Friday, March 28, 2014

RIP Lorenzo Semple Jr. (1919-2014)

Hollywood screenwriting legend Lorenzo Semple Jr. has died at 91.

This guy had a career any industry pro would envy, penning classics like "The Parallax View" and "3 Days of The Condor," along with cult-classics like "Flash Gordon." But he's probably best remembered today as the creator/mastermind of the Adam West "Batman" series; through which he was either directly or partially responsible for the "Bat-____" device-naming convention, the Barbara Gordon version of Batgirl, the creation of Mr. Freeze and the rehabilitation of what were then largely-forgotten DC characters like Penguin, Riddler and Catwoman. In recent years he was part of the team behind the "Reel Geezers" YouTube series.

Semple lived a full life, certainly. We should all be so lucky. But I do think it's kind of a shame that he didn't live to see "Batman's" long-awaited DVD release later this year. I've maintained for awhile now that fandom, which unpleasantly turned Semple and that series into a rhetorical punching-bag in the Dark Age 90s, was due to turn around on that once all of the episodes were more widely available (a lot of people have really only seen the movie, which is missing a lot of the smart/sharp satire the episodic series brought) and I imagine it might've been nice for him to see that.