Thursday, December 15, 2005

Cranking Ward

After yesterday's mostly-fictional* account of my encounter with Bill Keane, I decided to share my entirely non-fictional account of my encounter with Burt Ward. Now Burt is the guy who played Robin on the 1960's TV series Batman. This show was a delightfully camp version of the comic book, and was satirical and hilarious. The best part was, Ward had no idea he was in a comedy, and played the role completely straight, which was the best thing he could have done (considering his relatively limited acting skills).

So, its about the early 90's, and I was staying with my friend Tom in Toronto. It was our intention the next day to attend the Auto Convention, because Batman and Robin (i.e. Adam West and Burt Ward) would be there in costume to sign autographs. While I had absolutely no interest in the cars (ok, so that's a lie, the Batmobile was cool), I did want to meet Batman and Robin, and get their autographs.

It was the night before the convention, and Tom and I were up late, goofing around. At about 3:00 am, I suddenly had an epiphany: if West and Ward were going to be in town, then chances are, they were probably staying in a hotel downtown! We immediately grabbed the phone book, and started calling hotels in the area of the Convention Center. We would call the hotel, and ask them if they had an Adam West or a Burt Ward in the hotel.

I tried a few properties, with no results. I called the Royal York hotel (I use their name here solely in the hopes of annoying them), and asked for Adam West: no luck. I asked for Burt Ward, and the guy said "Yes, we do have a Burt Ward staying here". I asked to be patched through, and much to my shock and surprise, the guy did so.

The phone started ringing, and I called Tom over, and told him I was getting through to Burt. I had no idea what to say to the guy; it was 3:30 am, what the hell was I going to say? "Hi, I like Batman?" Here's the conversation as it took place. Please note, when you see the "***", I have switched from my regular voice to my Riddler (Frank Gorshin, the real riddler, not that idiot Carey) impersonation. Also note, the phone only rang twice, so chances are I didn't wake him up.

Burt: Hello?
Ash: Is this Burt Ward?
Burt: Yes.
Ash: The Burt Ward? From Batman?
Burt: (Getting annoyed). Yes. Who the hell is this?
Ash: (*** - switching to Riddler mode). We're gonna get Batman, and put him in a pot of oil!

I then let out a long, giggly Riddler-laugh, and hung up the phone. And proceeded to laugh like a bastard.

The next day, Tom and I went off to the convention center, and got in the insanely long line to see Batman and Robin. The only line in the whole place that was longer was the line to see Morganna, the Kissing Bandit (a stripper who had gained brief fame for running onto baseball fields and kissing the players). Yes, after Batman, I did go stand in line for Morganna, and I met her, and I kissed her.

While we waited, Tom threatened to tell Ward that it was me who had cranked him the night before. I countered by threatening to tell Ward that it was the both of us that had called, and while I was speaking, it was Tom that had dialed. We reached an impasse, and decided and that it was best if we said nothing.

So I got both their autographs, each of them signing an original bubblegum card from 1967 (that Tom found in his attic - the guy who lived there before them just moved out and left them). I still have the cards, and they occupy positions of pride on my bar.

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* The true part of the Bill Keane story is the fact that, as a child, I had a dog. Her name was Storm, not Lady.

1 comment:

PelaLusa said...

Hi Asher,

There's no e-mail address of yours posted so I thought I'd drop you a note here. You can just delete it afterwards because it's not relevant to this posting of yours. Anyhow, just wanted to let you know that I appreciated your question and I did answer it, along with posting 2 new sincere questions for you. Robert