Original ‘Batman’ TV Show Star Burt Ward’s First Day of Shooting Sent Him to the ER
Nowadays, actors are often straight-up forbidden from doing their own stunts so that they don’t suffer from any lasting injuries. Some, like Tom Cruise, have the star-power needed to convince a director he wants to be strapped to the side of a jetliner while it takes off, but most of the time it’s the stunt-doubles doing all the work. Not so for Burt Ward, who played sidekick Robin in the original 1960’s Batman TV show. He recounts a time during production during which he had to perform a stunt so dangerous he was sent to the emergency room.
Ward spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about the incident, which happened on the very first day he showed up on set to shoot Batman. He had to jump into the Batmobile for a pretty dangerous stunt, and noticed that his co-star Adam West was nowhere to be found. Instead, it was his stunt double who was in the car waiting.
He says, ‘They don’t want to take a chance of Adam getting hurt so they hired me to do it.’ I said, ‘Oh. Is it really dangerous?’ He says, ‘Oh yeah! In fact, the more bones I break, the more money I make.
The stunt didn’t exactly go well, and Ward was sent to the hospital for dislocating his finger. Because of stunt double issues, he became a hospital regular during those first few days
I got to the emergency hospital at noon. That was the first of four days in a row. Each day I came back and it happened to be the same emergency room doctor. ‘Are you accident prone? Whatever you are doing, this is dangerous stuff. You need to be more careful!’
He apparently had to do that initial stunt because his stunt double’s face didn’t look like his. The director also could have found a more creative way of framing the shot to his face wouldn‘t be visible, but that’s show business. Ward also had a few very diplomatic things to say about the newer Batman movies.
I try to watch them, and Ben Affleck is a very good actor. For their audience, they want the darker version. On television, like Adam West likes to say, In the movie theaters there is a Dark Knight. On television you have the Bright Knight.’