** Episode Guide #5 **
#81 THE JOKER'S LAST LAUGH
#82 THE JOKER'S EPITAPH
2/15/67,2/16/67. Story by Peter Rabe, teleplay by Lorenzo Semple, Jr.
Directed by Oscar Rudolph.
On the trail of phony phunds, Batman discovers that the chief
teller at Gotham National Bank is a Joker-controlled robot raising funds for
the Joker's Penthouse Publisher comic book company. Robin is captured and
about to be pressed flat into a comic book.
BatBits:Oscar Rudolph directed 36 episodes, and 30 of the final 52,
the most of any of the 19 directors credited on the series. Producer Charles
FitzSimons recalled that Rudolph directed the entire Ann Sothern series,
PRIVATE SECRETARY. "He was very proficient, very responsible and a very good
friend of mine."
"The way we get into these scrapes and get out of them, it's almost as though
someone was dreaming up these situations; guiding our destiny." -Robin to
#83 CATWOMAN GOES TO COLLEGE
#84 BATMAN DISPLAYS HIS KNOWLEDGE
2/22/67,2/23/67. Written by Stanley Ralph Ross. Directed by Robert Sparr.
Catwoman steals a life-size statue of Batman to design a Batcostume
and robs a supermarket. The real Batman is arrested, but escapes with
Alfred's help. Catwoman then lures the Dynamic Duo to teh top of a building
where they are dumped into a giant coffee cup. A huge percolator filled with
sulfuric acid is about to pour liquid death over our subdued heroes. Another
fantastic deathtrap from the mind of Stanley Ralph Ross, sandwiched between
more modest material.
Noted makeup man Lee Harman about Batman and Robin's costumes, "Those
tights were so tight that they'd get sweaty. You'd have to use a hairdryer
to keep them dry so that wouldn't show through." Added supervisor Bruce
Hutchinson, "When they cut the scene and went onto something else, the
cowl, the cape and the belt would come off; it got too hot. Every take.
The cowl would just lift off. Adam perspired a lot. Burt's mask would
come off and he had to have his hair combed over the mask every time." A
segment with Batman in prison (second half of #83) shows exactly how
Batman's cape and cowl were removed.
BatBits:Watch for Art Linkletter in a Batclimb cameo in #83.
#85 A PIECE OF THE ACTION
#86 BATMAN'S SATISFACTION
3/1/67,3/2/67. Written by Charles Hoffman. Directed by Oscar Rudolph.
Batman and Robin team up with Green Hornet and Kato to stamp out
counterfeiting at the Pink Chip Stamps Factory. Batman and Robin end up
stuck to a glue table, while the Hornet and Kato are fed into a machine,
about to be pressed into stamps. With four major heroes, several crooks
and a handful of secondary characters to write for, little room was left for
strong plot and character development.
BATMAN and THE GREEN HORNET were filmed on the same Culver City lot,
and shared the same network and producer. THE GREEN HORNET did poorly during
its single season, often ranking in the bottom 20 of the Nielsen ratings. "It
may be because we turned Batman into a camp character," observed Bill Dozier in
1967, "that people refuse to buy Green Hornet, or anyone else in a mask, who
isn't treated in the same way."
Robin stuntman Victor Paul remembered filming the climactic fight
between the two Dynamic Duos. "We had quite an incident, because Batman and
Robin didn't want to lose the fight. Bruce Lee didn't want to lose the fight
[either]. They had a big to-do about that. Bruce Lee said, 'Nobody beats
me.' Finally, we had to get the producer to come down and straighten out
the whole deal. We just sat there and waited. He said, 'Look, it's a
Mexican standoff. Nobody wins. You have this big fight. At the end of it,
you just stop it and stare at each other; that's the end of the fight.' So
that's how we did it.
"I talked to Bruce Lee," added Paul. "Bruce, whatever you do, don't
nail me because I'll come back with a chair on you.' He was fast; if he hit
you, he'd knock your head off and he was used to making contact. I said,
'Don't make any contact with me because that's not right.'"
BatBits:Watch for Edward G Robinson's Batclimb cameo in #86.
"If the Caped Crumb is here, the cowled creep can't be far behind." -King Tut
#87 KING TUT'S COUP
#88 BATMAN'S WATERLOO
3/8/67,3/9/67. Story by Leo and Pauline Townsend. Teleplay by Stanley
Ralph Ross. Directed by James B. Clark.
Tut and his Tutlings cop a sarcophagus from the Gotham City museum
and plot to kidnap Lisa Carson (Lee Meriwether), dressed as Cleopatra for the
upcoming Egyptian Costume Ball. Batman is sealed in the royal sarcophagus and
dropped into a large vat of water. Robin's fate: to be boiled in oil.
Includes a Tut origin segment at the beginning of #87. Highlight: Carson
inviting Bruce Wayne into her hotel room for milk and cookies, one of the few
times Wayne kisses anyone on the show.
Heavyweight Victor Buono was in his late 20's. "I was about 300
pounds at that point, also," observed scripter Stanley Ralph Ross. "So we
looked like Tweedledum and Tweedledee. I was about 30. We palled around
together. I really liked Victor. He could make me laugh by saying hello.
The guy was a genius. He wrote poetry and he did an album called 'Heavy'."
Buono died January 2, 1983.
BatBits:For the first time in the series, Commissioner Gordon
discusses his daughter Barbara Gordon with Batman (#88), a precursor to her
debut third season as Batgirl.
"I never touch spirits. Have you some milk?" -Batman to Black Widow
#89 BLACK WIDOW STRIKES AGAIN
#90 CAUGHT IN THE SPIDER'S DEN
3/15/67,3/16/67. Written by Robert Mintz. Directed by Oscar Rudolph.
After Black Widow robs the American National, Beneficial,
Commercial, Diversified, Empire and Federal State Banks, Batman concludes
she is robbing in alphabetical order. The Gotham Guardian are caught in a
giant web as two huge black widow spiders crawl towards them. As with Shame
and Sandman, Black Widow does not rank among the classic Batman villains.
Tallulah Bankhead's Popeye-esque mumbling in the role is all but inaudible.
"She was a riot," said hairstylist Katheryn Blondell about Bankhead.
"In the morning we spent two-and-a-half hours getting her ready and never
stopped laughing the entire time. Wonderful stories, [a] funny person;
charming and quite a character. She was the first person [who made me]
realize that an actor is an actor no matter how old. This woman would
be hunched over and kind of look like a little old lady sitting on the side
of the set, but when they said 'action', she straightened up and she was
BatBits:Watch for George Raft's cameo in #89. Batman sings in
#90. In real life, Adam West cut a single, "Miranda," for 20th Century-Fox
Records. Additionally, in 1966, The Marketts' version of the series'
theme charted at #17 in Billboard's top 60, while an arrangement by Neal
Hefti and his Orchestra made it to #35.
#91 POP GOES THE JOKER
#92 FLOP GOES THE JOKER
3/22/67,3/23/67. Written by Stanford Sherman. Directed by George
Joker joins the world of pop art when he disfigures paintings in
a gallery with twin guns of spray paint, leading to a plot to steal the
Renaissance art collections of imprisoned millionaires, including
Bruce Wayne. Robin attmeps a rescue but ends up in a giant rotating mobile
of deadly palette knives that will slice apart the Boy Wonder-bread.
A fantastic pair of episodes that shows the staff's creativity at
colorful lighting and design at its best. Some knowledge of art history
will enhance and enjoyment and understanding of some of the less-obvious
gags such as Jackson Potluck and Vincent Van Gauche. What knocks a piece
of the ear off these episodes is perky overacting by Diana Ivarson as
Baby Jane Towser, whose art contest helps launch the winning Joker on a
new career as art instructor to the millionaires.
BatBits:Dialog coach Milton Stark played several small roles in the
series including the second browser in #92, as well as the second zoologist
(#72), Mr. Tamber (#76) and Irving Bracken (#89).
"I'll call Batman on the red phone, you get Mr. Wayne on the other."
-Commissioner Gordon to Chief O'Hara
#93 ICE SPY
#94 THE DUO DEFY
3/29/67,3/30/67. Written by Charles Hoffman. Directed by Oscar Rudolph.
Mr. Freeze kidnaps Professor Isaccson hoping to obtain an instant ice
formula. Meanwhile, Batman discovers the connection between Freeze and
ice-skating star Glacia Glaze (Leslie Parrish). The Dynamic Duo get shoved
into a Sub-Zero Temperature Vaporizing Cabinet, shortly to become part of the
Bruce Wayne Ice Arena.
Though the story is up to bat-par, Eli Wallach as Freeze (continuing
the character's Geman accent) doesn't match George Sanders' substantially
cooler characterization (#7/8). Wallach was influenced by (or directed to
emulate) Otto Preminger's previous silliness (#53/54).
BatBits:The series' final Batclimb featured Carpet King, a cameo
earned supposedly for selling producer Bill Dozier some Persian rugs. These
sequences usually were written on a short deadline. "I would have to come
up with stuff that ran 22 seconds or so," recalled scripter Stanley Ralph Ross.
"They would call me up and say, 'Stanley, we've got so-and-so coming in
tomorrow.' Sometimes I wrote it on the set. More often than not, I had a day.
That was all decided by [producer] Bill Dozier and Howie Horwitz and it was
all personal friends. People were waiting in line to do it. Everyone wanted
to be on the show."
"It's Alfred's emergency belt buckle Batcall signal. He's in trouble." -Batman
#95 ENTER BATGIRL, EXIT PENGUIN
9/14/67. Written by Stanford Sherman. Directed by Oscar Rudolph.
Commissioner Gordon discovers that his daughter, Barbara, has been
kidnapped by that well-known entrepreneur, Penguin. The cagey bird shows
Barbara a wedding dress he selected and describes his plans to marry her.
As the Commissioner's son-in-law, Penguin would become immune from prosecution.
Barbara consents to marriage only after Penguin threatens to kill her father.
Barbara secretly changes to Batgirl and is joined by the Dynamic Duo. With
only half of the previous timeslot available, editing is crisper on most
one episode third season shows, including this one.
Noted Yvonne Craig, who played Batgirl, about modifications to her
costumes, "They cut the eyeholes bigger in all the masks, because any time
Adam took a step forward, it was an act of faith, you know; he absolutely
couldn't see in his cowl."
BatBits:In this episode, Barbara Gordon has recently returned from four
years of college and Dick Grayson has just passed his driver's liscence exam,
allowing him to drive the Batmobile at last.
#96 RING AROUND THE RIDDLER
9/21/67. Written by Charles Hoffman. Directed by Sam Strangis.
Riddler attempts to take control of prize fighting in Gotham, posing as
boxing champion Mushy Nebuchadnezzer, calling on Siren (Joan Collins) for
assistance. Batgirl comes to the rescue but is tossed in a steam room.
Gorshin's enjoyably goofball Riddler returns after John Astin's low-key
portrayal (#79/80), but too much stuff is jammed into a tiny timeslot.
"[Boxer] Jerry Quarry was in his bathrobe," recalled Yvonne Craig, of
an event between takes. "I asked him if he was a heavyweight, because I
hadn't seen him box. He said, 'Yes,' and I said 'You don't look big enough.'
I walked away and decided not to pursue it."
BatBits:The Riddler's real name, Edward Nigma, was never used in the TV
#97 THE WAIL OF THE SIREN
9/28/67. Written by Stanley Ralph Ross. Directed by George Waggner.
With Commissioner Gordon under her spell, Siren initiates a plan to
discover Batman's secret identity. Siren hypnotizes Bruce Wayne to turn over
all the Wayne family jewels and cash and orders him to jump off the top of a
tall building. Siren seemingly gets a promotion form supporting villainy
(#96), though this episode was actually written and filmed first. The solo
stint offers Joan Collins a bit more opportunity for character development.
Siren/Circe/Lorelei is powerful but only modestly ambitious in her villainy.
"When they told me they had Joan Collins," noted scripter Stanley Ralph
Ross, "they said create a character for her. I thought Siren was perfect for
Joan. She was married to a guy that I later went into partnership with,
Anthony Newley. I wrote a musical with him."
BatBits:"It's was Adam's birthday [9/19]." recalled Bruce Hutchinson.
""I went into his dressing room to make him up and he handed me a beautifully
wrapped present. He said, 'It's my birthday and I want to give you a present.'
It was a beautiful bathrobe from I Magnin that he had purchased himself. It
was the nicest thing an actor has ever done for me. That's the kind of man he
was. I was always very fond of him for those kinds of reason. He did a lot
of things for a lot of people."
#98 THE SPORT OF PENGUINS
#99 A HORSE OF ANOTHER COLOR
10/5/67,10/12/67. Written by Charles Hoffman. Directed by Sam Strangis.
Lola Lasagne (Ethel Merman) links up with Penguin in hopes of fixing a
horse race. Batman, Robin and Batgirl try to break up the potential horse-
nappers, but Penguin diverts the Gotham Guardians by gluing the Batmobile in
place and our heroes to their seats. The Penguin's linkup with Lola Lasagne
seems beneath his more typcial dramatic shenanigans, an example of a
scriptwriter's poor understanding of the villain, as well as the third
season's budgetary constraints. Less money meant simpler sets and special
effects and resulted in simpler plotting.
BatBits:Although not used in the TV series, Penguin's real name was
Oswarld Chesterfield Cobblepot, first revealed in the Sunday, February 17,
1946 Batman and Robin newspaper strip, written by Alvin Schwartz.
#100 THE UNKINDEST TUT OF ALL
10/19/67. Written by Stanley Ralph Ross. Directed by Sam Strangis.
The Nabob of the Nile returns to Tut-nes after being hit on the head
with a brick during a love-in. Tut phones Bruce Wayne and accuses him of
being Batman, leading Wayne to appear in public with the Caped Crusader.
Batgirl and Batman foil Tut's plot to pilfer a priceless collection of
ancient Egyptian scrolls. The third season's smaller budgets are obvious here,
as Tut is reduced to working out of a tent that is bigger on the inside than
BatBits:According to publicity, comedienne Patti Gilbert as Tut's moll
ended up konking Yvonne Craig on the head three times in order to get a good
take for the bit with the break-away vase.