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Fan letters sent to 'Spider-Man' Peter Parker's address are now on display at a museum

AYESHA RASCOE, HOST:

When the first letter arrived at the Parker family home, they dismissed it as a silly prank. It was, after all, addressed to Peter Parker, the alter ego of...

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SPIDER-MAN")

UNIDENTIFIED SINGERS: (Singing) Spider-Man. Spider-Man.

RASCOE: ...That's right, Spider-Man. But then something strange happened, says Pamela Parker, who grew up in the home in Queens, N.Y. The letters kept coming, dozens of them, all addressed to Peter Parker.

PAMELA PARKER: We've got credit card offers in his names and magazines and occasional prank phone calls, but we would also get these really earnest fan letters from children.

RASCOE: It was only years later, when a local journalist told the family that their address, 20 Ingram Street, had been printed in a Spider-Man comic in 1989, that it suddenly made sense. It was no joke. The Parker family really did live at the same address as Peter Parker. But they say there's no relation.

PARKER: I think it's a really charming coincidence. And, you know, I hope it gives me some superpowers. The main one is impressing little kids.

RASCOE: The letters kept piling up, especially after the Spider-Man movie franchise introduced the comic book hero to a whole new generation of kids.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME")

TOM HOLLAND: (As Peter Parker) What's happening?

BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH: (As Doctor Strange) They're starting to come through, and I can't stop them.

RASCOE: Now some of those letters are on display at the city reliquary. The founder, David Herman, says the collection has drawn a lot of attention.

DAVID HERMAN: People come in. And they right away are endeared to these because I think they see a little bit of themselves in them. You know, everybody remembers back to a time when they had a hero and wanted to reach out and have some personal connection to them.

RASCOE: Many of the letters are asking Spider-Man about his weapons or costumes or even asking the superhero to come over for a playdate.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME")

HOLLAND: (As Peter Parker) Ever since I got bit by that spider, I've only had one week where my life has felt normal.

RASCOE: But for David Herman, one letter stands out for its, let's just say, menacing tone.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME")

ALFRED MOLINA: (As Doctor Octopus) Hello, Peter.

HERMAN: (Reading) Dear Spider-Man, from Connor. I'm a big fan of you. Everybody knows your secret. You're Peter Parker. I want a webslinger and all the Spider-Man things, or else I'll tell Aunt May.

RASCOE: Aunt May, of course, raised Peter Parker, and Connor clearly meant business.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME")

HOLLAND: (As Peter Parker) I'm not Spider-Man. I mean, what would make you think that I was Spider-Man?

RASCOE: Let's hope he didn't follow through on his threat to expose Spider-Man's real identity. And those letters - you can read them for yourself if you visit. They are on display until April. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.