My Adventure in
“The Amazing Adventures of Little Batman”
Pt 3:The Premiere of “Little Batman”
( A Bat in Manhattan)
November 31st / December 1st 2007
It had been a few months since I got to live out one of my lifelong fantasies of driving the Batmobile for the film cameras. Now the time was coming for me to take another flight out to New York for the premiere of “The Amazing Adventures of Little Batman.” The producer, Jordan, had never been one to do anything half hearted. He was making sure that this would be a screening for the people involved and their families to remember. He tried to line up a Batmobile for the appearance but the one we had used for the film was currently being repaired and would still be out of commission during the time of the premiere. I had tried to contact another Batmobile owner in the area, Angelo, a month prior to the event but never got a response up to the point of my departure from Los Angeles.
As this was my third back and forth trip cross country in almost as many months, I was starting to get use to the routine and strategy of traveling with my Bat gear. I finally managed to get all of my Bat-stuff to fit into a single carryon porter style case. My cowl was carefully placed between rolled up tights, T-shirts and other soft packing to keep it pretty well protected. My cape was neatly rolled up to fit in the case and I had already confirmed that an iron would be available at the hotel to give it the proper going over before the next day’s appearance. Surprisingly enough, as many times as I’ve taken my stuff through airport security, they had never once opened my bags to check the contents. I guess they saw utility belts and cowls all of the time through their x-ray.
Onboard, I sat quietly plugged into my iPod. I had it packed full of films, TV episodes and audiobooks. This time around I watched the classic James Bond “Dr. No” and for the first time finally viewed “Superman Returns.” The latter felt like it ran longer than the flight but managed to have kept me occupied and it wrapped up just before we touched down at JFK. As we approached, I looked towards Manhattan and took in the sight of this city that always held me in awe every time I looked at it.
Soon after I landed, I contacted Jordan to let him know everything was on schedule. The Jordan machine was working perfectly and I was soon picked up by a limo service to take me to my hotel. The driver was friendly and car was much more comfortable than the seats on the airplane. We had about an hour drive to our destination and New York traffic on a Friday night was making sure we weren’t getting anywhere terribly fast. Nearly a half hour into the drive, my cell phone rang and I noticed that it was a local number. It was Angelo and he was telling me that his computer had been down for the past month or so and he was finally catching up on e-mails. He simply called to say hello and see what I was up to lately. I told him that he would never believe it but I was in town, in a limo, preparing to do an appearance the next day and needed a Batmobile. He asked me if I would like to use his. What a guy. What timing. What luck. I told him that I was going to put him in contact with Jordan so that they could work out all of the specifics such as place and time. After a bit of phone jockeying between making calls to him and Jordan everything seemed to fall into place and I was pulling into the lot of the hotel.
Jordan soon arrived afterwards to help me get checked in and after I dropped off my things in my room we took off for dinner at Moscato’s in Scarsdale. I had been there before. It was on the night after we finished filming my scene back in September. After the filming was done, and the director, Joe Valenti had gotten his crew to pack all of the filming and lighting gear away, Jordan took us all out to Moscato’s for dinner. The restaurant staff knew Jordan and treated him like royalty. I guess it was good to be a regular at a place like this. Their service was excellent and the food was top notch. If I had lived in the area, I know I would have instantly become a regular there as well. It was incredibly good. Sitting with Joe, I got my first glimpses of the footage shot that day through the small viewfinder on Joe’s camera. The footage was magic all the same and I was completely sold on Joe’s expertise on the project. But that had been in September and it was now the last day of November. Jordan and I sat in the restaurant alone while we ate and talked for hours about all things from Batman, the film, Bat-fans and anything else that popped in our heads. We were excited about the premiere that was less than twelve hours away and couldn’t believe our luck that Angelo happened to call me that night. This project seemed blessed.
Jordan dropped me off and I was armed with my itinerary for the next day. It was going to be loaded. I managed to iron my cape before turning in to where I quickly fell asleep. It had been a long day and the next was going to be longer.
The next morning I was showered, shaved and ready to be picked up by another limo service that was going to take Jordan and me to Manhattan. I had my luggage already packed with the exception of my cape that was on a hanger. I wasn’t coming back to the hotel and would fly out shortly after the premiere. The limo came up with Jordan inside and we were on our way. Jordan was dressed in a tux and looked the part of a movie producer. He wasn’t messing around. This was going to be a red carpet and black tie event. The ride was smooth and we arrived into Manhattan much quicker than I even thought. It was still very early in the morning. The film was going to be shown at 10am and we needed to be there well before others arrived so that Jordan could check and prepare on the proceedings and I could change into my costume.
We pulled to the theatre and as I got out of the car I was shot with a gust of cold air. It was the first of December in Manhattan and it was about 38 degrees. My thin California blood was no match for this stuff. Fortunately the sky was quite clear and there had been no snow. We made our way through the theatre and I was directed to an adjoining bar where the theatre also catered parties. This was where I would find a room to change and later wait in the bar out of sight of the movie goers as I wouldn’t want to attract attention. I was suppose to make a much more dramatic entrance. While I waited in my costume at the bar and soaked in the older wooden architecture and classic fixtures that adorned it, one of the theatre’s staff asked me if I wanted anything from the bar while I waited. I said, “A large fresh orange juice, please.”
While there was quite a bit of activity going on at the theatre half of the place, the bar was peaceful and quiet while I sipped my orange juice. This was a very surreal moment. Somewhere in New York City that was the inspiration for Gotham City, there was a Batman standing at a bar drinking an orange juice. It just seemed right.
After a bit, Jordan came over and told me that Angelo was down the block with the Batmobile and everything was a go. As we walked down to the parking area, Jordan gave me the instructions that he and his family which included that star of the film, his son Preston, would be in the Rolls limo while I was to follow in the Batmobile. At first we thought that I would get a moment or two earlier to get familiar with Angelo’s Batmobile before trying to drive it through the busy streets of Manhattan but we were now pressed for time.
Angelo was standing next to the Batmobile that was parked along the curb a few blocks away and out of sight from the theatre. The Rolls was close by. I had never met Angelo before, between phone conversations we had before it seemed like we were already old pals. It was funny how the internet, the communication age and Batman had introduced me to so many wonderful people from all ends of the country. I got into the driver’s seat and looked at the dash and the shifter. This was completely different from Dan’s Batmobile that I drove back in September.
No two seem to be the same
Angelo leaned over the door to try and give me quick instructions but as he did, I could see the Rolls start to pull away with Jordan and his family. I was suppose to follow them and had no idea how to work my way around the streets to get back to the theatre if I lost them. I asked Angelo to get in the passenger seat and tell the instructions as we went along. The gear shift was automatic but a bit tricky if you weren’t used to it. It had no distinct markings and I seemed have difficulty getting it shifted from reverse and into drive with my gloved hand and lack of lower peripheral vision. The steering was very easy but the visibility was difficult with the cockpit style seating, the huge bat fins along the sides of the car, the center canopy blocked any hope for conventional rear view mirror and the cowl was no help. Still, I adapted and we made easy pursuit of the Rolls that turned down a block ahead of us. They were going around quite a few blocks to approach the theatre across its front threshold as opposed to across the street or on a corner. I followed as Angelo sat in the passenger seat with needed instructions as they hit me. But once I had gotten into drive I was pretty good and once I realized that other drivers seemed to be shocked enough to see Batman driving a Batmobile on the streets of New York they gave quite a bit of birth and leeway. People were starting to wave from other cars while others held out cell phones to snap a quick picture. I asked Angelo if he minded stepping out of the car once we made our final straightway approach to the theatre about two blocks away. He said he had figured as such so that Batman would arrive solo and once we got within distance, he got out at the corner. I was still within reasonable distance to the Rolls and it seemed we would be arriving together. I soaked up the fleeting experience as much as I could and didn’t really notice the chilly air that was whipping around me in this open top Bat-vehicle. There was no heater that I knew of nor did I really care. This was an incredible thrill. The Rolls made it past the last light before it went red so I had to wait just a little longer before I pulled up from behind. I sat and looked to my left. I could see the Empire State Building a few blocks away. I was in awe. What a moment.
The light changed and I made my way across to the theatre and was greeted by a dozen or so paparazzi that converged around the car snapping away. Jordan thought of everything. I stayed in the car and idled as I waited for the Rolls to eventually pull away. There was no hurry. I saw Jordan and his family get out of the limo and walk along the red carpet with photographers and video cameras around them. Preston waved to the people along the way and to the cameras. The kid was a natural. Here he was showing up in a tux for the premiere of his starring whole in a short film and his name was up on the Marquee in big letters. He was barely five years old and he was getting to play Batman for the cameras and drive a mini Batmobile and act in a mini Batcave surrounded by all those great props. What a lucky kid. That would be one childhood memory I hoped he would never forget.
Jordan and Preston stepping out in style
Once it seemed that we would be parked there for a bit, I stepped out of the car and took the time to pose for the cameras and with people who wanted a picture with me and the car. Angelo had arrived shortly behind on foot and was snapping away. He was such a great guy. He had no idea that less than twenty four hours prior that this would be going on and now he was in the middle of it and really helped put the icing on the cake.
I was called over to the red carpet and I made my way to it and took my turn along the paparazzi path. It was really too much and my head was starting to swim with people calling out in different directions and suddenly finding a video camera and microphone in front of me at one point. I was even introduced to a man who was suppose to be my body guard but I assured the people that whatever I needed was already ready to go in my utility belt. That got a good laugh. I don’t know if I ever saw the body guard crack a smile.
Director Joe Valenti
Making my way to the carpet
A Bat and his bodyguard
“Hey, is youse taking pictures of the Bat?”
No quite turning blue yet from the cold
When I finally entered the lobby of the theatre, I was instantly grateful to the warmer air. I saw that they had placed a large size backdrop of the cartoon Gotham skyline and bat signal that was featured on the Batman TV series’ ending credits. They used it for the cast and crew to be interviewed by what seemed to be an E! Channel type of setting for a premiere. A lovely blonde host came up and started to interview me for the cameras. This was very Hollywood and very fun. Soon after, everybody wanted us to take pictures in front of the backdrop with Jordan, Preston and the director, Joe Valenti. The others eventually moved on as I continued to do photo ops with more people as they arrived.
The Wachtell family
As the time got closer, I made my way into the movie theatre where they were all seating. The place was packed with people that had gotten there well before we had. I saw all of the little cast members seated about in their tuxes or suits with the girls in dressy evening gowns. It was a great sight to see. I could see a table set up near the front of the house below the screen covered with what looked like a bunch of Oscars. Jordan was pulling out all of the stops.
Don’t let the empty seats fool you. When the lights went down it was packed!
I had a seat that was reserved for me and after some of the picture taking had died down and people settled into their seats, Jordan went to the front near the screen and introduced the picture as a labor of love and to sit back and enjoy. Other than only a very few short clips that were sent to me in the months prior, this was the first time I was going to really see the film. I watched and got lost into the next twenty-five or so minutes like I was five years old again. The sets, props and film work were beyond my expectations of what this little film was going to be capable of pulling off. The kids’ performances were innocent and filled with the charm and cuteness that one would find in a kindergarten play. It was a fun filled adventure that didn’t take itself too seriously but delivered everything and more that Jordan promised me back in July when he first made contact to pitch this idea to me. It was a good feeling to see it with people young and old that made it happen.
The awards are set up for later
The film ended with a huge round of applause but the event was not over. Jordan once again took center stage and thanked everybody involved and proceeded to start handing out their Oscars to all of the kids and everybody else who was there and was in the picture. Each child paraded down the aisle as their name was called and gave a little speech in the microphone that was provided at their height. Their speeches were often short and consisted mostly of a simple “thank you” but their excitement was apparent. The paparazzi were once again in position and took a flurry of pictures as each kid got their moment in the spotlight. Finally, I was called up to take my turn. I certainly felt like the tallest kid in class but felt I was very much well fitted with my age group at the time. Besides, I was the only kid there wearing a cape. I think I may have said something to that effect when I stood and gave my little speech but honestly, I can’t remember a thing that came out of my mouth. Thoughts and words had really become a blur in the wave of emotions and sensations that the experience had become. But I’m certain it consisted of what an amazing job Jordan did of pulling it all together beyond anyone’s dreams, how well Joe directed it and how great the kids performed.
The eloquent star
A regular Bruce Wayne
Jordan and Joe should be very proud
Shaking hands with the man who made it possible…him, not me
Did I thank my mother?
The ever present press
Everybody was quite pleased
With the amazing cast. I’m the tall kid in the back.
What a great father and son!
A few more for the press
The amazing Angelo and I get to take a moment for a pic
After the official proceedings were through, the awardees were all urged to come back up to the front for photo ops together. After the flashes slowed down and the theatre finally thinned down considerably, I got the opportunity once again to really thank Angelo for coming through. I then got the occasional moment to privately let Jordan and Joe know how well they did with the picture. Even then Jordan wanted to know if there was anything we needed to do differently with the short before eventually going to Youtube and I told him not to change a thing. There was still some more meet and greet and photo ops but the time was coming closer to an end. But after talking to a few of the photographers, they wanted to get some more pictures of me outside where there was a small vacant area across from the theatre. So we went out there and I did some more pictures in the broad daylight view of passing by motorists and pedestrians. From the shouts and various cheers that came from the cars and sidewalks I could tell that New York loved Batman.
Nobody seemed too surprised
But the time was drawing to an end where I needed to get out of my suit and pack it for my pending flight out of JFK that afternoon. I said goodbye to the photographers and the cast members’ families, made my way back to my changing room and slipped into my street close, warm coat and trusty Batman ball cap that Jordan gave me. I hooked up with him and his family while they made their way to a little café down the street. Along the way, we came across Angelo at the parking lot with his Batmobile where we proceeded to take a few quick pictures with it. I thanked him one more time since this was the first time he finally saw me as myself and said goodbye one last time. What a guy.
I enjoyed a great meal with Jordan and many other people that were involved in the film or were simply friends to the people involved. Nevertheless, it was a fantastic bunch and I had the time of my life. It was a great wrap up of the experience and nice to enjoy it with those involved as just Scott. The food was stellar and the talk was varied but it was distinctively New York and New Jersey East coast tinged and it was stimulatingly refreshing for this former Southern Florida boy who just spent the past twenty odd years in Southern California. I loved it and didn’t want to leave immediately but I had a plane to catch and truth be told I missed my wife, Vickie terribly and wished she had been there for this.
I got up from the table and said goodbye to all but particularly Jordan. He had invited me into a pet project of his that made long lasting memories that not only I would never forget but also those who involved in it as well. He will always have a special place in my heart as really one of the truly good guys out there that really followed their heart and it was in the right place; for the kids and their kids.
I carted my porter suitcase out to the street, up to the corner to hail a cab. Did I mention that I loved New York? In less than a minute I was seated in the back of a cab and on my way. The driver said it was flat rate to go there and asked when I needed to be there. I told him the departure time and he said that we had plenty of time so I asked if we could take a more scenic trip. He was great and said no problem. On my way out, I stared into the streets and up at the buildings. Over the bridge I finally got to look out and see for the first time, the Statue of Liberty. What a journey this had really been.
Thank you Jordan, Joe, Angelo, Dan, the cast and crew of “Little Batman” and the wonderful people of New York.