Holy cake and candles, it's Batman's birthday! And for you kids out there, we don't mean Ben Affleck, or even Christian Bale. We're talking the campiest, most self-aware, best-voiced Batman of them all, Mister Adam West, of the 1966-1968 "Batman" TV series.
West turns 86 Friday, and he's stayed busy, using that incredible voice of his (surely one of Hollywood's 10 best) in numerous roles, including an alternate-universe version of himself on "Family Guy."
He wrote in his autobiography that he was offered the role of James Bond in 1970, and while he didn't accept (Sean Connery was persuaded to return to the role), the elements that made Bond such a hit are present in West's portrayal of Batman/Bruce Wayne. He's suave and classy, looks dynamite in a tuxedo, charms the ladies, and knows his way around both a dance floor and the controls of a helicopter (sorry — that's "Batcopter").
West's Batman had those James Bond elements because West himself had them. His costume may have been less than sleek and the lines he had to utter campy to the max, but to misquote a Bond theme song, nobody could've done it better.
Happy Bat-birthday, Adam West.
Gael Fashingbauer Cooper is the author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops?" and "The Totally Sweet '90s." Follow her on Google+.