** Episode Guide #1 **
#1 HI DIDDLE RIDDLE
#2 SMACK IN THE MIDDLE ***
1/12/66,1/13/66. Written by Lorenzo Semple Jr. Directed by Robert Butler.
Batman and Robin are sued for one million bucks for false arrest by the
Riddler, who seeks to force Batman to unmask in court. Clues hidden in the
legal documents bring the Dynamic Duo to a hot and trendy discotheque
What A Way To Go-Go, as Batman does the Batusi with the Riddler's moll, played
by Jill St. John.
"I didn't know that I was going to have to do a dance in a disco before I
came in," Adam West has noted. "That was all improvised on the set. The
watusi was the dance that was popular then. I said, 'Okay, I'll do the
Batusi.' And it just happened."
Production values and the pilot's high budget are evident in the creative
and original set designs, lighting and excellent use of color, noticeably
absent in some underbudgeted third season misfires. Variations between pilot
and regular series: opening theme is slightly different, Alfred's rarely used
tuxedo is worn throughout #1/2 and the superimposed cliffhanger texts are
BatBits: Based on "Remarkable Ruse of the Riddler" from Batman #171
(5/65, written by Gardner Fox. Lyle Waggoner was originally cast as Batman
and filmed for a test reel.
#3 FINE FEATHERED FINKS
#4 THE PENGUIN'S A JINX ***
1/19/66,1/20/66. Written by Lorenzo Semple Jr. Directed by Robert Butler.
Fresh out of the slammer, Penguin and his gang create several
disturbances, including a giant umbrella which lands in Gotham. Nothing is
stolen, so Batman and Robin theorize the antics are a ruse.
Batman's origin was never specifically dealt with during the series.
Bruce Wayne mentions the murder of his parents in episode #1, refers to an
umbrella that belonged to his late father in #3, and recalls "the murder of my
parents by dastardly criminals" in #82. The references to Batman's past
appear in material worked on by Lorenzo Semple Jr., initially the series head
writer and someone who appears to have recieved the most influence from (or
paid better attention to) established Batman comics lore.
At the end of #4, Semple had Commissioner Gordon explain the origin of
the Batcostume. "It's simple. As Batman realized when he set out on his
crusade, nothing so strikes terror into the criminal mind as the shape and
shadow of a huge bat." Semple felt strongly about using shadow imagery. "I
think that's very important, and should be in all scripts from now on," wrote
Semple in a November 6,1965 letter to producer Bill Dozier. "The bat-costume
and bat-shadows throw terror and dismay into criminals. Indeed, that's the
very kernel of the whole costume gimmick and we certainly didn't make that
point in the pilot. Tell all toiling Bat-Writers to try to work it in." No
such emphasis was ever made.
Based "Partners in Plunder!" from Batman #169 (2/65),
written by France Eddie Herron. Mickey Rooney was considered for the role of
#5 THE JOKER IS WILD
#6 BATMAN IS RILED ****
1/26/66,1/27/66. Written by Robert Dozier. Directed by Don Weis.
The Joker devises a utility belt of his own, and switches it with
Batman's. He captures the Dynamic Duo and threatens to unmask them on live
TV, a classic bit of Batlore. These episodes avoid the series' typical
bizarro deathtrap cliffhanger, an excellent but underutiliezed change of pace.
This is the best Joker performance by Cesar Romero. Hubi Kerns and Victor
Paul, the stunt doubles for Adam West and Burt Ward respectively, are evident
throughout the fight scene at the end of #6. The first season's more
expensive optical on-screen POWs and EEYOWs are less obtrusive and
obliterative than later version, allowing the action to be more visible.
"White was forbidden on the set," said William Dyer, on Adam West's
lighting stand-in. "You'd always wear a shirt the color [of the costume] or
close to it. And if something was really important, they'd give you a smock to
wear [in] the color they wanted. Ironicaly enough, you'll see all the heroines
in white and cameraman Howie Schwartz would go bananas. 'Why did you do this
to me again? You know I don't like white!' Patricia Barto did the costumes.
She'd always do that kind of thing: he'd get furious."
Both Jose Ferrer and Gig Young were considered for the role
of the Joker.
"Poor devil. Forced to live in an air-conditioned suit that keeps his body
temperature down to 50 degrees below zero. No wonder his mind is warped."
#7 INSTANT FREEZE
#8 RATS LIKE CHEESE ***
2/3/66 Written by Max Hodge. Directed by Robert Butler.
Batman and Robin attempt to thward Mr. Freeze's plans to steal the
Circle of Ice Diamonds, and are frozen in their steps by a deadly ice-gun.
"I don't think I did a very good job with George Sanders," lamented
director Bob Butler, of the actor who played Mr. Freeze. "I don't know if I
didn't direct him enough. He was certainly a lovely guy, kind of a gentle,
decent, professional guy. Why it didn't gel with him, I don't know."
was less bombastic than others who followed in the role, including Otto
Preminger and Eli Wallach. Sanders is more serious and perhaps more
understatedly deadly. Some of this stems from Sanders' calm on-screen
indifference as a cultured cad. In keeping with his screen persona, Sanders'
1972 suicide note observed that he was "bored."
Based on "The Ice Crimes of Mr. Zero" from Batman #121 (2/59)
by Dave Wood. Mr. Zero was changed to Mr. Freeze for the TV show, and the
comics followed suit. Watch for Teri Garr in the bit part of a girl in #7.
#9 ZELDA THE GREAT
#10 A DEATH WORSE THAN FATE ***
2/9/66,2/10/66. Written by Lorenzo Semple, Jr. Directed by Norman Foster.
Master escape artist Zelda the Great steals $100,000 from the First
National Bank on April Fool's Day, and, believing the cash to be counterfeit,
kidnaps Aunt Harriet, suspending her over a vat of boiling oil for ransom.
Though not of supervillain status, Ann Baxter as Zelda and Jack Kruschen as
Albanian genius Eivol Ekdol work because Semple's story is well written.
Lorenzo Semple's initial outline for these episodes used comics
escape artist Carnado. William Dozier wrote, "Let's remember we must work
dames into these scripts, both for Batman and Robin, wherever feasible." The
comment inspired Semple to modify his work. From a November 11, 1965 letter
to Dozier: "Am changing the Great Carnado into Zelda the Great, a super-sexy
femme escape-artiste and illusionist!"
Based on "Batman's Inescapable Doom-Trap!" from Detective
Comics #346 by John Broome. These epiosdes were originally entitled "The
Inescapable Doom Trap/Zelda Takes the Rap" and scheduled to air 1/26 and 1/27.
Frankie Darrow, who plays a newsman, previously was a Dead End Kid. Both Zsa
Zsa Gabor and Bette Davis were considered for the role of Zelda.
#11 A RIDDLE A DAY KEEPS THE RIDDLER AWAY
#12 WHEN THE RAT'S AWAY THE MICE WILL PLAY ***1/2
2/16/66,2/17/66. Written by Fred De Gorter. Directed by Tom Gries.
Visiting King Boris is kidnapped by the Riddler, leading Batman and
Robin into a trap. Director Tom Gries uses complex camera setups,
occasional lengthier fluid takes, deep focus and some unusually dark sets for
the series. Gries also directed #33/34, and brought visual excitement to the
At the beginning of #12, look for the blatantly (campy)
stuffed dummies of Batman and Robin on the drive shaft.
#13 THE THIRTEENTH HAT
#14 BATMAN STANDS PAT **1/2
2/23/66,2/24/66. Written by Charles Hoffman. Directed by Norman Foster.
Using his Super Instant Mesmerizer, paroled Jervis Tetch (alias the
Mad Hatter) attempts to capture every member of the jury which originally
convicted him, as well as Batman, who testified against him, burying the
Caped Crusader in super-fast hardening plaster.
With Hatter's criminal acts
more appropriately tied to hats, these episodes are superior to the other
Hatter installments (#69/70). David Wayne gives the Hatter a goofball accent
(or whatever that is), but fails to make him a major league villain. Diane
McBain has a gorgeous voice as Hatter's moll, Lisa.
Two-Face was originally considered as a first season villain,
using the theme of a TV commentator who has a TV tube blow up in his face.
This was a variation of a Two-Face story as reprinted in Batman Annual #3
(1962), originally from Detective Comics #230 (4/56), written by Bill Finger,
where a klieg light blows up in an actor's face. Ultimately, the character
did not appear on the series.
#15 THE JOKER GOES TO SCHOOL
#16 HE MEETS HIS MATCH, THE GRISLY GHOUL **1/2
3/2/66,3/3/66. Written by Lorenzo Semple Jr. Directed by Murray Golden.
Joker plans to undermine student morale and recruit high school
dropouts for his gang, the Bad Pennies. The Clown Prince of Crime wires the
Dynamic Duo to a slot machine about to generate 50,000 volts.
Dick Grayson helps solve crimes, infiltrating the Bad Pennies sans Batman.
Much of the show revolves around Grayson, his school and classmates.
Even though Burt Ward was several years out of high school, he still
looked young enough to do justice to the role of a student. "I was 20 years
old," Ward has observed regarding his initial involvement with the series, "and
became 21 and had to go to court to get my contract approved so that I could
work on the show."
In November 1965, Semple concocted a new villain named The
One-Armed Bandit, "whose peculiar kick is gimmicked coin machines of all
sorts." The idea ultimately wound up in these episodes with Joker in
charge of the One Armed Bandit Novelty Company and vending machines that
churned out silver dollars, quarters, answer sheets to exams and knockout gas.
"The opposite of a girl is a boy!" -Robin puzzles out a clue
#17 TRUE OR FALSE FACE
#18 HOLY RAT RACE ****
3/9/66,3/10/66. Written by Stephen Kandel. Directed by William Graham.
False Face steals the Mergenberg Crown, replacing it with a replica,
then gasses Gotham Guardians and then epoxies them to subway tracks (with
quick setting plastic cement) as a train approaches.
In many episodes, the outcomes were either evident or foreshadowed
long before the conclusion; not so here. With numerous twists, turns and false
leads, this offbeat pair of episodes remains consistently oblique, even to the
end, regarding whether Batman and Robin will ever apprehend the tricky False
Face. The villain's abhorrence of the word true as well as his use of false
clues are other nice touches. Batman at its best, for this writer's taste.
"Not even his mother will recognize the actor playing False Face,"
said producer Howie Horowitz in a February 2 ABC press release. "He's a
classically styled actor with a background in New York theater, movies and
television." In Joel Eisner's The Official Batman Batbook , actor Melachi
Throne lamented a modification to the original concept which called for
makeup instead of a mask. Throne's credit appread as "?" in episode #17
and #18. However, curious viewers could simply open TV Guide which listed
his credit on both evenings.
Bill Finger created False Face in Batman #113 (2/58).
"I'll be back in three minutes and twenty seconds." -Batman to Robin
#19 THE PURR-FECT CRIME
#20 BETTER LUCK NEXT TIME ***1/2
3/16/66,3/17/66. Written by Stanley Ralph Ross and Lee Orgel. Directed by
In the series' first Catwoman adventure, the Feline Fury spirits
away one of a pair of golden cat statuettes containing the secret to Captain
Manx's lost treasure. Catwoman traps Batman to battle a ferocious tiger and
balances the Boy Dinner over a pit of hungry tigers and lions.
Noted director of photography Howard Schwartz in "American
Cinematographer", "We try to use color in an exciting way and for that reason
we use a great deal of colored light on the sets. We felt that amber was a
'cat color' we played everything in her office and lair in ambers. We went
to the greens for the Riddler because he wears a green outfit, and on the
Penguin we used purples. These colors are produced, of course, by placing
appropriate gelatins over the lamps. Naturally we keep the colored light off
the faces, except for extreme effects where somebody will turn on a red light
or a green light or something of the sort."
Suzanne Pleshette was considered for the role of Catwoman,
played by Julie Newmar. Catwoman's alter ego Selina Kyle was never shown on