I keep thinking about an album that doesn’t exist — Adam West’s 1968 record, Christmas at Stately Wayne Manor.
Other than the title and the jacket art — West looking very much like Bruce Wayne, in a velvet jacket against a solid color background — there’s nothing related to the Batman television series about this record. Just ten tracks, five of West crooning on some Christmas classics like a Rat Packer, five of big band instrumentals done by Los Angeles session musicians billed as the Gotham Big Band. It’s kitschy and pointless. It sold like gangbusters at the time, then went forgotten for almost twenty years before Rhino issued a remastered edition on CD in the mid-90s. West’s “Winter Wonderland” occasionally turns up those 24-hour Christmas radio stations, and the Gotham Big Band’s rendition of “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” gets airplay on some specialty jazz stations this time of year.
This doesn’t exist! Yet, about a year ago, I woke up one morning absolutely convinced this was a thing. Adam West’s 1968 Christmas album, released just a little too late to capitalize on Batmania. Surely, this was a thing!
I went to the man who would know — Lance Woods, the biggest Batman television fan I know — because I couldn’t possibly have imagined this. Surely it was something I’d seen as a child and forgotten. It made too much sense. Lance, alas, told me that, no, there is no Adam West Christmas album, and if there were one he would know.
The thing is, my brain just won’t let this go. It keeps telling me Adam West recorded Christmas at Stately Wayne Manor. It’s absolutely certain it’s a thing. I listen to 101.9 and 103.3 (Baltimore and Lancaster’s Christmas radio stations, respectively), waiting for West’s “Winter Wonderland” to come up, and then I suddenly remember that’s not a thing. It was never a thing. Christmas at Stately Wayne Manor isn’t real. I dreamed it.
So, I am forced to conclude that either my brain was going through weird things last December, or I have become unmoored in the multiverse.
I leave it to the reader to decide which option is the more likely.
As an aside, you just know West’s Bruce Wayne knew the Rat Pack. He wasn’t a stranger to the Sands. He was on a first-name basis with Frank and Dino and Sammy, and they were often guests at his table when he was in Vegas. And there was even a Las Vegas Batcave, hidden somewhere near Hoover Dam. You look at Adam West, and you know it’s true that Bruce Wayne was Rat Pack-adjacent.