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.


russell 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. :-)

Earth 2 Chris 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.


Wich2 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.