It’s going to sound cliché when I say what an honor it was to have been chosen to speak on behalf of Burt Ward on the day he received his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Anyone who really takes the time to know Burt Ward, however, and what he has contributed to not only pop culture but also to our very industry, knows it’s anything but a cliché to say so.
In 2020, it’s no big deal to see men and women in superhero costumes on television and in movie theaters. In fact, if you do the math, for well over a decade Hollywood has pretty much subsisted purely on content surrounding superheroes. I promise that was not always the case.
If you know anything about Hollywood history, you’d know that in the nearly 100 years before, only three superhero productions really come to mind: Superman, the Hulk and Batman. If there were a Mount Rushmore of Hollywood TV superheroes – a monument of TV superhero founding fathers and pioneers – you would surely see the faces of George Reeves, Adam West, Lou Ferrigno – and Burt Ward.
In Burt’s case, this is not merely the case of some actor being in the right place at the right time.
Burt Ward is not just one the founding fathers of Hollywood Superhero-dom, he is also one of the most outstanding. Again, this may sound like another award speech cliché, but anyone who truly knows Burt Ward’s work, knows otherwise.
Decades after he hung up his yellow cape and black mask, the use of the word ‘Holy’ attached to what seems a limitless amount of nouns, is practically part of our vernacular. “Holy Hollywood History, Batman!” 50 years after the original Batman series ceased production, Buzzfeed maintains rankings of all 359 of the Holy Batman phrases Burt ever uttered. Holy Batman is part of Urban Dictionary and there are literally hundreds of GIFs online with the phrase.
Each time you read a Holy Batman phrase, each time someone says it, each time you hear it in your mind, you envision the unique, compelling and memorable voice and delivery of Burt Ward. The incredible energy, enthusiasm and doubtless earnestness he, as an actor, brought to the role is what made the character of Robin and ‘Holy Batman’, the very part of Americana it is.
All that is more than enough evidence to prove why being any part of Burt’s day was on honor. However, with Burt Ward, the accolades and pioneering doesn’t end at playing Robin. Burt is a superhero in real life, too. Beside being a successful businessman outside of Hollywood, Burt and his wife have dedicated their lives to pet rescue and care. The dynamic duo has rescued close to 16,000 dogs throughout the years. In addition, they have created breakthroughs in canine health care, particularly helping to significantly lengthen the lives of larger breeds.
If being part of Burt’s day was not enough of an honor, speeches from Kevin Smith and the man himself, Burt Ward, were both inspiring. Kevin’s charismatic speech, off the top of his head, no less, credited Burt with influencing his art and success and even positively influencing him as a human being. Burt’s word rightfully stole the show, inspiring everyone most of all. Burt relayed how he manifested his childhood dreams to one day play a superhero and how easy and possible it is for all of us to do so in our own lives.
I knew the day would serve as an honor and even a career milestone of sorts, getting to don a Batgirl costume while helping to award Burt Ward his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. What I didn’t know is that Burt would also inspire me and the rest of the people in attendance to continue to dream and to emulate superheroes in our daily lives. But then what else should I have expected from the Boy Wonder?
Thank you Burt Ward. Thank you, citizens!