In the ‘70s and into the ‘80s “Batman” was on after school on Channel 11, which was great. Daily doses of the dastardly doings in Gotham.
Channel 7, on the other hand, had “The 4:30 Movie,” which ran movies chopped down to 90 minutes, including commercials. Most of the time, this was no big deal – except on those days when they ran the 1966 “Batman” movie, right up against the show over on WPIX.
Holy Sophie’s Choice!
Usually, I picked the movie because it not only featured all four of the best bad guys – Joker, Penguin, Riddler and Catwoman – but it had ALL of the cool vehicles: not just the Batmobile, but the Batcycle, the Batboat and the Batcopter!
Batman had his own helicopter! And it looked like an orange and black flying bat! Fantastic!
Of course the most famous scene involving the Batcopter is when Batman hangs on the rope ladder and fends off a shark chomping on his leg with – what else! – his ever-handy shark repellent Batspray!
So when I heard that the very same Batcopter was going to be in New Jersey for a state fair at the Meadowlands, I had to go. No, make that: HAD TO.
So off I went one July morning whilst toiling for the old blog. The Batcopter! Serial number N3079G! Owned by Gene Nock, a fireplug of a guy who is intensely proud of his flying Batmachine.
And why shouldn’t he be? It’s the only one of its kind! I mean, the Batmobile is great and everything – and it is — but there are plenty of them around, usually custom jobs that look exactly like the original. (I’m not complaining because, you know, WANT.)
This, on the other hand, is the original.
So, Gene and his wife, Jessica, were cool enough to invite me across the Gotham West River to New Guernsey for a flight – a flight! – in the one and only (yet thankfully retrofitted with modern parts) Batcopter!
Alas, the weather didn’t cooperate. And, it turned out, a helicopter went down in the Hudson on that very day. So I guess I should count myself lucky.
But I did get to sit in the domed cockpit – signed by Adam West, Burt Ward, Julie Newmar, Lee Meriwether and Yvonne Craig, among others!
And they had a (replica) Batarang! And a (replica) SHARK REPELLENT OCEANIC BATSPRAY.
Life is good, citizens!
Next, Bat-time, I’m getting in the air! Maybe I’ll see Jack LaLanne working out with a bunch of lovelies on a rooftop!
A version of this story first appeared at Parallel Worlds.