It’s no secret that I am a HUGE Superman fan. I have been since I was a little girl. And today is a very special day in my Super-history. Today is the day 20 short years ago that I met Superman himself.
Now I’ve met celebrities before. I have tons of stories… some funny, some creepy, but none as extraordinary as the day I met Dean Cain on the wintery streets of New York City, November 22, 1996. Everything we did that day ended in disaster, and yet for some reason we were still guided through the day like a game of Sims to meet Superman.
Dean was scheduled to be on the Rosie O’Donnell show in New York City at 9am. NYC was a 2-hour plus drive for us, and the NBC studios suggested getting there early. So at 3:30 in the morning we were woken up by my mom blaring – and I mean blaring- the John Williams’ Superman theme song. I’ve never woken up at that time that excited before. By 4:30 we – my four sisters, Kelli, Kristin, Aimee, and MaCai- and my good friend Cindy, were piled into the family van and headed toward New York from Connecticut. We didn’t get far though, because our van broke down.
My father was persistent and we were all determined to get there though, so he brought the broken van home and we switched to his Ford Taurus, a 5 seater car for 8 people. Hey, we were rebels. It was tight, but we made it…a little late, but we were there.
Now came the awful part. We were in line, where it was first come first serve, for seating in the studio. All of eight of us rotated in and out of the spot, fairly close to the front for the next two hours. I didn’t switch too much, because I was too geared up to see the show. I probably only left to go to the bathroom, whereas the others would come and go for food or the gift shops in 30 Rockefeller Center. So when the studio people came by to pass out tickets this b***h behind us started making a stink about how we didn’t deserve tickets because we were always rotating, and she couldn’t leave even once to pee. We were like big deal. You could have left and someone would’ve nicely saved your spot. The people weren’t that mean, but this chick just made such a ruckus that I started yelling and shouting at her (emotions were really high) and eventually it was too much that I said, “That’s it. I don’t want to see Dean like this. I’ll constantly have a bad taste in mouth about the day.” And we left.
Outside Rockefeller Center I collapsed on the stairs, mind you right across the street from where the whole Kennedy family (Teddy and John Jr. included) were walking into St. Patrick’s Cathedral for a service over John Kennedy’s death anniversary, crying my eyes out. I was so incredibly upset, because seeing Dean was something I was so close to and it was ripped from me by a nasty woman. My mom hugged me and gave me the quintessential mom speech of how things happen for a reason and only God knows the reason.
As silly as it seemed, she still prayed with me on the steps that if it was in His will that God would see the desires of my heart and open the doors that needed to be opened. I remember doubting her words and maybe even scoffing at the thought that God doesn’t care if I meet a celebrity or not. But the hour wasn’t up yet…
We walked the New York streets for a little while until it started to flurry and get rather windy and cold, and we decided it was best to go home. So we smooshed ourselves into the Taurus and maneuvered through NYC traffic, even switching off Fifth Avenue to Madison because Fifth was gridlocked. We were almost to the end of the street, when at a red light my sister Kristin said, “Eryn look, it’s Dean!”
Kristin, God love her, was a tease and I think I told her to quit it. But she turned my head to the window and said, “NO, LOOK… it’s Dean!” And sure enough, IT WAS!
Everyone started yelling, “GO!!” and my sisters pushed me out of the car, right in the middle of the road.
I ran out and stood across the street from Dean taking luggage out of his limousine and signing autographs to the few fans that were outside. I called out his name and he looked up and waved. I squealed to myself and without thinking ran across the street, nearly getting hit by a car. I remember seeing Dean’s face just drop as he said, “Careful!”
I was an idiot, I hadn’t even looked before running. But hey, I made it and in just a few more feet I was right in front of the man I’d been infatuated with for the last three years on Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. Now, I know people always say when they meet people outside of film, ‘oh they are so much better looking up close,’ but wow – it was the truth. If any of you thought Dean was gorgeous on television, it’s a different story up close… he’s exquisite!!! Black hair, tan skin, tall, muscular!! oh my gosh, and his eyes… gorgeous almond shaped with sienna brown irises, accented with flecks of gold. I’m not kidding, he is beautiful!
Now, that 20 years have gone by I don’t remember everything he said or I said, but I remember little flashes. I know I asked for a picture and he said sure, but no one else was around at that point. The fans had left, he’d sent his assistant inside the hotel to check in, and my family hadn’t showed up yet. This was before selfies, too, so I had no idea how this was going to work, and I was so nervous and shaky. Luckily, I felt a had on my shoulder and my sister was there saying she’d take my picture.
I ran right to Dean and latched arms around his freakin’ tiny waist. I remember hearing his laughter and seeing his big smile so genuinely happy he was making me happy. It was funny too, because as I was hugging him, I remembered his muscles and leaned my cheek against his chest feeling those oh-so-firm pectorals, then thinking, ‘oh my gosh, I’ve died and gone to Heaven.’ In fact, my picture with him is the face I was making when I leaned in.
My sister Kristin went next, then Kelli, with each of them taking the pictures for each other.
By that point, my mother and my littler sisters (Aimee was 5, MaCai was 6) came running up behind us. Aimee was yelling out, “Superman! Superman!” and Dean turned around and I heard him aww out loud at her cuteness.
Mom, on the other hand, was embarrassing – as mothers often are- she was saying, “I can’t believe we found you!” and picked up sister Aimee and literally threw her – yes threw her – into his arms. He caught her with a thud, her back to his chest. Thank God he was a football player!
He then knelt and lopped his other arm around MaCai. I don’t know how it happened but I had the camera. I was shaking like a leaf! I was also holding my gloves in one hand. Dean did notice that the gloves were covering the lens and said, “Hon? Hey honey, the gloves are in front of the lens.”
I was more enthralled that he’d called me honey, then sighed and realized what he was saying, and tossed to them ground. He laughed at me and I took the picture.
The cool thing about this day was that it wasn’t an end, but a beginning. Like my mom had said on the steps of Rockefeller Center, God knows the desires in my heart. My desire wasn’t just to meet Dean, but to have a writing career, to meet the man of my dreams who would become my husband, and yeah to always have a Superman in my life.
Because of Dean and this day, I took my love of writing and apply to my love of history to become a historical fiction writer and researcher for other my books. When I wasn’t sure of where to go after college, I chose California because I loved it so much after visiting Warner Brothers Studio (where Lois and Clark was filmed). Because I moved to California, I met my husband, got married, and had a beautiful baby boy. And after meeting Dean again a few years ago, it has opened up far more writing doors than I could’ve ever hoped for. And lastly, the friends I’ve met, because of this man, have been life-long, deep connections I hope never to lose.
So Dean, if you are reading this, from the bottom of my heart THANK YOU for opening so many doors. THANK YOU for the last twenty years. And THANK YOU for always being MY Superman.