A case of not-so-secret identities: The true story of Mrs. Ann Batman

By: H&I Staff     Posted: August 24, 2023, 11:41AM    Tags: Batman

Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's Detroit resident Ann Batman! 

When Batman debuted in 1966, it took an established character and strapped a rocket onto his cowl, making the Caped Crusader nearly inescapable for the rest of the decade. The comic book hero had a new kind of mainstream exposure. Now, for the first time (except for a few serials in the '40s), kids had access to Batman, whether they bought the comics or not. Batmania was at an all-time high. Only the 20-years-later powers of Prince and Tim Burton would be able to top Batman's ubiquity in 1966.

Batman was a craze, and there were plenty of people that just couldn't get enough. This was great news for the show's creators and terrible news for the otherwise-uninvolved Ann Batman, formerly of Fayetteville, North Carolina. "Ever since that television program started, I've been getting 10 phone calls a day," Mrs. Batman told the Associated Press in 1966. "But I figure this Batman thing will die out in a couple of months, and then they'll just leave me alone."

Ann Batman had the unfortunate distinction of being the one-and-only "Batman" listed in the phone book. While she refused to change her name, she eventually made efforts to ensure her phone number would go unlisted. However, while her number was still public, Mrs. Batman continued to be plagued each and every day by would-be Gothamites looking to speak with their masked hero.

At her Batcave in Detroit, Mrs. Batman's Batmobile was actually a red 1964 sedan, which she drove back and forth to her job as a restaurant manager. Of course, with a name like hers, Ann was subject to more than her fair share of teasing at her surname's expense.  

"Whenever I go somewhere I have to give my name, people give me that 'are you kidding?' look. It happens at the laundry, at the bank, and all over," she said.

One would be forgiven for taking a curmudgeonly approach to responding to such daily pestering. However, despite the near-constant barrage of phone calls, Ann Batman remained good-natured about her super surname. "The little ones I just tell that Batman isn't in at the moment. I tell them that I'll tell Batman they called when he gets in, and that seems to make them happy."

So given her closeness to the character, was Ann Batman a fan of TV's Batman? "I do not watch Batman," said Ann, in no uncertain terms. "And I never will."

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