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Real Heroes Don’t Wear Spandex

There have been five live-action iterations of Batman in my lifetime.

1] 1960’s Batman, starring Adam West and Burt Ward. Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson pretty much just sat around Wayne Manor all day until they got a call on the red Bat-Phone from Commissioner Gordon. Then they slid down the bat pole and somewhere halfway down they transformed into Batman and Robin. They leapt into the Batmobile and raced off to fight crime. I had no idea that the TV show was a comedy when I watched this as a wee laddie. All I saw were two guys dressed up in cool (for that age) costumes, driving a cool car, and beating up about ten or twelve bad guys every week. What’s there not to love?

2] 1990’s Batman movies starring Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, and George Clooney. This version had an even cooler Batmobile and better special effects (for that age). It, too, looks a mite goofy for today’s viewer, but all of us ate these movies up when they came out.

3] 2000’s Batman staring Christian Bale. This re-boot featured (you guessed it) an even better Batmobile and more cool Bat weapons..

4] Justice League Batman starring Ben Affleck. New Batmobile, Bat suit, and Bat friends.

5] The Robert Pattinson version that depicts an earlier stage of Batman’s adventures

Holy history lesson, Batman!

In each version, you see different components of the Batman saga. Sometimes Robin shows up, but in some versions, he’s nowhere to be found. Sometimes, Batgirl appears, but often not. Even mainstays like Wayne Manor, the Batmobile, and the Bat-Signal only intermittently appear.

But in every iteration, there is one character who is consistently there and without whom Batman could not exist. Can you guess who that is?


In every version, while Batman is out fighting crime and getting all the credit, Alfred is back in the Batcave quietly supporting the effort. There really aren’t any heroes without support staff. Even the Lone Ranger wasn’t alone. There are always people working diligently behind the scenes to make sure the world is okay.

I mention this because most of the people I speak to at my events fit into the Alfred role. They will never get rich and famous doing what they do. They will never have the mayor of Gotham publicly thank them. They will never be celebrated in ticker tape parades. But they are indispensable and are heroes just the same.

Who am I talking about? I’m talking about the school staff, the tellers at financial institutions, the administrators, the medical staff, the city, county and federal employees, the customer service reps, our fire fighters, soldiers, and police. I can go on and on!

Have I missed anyone? Absolutely. You might have missed them also. It’s okay, though. They’re used to it and don’t really expect any recognition.

Nevertheless, we owe them. Every organization should have an event or a day–or several days throughout the year for that matter–when they take time out to recognize the Alfreds in their organization.

So take a moment to forward this email to someone who makes your life easier and tell them you appreciate them. Let them know that they are a hero in your world.

© 2023 Charles Marshall. Charles Marshall is a nationally known humorous motivational speaker and author. Visit his Web site or contact him via e-mail at

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One Response to Real Heroes Don’t Wear Spandex

  1. Lisa October 8, 2019 at 4:30 PM #

    Great message – to remember the ones that keep the wheels turning and day to day activities moving along as any well oiled machine Thanks!

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