** Episode Guide #3 **
#41 THE SPELL OF TUT
#42 TUT'S CASE IS SHUT ***
9/28/66, 9/29/66. Written by Robert C. Dennis and Earl Barret.
Directed by Larry Peerce.
From ancient scarabs, King Tut plots to distill Abu Raubu Simbu Tu, a deadly potion capable of paralyzing the will, enough to debilitate Gotham City.
Tut has Robin walk a receding plank overlooking a crocodile pit, and Chief O'Hara high on a window ledge performing acrobatics. Probably the best Tut episodes, with #117 ranking very close. From Victor Buono's delivery to O'Hara's flagpole flips, there is a steady stream of nutty events, more comedy than camp, largely due to Buono.
BatBits:Watch for the Batclimb cameo by Van Williams as The Green Hornet and Bruce Lee as Kato.
#43 THE GREATEST MOTHER OF THEM ALL
#44 MA PARKER **
10/5/88,10/6/66. Written by Henry Slesar.
Directed by Oscar Rudolph.
Batman incarcerates Ma Parker, but she takes over the prison, capturing the warden. The Dynamic Duo are captured and strapped into electric chairs. Shelley Winters as Ma Parker is a stronger series villain than Minstrel or Archer, in a spoof on gangster movies and TV shows.
A 1966 issue of New Zealand TV Weekly quoted Shelley Winters as saying, "We didn't even get to read the script or rehearse before shooting. No wonder that Adam West and Burt Ward look about dead. You hardly have time to eat lunch." She also complained about unsafe conditions on the set.
BatBits:Watch for Julie Newmar's cameo as Catwoman, a fellow prison inmate. During a prison Batclimb, Milton Berle makes a cameo as Lefty.
#45 THE CLOCK KING'S CRAZY CRIMES
#46 THE CLOCK KING GETS CROWNED ***
10/12/66,10/13/66. Written by Bill Finger and Charles Sinclair.
Directed by James Neilson.
Disguised as a pop artist, Clock King tries to rob a gallery of a time-related surrealist painting. The Dynamic Duo are stuffed into the bottom of an oversize hourglass and left to be drowned in sand as Clock King plots to filch Bruce Wayne's collection of antique pocket watches. Clock King existed in comics books as a Green Arrow villain but works well here as a foil for the Dynamic Duo. The giant clock in #46 is a classic Batman story-telling element.
Scripter Bill Finger was the co-creater of Batman with cartoonist
Bob Kane, and wrote Batman's first appearance in Detective Comics #27 (May 1939.) In "Batmania", Mark Hanerfeld reported Finger's comments in 1966 about writing for the show. Finger noted how "the story had to conform to the established format," and how he had to accent the input of producers Bill Dozier and Howie Horwitz and their story editors, plus the approval of ABC.
"Every one of them contributes something, a piece of paper, saying he doesn't like this or he doesn't like thakat. By the time the writer gets it, he goes absolutely out of his mind trying to please everybody! This happened to me."
BatBits:Watch for the Batclimb cameo in #45 of Sammy Davis Jr.
#47 AN EGG GROWS IN GOTHAM
#48 THE YEGG FOES IN GOTHAM ***
10/19/66, 10/20/66. Story by Ed Self, teleplay by Stanley Ralph Ross.
Directed by George Waggner.
Egghead attempts to wrest ownership (and therefore control) of Gotham City from lease holder Chief Screaming Chicken, the last of the Mohicans. Egghead attaches Bruce Wayne to an Electro-Thought Transferrer which will not only egg-stract Wayne's knowledge but leave him "an empty-headed fop."
BatBits:Watch for Bill Dana's cameo as Jose Jimenez in #48's Batclimb.
#49 THE DEVIL'S FINGERS
#50 THE DEAD RINGERS ***1/2
10/26/66,10/27/66. Written by Lorenzo Semple, Jr.
Directed by Larry Peerce.
Famed pianist Chandell, also known as Fingers, puts the make on Aunt Harriet, hoping to marry her, bump off Bruce and Dick and thereby have access to the Wayne fortunes. Batman and Robin are plopped onto a conveyor belt, about to be perforacted into human piano rolls. Liberace accomodatingly overacts as Fingers.
"Liberace was so kind," said Milton Stark. "At lunch periods he'd sit at the piano and say, 'What do you want me to play?' He'd play anything for them. He was very congenial, very nice and a real professional."
BatBits:Work on the second season became so hectic that Adam West began to use cue cards. "We were there 15 hours most every day, five days a week," recalled makeup man Bruce Hutchinson. "[If on a] Friday night we had four-and-a-half pages to do and everyone was dead tired, they'd just start writing cue cards. Adam had pages of technical dialog to try to memorize."
"Plenty of girls and bands and slogans and lots of hoopla, but remember, no politics. Issues confuse people." -Penguin to his election crew
#51 HIZZONNER THE PENGUIN
#52 DIZZONNER THE PENGUIN ***
11/2/66,11/3/66. Written by Stanford Sherman.
Directed by Oscar Randolph.
The polls show overwhelming support for Penguin in his run for mayor, thanks to his rescue of a baby from a runaway carriage, a contribution of $100,000 to the Gotham City Charity Fund and other equally outstanding efforts.
Since the only alternative to Penguin for Mayor is Batman for Mayor, the Caped Crusader enters the race, but cannot match Penguin's flair, snappy jingles and willingness to kiss babies.
Batman and Robin are waylaid and strung up over a vat of acid. Noted stuntman Victor Paul, who doubled for Robin, "Batman was fighting a bunch of guys in derbies. I said instead of bringng in six guys, bring in five. I've never been photographed without a mask on so I'll put on one of these black outfits with a black turtleneck and a derby and I'll do a fight.
Bing! I got nailed from Batman. My friend Hubie Kerns nailed me right in the schnoz. It rocked me, laid me back. The producer was standing there. He said, 'That's it! Victor, you never again fight in a scene unless you're doing Robin. I can't afford to get you hurt and then you can't work.' The only guy that hits me is my own partner."
BatBits:Watch for cameoes in #51 by Little Egypt and Paul Revere and the Raiders.
#53 GREEN ICE
#54 DEEP FREEZE *1/2
11/9/66,11/10/66. Written by Max Hodge.
Directed by George Waggner.
Mr. Freeze kidnaps Miss Iceland, freezes Commissioner Gordon and Chief O'Hara and discredits Batman and Robin by routing wimpy doubles of the Dynamic Duo. The genuine crimefighters find Mr. Freeze in a seemingly abandoned Cold Storage Plant but are jumped and then placed in giant frozen popsicle containers, soon to be turned into Famous Frosty Freezies.
"When we ran over time, the director would decide what [to cut],"
recalled dialog coach Milton Stark. "I told him [Preminger] we have to cut some of his speeches. 'You're taking out my best lines!' he said. I started to laugh. He asked 'What [are] you laughing about?' I said, 'How many times have actors said that to you?' He laughed and said, 'By God, it's true, you know.'"
"Otto Preminger: you can have him," noted makeup man Lee Harman.
"They were smart. They hired a director [George Waggner] that was older than Otto, that had done a lot of things. Otto didn't like anybody being touched up and this guy just said, 'Hey, you're just acting in this. I'm directing it.' He told him who was the boss; we all loved that."
Otto Preminger was too-far-over-the-top in his portrayal of Mr. Freeze. For camp to work best, all roles had to be played perfectly straight, as Neil Hamilton did Commissioner Gordon so successfully throughout the series. Anything else and the show began to stall.
BatBits:Preminger had a problem to solve before appearing on the show: he owed $11,000 in back dues to the Screen Actor's Guild.
#55 THE IMPRACTICAL JOKER
#56 THE JOKER'S PROVOKERS 1/2*
11/16/66,11/17/66. Written by Jay Thompson and Charles Hoffman.
Directed by James B. Clark.
Joker is on a crime spree involving keys and manages to incapacitate Batman and Robin with a mysterious little box; in reality, the Duped Duo had been hypnotized. They discover Joker in an old key factory, and are captured. Robin is placed in a maching that will spray wax him to death while Batman is strung out on a giant human key duplicator.
Jay Thompson's original script, "Hickery Dicery Doc," was substantially more fascinating and entertaining than what ended up being broadcast. Charles Hoffman's rewriting contributed to a confusing episode, probably the worst pair of Joker episodes in the series.
"Charlie Hoffman was probably 70 when we were going the show," recalled regular series scripter Stanley Ralph Ross. "He had been a great friend of Howie Horwitz. They used to do 77 SUNSET STRIP over at Warner Bros. Charlie was made the story editor when Lorenzo [Semple] left."
BatBits:Watch for Howard Duff in a Batclimb cameo. Kathy Kersh, Burt Ward's second wife, plays the Joker's moll, Cornelia.
"Batman's never rude to a lady. But you're no lady." -Robin to Marsha
#57 MARSHA, QUEEN OF DIAMONDS
#58 MASHA'S SCHEME OF DIAMONDS *
11/23/66, 11/24/66. Written by Stanford Sherman.
Directed by James B. Clark.
Marsha wants the Batdiamond, a monstrous gem which provides power to the Batcomputer. In the process, she manages to leave Chief O'Hara, Commissioner Gordon and a roomful of lovesick men behind her. Batman resists her charms but Robin is hit with one of Marsha's love darts and orders Batman to surrender. Batman demands the Boy Lover's freedom, but it can only be had by marrying Marsha. And so the Caped Crusader proceeds to join Marha at the altar...
Carolyn Jones plays Marsha, a thief who must foce men to love her and thrives on jealousy. Although a good change from the bank robbing, riddle dropping, costumed male capitalists who covet world domination, Marsha is perhaps more deserving of psychoanalysis than a Batman script, especically one
so flawed in consistency and logic.
BatBits:For the 1966 Emmys, BATMAN was nominated as Oustanding Comedy Series while Frank Gorshin was nominated for Outstanding Performance By An Actor In A Supporting Role In A Comedy ("Hi Diddle Riddle"). A third nomination was made for editing.
Robin: "But he knows that we know about his hideout there!"
Batman: "Correct! However, knowing that, he'd think that we'd think he would not return there, therefore he did and so will we."
#59 COME BACK, SHAME
#60 IT'S HOW YOU PLAY THE GAME *
11/30/66,12/1/66. Written by Stanley Ralph Ross.
Directed by Oscar Randolph.
Shame and his cohorts are stealing car parts in order to soup up their truck so it can outrun the Batmobile. Batman and Robin track the car rustlers to their hideout, but the Duped Duo end up staked to the ground with stampeding cattle bearing down on them. Cliff Robertson as Shame, a western parody, fails to be much of a supervillain. A pity the show didn't turn more often to the comics for inspiration, rather than concoct its own menaces.
According to an ABC press release, Cliff Robertson arragned to take his seven-year-old daughter to visit the Batman set. On the way home, she said, "Daddy, I never knew you knew such important people," noted Robertson.
Robertson called producer Bill Dozier and told him his daughter wanted to know why he wasn't on the show. Recalled Robertson, "He just laughed and said, 'I'll send you a script.'"
BatBits:Watch for Werner Klemperer's cameo as Colonel Klink in a Batclimb in #60.