Adam West Scared Robin Actor Burt Ward To Death With The Batmobile

Forget the DeLorean time machine from "Back to the Future" and the Aston Martins from the James Bond films. The real on-screen car MVP is the original Batmobile from the 1960s "Batman" TV series. It's one of the most iconic rides in entertainment history, with its giant fins, Bat motif, and curved windshield. 

The Batmobile first appeared in the comics in 1939's "Detective Comics" #27 and made the jump to live action in the 1943 serial film "Batman," and 1949 serial "Batman and Robin." For the TV series, George Barris designed the car from a one-off 1955 Lincoln Futura concept car, with some input from Eddie Graves from 20th Century Fox. It was an integral part of the series, which ran for 120 episodes over three seasons from 1966 to 1968. 

The "Batman" series starred Adam West as Bruce Wayne/Batman, and Burt Ward as Dick Grayson/Robin and the two were often shown leaving through the hidden entrance of the Batcave. Batman was always driving, of course, with Robin in the passenger seat. According to an interview West did with Moviefone in 2017, shortly before his passing, the Caped Crusader actor joked about freaking out anyone who drove in there with him, particularly Ward. 

'I was scaring the hell out of people'

Look, it makes total sense that a person would want to drive fast in the Batmobile. That thing is incredibly cool. West said: 

"It was fun from moment to moment. I was scaring the hell out of people with it, especially Burt Ward, who had white knuckles — but that car, I recently raced in the Batmobile, the new tank-like Batmobile, in a show called 'Jay Leno's Garage.' So we raced, and guess who won? The f***ing old Batmobile."

Leno was driving the Batmobile that was featured in the Snyder-verse films where Ben Affleck played the reclusive DC Comics superhero. West may have won that battle of the Batmobiles, but it sounds like a dangerous prospect, considering what he said next. 

"It wasn't easy to drive because it had problems with balance and tracking and brakes and so on. I'll tell you, it was funky and colorful, and the kids -– everybody seems to have loved that Batmobile. So do I."

You can't blame Ward for having "white knuckles" while West was driving with balance and brake issues, but I guess superheroes like to live dangerously. The Batmobile from the series seems like it was designed for looks, not functionality.

'It looked wonderful on film'

West wasn't always the one driving the Batmobile, of course. In a 2010 interview with the Television Academy, West revealed that while he did some driving, his stunt gaffer did as well. He said, "I drove the Batmobile much of the time, but in those, you know, wide establishing shots, Hubie Kerns did that stuff for me. I had a wonderful stunt gaffer, Hubie [who] drove the car coming out of the cave. I wasn't even there."

In that same interview, West reiterated that Burt was "white-knuckled most of the time when I was driving because the breaks would give out or whatever." He also said it was "a little unwieldy" to drive and "the suspension was not good." He did say that he preferred Batman's cycle and boat, but none of his other toys will ever reach the same iconic status as the Batmobile. 

All three seasons of "Batman" are currently streaming on Freevee.