Dave McCoy didn't figure on being a superhero this summer. But there was the 20-year-old from Oklahoma in Gotham City yesterday, playing the title role in the Batman stunt show at the Six Flags America theme park in Prince George's County.
We wanted to ask Batman about the thrill of working at Six Flags in the park's debut summer. But the people at D.C. Comics objected, saying McCoy is not actually Batman.
"Dave cannot answer questions about how it feels to 'be Batman' or what Batman would do in certain situations--as he is not Batman," said Six Flags spokeswoman Debbie Daniel. "This actor simply plays Batman in the stunt show."
Holy ground rules!
McCoy, 20, thought he was going to be a stagehand at Six Flags. But then he was offered the chance to audition for the Batman part, and he nailed it.
"When the casting company called, they said, 'How would you like to be Batman?' I didn't have to think about it. It's almost like an honor, really," McCoy said before the show, relaxed in a very un-Batman-like Abercrombie & Fitch cap and necklace and Birkenstock sandals.
Batman isn't allowed to take off his mask or cowl. Nor does the caped crusader walk like everyone else. "He marches," said McCoy, who is 6-1 and 173 pounds. "He holds his chest up and runs off the stage--the Batman walk."
Yesterday wasn't hot at all, but for most of the summer the 10 actors in the show have been miserably warm. They stash cups and bottles of water at personal hiding spots backstage. After each show, McCoy strips to his shorts and drenches himself with cups of water from an icy bucket.
The Batman splash.
McCoy said the summer at Six Flags has been a kick, especially when he glances at the audience's reaction to the half-hour of rockets, flares, smoke bombs, explosions, shooting flames, motorcycle stunts and a speeding Batmobile.
"It's nice that you're helping people smile," he said.
Batman himself is not allowed to smile. Explained McCoy: "Batman never smiles. He's saving the day."
Saving the day, four times a day. The show involves the saving of Bruce Wayne's date, photojournalist Vicki Vale, from his archenemy, the Joker.
But the real fun is watching the 10 flame bursts, 15 fireworks displays and assorted motorcycle stunts per show. It's enough to make a 3-year-old want to grow up and be a superhero!
Wearing a Batman T-shirt, Sean Winebrenner, 3, of Frederick, Md., was first in line yesterday to see the show. But when it ended, Sean was in tears. He wanted to meet Batman, but the dastardly Joker with the scary neon mask was standing in the way.
"I want to go home," Sean said.
But then the Joker ran off. Sean's eyes brightened. Soon the boy was posing for a picture with the caped crusader. Batman had saved the day yet again.
CAPTION: Dave McCoy, 20, plays Batman in a stunt show at Prince George's Six Flags America. "It's nice that you're helping people smile," he said.
CAPTION: Girls in the audience react to the show, which includes rockets, flares, smoke bombs, explosions, shooting flames, motorcycle stunts and a speeding Batmobile.