonChris) June 19, 2019
It was. It was released so that audiences could see the colours, most TV outside of America was still black and white then. It's cinema release was worldwide including domestic.— Matthew Brain (@SaurPoints) June 18, 2019
If you’re curious, Morning Consultant, the company who created the poll for the Hollywood Reporter, posted a more detailed poll which included people’s favorite Jokers and Catwomen and broke the numbers into all respondents and those between the ages of 18 and 29.
Holy Net Favorability, Batman! Christian Bale and Michael Keaton are the most popular caped crusaders, according to new Morning Consult & @THR polling. @sarahshevenock's story: https://t.co/8ZD0lKJgzG pic.twitter.com/ZQ7ASCCdzs— Morning Consult (@MorningConsult) June 18, 2019
To add insult to injury, they entitled the poll “Holy Net Favorability Batman!”, a reference to a show whose star they didn’t even bother to mention.
What a dastardly deed.
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David Britton is a writer and comedian based in Rhinebeck, New York who focuses on internet culture, memes, and viral news stories. He also writes for the Hard Times and is the creator of StoriesAboutWizards.com.