Friday, November 16, 2007

Steve Spatucci - 1976

sg Steve Spatucci When I was six, my dad took me into his work for a very special occasion--Batman!

He was a manager in the Electronics Department of Two Guys, a New York/New Jersey department store that existed from the late 70's to the mid 80's. Besides being a manager at the store, he was also a photographer--so he had plenty of gear on hand to capture the moment when I met my hero.

My memories of that day are somewhat shaky, but they’ve been bolstered by many family recountings. I remember my dad not telling me why I was going into work with him--it was a big surprise. When I got to the store, he pointed to a line of kids and parents, and at the head of the line was the Caped Crusader himself! My heart leaped with excitement and joy--I had no idea Batman made these kinds of appearances.

I didn't have to wait in the line, however--because of my dad’s position in the store--and, as I later learned--he'd been the one to schedule Batman for his appearance--I would be having a private meeting with Batman after he'd finished his public appearance. I felt a little guilty that I'd be getting more facetime than all the other kids...but not guilty enough to decline the opportunity of a lifetime--I was no fool.

I waited in a cramped back office, simultaneously nervous, excited and terrified to meet my hero in close quarters. My dad set up a camera, tripod and light, chuckling the whole time as he prepped me for the meeting. "He’s going to come through the door in a couple minutes, Stevie! Are you ready?!" I was and I wasn’t--but the door opened, and in he walked.

In retrospect, his look was pretty close to the image I held from the television series--my strongest memory was the blue satin of his costume--it was so saturated, my eyes almost couldn't take it. He was tall, and if not muscular, appropriately built for the look of the costume(and probably a bit more in shape than Adam West in his latter days portraying the hero). I think I quickly decided that, though he wasn’t "the real" Batman, he was definitely a close proximity--probably a hand-selected emissary to fight crime and greet shoppers when his mentor was otherwise occupied.

In looking at the photos now, I can see the cowl could have been better fitted, and the points on his gloves were kind of flimsy--little details I didn’t notice or care about at the time. He was friendly in a goofy kind of way, and my dad had us strike various poses as he took a battery of photos. The awkward handshake was my dad's idea, and the buck-toothed smile on my face must have been purely inspired by the moment--I've never seen that grin in another picture of myself before or since.

I'm sure my dad knew he was planting a memory in my head that would always stick with me, and he really seemed to get a kick out of it--especially when he'd remember that day years later. "You should have seen the look on your face when he walked through that door!"--I'm sure it looked just about as giddy and triumphant as it does in the photos.


Anonymous said...

Awesome story! I never got to meet any of my idols, but I figure this is what I would have looked like if I had. :-)

Anonymous said...

That's great Steve. And to have a photo of it is even better. I had a similar experience with Spider-Man and the Green Goblin. I need to write that up one day.


Anonymous said...

Terrific story, Steve. Thanks.

Makes me wonder a bit - is all that sort of Wonder missing for kids now? Is it the same rush, to meet the "I've been Insane, Dead once, and I beat people up" comic heroes as they now exist?

Great weekend, all-
-Craig W.

Frankie-Zee said...

That is a Great Great Story, Steve !!! There's a magazine I get, actually two, one is "The good old days" and the other one is "Reminisce" Just brings back those precious years going through, and looking at the photos. Glad you got to see the photo in color :)