Well, the Oscars are almost upon us, and like most sentient mammals, I'm mostly interested in whether host Hugh Jackman will sing that promised memorial medley of hits by the late Peter Allen. Okay, just kidding. In truth, like all who walk upright, I'll be curious to learn whether or not that other dead Ozzie, the late Heath Ledger, will cop the Best Supporting Actor statuette for his admittedly brilliant turn as the Joker in The Dark Knight.
But just to put things in historical perspective, I offer this fascinating curio -- a 1966 screen test for the original Batman TV show. Featuring Lyle Waggoner and Peter Deyell in the roles that ultimately went to Adam West and Burt Ward.
As Leonard Pinth-Garnell would have put it -- "Thoroughly bad." In fact, I think it is perhaps no exaggeration to say that if those two meatheads had gotten the gig the show would not only have been cancelled in the middle of the first episode but they would have doomed the entire Batman franchise down through the echoing corridors of time.
Seriously -- those guys really sucked. Maybe not as badly as George Clooney and Chris O'Donnell in Batman and Robin, but sheesh.
Lest you feel too bad for them, however, I should point out that Deyell, who had not previously shown up on my personal radar, turns out to have had a long and successful career in the business, including work directing music videos for ELO, Stevie Wonder and Ringo Starr. Waggoner, of course, went on to TV stardom on The Carol Burnett Show, and currently hosts infomercials for some kind of natural cure for male impotence (honest).
Coming tomorrow: The legendary I Love Lucy screen test featuring Selma Diamond as Lucy and Senor Wences as Ricky!