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Holy Tarantino, Batman!
The daughter of Adam West recently saw Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and told The Hollywood Reporter she got a kick out of the references to her late father’s work, which included a radio commercial he did more than 50 years ago.
“That point in time in Hollywood history, that was the height of my dad’s popularity, and it was like watching all these stories from my childhood come to life,” Nina Tooley tells THR. “The scenes where Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) is drinking and struggling with his insecurities, these are all things I know that my father went through. I had many conversations with him, specifically after Batman, about his struggle to get other roles.”
The Batman series is mentioned early in the Quentin Tarantino movie when Rick Dalton is meeting at the Hollywood staple Musso & Frank Grill with his agent, Marvin Schwarz (Al Pacino), who suggests someday the actor could do some Batman-style action project, adding in a “Boom! Pow! Bang!”
“Marvin was straight out of some of my dad’s stories; just everything — the wardrobe, the smoking, the style, the drinking. It was so right on,” she said.
The Dalton and Schwarz exchange somewhat foreshadows a hero moment, when Dalton uses a gadget to protect himself, which was not lost on Tooley.
Other similarities that hit home for West’s daughter included the relationship between Dalton and his stunt double, Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt), as her father was close with his stuntman, Hubie Kerns. West also appeared in the 1978 film Hooper in which Burt Reynolds played a stunt double to West’s character. Another connection: West starred in the 1965 spaghetti Western I 4 Inesorabili or The Relentless Four. DiCaprio’s character tries to break into film by way of this genre.
Another Once Upon a Time in Hollywood moment that cracked Tooley up was when James Stacy (Timothy Olyphant) hops on his bike and leaves the set of his TV series for the day. “I have a picture of my dad in almost that exact outfit on that exact motorcycle,” she said, laughing.
West himself even makes an appearance in the Sony film via a retro KHJ radio station Batman promotion played during the end credits, which Tarantino asked the West family to use, Tooley said. (The commercial also appears on the official Once Upon a Time in Hollywood soundtrack).
“When we were contacted about the clip they used, we were excited to hear they were considering it,” she explained. “Quentin’s people reached out to my mom, more than anything to get our blessing. I don’t think they had to reach out to us, but it was a really nice gesture on their part.”
Batman, starring West and Burt Ward, aired on ABC for three seasons from Jan. 12, 1966, to March 14, 1968.
West died in 2017 at the age of 88.
Listen to the Batman commercial below.
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