Monday, March 24, 2014

The secret of Batman’s Utility Belt—revealed at last!


One of the reasons I’ve been holding off on ‘cutting the cable’ is a weekly show on the Travel Channel called ‘The Toy Hunter’.  This dude (Jordan Hembrough) travels back & forth across the country in search of vintage toys—for upcoming comic-cons, celebrity collectors or himself.

Last week he was in London looking for American toys (of all places) and came across something that made me sit up and take notice: a 1967 ‘Batman Utility Belt’ made by Ideal.  Jordan’s eyes bugged out as he exclaimed “Do you know how rare this is??”  

He wound up paying a couple thousand dollars for it & then MY eyes popped—because once upon a time, I owned one myself.  And not only that, seeing this again after all these years finally solved a decades long mystery in my own family!


The 1967 Batman Utility Belt by Ideal Toys; a lot of Bat-belts have come & gone since then, but this was the original!


This all started a lifetime ago, October 31, 1967.  It was Halloween, and my sixth birthday.  That’s my baby brother Steve’s crib in the corner, our brother Duke in the closet, and me looking wearily into Mom’s camera.  Batman watches over all.

My thoughtful parents (knowing what a Bat-freak I was) killed two bats with one stone—they got me a Batman costume for Halloween, but added a pair of groovy ‘Batman Boot Slippers’ and the ultimate accessory to make my costume complete:  BATMANS UTILITY BELT.

batbeltThis awesome contraption came with two ‘dart bombs’, a batrope with grappling hook, a Batarang, mini Bat-Light, a pair of Bat-cuffs and dartgun

When my know-it-all brother saw it, he said “this is all wrong, Batman doesn’t kill!  He’d never carry a gun!”  I went ballistic:  “IT DOESN’T SHOOT BULLETS, it’s for sending emergency messages or dispersing gas bombs!!” 

After teaching my brother that crime doesn’t pay, a stern looking caped crusader stands guard over his birthday cake…

And finally, another with Duke, Shawn, myself & Dad with our baby brother Steve; he was a little over 1 1/2 years old and responsible for this age old mystery

A week or so after my birthday, I came home from school & rushed upstairs to get into my Bat-gear; as I picked up my utility belt, I saw the grappling hook lying on the floor.  Wait, what happened to the official bat-rope it was attached to?   I ran downstairs and told Mom, and we searched up & down the house.  It was gone.

Later, when my mom went to change my brother Steve’s diaper, we came upon a grisly sight and I’ll never forget it:  MY BAT ROPE WAS IN HIS SOILED DIAPER, COILED IN HIS POOP. 

Now with any other kid, you’d think “well, they probably jammed it down in there” but not with Steve.  At the time, he had this disturbing habit of eating string.  No fooling, remember when you bought lunchmeat or chops at the meat counter, and they’d wrap it up in orange paper & string?  We were always instructed to bury that twine in the garbage before Steve could get his hands on it, but sure enough the next day it’d turn up in his poop.  

You couldn’t leave a YO-YO sitting out, he’d eat the string right off it.

So when we saw that bat-rope in Steve’s diaper, Mom panicked & said they had to take Steve to the hospital—but Dad assured her the boy was fine, and couldn’t have eaten it.  Mom told me how sorry she was, and promised to bleach it until it was white again, but I would have NO part of it.  

As time went by, we would sometimes laugh about that poopy batrope and wondered if Steve had eaten it after all.  Mom would ask me if I remembered how heavy or long it was.  As I never got to play with the damn thing, I couldn’t.

That is, until the other night when I saw ‘Toy Hunter’ and my Utility Belt again for the first time in over 45 years—that rope was LONG, and heavy-duty (and had to be, it was for scaling walls!)  Shawn & I agreed there’s no way Steve could’ve eaten it and survived.

Mom—this case is solved!  The “Mystery of the Poopy Bat-Rope” is now CLOSED.


  1. Holy Crap,Batman! (sorry...someone had to say it!)

  2. Hahaha! That's perfect--thanks Chipper :)


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