As an 11-year-old boy, I fell hook, line, and sinker for the marketing blitz for 1989’s “Batman” film. At the time, I hadn’t read many Batman comics, and my comic collection was still in its early stages. But I knew Batman from the seventies and early eighties cartoons, and couldn’t wait for the movie.
The massive marketing wave for the movie and its tie-ins also struck a chord with me, and after my uncle took me to see Batman on opening weekend, I knew I needed to own all those wonderful toys! Unfortunately, “Batman” opened in June, which meant Christmas was a ways away, and my Birthday was even further away.
I suppose I could have asked my uncle to stop at the Kay Bee (or KB) Toys store inside the South Shore Plaza on the way home, but he was a cheap bastard and I knew he wouldn’t get me anything.
For several months I waited patiently for Christmas to arrive, and when it was time to give my family my wish list, I made sure to write down all sorts of Batman goodies. I basically asked for anything Bat related, from comics, t-shirts, and of course, toys.
Christmas ’89 landed on a Monday that year, and I was up before the sun was up so I could dive into the gifts under the tree. That day I received clothes, books, and a Apollo 11 1,000 piece puzzle which I thought was kind of odd. Anyways, I finally found a present that felt like an action figure, so I tore the paper and found… Bob the Goon.
The only Batman related gift I got that year was Bob the Goon. That moment still haunts me to this day. At the time two things popped into my head:
1. What the !?#?$?$^?!
2. Seriously, who gave the go ahead on a Bob the Goon action figure?
It’s not that I had anything personal against actor Tracey Walter, but even back then I knew he was only in the Batman movie because he was good friends with Jack Nicholson. The main reason I hated the Bob the Goon toy was because what could you possible do with him?
With a Batman action figure I could have had countless adventures. Add in a vehicle or tow, and those adventures would have doubled in size. But with Bob, there really wasn’t much to do. In fact, I don’t know that I ever played with the action figure at all.
Anywho, I found out days later from my mother that they had gone to a few stores and all the good Batman toys were sold out. I believe her, and my family more than made up for it on my next birthday when I got Batman, the Joker, the Batmobile, and the Batwing. As for Bob, I have no idea what happened to him, but I recently found his hat.