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Burt Ward, the Boy Wonder and… the Budgie Smugglers? Batman’s R-Rated Side

Steve Palace
(Photo Credit: Greenway Productions, 20th Century Fox Television, MovieStillsDB)

As Robin the Boy Wonder, actor Burt Ward had to play both Batman’s right-hand man and his secret identity Dick Grayson. Turns out that wasn’t the only secret he was keeping.

Morally, Robin was an upstanding citizen who fought crime and spouted catchphrases like “Holy Cinderella!” Anatomically, however, he had a problem. A big problem. And it lay in his underwear.

Over at stately Wayne Manor, things were getting rather uncomfortable. Read on to find out about Ward’s dastardly dilemma…

The Batman wardrobe was a pill

Burt Ward had just entered his 20s when his life changed forever. He’d beaten out his peers to take the role of Robin in producer William Dozier’s televisual take on Batman for ABC.

Unfortunately, one visual gave the team an eyesore. Ward looked great in the mask and cape. Yet one key element of many comic book heroes also needed to pass muster. That element…? A tight-fitting bottom half.

The issue was apparent from the get-go. As Ward mentioned to Page Six in 2020, he “had a very large bulge for television.”

Not even the Caped Crusader could solve this potential crisis. Dick Grayson managed with his loose-fitting rich boy pants. No such luck for the Boy Wonder. In an age before strict health and safety laws, Ward was given special pills to help keep the situation in check.

Burt Ward and Adam West on the set

Burt Ward, US actor, and Adam West, US actor, both in costume as the ‘Dynamic Duo’ in a publicity still issued for the television series, ‘Batman’, USA, circa 1966 (Photo Credit: Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)

After a matter of days, he realized this option wasn’t for him. Fearing he might be wrecking his chance at fatherhood for the sake of a show, he took simple and practical measures. Ward states that he “just used my cape to cover it.”

You can almost hear Adam West’s Batman reply: “A fiendishly simple solution, Robin!”

You crossed a line, old chum

Ward also spilled the Bat-shaped beans about West’s undercarriage arrangements. In a development so ironic it would make the Joker wet his boxers, West required some help downstairs.

According to Ward, Turkish towels came in handy! Stuffed strategically, they enabled Batman to climb a wall or perform the Batusi without losing his dignity.

Adam West and Frank Gorshin’s wild night

If this sounds surprisingly X-rated, then you might be interested to hear about West’s exploits with offscreen pal and onscreen foe Frank Gorshin, aka The Riddler.

Attending a Hollywood bash, the pair accidentally walked in on a full blown orgy!

But this wasn’t the craziest thing about the evening in question. “I immediately went into the Batman character, and Frank went into the Riddler character,” West revealed in a 2014 interview, “because we were getting the big giggles.”

The organizers, on the other hand, didn’t get the giggles. West and Gorshin were “expelled” from the adults-only gathering.

black and white promo shot for Batman

Burgess Meredith, Cesar Romero, Burt Ward, Frank Gorshin, Adam West and Lee Meredith in a promo shot (Photo Credit: William Dozier Productions & Greenlawn Productions)

Ward says some scenes were quite dangerous

In addition to the sketchy pills he was asked to take, Ward says other parts of filming were treacherous. He even got injured while filming the opening scene, where the Batmobile tears out of the Batcave and speeds down a winding road.

West got the benefit of a stunt double to do the work but Ward wasn’t so lucky since more of his face was exposed in his costume.

Batman and Robin in the Batmobile

1966: Actors Adam West (left) and Burt Ward as Batman and Robin in the Batmobile in a still from the television series. (Photo Credit: Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

He improvised a lot

Playing Robin came naturally to Ward, he says, and he frequently improvised while in the role. “Hitting my fist, that was just something I did, not something they designed,” he shared. “Jumping over the door of the Batmobile instead of opening the door, that was me. I just thought it would be cool.”

Batman and Robin looking up into the sky

Robin (Burt Ward) and Batman (Adam West) (Photo Credit: FilmPublicityArchive/United Archives via Getty Images)

Batman ‘66

Batman was a small-screen phenomenon that’s still doing the rounds today. Most of the key cast have passed away, including Adam West. He died of leukemia in 2017. Gorshin died from lung cancer and other complications in 2005.

Between 2013 – 2016, a comic book tribute titled Batman ‘66 continued the Caped Crusader’s adventures. One of West’s final roles was in the 2017 animated special Batman vs. Two-Face. Ward returned to play Robin. He is now the last surviving member of the main cast.

Adam West

Actor Adam West attends the Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders Press Room at New York Comic-Con – Day 1 at Jacob Javits Center on October 6, 2016 in New York City. (Photo Credit: Mike Coppola/Getty Images)

Burt Ward after Robin

Like West, Burt Ward continued his association with the series across the decades. In 2019, he reprised the character of Dick Grayson for Supergirl.

He reportedly received $350 per week, which today is a little over $3,000. Batman wrapped in 1966 after three seasons. This was due to high production costs rather than low ratings.

Ward never recaptured those former glories and the Boy Wonder didn’t line his pockets for long. That said, he kept acting and re-teamed with West in the live-action biopic Return to the Batcave: The Misadventures of Adam and Burt (2003).

Burt Ward in Hollywood

Burt Ward along with his Television alter ego Robin Is Honored With A Star On The Hollywood Walk Of Fame held on January 9, 2020 in Hollywood, California. (Photo Credit: Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images)

A clever man, Ward mentioned he was in the “top 3% in the United States in science and math” before Gotham came calling.

More from us: ‘Batman Returns’ at 30: Facts About the Controversial Caped Crusader Sequel

He spoke to Page Six in connection with his very own star on Hollywood’s Walk of fame. Ward and his wife Tracy Posner also run a major dog rescue charity – Gentle Giants – and are behind the non-profit dog food line of the same name. In an appearance on Ellen, he shared that they’ve saved more than 15,000 dogs with their charity work.