Back in 1989 I was walking through my mid-size New Jersey town’s outdoor mall, when I happened by the local Loews theater. It just so happened that it was the day that Tim Burton’s Batman was opening. I wasn’t a big DC fanboy, but I had a few bucks burning a whole in my pocket and decided to see what time the theater opened and maybe catch a flick. I walked up to the ticket window and tapped on the glass. The ticket seller was cleaning up and looked a little put off, but told me the theater would open in an hour.
Now, I was going to grab a breakfast sandwich at the BK next door, before the movie started, but a weird thing happened next. A group of guys came up behind me and started freaking out. “I can’t believe someone beat us! What time did you get here?” they asked.
I just got here I told them, which sent them into a fit of jealousy. I was confused at first but then I realized what was going on. I had inadvertently become the head of the line and didn’t know what to do. What being at the front of the line worth not getting that Croissan’wich?
I can’t believe someone beat us! What time did you get here?
I really wanted a Croissan’wich , but as another group approached the initial agitated group behind me, I decided to keep my place. I was in a position I had never been in before. I was a “superfan”, the top of the geek pecking order, and as more and more people showed up for tickets, I relished it. Croissan’wich be damned.
By the time the first ticket was sold (to me), there was a line stretching around the mall and I had been the center of jealousy and adulation for nearly an hour. To make the experience even cooler – I was given a Batman movie poster by the theater manager, which I still have rolled up in a closet somewhere in NJ.
I wasn’t prepared for Batmania, but when it hit me, it hit hard. I saw Batman three times over the next month and briefly started reading the comic book. Which as a hardcore Marvel fan was a big deal. It was an amazing contagious cultural experience and while comic movies have taken over cinemas nowadays, I think people forget what an “event” Batman was in 1989.
Over the next few month the country was besieged with all things “Bat” and it seemed like every product had some sort of Batman tie in. My favorite was this commercial for Snickers. It’s simple and I think still pretty funny by any standard.