I grew up in the suburbs on the west side of Cleveland. A pleasant, little town with a population of around 7,000. Lots of trees to climb and fields to run through. But Cleveland was where the action was! There were the Indians and the Browns, of course, plus any number of artistic performances. The Cleveland Zoo was always well done and the museums were top-notch.
Ah, but the most important building in all of Cleveland -- for yours truly in the 1970s -- was on the corner of 18th and Euclid. It's across the street from the Hanna Theatre and, back then, had a book store on the ground floor.
You're probably expecting I'm about to tell you about some incredible treasure I found in that book store, and that's why the building was so important. Not gonna happen. In fact, I don't recall ever even entering the building, much less the book store!
No, the reason why it was so important was that it had a 100-foot tall painting of Batman and Robin on one side. That classic Carmine Infantino image that visually defined the Dynamic Duo in the late 1960s. It was incredible! Batman and Robin, the world's greatest heroes (to a seven-year-old) towering over and protecting Cleveland. Not Gotham -- Cleveland! To heck with the Browns and the Indians! We had Batman!
Every time Dad would drive us into the city -- for whatever reason -- I would always strain trying to look for the caped crusader, but you couldn't quite see them from I-90, so it was only occasionally I'd catch a glimpse of them. It didn't matter, though. I knew they were there. I had no fear of the city because I knew we were being protected.
(No, I didn't think the painting was literally protecting us. But I had it in my head that the only reason you would paint a 100-foot tall Batman on the side of the building was because he lived nearby. Kind of like a giant "Kilroy was here" sign. Cleveland was Batman's hometown, as far as I was concerned.)
It was eventually painted over -- I seem to recall Dad saying the building was bought by someone else. A little internet searching shows there's a Subway now where the book store used to be.
I remembered this grand mural today, and wanted to share an obscure piece of Bat-trivia with you all today. I figure it's something even the most devoted Batman fans weren't aware of. But, for the life of me, I can't find a picture of the actual painting itself. It was on the side of the building for at least a decade, and I can't seem to find any record of it at all! So I'd like to request of anyone who remembers this great piece of art to share what they know/remember about it. Who painted it and why? Was it officially licensed from DC? Does anyone have a photo of it they could share?
Yes, it's insanely trivial by all accounts, but geez, that was just frickin' cool! Tthe economy sucked ass back then, too, but we had Batman, Superhost and the WMMS Buzzard -- what was there to be upset about?