Holy Hometown Hero, Batman! It’s Adam West Day In Walla Walla
On September 19, 1928, in Walla Walla, a superhero was born. On the same date this year, Walla Walla will recognize its hometown hero with the second annual Adam West Day.
Born William West Anderson, the actor briefly attended Walla Walla High School before moving to Seattle, then returned to attend Whitman College before heading to Hollywood. There, he played Batman for three seasons of the iconic 1960s TV show.
After his death on June 9, 2017, Walla Walla resident Jonathan Grant and a handful of community friends organized the first Adam West Day. With a year of planning, the second event is even larger.
“I’ve always been a fan of Batman and of Adam West,” Grant said. “But Hollywood and Walla Walla seem so far away.”
Then one day, while working at the Marcus Whitman Hotel, Grant saw a man come in who had a different air about him.
“I said to myself, ‘Oh, my god, that’s Adam West,” Grant said.
The two struck a cordial relationship that included West calling Grant from his home in Ketchum, Idaho, to invite Grant to breakfast.
“I know it was all in good fun,” Grant said.
After West died, Grant knew he had to do something to recognize his hometown hero. He joined forces with Adam Lore, another Walla Walla resident who was circulating a petition for an Adam West statue. With help from other community members, the first Adam West Day, in Grant’s opinion, became a hit. This year, things are even bigger, with more events and more community involvement.
“One of the things I’m most proud of is that the Kirkman House Museum will have an exhibit and give folks a rare look at the man behind the mask,” Grant said. “Admission will be free all day, which is awesome, and once there, you can open the bust and reveal the Batcave.”
Other events include screenings of the 1966 “Batman: The Movie,” the documentary “Starring Adam West,” appearances by replicas of the Batmobile and Bat Copter, and a social gathering on the lawn of West’s childhood home.
Adam West Day will also debut the statue design honoring the actor and an official event song, “Adam West Blues” by musician Daniel Minteer. Minteer performed at the first Adam West Day and returns this year with the new song.
The statue design and song introductions will occur with the start of children’s events at 4 p.m.
While the event does last all day, capping off with a lighting of the Bat Signal, Grant realizes many people will have a hard time getting there on a Wednesday. Planning for next year, which Grant says could start as early as this October, includes moving Adam West Day to a weekend.
None of the decisions about Adam West Day rest solely with Grant. Having brought West’s family to Walla Walla for the inaugural event, Grant does more than just keep them in the loop.
“We only proceed with the family’s blessings,” Grant said.
Adam West Day is 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 19, at locations throughout Walla Walla. All events are free. For a full schedule, visit adamwestday.com