Burt Ward did a lot of his own stunt work while filming the Batman TV show and movie, and suffered several injuries as a result. In one incident, Ward was in the sidecar of the Batcycle when it flew off a pier.
Burt Ward went to the hospital a lot while filming ‘Batman’
Ward played Dick Grayson, aka Robin in the 1966 Batman series. While his co-star, Adam West, had a stunt man doing most of his fight scenes and action sequences, Ward ended up doing most of his own. Ward had a stunt double, but he wasn’t utilized much because he didn’t really look like him.
During one stunt, in which West’s stuntman was driving the Batmobile, Ward was nearly thrown out of the car at 55 miles per hour. “I instinctively threw my arm back and managed to catch my little finger around the gear shift knob, which pulled it right out of the joint, but it kept me in the car,” Ward told The Hollywood Reporter. “Even with the glove on, my hand was twice the size. I was in incredible pain.”
Ward was taken to the hospital later in the day. But he recalls that was the first injury of many he’d sustain on set.
“That was the first of four days in a row,” he revealed. “Each day I came back and it happened to be the same emergency room doctor. ‘Are you accident prone? Whatever you are doing, this is dangerous stuff. You need to be more careful!’”
Adam West revealed Burt Ward was thrown off a pier from the Batcycle while filming ‘Batman’
Batman featured several tricked-out vehicles, including the Batmobile, the Batboat, the Batcycle, and the Batcopter. In a Batman DVD featurette, West recalled how unreliable some of them were and how many injuries Ward suffered as a result. “I remember poor Burt as Robin was blown off tables and singed a bit,” West said.
The Batcycle, a motorcycle tricked out with a sidecar, was particularly dangerous. The late actor recalled how it would often misfire and once sent Ward flying off a pier.
“I was OK on the Batcycle, but poor Burt, not so good, because he was in the sidecar,” West revealed. “Batman would push a little button and give an order or whatever, and that sidecar was then rigged, we thought to go in a certain direction, and end up at a certain point. It very seldom did that, so Burt would be screaming and white-knuckled.”
“I pushed the button and he would careen away from the Batcycle and he never knew…I didn’t know…where he was going to end up,” he continued. “I mean one time, I think he went over a pier into the water. There was another time he went into — a chicken farm. It was terrible, but Burt was very brave about these things. He was naive.”
The Batmobile wasn’t safe either
The Batcycle had its issues. But according to West, the Batmobile used on Batman wasn’t much safer. The car had suspension and brake issues. And riding in it often left Ward terrified.
“I did a lot of the driving,” West recalled in a Television Academy interview. “My favorite toy was the Batcycle or maybe the Batboat. The Batmobile was a little unwieldy. The suspension was not too good.”
“It looked wonderful on film and it served that purpose beautifully, but it was tough to drive,” he added. “And bless Burt because he must have been white-knuckled most of the time when I was driving because the brakes would give out or whatever.”