One of the items pinging around the internet world these days is the hunt for Batman. Really.
Turns out that American actor Adam West, best known for his lead role in the original Batman TV series on the ABC TV network and the initial Batman feature film from 1966 lives near Ketchum, Idaho. Even at the ripe young age of 84, West is still well known for his voice work on animated series such as The Fairly OddParents and Family Guy.
An online blogger known as slapshotten11 also happens to live near West, and recently decided to look him up in the Names & Numbers Sun Valley Idaho phone book that covers the Kethcum area. As he found, it wasn’t easy to track down the Batman:
The idea was the brain child of Ken Martin, a sales manager at Names & Numbers. We asked him to tell us more about how this little bit of fun came to be in the Sun Valley Names and Numbers Telephone Book:
“…About 20 years ago, I was skiing in my home town of Sun Valley, Idaho. It was April and a beautiful day. I stopped for a mid-mountain break and snack at the historic Roundhouse Restaurant. The deck at Roundhouse is a favorite place to enjoy the sunshine and views. While there, I overheard the unmistakable voice of Adam West, a Sun Valley local. He was having lunch at Roundhouse with his wife. Adam’s voice is quite distinctive and reminded me of his character Batman from the Batman television series. As per local Sun Valley etiquette, I let them enjoy their day without any intrusion and resumed skiing.
A few weeks later, we started sales for the Sun Valley Names & Numbers Telephone Book. One night, I reminisced about my encounter with Adam West and thought it would be fun to put Batman in the telephone book. I gave that a bit of thought and came up with an idea.
At the time, it was pretty easy for me to add a new “custom” yellow page heading. I thought; let’s create a new heading for CRIMEFIGHTERS. As I began to write up the appropriate paperwork, I thought I’ll make it more fun by creating a cross-reference to the white pages which led me to more creative thinking and including something about ‘Bruce Wayne – Millionaire’ and Adam West. I wrote up an order with 4 different white and yellow page listings (as seen above).
Several months went by as we continued our sales in Sun Valley and I completely forgot about the Batman listing. The book was delivered in November and I was having dinner with some friends at a local restaurant. Our waitress knew that I did the phone book and told me how she went to look up the phone number of Tom West and came across the listing for Adam West and Batman. She thought that was hysterical. I thought, I hope we don’t get sued for trade name or copyright violation.
The next morning, I was in our office and the telephone rang. It’s a small office and I could hear the receptionist’s conversation. Our receptionist’s name answered the phone and I heard her say “Oh hi Batman, this is Robin….. yes, he’s here, would you like to speak with him?” Robin informed me that Batman was on the phone and wanted to speak with me.
I took the call. It was clearly Adam West’s voice who asked me if I was the person responsible for putting Batman in the telephone book. I hesitated before responding, thinking again… what have I done and do I want to admit this. I had to tell the truth and replied that indeed it was me. Adam West responded that he thought it was great and that he really appreciated that we hadn’t listed his actual telephone number and asked if he could stop by to pick up some copies to send to his friends.
About a week later, on the front page of USA Today was the caption: “Holy Run Around – in the local Sun Valley telephone directory, Batman is listed under CRIMEFIGHTERS in the yellow pages” They then proceeded to provide the rest of the chain of listings. The story also was on nationally syndicated radio as well as on the Tonight Show.
The listings have continued to appear ever since and is part of what sets the Names and Numbers Telephone Directory apart.….”
Who says Yellow Page publishers can’t be creative and have a little fun? Perhaps more publishers should consider similar efforts as a way to bring some additional attention to the high quality print and online products they produce. It certainly can’t hurt…