Could You Live in a World Without Batman or Star Trek?
Two events forever rocked my small yet growing world as a pre-teen, steeped in comics, classic sci-fi movies and pop culture in 1966, a time when the definition of the word geek took on a far harsher, more derogatory tone than the badge of honor it has come to be.
On Jan. 12, Batman leapt out of the pages of my comic books and into stark and campy live-action via ABC and 20th Century Fox TV. And, slightly less than nine months later, Gene Roddenberry finally realized his vision for the future in Star Trek, and, in doing so, changed the way many on this planet perceive space as our true final frontier.
And, it almost didn’t happen…
Seems West and Trek star William Shatner made a pilot based on Alexander the Great that was cast like some action TV series of its time (see The Virginian and Big Valley) with rotating leads, and it co-starred talented veterans John Cassavettes and Joseph Cotten too.
Evidently, the Gods of Geekdom wouldn’t let that happen, according to West. “It was called Alexander the Great, and it was the worst #$%@&*! pilot ever shot. We spent our whole time dressed in thongs, fighting Persians, running around the Utah desert and having orgies with rubber grapes.”
So, your parents can blame your geekdom, not on an extra-irradiated gene pool, but a not-so-great Alexander the Great TV pilot.
On the subject of TV pilot, whilst doing research for this Saturday post — that took longer to write than I wanted it to — the wise guys at Geek.com recently located a buried treasure, via YouTube, you must watch: An early Batman TV screen test in which Burt Ward and West played their signature characters STRAIGHT. And, it’s the only time you’ll ever see them dressed as the Dynamic Duo without their masks!