Batgirl's Secret Closet: A Little Annex for Reviews!

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Batgirl's Secret Closet: A Little Annex for Reviews!

Post by Disciple »

So... guess who got the Batman '66 box-set for Christmas?

Well... it wasn't me. But I've got the next best thing: a buddy willing to let me mooch off his box-set. And so begins a project I've been kicking around for quite some time: reviewing every episode that Yvonne Craig's Batgirl ever appeared in.

I know that very few people on this board (or anywhere else, really) would look upon the Adam West show as any great achievement of art, but that doesn't mean it's below (or above) reviews. So join me as we take a look through the show's rock-bottom-budgeted third season, and take note of all the ways that skintight purple catsuit could - or couldn't - spice things up 'round Gotham City.

Watch this thread for the very first review, coming soon!
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Batman (1966) Season 3, Episode 0: Killer Moth's Machinations Spark Batgirl's Inaugaration

Post by Disciple »

Batman (1966) Season 3, Episode 0: Killer Moth's Machinations Spark Batgirl's Initiation
Director/writer(s): Unknown; William Dozier basically threw this thing together to impress ABC execs, so for all I know, he did all that himself.
Special Guest Villain: Tim Herbert as Killer Moth
Okay, that title up there isn't this featurette's real name (which probably never amounted to more than "Batgirl Pilot"), but a real man never passes up a chance to write his own Batman '66 parody title.

Anyways, at about seven-and-a-half-minutes long, this little number was technically Batgirl's grand introduction into the world of Batman '66. It was whipped up by showrunner William Dozier to convince ABC's head honchos that Batman (whose ratings had been cooling since its second season) still had some life in it, and in that respect, it kinda succeeded. This thing was never meant for public air, so I have no idea how it wound up on any TV screens, let alone YouTube (maybe some networks played it as a space-filler?), but since it was the very first adventure to feature Yvonne Craig's spunky, shapely Batgirl, I'm not gonna complain.

Okay, enough prattling. Let's look at the thing already.

After the standard pan over Gotham City and William Dozier's voice-over, we come to Gotham City Library, the only place we'll be seeing for the rest of the episode. In short order, we're introduced to Barbara Gordon, the newbie librarian. Mere seconds after that, we get some awkward romantic tension between her and millionaire Bruce Wayne, who apparently remembers her, being an old friend of Commissioner Gordon's and all.

(Side note: I've always considered the Bruce/Barbara thing rather disgusting when the DC Animated Universe tried it, and I don't find it any less creepy here. These being flesh-and-blood actors and all, West looks old enough to be Craig's father, fercryingoutloud.)

We then get introduced to our Villain of the Day, Killer Moth. Y'know, I haven't seen every episode of the Adam West show, but I think I can say without reservation that Moth is far and away the most pathetically cheap-looking villain to be associated with it. I mean, I know this thing was made on a pretty tight budget, but I'm pretty sure I could do better than "salad bowl with pipe-cleaner antenna on my head with a gray shirt". He's not even awesomely stupid-looking, like the comics version of Moth was.

Speaking of which, this entire pilot could be considered a loose adaptation of Batgirl's intro story in the comics. You've got Killer Moth as the villain, he's going after Bruce Wayne's millionaire friends for no adequately-explained reason, and it all just *happens* to be taking place within earshot of Barbara, Bruce, and Dick. No, that's not hyperbole - Moth and his little gaggle of henchmen are just sitting at a desk in the reading room in full costume, and no one except Bruce and Dick seems to give a shit, even though Moth is acknowledged as a criminal. Maybe he's just that low in the supervillain hierarchy?

Before any actual plot happens, though, we get another riveting interaction scene setting up Commissioner Gordon's and Barbara's father-daughter relationship, and... okay, I take it back. You can throw in all the Barbara/Bruce teasing you want, but *please* don't try to give me flirty dialogue between Barbara and her own freaking father.

Anyhoo, Barbara's boss then leaves her alone with a notice to lock up for the night, which is the cue for action to start happening. One of Moth's goons takes out Bruce's millionaire friend with a hilariously fake judo chop, while Moth himself gets Barbara out of the way. Unsophisticated brute he is, there's neither chloroform nor rope nor gags to be found.

(While both Moth's character and actor are pretty low-rent, I do have to give Tim Herbert some credit for all the over-the-top creeper expressions he makes. Egggh.)

Conveniently enough, Moth *just happens* to lock Barbara inside the one room in the library that leads to her secret Batgirl-changing closet (which I think is another holdover from the comics, but not one retained in the show; I think that after this pilot, the show established Batgirl's only HQ to be at Barbara's apartment). This leads us to a pretty nifty changing scene, where just about every piece of "civilian" clothing on Barbara is revealed to be a disguised bit of her Batgirl costume. The pointy mask does look a bit strange, but that's probably because the rounded mask is more familiar to me (Craig personally disliked the pointy mask, since it left rivulets in her face that made her look like a crybaby).

Oh, and in the meantime, Batman and Robin show up, but get their asses captured by Moth's cocoon gun like a pair of morons. Good God, I have not seen a special effect on the show this fake since Mr. Freeze's ice ray back in Season 1.

Something else I like about this pilot: it doesn't waste any time on an origin story (admittedly, BG's "origin" in the 60s comics was "I got bored being a librarian and fighting crime is awesome", but it still spent quite a bit of time with civilian Barbara before she ever put on the Batgirl costume). The most we get is that Batgirl modeled her superhero identity after "her idol, Batman". There's a million and one opinions on the Internet about how to fix modern superhero fiction, but one thing that comes up again and again and again is no backstories. And really, it works best here, in the kind of carefree world where just about anyone can put on a mask and cape and start fighting - or committing - crime.

And you know what's next: action sequence. It's par for the course, with lots of cheesy written-out sound effects. Of course, 60s S&P means that Batgirl isn't allowed to punch anyone, but I feel that high-kicks and dodges do just fine here; plus, it means she has to make more creative use of her environment.

(Fun fact: Yvonne Craig broke her big toe shortly before filming began on this pilot. Now rewatch the fight and try not to wince.)

"Holy vanity case! What a time to powder her nose!" I'm not sure whether I find this endearing or infuriating. Maybe both.

Wait, where the hell did Batgirl get a compact that fires freaking lasers? My headcanon says that she cobbled it together out of old supervillain weapons "borrowed" from the police evidence locker...

I love how once Batman and Robin are free, Batgirl only makes a few cursory attempts to re-fight Killer Moth and his gang. Mostly, she just sits there and makes some more creepy flirty innuendo with Batman. "My identity must be kept as secret as yours", and all that jazz. Batman, naturally, is a gentleman to the end.

Batgirl's "stealthy getaway" was worth a few chuckles, but mostly because of how smooth it looks in comparison to when Val Kilmer's Batman tried it thirty years later. Jesus, the Schumacher films were just failures on every conceivable level, weren't they?

And so our heroine goes merrily on her way, roaring down the streets in her Batgirl-Cycle, and... Barbara, did you even lock up like your boss told you to? Also, I hope that someone's going to pay for all the property damage at the library.

So there you have it. Not quite a million-dollar debut, but it did convince the suits at ABC to give Batman another season, filled with more Batgirl-y goodness. I regret that we never got to see Batgirl put into peril (fake and cheesy as it was, Killer Moth's cocoon gun would've been perfect for some comic book-y bondage), but eh - there's only so much you can do in seven-and-a-half minutes.

Final Judgment:

5-and-a-half Batgirl-Cycles (out of 10).

Grab of the Day:
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Next time: Batgirl begins (again), this time with a far more A-list antagonist to test her skills. Wauk wauk wauk!
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Re: Batgirl's Secret Closet: A Little Annex for Reviews!

Post by tallyho »

But the important and overlooked question is....why does she have a picture of Daniel Day Lewis on the wall behind her? :hmmm:
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Re: Batgirl's Secret Closet: A Little Annex for Reviews!

Post by Disciple »

tallyho wrote:But the important and overlooked question is....why does she have a picture of Daniel Day Lewis on the wall behind her? :hmmm:
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Batman (1966) Season 3, Episode 1: Enter Batgirl, Exit Penguin

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Batman (1966) Season 3, Episode 1: Enter Batgirl, Exit Penguin
Original Airdate: September 14, 1967
Director: Oscar Rudolph
Writer: Stanford Sherman
Special Guest Villain: Burgess Meredith as the Penguin
Ah, here we are at Batgirl's "official" introduction into the series, complete with those ever-awesome updated credits. Am I the only one who giggles a little at seeing the cartoon Batgirl kick away a thug with a "Bong!" noise? I am? Okay, then.

This is one of the few episodes that begin with Batman and Robin already in-costume, though I can't say for certain that it was the first. Anyways, we spend a few minutes basically re-establishing everything in the unaired Batgirl pilot (plus a passably funny scene of Bruce going "you're going to the opera whether you like it or not, Dick"), before we get to the plot: that dastardly Master of Fowl Play, the Penguin, has ambushed Barbara Gordon in an elevator!

(Must... resist... Ceiling Penguin joke...)

It might be less faithful to the comics, but I don't think anyone can deny that the Penguin is a far more worthy rogue to use for Batgirl's intro. While most of the villains on the Adam West show were played by washed-up stars from the '40s and '50s, Burgess Meredith was - along with Frank Gorshin - one of those actors whose star was still pretty damn bright in the '60s. Accordingly, Meredith's Penguin was the second-most iconic rogue on the show, with his hoarse, thuggish voice contrasting sharply with his posh, cultured outfit.

Penguin's dastardly plot, unlike Moth's ill-defined and bland scheme in the pilot, is wonderfully, unimaginably insane: he plans to forcibly marry Barbara, which will make him an in-law to Commissioner Gordon, which will somehow make him totally immune to being arrested. We are thus left with the implication that Barbara's dad is now the autocratic tyrant of Gotham City, and his family is automatically above the law (come to think of it, do we see the mayor at all this season...?).

(I suppose I should be excited at the sight of Barbara being bound and gagged, but her civilian appearance kills any appeal dead. I'm a mask-and-spandex man, thank you very much.)

Also, Penguin's even put an ad in the paper bragging about the marriage. I presume that the little bastard had to pay them extra to call him a "well-known entrepreneur and man-about-town" instead of "homicidal supervillain". I can't even imagine what it would be like to have him as a son-in-law. Just think about the Christmas parties...

But since this isn't the Wild Wild West, Penguin does need Barbara's consent for the marriage. His method of persuasion is surprisingly brutal (and mundane) by the standards of this show: marry me or my goons will fill your dad with bullets. Those must be some pretty ballsy goons, since a murder like that would probably land all of them in the hot seat.

"Either you become my bride, or you become an orphan!" So... confirmation that Barbara doesn't have a mom, I guess.

This is supposed to be a family show, so the rape-y implications of Penguin's plan are as toned down as humanly possible, but Burgess Meredith's sleazy little grin still scares the crap out of me. To her credit, Barbara is defiant all the way, and I think she even slams the door right in Penguin's nose. Penguin takes this surprisingly well even as he sends his goons out to kidnap a minister for the wedding.

In an amazing coincidence, the minister that Penguin's goons go after happens to be the one entertaining Alfred. Y'know, after all these years, I think that Alan Napier's Alfred is the one character on the show who can truly be enjoyed unironically. In a world of bumbling cops and lunatics in colorful costumes, Bruce Wayne's humble butler is the one straight-laced, soberly-dressed man who can make it all work. The scene where he tricks Penguin's men into thinking he's the minister - even as he hits the distress button hidden in his belt - is something that could easily work even in a modern Batman story.

A suitably badass line from Penguin that can only work on this show: "If I don't hear a nice "I do", you'll be visiting Him instead of talking about Him."

We're roughly halfway through the episode, and we finally get the first glimpse of Batgirl: the iconic secret closet in Barbara's bedroom. Sure was nice of Penguin to hold Barbara and Alfred in the room right next to Barbara's apartment, wasn't it? We're also introduced to Barbara's parrot "sidekick" Charlie, but I don't think anyone gives a damn about him.

"You are about to witness the coup of the century..." My God! Scar, you plagiarist!

So Batman and Robin show up, like anyone cares at this point. What we're really here for is... da na na!

Behold, the grand re-debut of Batgirl, now with 20% less pointy mask! I've always been in love with that shot where she just struts in, hands on hips, all sassy as hell. I think I first came across it in this music video, and it's stuck with me ever since.

No lie, the part where everyone in the room goes "Batgirl?" in utter confusion is one of my Top 5 moments from this show. It's followed, of course, by a classic fight scene. Batgirl even gets the chance to wallop Penguin (by which I mean Burgess Meredith's stuntman) by herself!

This time around, the post-battle conversation between Batgirl and the Dynamic Duo is far less flirty, and it's got a lot more of Modern Age Batman's "crimefighting is SERIOUS BUSINESS, BUB" air to it. B&R then make the requisite turn-away from Batgirl, during which she ~mysteriously vanishes~. Robin wants to expose her secret identity, because Robin is a privacy-invading little prick, but Batman reasons that they should free Alfred and Barbara first.

Sadly, it turns out that Penguin's down, but not out. The little fiend KOs the Dynamic Duo with some Penguin Gas (TM) and wakes his henchmen back up, telling them to bag up all the good guys and get them over to the alternate hideout.

Apparently... Penguin's henchmen can't even tell the difference between Barbara and a chair "dressed" in a wedding gown? Now that's just sad.

Since she's the only good guy left, Batgirl breaks out the Batgirl-Cycle (it's funny how the narrator never bothers calling it anything else) to track Penguin's getaway truck back to the alternate hideout. Note how Penguin's even spray-painted his face onto the hood and door of his truck - now that's dedication!

We then come to one of the show's less impressive deathtraps: the human tea-bag cauldron. Less impressive visually, I mean; it's actually terrifyingly plausible (and very painful-sounding) by the show's standards. Penguin's hideout is, as most critics of Season 3 have commented, pathetically cheap - basically a few pieces of furniture against a black backdrop - but I actually think it looks a little more sinister that way.

Anyways, Penguin's men get Alf... I mean, "the minister" out so he can watch B&R get dunked, but since we've only got one episode and no room for extra plot threads, Batgirl barges in before they can open Barbara's hostage bag. We get another fight scene, which I rank higher than the first one almost solely because we get to see Alfred kick Penguin's ass for a little while.

The minute that the Dynamic Duo get free, they take over all the heavy-duty fighting while Batgirl and Alfred have a little heart-to-heart. This is one of the few scenes in the series that feels like it has genuine human emotion behind it, and I applaud the chemistry between Napier and Craig. When all's said and done, we get the one real status quo shake-up in the series, however small: Alfred is now the only other human being on Earth who knows Batgirl's secret ID.

"Birds are out of season! Get away!" I'll bet anything that Burgess Meredith ad-libbed that.

Jesus, Batgirl changed back into Barbara - wedding gown included - in the seconds it took for Batman & Robin to clean up Penguin's gang? Girl could give Wonder Woman lessons in quick changes.

"He's... temporarily out of circulation." Apparently, even Batman's lost faith by now that his enemies will stay locked up.

Barbara gets "rescued" with no-one except Alfred the wiser, and everyone has a laugh at Penguin's expense. Penguin grumbles about what an awesome husband he'd make, which... might not be entirely unfounded. Sure, he's a misogynist pig, but according to at least one comic, he's pretty good in the sack.

Time for the epilogue (which, surprisingly enough, contains zero references to Barbara or Batgirl). Dick finally gets his driver's license, Gordon's gotten another sizable bri... er, donation from Bruce Wayne, and all seems to be well... except...

Alright, here's the other big gimmick of Season 3, aside from Batgirl: since multi-parters are now in short supply, most episodes end with a stinger where the next episode's villain pops up and makes vague threats at Gotham. This particular stinger features a face that was sorely missed during Season 2. Yes, ladies and gentlemen... it's Frank Gorshin's Riddler!

So, to sum up: this is an excellent episode by Season 3 standards, and far more worthy as a Batgirl introductory episode. Again, a few missed opportunities - I would've loved to see Batgirl get Penguin-Gassed or strung up as a human teabag - but she'll be getting into her share of peril soon enough.

Final Judgment:

7 Batgirl-Cycles (out of 10).

Grab of the Day:
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Next time: The Riddler takes up the noble science of boxing (alas, two days too late for Boxing Day), and Batgirl gets into real hot water for the first time. Stay tuned!
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Batman (1966) Season 3, Episode 2: Ring Around the Riddler

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Batman (1966) Season 3, Episode 2: Ring Around the Riddler
Original Airdate: September 21, 1967
Director: Sam Strangis
Writer: Charles Hoffman
Special Guest Villains: Frank Gorshin as the Riddler and Joan Collins as the Siren
Popular opinion holds that the Riddler was the villain from the '66 show, with Frank Gorshin's inimitable performance nominated for an Emmy and almost singlehandedly reviving the character's popularity in the comics. And indeed, the Riddler had quite a few claims to fame, including being the villain for the series' premiere episode and the most common villain in Season 1 (largely held to have been the show's best season). By Season 2, though, Gorshin was beginning to butt heads with the showrunners over pay, leading to his total absence during that season and a couple of paltry substitutes (namely, Maurice Evans' "Puzzler" and bringing in John "Gomez Addams" Astin as a replacement Riddler).

Fortunately, Season 3 managed to wring one last appearance out of Gorshin (mostly by promising him his old two-episode salary for a single episode). Unfortunately, it happened to be one of the most slapdash episodes in the season. But let's begin at the beginning, shall we?

We start with another rarely-seen occurrence in the series: the narrator begins at the Riddler's hideout (the brilliantly named "Little Used Gym") and basically dumps the plot into our lap in the first minute or so. The Riddler is going around fixing boxing matches in Gotham - an old standby for pulp villains, but a little mundane for a supervillain - and when his latest victim, prizefighter Kid Gulliver, refuses to cooperate, Riddler has his goons drag the guy off to The Steam Room.

And here, I think we've got what is far and away the lamest "deathtrap" in the whole series. The Steam Room (capitals mandatory) is nothing but a fancy cardboard doorway with a few jets of steam puffing out, and we're never really told what it does. It's apparently not lethal, since Kid Gulliver later fights a match on TV and gets downed by the third round, attracting the attention of one millionaire Bruce Wayne (who's apparently now the head of Gotham's boxing commission).

With that out of the way, Riddler drops by a bank for some reason and trolls the teller by dropping off (what is presumably) a bomb. The teller's reaction is insanely over-the-top, but I have to stop and wonder for a minute if this is the appropriate reaction to a homicidal supervillain popping into your life...

... nah.

Oh, and Barbara Gordon just happens to be visiting the bank while this is going down. In an interesting move, she apparently changes into her Batgirl costume while the show's theme song rolls. But I have to deduct a few "heroine" points for BG going straight to the phone instead of, you know, getting the hysterical teller away from the bomb first.

We then get a dialogue-free montage of the cops contacting Batman, and all that jazz. While this is probably just another cost/time-saving measure, I actually like its minimalist nature. It all ends in Commissioner Gordon's office, where the Dynamic Trio figure out that the "bomb" is really just a box with blinking lights and Riddler's latest riddle.

(The riddle references Khafajah, which is apparently a real place in Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq). *THE MORE YOU KNOW*)

We get the first of what will be many, many "Commissioner Gordon can't recognize his own daughter in some fancy pajamas" scene and- okay, what the frick-frack? There were four other people in a well-lit room, and not one of them saw Batgirl leave? "Her particular brand of vanishing cream", indeed.

Back to the boxing plot, where Riddler kidnapped Kid Gulliver again to give him a shot of "Riddle-Juice" (which apparently induces amnesia or something). There's also mention of a "Mushi Nebuchadnezzar", boxing king of Southwest Asia, coming to Gotham, but that won't be important just yet.

Meanwhile, the Dynamic Duo is doing a pathetically cheap recreation of the iconic Bat-Climb (evidently, the showrunners couldn't spring for a celebrity cameo or even a non-bending balcony) right into Barbara Gordon's apartment. At least they knock first, which is a lot more than I can say for modern Batman and his B&E-loving ass. A bunch of non-exposition follows, Commissioner Gordon shows up, yadda yadda.

After B&R leave, the Commish switches on ESPN (or whatever the '60s equivalent of that was), where we come face to face with Mushi Nebuchadnezzar, who is totally not just the Riddler in an Arab headdress and robes, just like the girl interviewing him is totally not Riddler's moll of the week. What could give you that ridiculous idea?

Over at the box office of Gotham Square Garden, Chief O'Hara is doddering around doing what he does best: looking utterly clueless. Except this time, it's actually a plot point: he's been nailed with Riddler's Riddle Juice (... ew, that sounds kind of wrong). We also get another pathetically cheap special effect when Riddler "teleports" in to taunt B&R, something never mentioned before and will never be mentioned again.

In the meantime, Barbara Gordon is doing her own detective work, but since she doesn't have a Robin to share it with, she has to settle for her pet parrot. A couple of flimsy "deductions" later, Batgirl's out on her Batgirl-Cycle to tackle the Riddler herself! Come to think of it, how'd she get that whole garage-and-freight-elevator setup into her apartment, anyhow? Wouldn't the super have said something by now?

Since we're short on time as it is, we cut straight to BG have tracked Riddler's moll to the Little Used Gymnasium. BG is her usual, overconfident self, but Riddler has an ace up his... homina homina homina...

... l-ladies and gentlemen... I give you... Joan Collins.

As a fan of superheroine girl-on-girl, it is my solemn duty to cut to the chase and admit that this is probably the most lesbian-y scene in the entire '66 show involving Batgirl. Here it is in .gif form, for your convenience. Bear in mind, at least one soul on tumblr saw this and thought it was from a porno.

Sadly, the reality is much less exciting. See, this scene also has the honor of being the most dishonest cliffhanger in the Adam West show. The Siren pops up and starts singing her high note at Batgirl, the music goes into a tense sting, commercial break... and when we're back, it turns out that nothing happened to Batgirl at all. Apparently, Siren's singing only works on dudes.

But fortunately, Riddler has a backup plan: four big, beefy backup plans. We finally get to see Batgirl actually outmatched and helpless as she gets dragged off to The Steam Room, even though she escapes offscreen about 30 seconds later (whoops, spoilers). While all that's going on, Riddler monologues some more about his evil plan to have Siren hypnotize all of Gotham's top boxers (so... what was with all that junk with Kid Gulliver in the first 10 minutes?).

Lazily nonsensical as it is, though, we do get one scene that shows exactly why Gorshin's Riddler was always the show's top-rated rogue. Seeing Gorshin explode in a fury as the goons inform him about Batgirl's escape is a true delight, and his entire performance as he slips from white-hot rage into pained frustration (tossing out riddles all the way) actually made me feel a pang of sympathy for him.

Cut to next morning, where Commissioner Gordon, now bereft of Chief O'Hara, is using Barbara as a replacement echo chamber. But since Barbara's several hundred IQ points above her dad, she easily solves all the riddles that Riddler's been flooding the police office with. Then B&R show up, and Riddler dials the police office, and several more minutes of nonsense later, Batman's somehow agreed to fight Mushi Nebuchadnezzar in the ring.

(Sadly, the episode's short running time means that we don't get any kind of training montage for Batman. Just play "Eye of the Tiger" and use your own imaginations.)

Fast-forward to that very night, and the debut of Boxing Batman (TM). By now, he's eternally living in the shadow of his younger brother Surfing Batman (TM), but I think we had all better appreciate that the ridiculousness of the former was what cleared the way for the latter. Also, Aunt Harriet pops up in the peanut gallery - one of only two appearances that the badly-ill Madge Blake would make this season - but I highly doubt anyone cares.

Riddler doesn't even bother to keep on his Mushi Nebuchadnezzar disguise once he steps into the ring, making all that cloak-and-dagger bullshit even more bullshit, but whatever. Even without the costumed personas, Adam West looks like he could snap Frank Gorshin in half without even trying (Batman even notes that Riddler is barely Robin's size), and if there's one thing we Americans love, it's an unfair fight. GIVE US BARABBAS!

Unfortunately, we don't get any of the show's iconic POW WHAM ZAP sound-effects during the match. What we do get is a passably smart cheat from the Riddler: he's tossed iron filings into Batman's boots, and then had his moll activate a super-magnet under the ring to glue Batman's feet in place. Horrors! With Batman helpless and Robin and Alfred having to remain on the sidelines, who... do I even need to finish that?

So Barbara goes into a ridiculously lavish ladies' room and literally changes into Batgirl in seconds. Okay, I'm starting to suspect that Barbara might be dabbling in the dark arts on the side. Oh, and she takes down the giant magnet.

By now, even the peanut gallery realizes how bullshit this whole episode is, and so starts the booing. Riddler makes like a tree with his gang, with Batman and Robin in hot pursuit. Oh, and the whole boxing ring is apparently right next to the Little Used Gymnasium or something, since Batgirl and the moll are already there when Riddler busts in (really, couldn't they have at least sprung for a pair of handcuffs on the moll?). Fight scene, Batgirl disappears at the end, Robin is a privacy-invading douchenozzle, yadda yadda yadda.

(Oh, and despite his claims to the contrary, Frank Gorshin's Riddler never returns. Lying little fink.)

Epilogue: a certain lady in a stunning silver dress invades Commissioner Gordon's office! This does not bode well...

There's no nice way to say it: this episode was a mess, and its nonsensical attempts at humor miss a lot more than they hit. Not even Gorshin's Riddler and Craig's Batgirl could save it. But, from what my muddled memories remember, the worst is yet to come...

Final Judgment:

5 Batgirl-Cycles (out of 10).

Grab of the Day:
Batgirl02.gif
Batgirl02.gif (13.65 MiB) Viewed 5835 times
Next time: the enchanting Joan Collins as not-Poison Ivy... er, I mean, the Siren! Don't miss it!
Last edited by Disciple 5 years ago, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Batgirl's Secret Closet: A Little Annex for Reviews!

Post by tallyho »

I did love all the fruitless writhing around as they carted her off and the look of shock on her face when they first grab her. Shame you never saw her in the steam room.
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Re: Batgirl's Secret Closet: A Little Annex for Reviews!

Post by Visitor »

In a later episode there is a weak explanation for the extra room and elevator in Barbara Gordon's apartment. The place once belonged to a bootlegger that used it.
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Re: Batgirl's Secret Closet: A Little Annex for Reviews!

Post by Disciple »

Visitor wrote:In a later episode there is a weak explanation for the extra room and elevator in Barbara Gordon's apartment. The place once belonged to a bootlegger that used it.
Ah, I've heard that explanation in fanfics before, but never in the show proper. Maybe I'll stumble onto the episode with that explanation later.

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Batman (1966) Season 3, Episode 3: The Wail of the Siren

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Batman (1966) Season 3, Episode 3: The Wail of the Siren
Original Airdate: September 28, 1967
Director: george waGGner
Writer: Stanley Ralph Ross
Special Guest Villainess: Joan Collins as the Siren
We pick up exactly where we last left off - in Commissioner Gordon's office, where the Siren is scrambling what little brain the poor commissioner has. With him duly hypnotized, she commands him to set up a meeting with Batman at Barbara Gordon's apartment. The Siren's m.o. and sex appeal both scream "Poison Ivy" (and she even belts out a line similar to Ivy's trademark "No man can resist me"), and I'm honestly puzzled as to why the producers of the show didn't use Ivy instead; she would've been a hot property circa 1967, and the show's adapted comics villains way more obscure than her before (quick show of hands, who here knows that False-Face originated in the comics?).

Ah, well, whatever. Bruce picks up the Commissioner's call immediately, and chides Dick with a "Ours is not to reason why, Dick" when Dick rightfully points out how suspicious this is. World's Greatest Detective, everybody.

Cut to Barbara's apartment, where Chief O'Hara has invited himself along for some reason. By the time our heroes realize that they've been stood up, Siren's already put her plan into action: she's smuggled the Commish into the trunk of the unattended Batmobile so he can discover the location of the Batcave and B&R's secret identities. That's... not a bad plan, actually, even if we do have to ignore the fact that even West's Batman would probably install an alarm or something on the Batmobile's trunk.

And over to Siren's hideout, a "subterranean grotto" that looks faker than a third-grade playground with a ten-dollar budget. Joan Collins' harp-playing partly offsets that, though. And... wow, Siren's henchmen are a lot mouthier than any other goons I've seen in the series. They roll their eyes at her and go "You hired us to be criminals, not critics" and everything!

Siren's got a pretty impressive gallery of the Evilest Women in History on her wall: Mata Hari, Lucrezia Borgia, and Lady Macbeth. [Insert joke about your least favorite woman here.] We also get the standard catty snippet about how she'll far outstrip Gotham's other supervillainesses, Catwoman and Black Widow.

(As an aside: is it just me, or does this sound like foreshadowing for the fact that Season 3 will have more female villains than the last two seasons put together?)

Back to Barbara's apartment, where Barbara is showing Chief O'Hara the wonders of the technological marvel known as the answering machine. We also get another clumsy piece of exposition about Lorelei Circe, a world-famous singer who can "sing seven octaves above High C". I coulda sworn we heard that name last episode...

Never mind that, though. We finally get what most of us are watching for: iiiiiiit's Batgirl time!

Two important firsts here for BG: it's the first time that the narrator calls her "the Domino Daredoll" (an awesomely stupid moniker that perfectly suits the Adam West show's female lead), and it's also the first time we get to hear her theme song in full (an even more awesomely stupid song that the less tolerant of the shows fans declare to be just plain stupid. Bah, I say!).

Over at the Batcave, we learn that the Batcomputer is apparently incapable of answering questions that don't involve criminals, so it can't track down where Commissioner Gordon is. How convenient. Anyways, B&R leave Alfred alone in the Batcave to do some dusting, at which point the Batmobile's surprise guest pops out.

Congrats, Commish. You're the second person in the entire series to learn Batman and Robin's secret IDs. Please note that the last gentleman who did that wound up getting his brains scrambled by a mind-reading machine, and we wouldn't want a similarly awful accident to happen to you, hmm?

While I, for one, would've loved to see Alan Napier and Neil Hamilton duking it out in the Batcave, the spineless showrunners just have Alfred dose the Commish with a can of Bat-Sleep instead. Feh.

But still - what a place to put the commercial break! The Commish might be asleep, but he still remembers Batman's ID! Wow! What a status quo shake-up that will certainly dictate their interactions for the rest of the season and certainly won't be hastily undone by the end of the episode!

Meanwhile, Siren's going ahead with the other part of her plan: hypnotize Millionaire Bruce Wayne and rob him blind. Oh, and Batgirl's found her hideout, but the piece of "detective work" BG did to make it there is frankly too ridiculous to recap. The important part is this: Siren successfully hypnotizes Bruce over the phone, but BG sees the whole thing and snitches to Robin as soon as she can.

Bruce, apparently, keeps his Wayne Foundation safe behind a painting... of a safe. Genius. Pure genius. Also, the tiny chest he keeps in there has a "fortune" that barely looks like enough to buy a Happy Meal, but I'm dirt poor, so what do I know?

... you know, for a private elevator, Batgirl and Robin use it pretty easily. No keycards or anything.

Siren's got almost everything she wants from Bruce, but because she's a greedy little thing, she dials up the police office to see if the Commish has come back with Batman's secret ID yet. When Chief O'Hara answers, she entrances him and tells him to go drown himself for the lulz. Damn.

Batgirl and Robin barge in, and with Batgirl having two X-chromosomes and Robin wearing special earplugs, Siren's singing won't work. We've also got too few henchmen, so a fight scene is a no-go. But Siren's got one last ace... since she now owns the Wayne Foundation building, she can evict BG & Robin whenever she likes!

And alas, handcuffed by the Fourth Amendment, our heroes have no choice but to leave. But not before leaving a bug in the room, because we're several decades too early for that to be an issue. Then Siren decides to tell Bruce to jump off the roof, apparently also for the lulz. Double damn. That's cold.

(Come to think of it, shouldn't at least one of them be saving Chief O'Hara by now? Then again, given his track record, letting the guy drown might count as a public service.)

"You're in good shape." And I suppose the fact that you're running behind Batgirl on the stairwell has nothing to do with it, Robin. Little perv.

Everyone corners everyone else on the roof, and since Siren's apparently picked up a couple extra henchmen, we get our first sidekicks-exclusive fight scene! Yaaay! There's some pretty good (if juvenile) gags during this one, including Robin pulling the old "Oh! What's that up there?" trick on a thug.

Time for the main event: Robin vs. Bruce! Apprentice vs. Master! Boy Wonder vs. the guy who took Riddler, Penguin, and Joker on 3-on-1 and kicked their asses! This is gonna be... over in a single punch. Welp.

Ah, yes. I think this might well be the tensest moment in the entire series: Siren hanging off the edge of the roof and Robin flat-out threatening to let her fall if she doesn't undo her hypnosis. Unlike most examples of this in fiction, Siren isn't really going for the old "pull me up first and then I'll do it" route; according to her, trying the anti-hypnosis note would probably ruin her voice-box forever, and she'd rather die than have that happen.

... aaand Robin basically goes "we'll see about that." Damn, son. I guess I shouldn't expect better from a kid who told Batman that he should've let a bar full of drunks blow up, but still...

Bruce almost blathers out his secret ID to Batgirl (what a stunning twist that would've made!), but Robin gets Siren to sing the anti-hypnosis note before that can happen. Everything's wrapped up in a neat bundle by the episode's end: Commissioner Gordon wakes up and remembers nothing, all of Bruce Wayne's properties have been returned, the Siren's behind bars, and Batgirl's even found time off-screen to go rescue Chief O'Hara.

Of course, there's no rest for the wicked! And with the new Criminal Sensor Batindicator (TM), Batman can now deliver the "next villain" stingers to your doorstep with 50% less convolutedness! And who is our next villain? Why, no other than the Penguin and his new galpal, Lola Lasagna!

Despite the fact that Batgirl has a minimal presence here, I have to say that this was Season 3's objectively best episode so far. Or at least the one that seemed like it had the most effort put into it. The second half (and come to think of it, part of the first) is basically The Robin Show, with Batman throwing nary a punch in-costume. I know most of you probably don't care about the little pixie, but it is nice that after two seasons of being in Batman's shadow, he's finally allowed to have his own moment in the sun.

Plus, Joan Collins in a slinky little silver number. Yow.

Final Judgment:

8 Batgirl-Cycles (out of 10).

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Next time: Can it be? Has the Penguin finally found a woman willing to stand within ten feet of him? And has the third season actually come up with a plot even more slapdash than "Ring Around the Riddler"? Stay tuned!
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Batman (1966) Season 3, Episode 4: The Sport of Penguins

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Batman (1966) Season 3, Episode 4: The Sport of Penguins
Original Airdate: October 5, 1967
Director: Sam Strangis
Writer: Charles Hoffman
Special Guest Villains: Burgess Meredith as the Penguin and Ethel Merman as Lola Lasagne
No, the title does not refer to tobogganing, as awesome as that would've been. Instead, we begin at the Gotham Racetrack, where a certain Senora Lola Lasagne is showing off her "prize-winning racehorse" to the press (presumably, the glue factory had already rejected it). Thankfully, before too much inane dialogue can happen, Burgess Meredith's Penguin strolls onto the track like a boss and just walks off with the Senora's parasol.

After the credits, the Penguin just as nonchalantly walks into the Gotham Library and starts vandalizing the hell out of a display case with his umbrella-knife. Barbara Gordon, as one of the only good guys on the show allowed to have over a hundred IQ points, is the only one who seems to give a shit.

(Priceless folio of past parasols, eh? Pretty convenient excuse for a book to not have words, but I digress.)

We get a nice but kinda vague continuity nod, since Penguin and Barbara apparently remember each other from their last encounter. Penguin's still pretending to be an upstanding citizen, and Barbara understandably goes to call the cops. I just love how few shits Pengy seems to give about anything when he hits the time-bomb button on his umbrella and drops it into the stand, daring Barbara to do something.

Cut to police headquarters, where Batman and Robin are conveniently there to receive Barbara's message. But it looks like it's time for Barbara to take her stupid pills, since she refuses to vacate the library "just" because a known supervillain deposited something ticking there. Geez, no wonder the place is empty aside from her.

B&R make it to the library, where Batman uses the almighty Bat-Shield to get the ticking umbrella out and into a random hallway. But wait! It goes off, catching our two heroes in the blast! O dark day! The caped crusaders, blown to smithereens!

Looks like it'll be the Adventures of Batgirl and Alfred from here on... wait, no, my mistake, Batman and Robin are a-okay. Dammit. Batman valiantly tries to make the book theft and the racehorse plot look like they weren't two separate episode pitches glued together by a hack, but predictably fails.

Still, in a pretty funny reference, it looks like Penguin's set up shop in a fake bookstore this time around. Soon enough, Senora Lasagne drops by, and he immediately greets her as "Lulu Schultz". What follows is probably the most backstory we've ever gotten for Meredith's Penguin: he knew Lulu back in grade school, when she was stealing kids' braces and he was stealing their teeth. Jesus Christ.

Anyways, it turns out that Senora Lasagne's spent her adult life being a professional gold digger (good lord, I hope she looked better in her younger days, since I can't imagine even the most desperate millionaire hooking up with 60s-era Ethel Merman), but her last marriage went south so she's almost completely broke. All she has left is her racehorse Parasol, and the goodwill of her old "friend" Penguin.

Over at the Batcave, Batman and Robin go through a series of "deductions" with the Batcomputers that begins with parasols and ends with a glue factory. It's as stupid as it sounds, without any of the charm of the movie's famed "Sea? C for Catwoman!" joke. Robin rightfully calls bullshit on all this, but Batman drags him off to Glu Gluten's Glue Factory anyways. Oh, and as soon as they're gone, Alfred rings up Barbara so Batgirl can be in the loop as well. Wotta guy.

Penguin and his old pal concoct their master scheme, which is another surprisingly mundane con: disguise Parasol as a newcomer racehorse, and enter a slower horse under Parasol's name at the Wayne Foundation Handicap (yes, in addition to his eight billion other interests, Bruce now chairs racetracks too). I'm pretty sure that this was old hat in Sherlock Holmes' day, but eh. No need to reinvent the wheel. Anyways, that's not the good part. The good part is seeing Penguin listen in to news about his bomb on his little penguin-radio (coming soon to a toy store near you!) and his cigarette holder slowly drooping as he realizes that Batman and Robin saved everyone. The Freud is strong with this one.

(Oh, and apparently Penguin tried to bomb the library solely because Barbara turned him down on that marriage thing. Well, it's not exactly out of character, but Jesus.)

Through the edict of the Plot Gods, Penguin and Lola do decide to visit Glu Gluten's Glue Factory next, because let's face it: where else in a city can you find a horse on short notice? Sure enough, Glu Gluten has a spare horse on hand "in case of emergencies", even though the old-fashioned gluemaking method is deader than the dodo, so now all our "heroes" have to do is persuade him to sell. This leads to another hilarious scene where Penguin lectures the guy on "modern" economics and the no-money-down idea, which 1.) makes him look like Scrooge McDuck, and 2.) is even more biting and relevant now, 50 years after the fact.

Oh, and they also have to stop Batman and Robin from kicking their asses, but that's a given.

Batgirl joins in on the ensuing fight scene, and I have to say that it's got some of the most stunning action this season so far. Sure, there's a weird part where four or five of Penguin's men grab Robin and start doing this weird mosh-pit thing with him instead of, you know, hitting him, but Batman breaks it up by grabbing a hanging light and swinging into the mob feet-first, which is awesome. Oh, and Batgirl not only ropes Penguin by herself, but also bags all of the Penguin's goons more-or-less solo.

Sadly, since we're only in Part One of a two-part storyline, Penguin escapes when they're not looking (also, Lola got away with Glu's horse). For added insult, he grabs a pot of "Library Glue" (whatever the hell that is) and paints it all over the Batmobile. Meanwhile, Batgirl delivers a pretty emasculating tease to Batman, but it's all in good fun.

As usual, Batgirl disappears as soon as B&R turn their backs, and Robin is still an ungrateful little prick who wants to find her secret identity. And poor Glu Gluten has to deal with the fact that his shop's totally trashed, and his emergency glue supply is gone. But don't worry - B&R get their comeuppance as soon as they sit down in the Batmobile without looking.

By this point, Hoffman is desperate to convince the audience that the library scenes weren't a waste of time, so he wrangles up a contrivance where Penguin and Lola decide that they have to steal the folio of famous parasols so they'll have the start-up cash to bet in their little racehorse con (don't look at me - I don't really know how sports gambling works, and I'm too lazy to Wikipedia it). This trips the library's Prowler Alarm, so Barbara immediately gets word to Commissioner Gordon, who gets word to Batman, who's...

... escaped the glue trap offscreen. Goddammit, Hoffman.

So we're left with a real riveting cliffhanger, folks. BATMAN ANSWERING THE PHONE. Real nice way to break up the first multi-parter of the season. Gold star.

Inna final analysis... well, it's not exactly "Ring Around The Riddler", but it's not terribly well-written or hilarious, either. There are some good jokes, and the Batgirl scenes are pretty awesome, but it's nothing to write home about. The "cliffhanger" ending is especially weak, since it doesn't even give us an idea of what the stakes in the next part will be.

Final Judgment:

6 Batgirl-Cycles (out of 10).

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Next time: Can Batgirl possibly top herself after the events of this episode? Will Batman and Robin be able to stop Penguin and Lola's racehorse con? And for God's sake, does anyone even care? Tune in next time!
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Batman (1966) Season 3, Episode 5: A Horse of Another Color

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Batman (1966) Season 3, Episode 5: A Horse of Another Color
Original Airdate: October 5, 1967
Director: Sam Strangis
Writer: Charles Hoffman
Special Guest Villains: Burgess Meredith as the Penguin and Ethel Merman as Lola Lasagne
Daybreak at Gotham City Library... and Penguin's just gotten his ass caught in the act by the Dynamic Duo plus Commissioner Gordon and Chief O'Hara (for all the good they're gonna do). "Fah! How'd you get unglued?" Through the magic of the plot gods, Pengy. Try to keep up.

Anyways, Penguin sets off a spark machine in his umbrella, which is slightly more impressive than your average birthday candle. But since we're nowhere near the end of the episode, Batman lets him get away with the Folio of Priceless Parasols anyways. The two cops in the room apparently don't carry a single gun between them.

Oh, and heads up - Bruce Wayne is now the head of the Library Board of Trustees, too. Jesus, guy's got more titles than a third-world dictator.

Back at Penguin's Bookshop, the Master of Fowl Play and his gal-pal are reminding all the viewers of the evil (and nonsensical) scheme they hatched in the last episode. Penguin places a call to his local bookie, and the ensuing conversation is so choked with racing slang that I only understand about one word in three. What I do know is that Penguin's arranged for every horse except two (Lola's champ and the fake champ) to disappear from the race, probably because Dozier couldn't afford more than that on the show.

With that finished, Penguin goes and gets a buyer for the folio - one "Mr. A.L. Fred" - aaaaaand it looks like that plotline was extra-pointless after all. Bruce gets the thing back about five minutes after Penguin stole it. Thanks, Hoffman!

"I feel that we're now one step closer..." to the next Batgirl appearance? I hope so. She's about the only thing keeping the show afloat at this point.

Over to Penguin's hide-hole again, where Lola Lasagne is gleefully counting all the Monopoly money... er, loot that Bruce paid for the folio. Penguin hears about the library getting the folio back, and immediately uses this as an excuse to launch yet another murder attempt on Barbara Gordon. Geez, this is starting to get a little creepy...

(And I have to agree with Lola here: "We just want to win a horse race!" Where the hell does first-degree murder fit into that?)

But whatever, all the other horses in the race are taken out off-screen, and we get treated to the awesomely stupid, stupidly awesome sight that is Jockey Penguin, ready to ride Lola's disguised champ horse into the race.

Holy plot contrivance, Batman! It turns out that Bruce just happens to have an emergency racehorse - Waynebow - to enter into the race. Also, it turns out that Dick apparently has enough jockey experience to be a rider in the race, but he has to ride Penguin's fake champ because zzzzzzzzzzzzzz...

Oh, wait, Batgirl's name was just brought up! And good lord, does Alan Napier look adorable, trying to rein in Barbara's secret while his masters are talking about her right in front of him.

(Wait, how does Bruce even know she can ride a horse? It's not as easy as it looks!)

So over at the library, Penguin's latest Murder Machine arrives, and... welp, looks like Barbara's gonna have to do the work of two librarians now. Oh, wait, never mind. Alfred's popped by just in time to heroically neutralize the thing, and the other librarian apparently only got "a little whiff".

(One, I don't know why everyone in Gotham doesn't just run away screaming anytime Penguin-shaped "gifts" show up by now, and Two, Alan Napier looks badass with his jacket off like that. Dude could give James Bond some lessons. I'm not even kidding.)

Alfred goes to fill Barbara in on rest of the plot. And here, we come to a scene I genuinely find amusing: the racing secretary, apparently the only sane man left in town, is furious over the three-ringed circus that Bruce and Penguin have turned the race into. Unregistered horses, unknown jockeys, and last-minute entries out the wazoo! Good man, says I.

But since this is his show, what Batman says goes, and the secretary gets pressured into letting the race go on by the Bat himself. And so racing day drops by, and my that is some badly-segued archive footage from last year's Kentucky Derby or whatever.

There's another passably funny scene where Lola Lasagne makes small talk with her horse's "Spanish" jockey, who she doesn't even recognize is Dick Grayson. Apparently, the only Spanish that Dick knows is "Si, Senora." That's what a million-dollar education gets ya, kid. Fortunately, Penguin is a lot brighter, and... wait...

Look! On the horizon! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's... some stuntman in Batgirl's costume! Dammit.

(I can't be quite sure, but I think this was the only time that Yvonne Craig had a stunt double on the show for any extensive amount of time. Either she didn't know how to ride or she was too short or something. If you ever wondered why all the scenes of Jockey Batgirl were shot from far away, this is why. In any case, I hope the guy in the suit was happy with playing Batgirl for a day.)

Wait, why are there five horses on the track? After what Lola did, there shouldn't be more than three.

Lola: "That looks like a girl riding it!" Should I laugh or cry here?

(Also, Gotham's honorary Keystone Kops showed up a little while back, but who cares? Not like they're gonna do anything useful.)

Just a little longer, and we're off to the races! Marvel at all the archived footage and badly-spliced scenes of stunt doubles of our heroes while zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...

(Seriously - there might be some method of making horse races in fiction exciting to watch, but this show certainly never found it. As far as I'm concerned, I'm watching the 19th-century equivalent of NASCAR.)

Final lap, Waynebow wins it easy, and Penguin immediately hightails it out of there. Bruce and Dick run off to change into costume as well, and... yes! We've finally got Yvonne back in the suit! C'mon, BG! You can save this episode!

"You can't go in there! You're a woman!" Sorry, Lola. The gender-locker room barrier only works one way.

Fight scene, the Triumphant Trio beat the living daylights out of Penguin and his men, the whole race is declared null and void, yadda yadda yadda. At least Meredith and Merman look like they're having fun as they're being carted off to jail. Oh, and by now, the showrunners aren't even trying to use camera-cuts to hide Batgirl's "disappearances" anymore.

Epilogue: the library's Egyptology section? Hmm, I wonder who next week's bad guy is going to be... oh please oh please say...

YES! IT IS! VICTOR BUONO'S KING TUT! Oh, we'll be having a barrel of laughs next episode...

... buuuut as for this episode: it was, if anything, even worse than the first part. A bunch of nonsense barely tied together by a terrible plot, and it's not even very funny nonsense. Something's wrong when the racing secretary scenes are the most memorable part. And dock extra points for making me look at a dude in the Batgirl costume.

Final Judgment:

5 Batgirl-Cycles (out of 10).

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Next time: The late, great Victor Buono shows us all how a real Batman '66 arch-villain should be! Be there, or be square!
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Batman (1966) Season 3, Episode 6: The Unkindest Tut of All

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Batman (1966) Season 3, Episode 6: The Unkindest Tut of All
Original Airdate: October 19, 1967
Director: Sam Strangis
Writer: Stanley Ralph Ross
Special Guest Villain: Victor Buono as King Tut
We start off with a pretty weird "date" between Bruce and Barbara (who's apparently an accordion enthusiast, go figure) in a shuttered limousine. In case you ever wanted to see Adam West have awkward intimate tension with a girl young enough to be his daughter, today's your lucky day.

Fortunately, that's quickly derailed for the real plot: Bat-fans of all ages, please put your hands together for the one, the only... Victor Buono!

Ahh, Buono's King Tut. With the possible exception of Vincent Price's Egghead, King Tut was the most successful original villain on the '66 show, and it's not hard to see why. Buono just chews the scenery with all he's got, and why shouldn't he? His villain gimmick is that he's not just royalty, but ancient divine royalty, and he thus infuses the part with all the over-the-top jolly arrogance he can muster. Like a few other stars on the show, Buono was also a professional stand-up comedian, and his comic chops are second-to-none.

(Incidentally, King Tut was quite possibly the most complex villain on the show; he's kind of a cross between Maxie Zeus and Two-Face, and he was normally a mild-mannered Egyptology professor unless some head trauma triggered his villainous split personality. For all the good that did him, since the Adam West show wasn't really into exploring villains, but I digress...)

What? The plot? Oh, yeah. Tut now proclaims himself an oracle, and starts predicting crimes all around Gotham with pinpoint accuracy. The Dynamic Duo, fearing that this will soon put them out of a job, hurry to stop him.

"Nabob of the Nile! Moon-God of Thoth and... and stuff like that! By the instep of Ramses, I'll have his head!" God, I love Buono's delivery.

But, apparently as some kind of corollary to such an awesome villain, the moll we get for this episode is the most annoying one thus far. Good God, as soon as she opens that squeaky mouth I want to punch it closed.

Anyways, in a move that makes more sense than it should have any right to, Batman and Robin have to acknowledge that Tut hasn't really done anything wrong so far; his alter-ego has presumably been acquitted of earlier crimes via the insanity defense, and he hasn't committed any new ones, just predicted them. Tut sends them off with a warning that the soccer stadium is going to be robbed next, and dismisses all the journalists in his hideout as well.

Of course, as soon as their backs are turned, Buono immediately starts a long, hammy monologue about his eeeeevil plan. My favorite part is at the very end, where he barks out an order in a completely lucid voice.

Meanwhile, Batman and Robin get over to the stadium and fight the snazziest-looking goons I've seen in the series so far. Seriously, skull masks + suits are a combination that should never go out of style. While they're distracted, an Innocent Bystander (TM) plants a tracking device on the Batmobile.

So Tut's grand plan is an oldie-but-goodie: discover the Batcave's location and thus find the Dynamic Duo's Secret IDs. What really makes his version unique is his Tutscope. Next thing you know, he'll have his own Tutarangs. We also get the coordinates of the Batcave/Stately Wayne Manor: 40 degrees Long, 12 minutes North - 43 degrees Lat, 8 minutes East. Anyone know what this would correspond to on a real-world map?

"Let me get this straight. You think that your "victim", one of the wealthiest, most powerful men in the world, is secretly a vigilante who spends his nights beating criminals to a pulp with his bare hands... and your... "plan"... is to threaten this person?... Good luck."

In a better world, that would be the exchange Tut would be having with Batman right about now. But since this is Adam West we're dealing with, he has no choice but to agree to Tut's press conference and promise to show Bruce Wayne and Batman side-by-side. Which, admittedly, makes for a tenser commercial-break cliffhanger.

Bruce shows up in his civilians duds for the press conference, and kills time by telling Tut's origin to the journalists (... wouldn't they know this stuff already? It oughta be public record by now). The big "J'ACCUSE!" Tut belts out gets me every time. Guy oughta be a guest star in the next Phoenix Wright game.

Oh, but wait! What's this? Batman and Robin drive by in the Batmobile, right next to Mr. Wayne? Well, it looks like the Phony Pharaoh's wrong after all. I have to wonder who the guy in the Batmobile really is - is he the same double who played Batman in those PSAs the Federal Government put out after the show had ended?

(BTW, best line of the episode, and perhaps the series: "He's Batman, all right. Who else in this present-day dynasty could be that square?!")

My lord does Vic Buono look adorable tearing up like that. He bids Bruce Wayne farewell, and finally connects this episode back to the stinger from the last episode: invade library, steal a bunch of priceless scrolls, blah blah blah.

Also, King Tut calls his moll "my Aswan Damsel", which instantly wins him another five gazillion points in my book. To say nothing of "My mother told me to pick a nice Egyptian girl..." when he bemoans his moll's lack of brains.

Back in the Batcave, we see that B&R accomplished the charade through a dummy, mechanized lips, some ventriloquism, and an autopiloted Batmobile. But never mind that - King Tut's made another prediction, that a massive breakout is about to happen at Gotham Penitentiary!

(The specific villains that Commissioner Gordon mentions may be a clue as to where this episode actually falls in the production cycle. Penguin, Riddler, and the Siren had all been featured so far, but at this point Egghead had appeared in only one story back in Season 2. I suspect that the team-up episodes with him and Olga the Cossack Queen had already been done at this point, only to be aired at a later date.)

We're close to the episode's end anyways, so Batman tells the Commish to send his entire force to the prison to deal with the "threat", while he and Robin (and Batgirl, who's also cottoned on to Tut's scheme in a manner that's frankly not worth describing here) go kick Tut's massive ass. Aaaaand I just noticed that they didn't even bother to wipe the "New York Public Library" away from the establishing shot of "Gotham Library" this time.

Oop - here comes the other highlight of the episode: the poor librarian that Tut bound in "the ancient Thuggee style". I dunno what the hell Thuggees have to do with Ancient Egypt, but the expressions on that woman's face are kinda terrifying, and the fact that the camera never pans down kind of makes it look like Tut cut her legs off. The reality isn't much less twisted, as a matter of fact: this might be the darkest joke in the entire series, with Adam West pontificating about letting criminals go vs. saving an innocent life for several minutes after he's already said the woman will die if she's left like that much longer.

And big surprise, Tut's already gotten away with the scrolls. While Batman and Robin putz around doing some more "detective work", Batgirl's already tracked Tut down to his lair (which really shouldn't be that hard, assuming it's the same goddamn tent he invited all those journalists into earlier). Since Dozier couldn't afford more than two henchmen for this episode, Batgirl destroys Tut's security in a matter of seconds, and then...

... we get the most beautiful BG takedown in the series thus far aaaaand you can probably guess what the "Grab of the Day" is gonna be. Victor Buono's performance is just the icing on the cake.

But before Tut can get BG into some suitably over-the-top deathtrap, Batman and Robin ruin all the fun by showing up. Nice long fight scene ensues, and Vic Buono himself even gets in on the fun! By now, there's a mutual curiosity about who's behind the mask between the Dynamic Duo and Batgirl, though they at least have the grace to admit this only when the other party is out of earshot.

Epilogue: unlike in previous Tut episodes, a whack to the head didn't restore Tut's sanity, which is kinda depressing now that I think about it. There's some more delicious banter over Batman's secret ID (Buono's "You wanna bet a sphinx or two?" is priceless, as is the "You don't say!" gag with Commish Gordon), while we segue into next week's villain: Louie the Lilac!

Yeah, I don't know who the hell he's supposed to be, either. Seems like a guy who got saddled with all the Poison Ivy traits that the Siren didn't already have. But ah, I get ahead of myself...

So... not for the first time: minimal Batgirl presence, but Buono pretty much single-handedly saves the episode. If there's one episode from Season 3 you owe to yourself to check out, it's this one. An entirely worthy entry for Batman's 100th episode.

Final Judgment:

8-and-a-half Batgirl-Cycles (out of 10).

Grab of the Day:
Batgirl06.gif
Batgirl06.gif (2.86 MiB) Viewed 5797 times
Next time: Buono's a tough act to follow for the best villains on the show, but when we've got a newbie to the series playing an original villain... well, let's give him a fair chance, shall we? Milton Berle as Louie the Lilac is next!
Last edited by Disciple 5 years ago, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Batman (1966) Season 3, Episode 4: The Sport of Penguins

Post by Mr. X »

Omega Woman wrote:
Original Airdate: October 5, 1967
Director: Sam Strangis
Writer: Charles Hoffman
Special Guest Villains: Burgess Meredith as the Penguin and Ethel Merman as Lola Lasagne
"Bridle that filly" sums up the goodness of this episode.
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Re: Batgirl's Secret Closet: A Little Annex for Reviews!

Post by tallyho »

Aaaahhhh, how I wish they'd've shown her spark out on the floor.... :sad:
How strange are the ways of the gods ...........and how cruel.

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Batman (1966) Season 3, Episode 7: Louie, the Lilac

Post by Disciple »

Batman (1966) Season 3, Episode 7: Louie, the Lilac
Original Airdate: October 26, 1967
Director: george waGGner
Writer: Dwight Taylor
Special Guest Villain: Milton Berle as Louie the Lilac
Fun fact: Milton Berle, according to Wikipedia, was America's first real national TV star. The guy was hot stuff in the '40s and '50s, with a variety of acting roles and stand-up acts to back up his name, and even used his fame and influence to break certain color barriers in TV broadcasting. Sadly, we see very little of that here, when it's his turn to play a Batman villain. Louie the Lilac may well be the most colorless supervillain to ever tangle with West and Ward - a standard gangster with a standard gangster voice and almost no comic chops. The only real interesting thing is his musical leitmotif, and the snazzy suits he and his henchmen are wearing.

What, the plot? Oh, yes. This was the first time that Season 3 of Batman tried to openly discuss some kind of Pressing Contemporary Issue (though it certainly wouldn't be the last). The Hippie love-ins of the 1960s aren't really something I know much about, nor something I care to research right now, but since this episode isn't regarded as any kind of watermark in... well, anything, I think it's fair to say that the writers made a hash of it in terms of both satire and straight portrayal.

Anyhoo, the 30-year-old teenagers of Gotham City are holding a Flower-In at the local park, but horror of horrors, Louie has cornered the flower market in an attempt to control their minds so he can control Gotham's future leaders... or something. There's a germ of a disturbing villain plot in here somewhere, but damn if I can find what it is.

The leader of these legions of "flower children" (all 20 of them) is Princess Primrose, who I suppose is supposed to be some kind of radio personality and bastion of liberality. Though she's also friends with Barbara Gordon, the freaking daughter of the local police commissioner, and you can't get much squarer than that, so who the hell knows?

By the way, the Poison Ivy parallels are still coming thick and fast: Louie hypnotizes Princess Primrose (somehow) with the flower in his lapel before abducting her, and his hideout is in a greenhouse. Barbara goes to her dad and Chief O'Hara, who are, as usual, incompetent dicks. So she dials up Alfred, who gets word to the Dynamic Duo.

Apparently, Batman and Robin have been invited to the Flower-In and whoa whoa whoa whoa what? Batman, the guy who's so square that he's basically a cop's cop? I call bullshit.

Back at the Greenhouse of Doom, Louie orders his men to put Princess Primrose in the hothouse and my God the actress playing Primrose is so wooden that I can't even tell when Louie's hypnotic spray has worn off. On a slightly less painful note, Batman and Robin meet with the police to discuss Louie, and it seems that Louie is one of the few villains who Batman actually isn't familiar with. The reactions to Louie here probably aren't consistent with how last episode's stinger treated him, but I'm frankly too lazy to go check.

Oh, and all the hippies from the Flower-In are now swarming the police station for some inane reason. This forces Batman and Robin to take a back exit out, and Robin tries to pretend that it's because the hippies are big fans of theirs, but we all know the real reason is that they'd probably get ripped apart for supporting The System or whatever.

(My lord, is it painful to watch Burt Ward go "It's because we're cool, man.")

Louie's now dropped a hint in the Batmobile, meaning to trick our heroes into visiting a booby-trapped flower shop. Naturally, B&R fall for it like a couple of chumps, because we're still in the first half of the episode. "Batman goes into a flower shop" would be handled with a lot more style about 40 years down the road, but for now, we have to settle for hideously fake pratfalls and Milton Berle clonking a flowerpot over Adam West's head in the wimpiest way possible. The over-the-head takedown from the last episode was scads better than this.

Meanwhile, at Barbara Gordon's apartment... one of Louie's creeper henchmen has stalked her all the way back. It's kinda funny seeing Barbara monologuing like that while the guy is standing on her terrace literally two feet away, but then he storms in aaaaand hello, awful, awful subtext! Jesus, they can't invent mace fast enough...

Anyway, with B&R in the bad guy's clutches, we get the deathtrap du jour: man-eating lilacs from South America. Well, at least now we know where DynaHunk got the idea from (whatever happened to that guy, anyhow?), so I guess that's one legacy this episode has. I hope those poor technicians who had to operate the puppets fondling Adam West and Burt Ward had fun.

"Well, Robin, at least it's a flowery finish." Aaaaand the Oscar for worst cliffhanger line goes to...

So with all the Capes useless, it's up to Alfred to do some detective work of his own. Can't we just make this show about him already? Him and Batgirl? Pretty please? Look, the lilacs have already eaten Batman's utility belt! He can't possibly get out of this one!

And speaking of Batgirl, it's right about time for her to show up and kick some ass (Barbara having given Louie's henchman the slip by going into the bedroom to "powder her nose" - ah, Gotham chivalry). This scene is one of the few bright spots in the whole episode, and it even ends with Commissioner Gordon dropping by and having the first real father-daughter conversation with a hastily-redisguised Barbara. As soon as the Commish leaves, Bosley... I mean Alfred drops in to give Barbara her newest assignment.

Meanwhile, Louie's putting his diabolical plan into motion. And it's a smashing failure, mostly due to his hypno-spray wearing off at exactly the wrong time. The only thing that came close to saving this scene was the shot of all the angry hippies chasing after Louie's Flowermobile in their truck. Hey, they might preach "peace and love", but it's still twenty or thirty people against the two or three guys in Louie's gang.

Oh, and since we've got about three minutes before the episode ends, Batman and Robin perform another lazy offscreen escape. Big fight scene, Batgirl pops out of nowhere to lend a hand, Batman Tarzans his way across the room and... holy shit did Batgirl just kill Louie?!

(Well, she supposedly just sprayed mildew on him, but Louie himself said that the stuff withers everything it touches. Perhaps not coincidentally, this is the only part in the show where Milton Berle shows any real emotion.)

By the way, here's how badly Louie's plan failed: around 1000 angry hippies are now surrounding the flower shop, to the point where Batman actually lets Louie's gang get away because he's confident there's no way they can escape that mob. In a surprisingly dark twist, Louie tries to kill himself by going into the man-eating lilac room, but Batman says that they're all dead anyways, killed by the cold temperatures.

In the meantime, Batgirl's hit the road, and the episode's remaining runtime is padded out with recycled footage of her riding home. The return of the full Batgirl theme is a nice touch, but too little too late.

Epilogue: the sound of hoofbeats heralds... can it be? Awww yeah - Vincent Price as Egghead! (Plus Anne Baxter playing some hot Russian... er, "Bessarovian" chick!). And the episode closes on an extra sloppy note, since Batman now says Louie needs rescuing from those lilacs after all. Blech.

Congratulations, "Ring Around the Riddler". You're no longer at the bottom of my list. I dearly hope that this is the nadir of Season 3, because even Batgirl couldn't really save this episode. I know that Louie returns in a later episode, and it has to be better than this. It has to be.

Final Judgment:

3 Batgirl-Cycles (out of 10).

Grab of the Day:
Batgirl07.gif
Batgirl07.gif (13.64 MiB) Viewed 5794 times
Next time: Vincent Price is justly beloved by many, but can even Egghead match up to the greatness of King Tut when it comes to this show's original villains? Let's find out.
Last edited by Disciple 5 years ago, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Batgirl's Secret Closet: A Little Annex for Reviews!

Post by Visitor »

Milton Berle in later years would say that he had lots of fun doing the show, he didn't get paid much, but it was lots of fun.

This was done in the declining years of Berle's career where he did roasts and guest spots, but could no longer get to star in his own show or movies. For some one that started with the first broadcasts of TV, he got an original character, but not much to work with. A little humor, but no character development. He reappears in another episode that wasn't much better. As a parody of the old 1920s mobsters, the writers didn't come up with much and he really did need better lines.
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Batman (1966) Season 3, Episode 8: The Ogg and I

Post by Disciple »

Batman (1966) Season 3, Episode 8: The Ogg and I
Original Airdate: November 2, 1967
Director: Oscar Rudolph
Writer: Stanford Sherman
Special Guest Villains: Vincent Price as Egghead and Anne Baxter as Olga
Once again, we pick up from last episode's stinger, only this time we have some random bystander lady to provide eggsposition. Apparently, the Bessarovian Cossacks (which are kinda-sorta based off a real thing) are a well-known thing in Gotham. More reasonable is her instantly recognizing Egghead. I mean, sure, he's only appeared in one story before this, but the image of Vincent Price in that fine suit cracking every egg pun in the English language isn't one that fades in a hurry.

(Sidenote: is that Aunt Harriet with the woman? Eh, who cares?)

Anyways, as soon as he gets over to police headquarters, Egghead dons a hat (that most infallible of disguises!) and personally delivers the sandwich Commissioner Gordon just ordered. In true form, he swaps the roast beef sandwich for an poached-egg one (made with eggscruciatingly fake-looking rubber eggs, at that) right before kidnapping the Commish with his Ram-Line Eggsactor. And here to provide his handy getaway is Anne Baxter with a kickass hot-air balloon with a marginally less kickass Russian accent.

Even this early into the episode, it's already clear why Egghead was the only original villain on the show who could really stand up to King Tut. Instead of Buono's hammy, bombastic howling and gloating and wailing, Vincent Price opts for a smarmy, self-satisfied, urbane accent that he perfected during his many years of eggsperience in B-horror films, creating the sort of character who was justly said to bring a nasty touch of class to anything (even Disney cartoons). Quite frankly, I would've loved to see these two team up - the ultimate comic-and-straight-man combo, if I do say so myself.

After the credits, we see Chief O'Hara stumbling around by himself in the Commissioner's office, actually being marginally useful for once. But never mind that, we get an eggstra-early appearance from Batgirl! Why, show, you're spoiling us!

Batman and Robin pop along as well - no intro scene from the Batcave or Stately Wayne Manor to be found. This is only one of many scenes throughout this two-parter where the seams start showing, mainly because it was originally written as a three-part story. You can read the details here yourself. B&R give Batgirl and the Chief (and us) another bit of quick eggsposition about how Egghead and Olga met that doesn't really eggsplain anything at all, and then...

"What other public personage could demand more respect..." Uhh, the President? That dude on the corner? Charles Manson? Literally anyone else?

Back at the villains' hideout, we see that Egghead isn't taking married life very well. Heck, Olga's got him just shy of whipped. But it's all worthwhile when he finally makes his ransom call and his demands: in eggschange for the Commish's life, Gotham is to put an eggcise tax on every egg product sold and consumed aaaaand is anyone getting flashbacks - well, flash-forwards, technically - to Steve Englehart's Joker here?

Sadly, since this isn't the comparatively sober 1970s, the good guys not only accept Egghead's terms but are actually capable of enforcing it. Incidentally, despite all his stupid egg puns, Price can still dip his voice into a downright menacing tone when he feels like it. The finishing bit of Egghead's phone call can stand with the best of Frank Gorshin's Riddler scenes.

While Egghead dicks around with Chief O'Hara down at Gilligan's Diner (managed by Alan "The Skipper" Hale himself!), the Dynamic Duo of Alfred and Barbara meet to discuss their own game plan for rescuing the Commish. It turns out that Gordon uses an eggstra-rare aftershave made in Sumatra with a very distinct smell, so the plan is... to use Alfred as a bloodhound. Jesus, Barbara, give the guy some dignity, will ya?

(On the bright side, there's an eggstra bit of backstory for Alfred, too. Turns out Bruce wasn't his first employer.)

Meanwhile, B&R are at Gotham's local Bessarovian embassy, having figured out that Olga and her Cossacks (who are apparently a well-known criminal gang back there) are probably going to steal the embassy's Brass Samovar of Genghis Khan next. The thing looks like a giant milkshake maker, so I can see why anyone who owns it is magically declared the legitimate ruler of Bessarovia. Mmm, milkshakes...

So Olga and her gang break in and take the thing back to their hideout, no problem, but WAIT! The Dynamic Duo were pulling the old Trojan Horse trick inside it all along, but WAIT! Olga eggspected this, and captures B&R by herself, but WAIT! Commissioner Gordon breaks free all by himself and ahahahahaha I can't even finish that sentence without cracking up.

The REAL twist is that the Bessarovian ambassador was in cahoots with Olga all along, and he's the one who leaked the plan. Oh, and he's also Olga's personal chef, and he's about to make a yummy Bat-Borscht out of our Caped Crusaders! Horrors!

Now, Egghead shows us why he's the show's smartest villain: he demands that Olga eggsecute the heroes immediately, instead of settling for the typical deathtrap. In other words, he's quite possibly the only baddie to ever learn from his mistakes. Really, he deserves a medal just for that. But since Olga's wearing the pants in this relationship, she shuts him down because apparently, she's starting to get the hots for Batman. Better hope Catwoman doesn't find out, lady.

(Speaking of which - between the red hair and the crush on Batman, could we have yet another proto-Poison Ivy among Season 3's villainesses?)

The tantrum that Egghead launches into is a lot more funny than freaky (like Riddler's breakdowns were), but it's a marvel of well-calculated B-movie acting nonetheless. Hell, according to Egghead, Olga was washing dishes in a Bessarovian diner before he found her. Even if that's not true, it's still a pretty vicious slam.

Oh, and the look on Price's face when one of Olga's bodyguards karate-chops him is just priceless.

Man, Olga's got a pretty freaky idea about what to do on first dates. Boiling a guy's best friends in front of him while asking for a kiss isn't how we do it in the U.S. of A., sister, at least not since the Great Depression ended. Also, since she the Queen of Bessarovia now and everything, she's going to engage in polyandry as well, with both Batman and Egghead as her husbands. Jesus, now that's a sitcom I'd like to see...

(Bonus points if Adam West does that terrified face every time instead of a laugh-track.)

Over to the slightly less ridiculous Batgirl/Alfred plot thread, where Alfred's finally sniffed out the Commish's aftershave. And man, Batgirl's frilly little walkie-talkies are adorable. They find the villains' hideaway, and in a surprisingly revolutionary move, Batgirl tells Alfred to stay outside so he won't get hurt by those big bad villains. Of course, he doesn't listen, and the ensuing fight scene is one of the show's better ones (if nothing else, the new music is great, and we get to see Alfred clocking Olga's chef and rescuing Gordon and Robin).

But all good things must come to an end, and Olga and Egghead escape with the help of some conveniently-prepared tear-gas eggs (laid by hens fed nothing but onions for six months. Geez, where's PETA when you need them?). This scene of Adam West, Burt Ward, and Yvonne Craig doing the most over-the-top crying eggspressions they can must be seen to be believed.

And so ends part one of this caper. A fairly strong episode, with lots of great scenes that have Price just being Price (not really competition for his solo story during Season 2, though) and Anne Baxter being one creepy-hot psychotic Cossack. It's regrettable that the egg tax plotline wasn't really brought up after the first five minutes or so, but that's a minor quibble.

Final Judgment:

7 Batgirl-Cycles (out of 10).

Grab of the Day:
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Batgirl08.gif (9.24 MiB) Viewed 5794 times
Next time: If memory serves, the very first instance of Batgirl in true peril is coming up next! Stay glued to your seats, faithful viewers!
Last edited by Disciple 5 years ago, edited 3 times in total.
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Batman (1966) Season 3, Episode 9: How to Hatch a Dinosaur

Post by Disciple »

Batman (1966) Season 3, Episode 9: How to Hatch a Dinosaur
Original Airdate: November 9, 1967
Director: Oscar Rudolph
Writer: Stanford Sherman
Special Guest Villains: Vincent Price as Egghead and Anne Baxter as Olga
You might remember that the last episode didn't end on much of an open note; sure, the bad guys had eggscaped our heroes, but their evil plot had been foiled and pretty much all the other plot threads had been wrapped up. Nevertheless, Price and Baxter had signed on for a three-part storyline this time around, and by golly, they're going to do it one way or another!

And so we kick off what might as well be a standalone episode: this time, Egghead and Olga have broken into Gotham's friendly neighborhood radium center and stolen some radium. Just to make Commissioner Gordon eggstra useless, Batman and Robin have already been alerted to this by one of the Batcomputer's more sensible additions: a "hey, some radioactive shit is being taken somewhere it shouldn't be" alarm. Bruce eggstimates that the radium they stole is worth "only" $16,000 (and that's in 1967 money), so it can't be the vile villains' endgame.

("Usual scale of an Olga-Egghead caper," Bruce? They only got together last episode!)

The ensuing scene at Commissioner Gordon's office is a pretty definitive snapshot of Cold War-era nuclear paranoia, and Chief O'Hara even gets in a halfway intelligent observation about how Gotham's criminals love tampering with its water supply. In the end, though, all of the obvious possibilities are ruled out.

Meanwhile, Barbara's getting her inner paleontologist on at the natural history museum. Hmm, do you think this will have something to do with the episode's premise? Just in case that's too subtle for you, the museum happens to have a zillion-year-old "Neosaurus" egg currently on display. And as you can see, the showrunners aren't even trying anymore; Egghead and Olga literally pop out from behind a teeny-tiny display the moment that the egg is left alone, even though a four-year-old should have been able to spot them from that angle.

Bad guys make off with the egg, the good guys eat up a bunch of screentime trying to figure out what they want, yadda yadda yadda. They should've just looked at the title of this episode.

(Oh, and apparently Bruce subscribes to more periodicals than the Gotham Library does. Get a life, man!)

We finally come to the next funny bit, but it's at the eggspense of poor Alfred. The guy has to juggle calls from the Dynamic Duo and Barbara at the same time, without letting either find out the other's secret. And he pulls it off, too. Man, he deserves two raises for that.

Another lame-o commercial break cliffhanger. It's literally just Burt Ward standing there and blurting "But that's impossible!" to the audience. Not as impossible as you actually making that line sound eggciting, kid.

Back at the villains' hideout, Vincent Price busts out some more of that physical acting that so set him above his peers, and gets in an awesomely goofy diving suit thing which lets him use radiation to hatch the Neosaurus egg. I gotta say, even though I know the show's shoestring budget can't capture even 1% of the potential awesomeness, the idea of some supervillains trying to get an actual dinosaur as a henchman is so unashamedly comic book-y that I stand behind them all the way. The magnificent gloating from Price about how he's going to feed Batman, Robin, and Batgirl to the beast as a three-course meal, plus Gordon and O'Hara as dessert, is just the cherry on top.

It's only now that the good guys stumble onto that Holy Grail of all nuclear-themed action plots: the Geiger counter. In the space of one short montage, they crash in on Egghead and Olga. For some reason, Batman's nowhere to be found in the fight scene, but Batgirl and Robin seem to be doing alright and... ooh.

True to his 1940s horror roots, Price is going old old school here. Sure, we all love our over-the-top deathtraps here, but a sword to the throat works just as well for restraining your feisty, overconfident super heroines. Price gets in some more of his eggcellent gloating, all while forcing Batgirl & Robin to watch the dinosaur hatch.

But alas, because he is the villain, Egghead is hoist by his own petard. In his eggsitement to hatch a murderous prehistoric beast, he failed to account for a way of controlling the thing. When the Neosaurus (which certainly does not look like a paper mache model that we saw in the museum earlier, no siree) makes like it's going to eat him and Olga instead, all of them run like hell.

Despite its anticlimactic nature, I do like this unorthodox villain defeat. Instead of just the good guys punching the bad guys into submission for the 100th time, all the bad guys run into the paddy wagon of their own (terrified) will. Batgirl and Robin, upstanding little fools they are, stay behind to subdue it like real men, only... for it to turn out that the "Neosaurus" was Batman in disguise all along. Well, what did you eggspect? It is his show.

Yes, in a surprisingly realistic twist, it turns out that everyone eggscept Egghead knew you can't hatch a 40,000,000-year-old egg just by blasting a funny light at it. So Batman took the opportunity to pull this hideous prank on the guy, with his BS excuse being that "too many Cossacks means I might have hurt some of them". Batgirl exits stage-left not long after, Robin does the whole "let's follow her, Batman!" spiel again, yadda yadda yadda.

Epilogue: Barbara's having a birthday party, and the issue of how Batman whipped up a fake dinosaur egg to infiltrate Egghead's hideout is given a non-eggsplanation through an eggspecially terrible pun. Let's just see who the next villain will-

Oh good God. The next episode is the Surfing Joker episode. I can't wait.

So, to sum up, this episode wasn't really as strong as Part One, despite the welcome bit of Batgirl peril near the end and Batman's original (if kinda nonsensical) plan to capture the villains. Vincent Price really deserved to go out on a better note than this.

Final Judgment:

6-and-a-half Batgirl-Cycles (out of 10).

Grab of the Day:
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Batgirl09.gif (8.66 MiB) Viewed 5793 times
Next time: No words could possibly do the sheer insanity of The Surfing Episode justice. Just... just be there.
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Batman (1966) Season 3, Episode 10: Surf's Up! Joker's Under!

Post by Disciple »

Batman (1966) Season 3, Episode 10: Surf's Up! Joker's Under!
Original Airdate: November 16, 1967
Director: Oscar Rudolph
Writer: Charles Hoffman
Special Guest Villain: Cesar Romero as the Joker
When people want to encapsulate '66 Batman in a single episode (or scene), this is the episode they're most likely to pick (with the possible exception of the theatrical movie, in all its shark-exploding goodness). And why not? We've got quite possibly the most insane plot in the entire series, one of the most awesomely stupid deathtraps, Batgirl (plus Yvonne Craig in a bathing suit), and Cesar Romero returning to play the show's most commonly-appearing arch criminal!

(Quick tidbit: when Romero was interviewed in the '80s about the Adam West show, this was the only episode he could remember in any detail. That detail being how much he'd hated it.)

Since this is another sports-oriented episode, we begin with some more archived footage of surfers catching some waves (apparently, Gotham is now a seaside town) and homina homina homina...

I did not remember Barbara's swimsuit being that hot the first time I saw this episode. God, what a fool I was.

Anyways, the Joker rolls up to the beach in his pimptastic dune buggy, breaks out his hot-dog walkie talkies (God I love this guy), and begins his evil plan. His moll this time around is a blonde named Undine, and I gotta say she's not looking too bad herself in that silver little two-piece. What follows is an embarrassingly cheap kidnapping sequence, as Dozier apparently couldn't even afford a sack that was closed on one end. Sigh.

"Who was that?" Barbara, is that a note of jealousy I detect in your voice? Well, this Skip Parker fellow is apparently the closest thing you have to a boyfriend in this series...

So Joker's moll lures Skip away, Joker KO-gasses his ass with a rigged payphone, all so he can learn how to become the best surfer around, thus allowing him to rule... the... world.

Hmm. Seems legit.

As usual, Barbara is the only one who gives a shit about the supervillains kidnapping random bystanders, so she rings up the other good guys immediately. Oh, and apparently just for this episode, Dick is a surfing enthusiast. The Dynamic Duo decide to drop by the beach via Batcopter, which surprisingly does not use archive footage as most other uses of the copter in the series do. Fancy that.

We then cut to OH MY DEAR JESUS EYES MY EYES GET IT AWAY GET IT AWAY GAAAAHHHHHHHH-

Hem. So apparently, Gordon and O'Hara decided that this one needed some hands-on experience, and are also going undercover as a couple of beach dudes. Complete with eye-searingly terrible fashion choices. I suppose I should consider it a small mercy that "Buzzy" and "Duke" didn't decide to show more skin.

Also, we get one-hit wonder Johnny Green and His Green Men here to provide some unique background music. They're not half bad, though I suspect the real reason they were chosen were 1.) the whole green hair motif, and 2.) the fact that they play for rock bottom prices.

We then get treated to the sight of the four biggest squares in the show gathering in a surf shack, and everyone else in there are giving them appropriately disgusted looks. The real treat here is Adam West's delivery of "you mean the one talking to her hot dog?" when Commi-er, "Buzzy" tells him to keep an eye on Undine.

A couple seconds later, everyone knows everyone else is at the beach, and the Joker breaks out his latest invention: the Surfing Experience & Ability Transferometer & Vigor Reverser. In other words, a tin lunchbox with some fancy dials and rubber tubes on it. The "caps" that it uses to, er, transfer Skip Parker's surfing know-how are even more embarrassingly cheap, but they do make Romero look like he's wearing a bright green fez, which is awesome. The whole plan goes off without a hitch, and Joker then... launches into a speech disturbingly reminiscent of Louie the Lilac's plan to control Gotham's hippies. Except Romero actually, you know, acts.

B&R then pop back to the Batcave, solely so the episode can get its required Alfred dosage. By the time they get back and find the Joker's hideout, Joker's got them so well-read that he predicts exactly which window they're going to crash through (the effect is kind of ruined by how Dozier wouldn't even shell out for fake glass, though). Joker and his gang nail our heroes with a bunch of uncooked spaghetti, er, "poison sea urchin spines", and so Batman and Robin wind up in an honest-to-god '66 deathtrap: being turned into human surfboards!

A nice effort, but due to the abridged episode lengths of Season 3, B&R escape about 5 seconds after the commercial break. They find and rescue Skip Parker (who's strangely capable for a guy who just had his brain juiced), and then decide that instead of just beating Joker's ass for the 10 millionth time, they're going to get a little more creative.

You know what that means: SURF-OFF.

The following Joker scene is possibly this episode's best: Joker is putting everyone (including the undercover cops) to sleep with tales of his surfing prowess, only to shit a brick when he sees Skip show up. Then Batman shows up, and through mindbogglingly huge amounts of string-pulling, gets himself entered in the daily surfing contest (apparently, Bruce Wayne heads the Gotham Surfing Commission too). Romero's portrayal of the Joker as a sulky 10-year-old in a grown man's body is truly hilarious.

Y'all probably know what's next: Joker and Batman come out of the locker room looking exactly the same, only with swimming trunks over their usual duds, each man carrying his own logo'd surfboard. Then Barbara pops back up, just in case there were viewers who, for some *unimaginable* reason, might've wanted to change channels at this point.

The surf-off itself, at first glance, might seem similar to the racehorse derby from "A Horse of Another Color". Lots of cheap special effects, tons of archive footage, and stunt doubles doing all the real work. You know what the difference is? One has the sheer awesomeness that is the Bat-Shark Repellent, and the other doesn't. Pity that this time around, the shark doesn't explode, but there's only so much insanity you can stuff into one episode.

All told, the finish is pretty weak, since the episode's almost over (we do get to see Cesar Romero shouting "Cowabunga!" at the top of his lungs, though). The judges give Joker exactly 1 point (for color), while giving Batman all the rest. Holy favoritism, Batman!

By now, Joker's whole scheme's gone unglued, and much like Louie the Lilac, he's chased off by an angry mob of civilians. Lest you think this looks pathetic, remember that his last appearance on the show had Alfred owning him solo, so this is actually a step up. Anyways, Joker and his crew hole up in the surf shack, and you know what that means: it's Batgirl time!

Sadly, while the fight scene isn't bad, Batgirl doesn't speak a single line during it. We do get to hear the words "Cowabunga, begorrah!" uttered twice though, which almost makes up for it.

Epilogue: crime seems all cleaned up in Gotham City, so it looks like the Dynamic Duo have earned a well-deserved vacahahahahaha, you didn't actually believe that, did you? There's trouble a-brewing across the sea, in Swingin' Londinium, and no other than the Caped Crusaders can stop it!

Many an episode of Batman can be called bizarre, but here, it all culminates in an over-the-top whirlpool of insanity that can only be called self-parody. Less patient viewers will likely not have much use for it, but for my money, it's a perfect peak of the funny, the kooky, and the just plain weird that might well be the most memorable episode this season.

And if you don't care about any of that, it does have a ton of girls in swimsuits. Think about that.

Final Judgment:

7 Batgirl-Cycles (out of 10).

Grab of the Day:
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Next time: Alas, no Beatles or Bonds are on the way, but Swingin' Londinium still holds delights galore for our heroes! Same Batgirl-Time, Same Batgirl-Channel!
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Batman (1966) Season 3, Episode 11: The Londinium Larcenies

Post by Disciple »

Batman (1966) Season 3, Episode 11: The Londinium Larcenies
Original Airdate: November 23, 1967
Director: Oscar Rudolph
Writers: Elkan Allen and Charles Hoffman
Special Guest Villains: Rudy Vallee as Lord Marmaduke Ffogg and Glynis Johns as Lady Penelope Peasoup
As subsequent generations would note, the '60s meant three things for Western pop culture: Batman, Bond, and Beatles. With the latter two synonymous with Great Britain, I suppose it was only a matter of time before our heroes hopped across the Pond to that land of fish and chips and Union Jacks. It's not particularly clear why everything is tagged with a bizarre parody name - Londinium, Chuckingham Palace, and Ireland Yard, just to name a few - but it's kinda funny, so I'll let it slide.

Our villains this time around are based on a pretty thin gimmick; the famed "London fog" has lost relevance in an age where people no longer burn wood and coal to keep warm. Still, Lord Ffogg (played by a guy who was once the world's first teenage heartthrob) carries around a pretty bitchin' pipe to carry out that gimmick, so it's all good. And Glynis "Mrs. Banks" Johns seems to be having fun as his sister.

So, the plot: these two dastardly aristocrats (is there any other kind?) have stolen the Queen's priceless snuffboxes, and The President wants to send Batman and Robin over there to investigate. Also along for the ride: Commissioner Gordon and Barbara, because we've got a contract to uphold, dontchaknow!

Over to Stately Wayne Manor, where, having outgrown his surfer phase from last episode, Dick has now entered the even-more dreaded rock star phase. After the requisite Beatles reference, Bruce gets the Commish's call, and it's off to Londinium we go. Since the good guys are all taking the slow path, Lord Ffogg and Lady Peasoup help themselves to another of Londinium's national treasures, and... seriously? You can't even mention Faberge Eggs by name?

In another rarity for this show's villains, the Lord and the Lady seem to have daytime identities. It's here that they begin to speak for the first time, and I love the over-the-top accent that Glynis Johns puts on. Vallee doesn't really do much acting, though - especially since Lord Ffogg's cover story is that he's resting in an easy chair all day with a broken leg.

(By Yvonne Craig's account, Vallee was an even bigger pain on the set than "Awful Otto" Preminger was. Make of that what you will.)

Yes, Ffogg, clearly all those other villains stood no chance against Batman because they didn't have toys as fancy as yours. Never mind that the Joker once literally invented a pill that could reverse time, or Catwoman's voice-stealing box.

Speaking of Batman, he's set up shop in one of Londinium's more abandoned dungeons. Complete with the skeleton of some unfortunate Catholic/Tudor/Irishman/[insert whoever else Britain had a fondness for torturing and killing]. How very droll.

Oh, and to make Commissioner Gordon's presence here extra pointless, Londinium's police superintendent is not only present, but has the exact same office. We get "police work varies little the world over" as an ass-covering non-explanation, right before the "detective work" gets underway. Turns out that Ffogg Place, in Fogshire, has one of the most beautiful aftergrass (AKA "fog" - and no, they're not making that up) lawns in the world. Gee, do you think he's the mysterious fog-themed villains who's been plaguing Her Majesty's Finest for so long?

Naturally, Lord Ffogg already knows that Batman is coming, and both he and his sister have henchmen galore. Hell, Lady Peasoup runs an entire girls' school (because what's a trip to Britain without boarding school shenanigans?) of pickpockets, while Lord Ffogg's butler Basil is a pretty nasty piece of work himself. You can tell by his Cockney accent!

The commercial break closes out with an oldie but goodie: all the bad guys laughing as they think about how they're going to own the good guys. Can't beat the classics.

Soon as the good guys (sans the Commish) all head over to Ffogg Place, we're introduced to Lady Peasoup's all-girl goon squad, er, "boarding students". I have to say, I love how Johns acts like she's surprised Americans even have colleges, let alone graduate from them. Vallee's I-don't-give-a-fuck sttitude when Batman tries his "subterfuge" (his cover story is that he wants to look at the Lord's fog lawn for his friend Bruce Wayne) almost matches up to it.

B&R quickly get dragged off to tour Lady Peasoup's boarding school, so the real hero on this show can start doing shit. Barbara places a call from Ffogg manner (after a quick staring contest with Basil), and even has the foresight to slip an anti-wiretap plug on the phone. While she's getting lots of offscreen exposition from Alfred, we get to see Lady Peasoup's top girl spill the beans to Robin for no reason and Batman and the Superintendent taken to see a giant dog turd... er, beehive on Lord Ffogg's lawn. Fun!

Eventually, all the good guys get sick of killing time and leave, Barbara having called Alfred so he'd bring her the Batgirl costume to her personally. There's a pretty risque (by 1967 standards) bit where Barbara uses a nearby bush as her changing room, which is nice. And, on a Lonely, Deserted Country Road (TM), B&R get ambushed by a bunch of thugs who all seem to be trying to outdo Dick van Dyke for Worst Cockney Accent in History. Batgirl jumps in during the middle, disappears again, and all without saying a single word. Sigh.

Cliffhanger ending: one of Lord Ffogg's goons managed to slip a smokescreen bomb... thing inside the Batmobile. Grab at the edge of your seats as Batman and Robin are slowwwwwly consumed by fog, kiddies!

All in all, a slow start to this season's only three-part story, but I know there're greater things to come in the next two parts, so I can be patient. The tiny amount of Batgirl verges on criminal, though.

Final Judgment:

6 Batgirl-Cycles (out of 10).

Grab of the Day:
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Next time: More cheapo special effects abound in Londinium, but if memory serves, we will also be getting some honest-to-goodness Batgirl bondage, so... be there!
Last edited by Disciple 5 years ago, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Batgirl's Secret Closet: A Little Annex for Reviews!

Post by Renegade »

Loving the memories here. As New York City became the fictional "Gotham", I assume that's why London became the fictional "Londinium". Hey, it rhymes.

Don't I remember Barbara's secret Batgirl suitcase being a light purple, with yellow bat-insignia slapped right on the side?
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Re: Batgirl's Secret Closet: A Little Annex for Reviews!

Post by Disciple »

Renegade wrote:Loving the memories here. As New York City became the fictional "Gotham", I assume that's why London became the fictional "Londinium". Hey, it rhymes.

Don't I remember Barbara's secret Batgirl suitcase being a light purple, with yellow bat-insignia slapped right on the side?
True, but at least "Gotham" was a traditional nickname for New York (predating Batman's invention, even).

You got the insignia's color right, but I think her suitcase was a little less... flashy than that. Barbara does seem to be the only masked hero in this show with any sense of subtlety.
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Batman (1966) Season 3, Episode 12: The Foggiest Notion

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Batman (1966) Season 3, Episode 12: The Foggiest Notion
Original Airdate: November 30, 1967
Director: Oscar Rudolph
Writers: Elkan Allen and Charles Hoffman
Special Guest Villains: Rudy Vallee as Lord Marmaduke Ffogg and Glynis Johns as Lady Penelope Peasoup
Well, it looks like that little surprise Lord Ffogg's men slipped into the Batmobile last episode wasn't so tough after all. In fact, the Dynamic Duo took care of it entirely offscreen! Yawn.

It looks like Londinium's police superintendent has taken it on himself to be even more ineffective than Gordon, as he refuses to even consider that one of Britain's greatest aristocrat families could be -gasp- a criminal. But not to worry! Because he's so eeeeeevil, Lord Ffogg's sent the good guys an exploding parcel containing a special clue for Batman: three silver bells, pointing to a dockside pub. And wouldn't you know it, a shipment of the latest fashions (courtesy of Barnaby Street!) is due to arrive today.

Meanwhile, Barbara heads back to Ffogg Place for... reasons, and the part where she casually points out that Lord Ffogg's cast is gone is an early highlight. The "we're not going to let you go" line from Ffogg could've been great, but as-is, it's a little too jovial and not threatening enough.

Once B&R get down to the docks, we see that one thing still hasn't changed since this show's very first episode: Robin's still not allowed to go inside drinking places. Oh, and since the writers haven't gotten their fill of hippies yet, the Three Bells pub turns out to be a local hippie (or as they call it, "mod") hangout. So, pray tell, how the crap can someone as square as Lord Ffogg fit in there so easily?

The inevitable bar fight breaks out, and I have to say, this might be the first solo Batman fight scene in the series. The brawl is pretty badass, but Bruce is sadly taken down by that most reliable of drunkard's weapons: a chair. Lord Ffogg gets a good bit of Bond villain in him as he gloats about how every person in the pub is on his payroll.

Meanwhile, Robin takes a fire axe and gets all Shining on... the rope holding that tug of Barnaby Street fashions, sending it drifting off. Hello again, badly-segued archive footage! Then, of course, he gets his ass kicked by Lady Peasoup's goon squad, 'cause Bruce Wayne didn't raise no girl-puncher! And my word, this is probably the most action Burt Ward got in his life.

But never mind that, Batgirl is back on the case! Turns out that Lord Ffogg and Lady Peasoup have helpfully put all their loot on display at Ffogg Place's cricket pavilion, and our Dazzling Domino Daredoll dutifully investigates, only for Lady Peasoup's niece and pet student Prudence to turn on the Paralyzing Gas (for emergencies only!). Awwwwwwww yeah. It's no knockout gas, but it's a pretty sweet takedown nonetheless, and you gotta love the look of frozen helplessness on BG's face.

Uh-oh, and it looks like Batman himself isn't doing too hot, either. Lord Ffogg is bound by the Code of Stupid Supervillains (TM) to not just shank him or even unmask him, but he's still free to pop a memory-erasing Walkman (seriously) on Batman's head and erase everything the poor guy's ever known. The scene where Batman stumbles out of the pub afterwards is genuinely unsettling, so it's a good thing that Alfred's here to help him get back on his feet. Five seconds with the Recollection Cycle Batrestorer, and everything's just peachy.

Over to Ireland Yard where- oh, what the hell? Okay, so in an attempt to make sure the episode's credits don't lie, the writers decided to shoehorn Chief O'Hara in for another brief cameo, where his only purpose is to take a bunch of notes from Commissioner Gordon and hightail it back to the States. There's some stupid joke about Irish carrier pigeons, right before we get back to the actual plot.

Batgirl and Robin are now both at the mercy of the villains, and Lady Peasoup immediately has the former tossed in Ffogg Place's dungeon (hold your applause for later, folks) while reserving a special fate for the latter. This leads us to a deathtrap that's pretty damn horrifying for Season 3 standards: being tied to the cables of Londinium Bridge's winch, which will slowly crush Robin when the bridge opens up for the next ferry. Granted, it's kind of ruined by the terrible special effects (archive footage of London Bridge opening, and when Batman stops it with his Bat-Ray, they just pause the footage!), but points for concept.

Since we're only at Part 2 of a three-parter, Batman & Robin mop up Lord Ffogg's henchmen but fail to nab the dastardly blueblood himself. Pan out with the image that 90% of you were probably here for in the first place: Batgirl, still paralyzed, hanging in the Ffogg Dungeon.

And By Jove, if the narrator says "By Jove" one more time, I'm going to punch him in the face.

In review, a much better effort than the first part of the Londinium storyline, and I even felt something approaching actual suspense at a couple parts. And any story with Batgirl in peril, of course, is a winner in my book.

Final Judgment:

7 Batgirl-Cycles (out of 10).

Grab of the Day:
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Next time: the Londinium adventure comes to a close as we come face-to-face with the cheapest special effects yet aaaaand you're all just gonna be there for the Batgirl bondage, aren't you? Eh, who am I to judge? Stay tuned!
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Batman (1966) Season 3, Episode 13: The Bloody Tower

Post by Disciple »

Batman (1966) Season 3, Episode 13: The Bloody Tower
Original Airdate: December 7, 1967
Director: Oscar Rudolph
Writers: Elkan Allen and Charles Hoffman
Special Guest Villains: Rudy Vallee as Lord Marmaduke Ffogg and Glynis Johns as Lady Penelope Peasoup
Now that we're in the last part of the story, the Dynamic Duo finally decide that it's time to kick some bad guy ass - and Batman, in an unusual show of generosity, even lets Robin drive. But since the Batmobile's only got room for two, Alfred has to just kinda hang on to the side until they can get another car. Good old Alfred.

Meanwhile, over at Ffogg Place homina homina homina homina... okay, I might as well stop the recap right here, since this will probably the the highlight of the episode. Batgirl, chained and utterly helpless in the Ffogg Dungeon, with the villains gleefully taunting her just out of reach (while she desperately struggles to bite them)? Marvelous! Stupendous! Magnificent!

Oh, and they're going to kill her with poison gas capsules. That kinda takes the fun out of it, just a little.

So Robin drives down to Ffogg Place, finds Batgirl's suitcase (presumably with Barbara Gordon's duds still inside), and... in a show of truly titanic restraint, doesn't look inside. Instead, he hops to gate to Ffogg Place, aaaaaaand here comes what is, bar none, the lamest deathtrap in the series. Yes, the giant dog turd... er, African Death Bee hive from the first part returns, and Robin "stumbles" over its tripwire, releasing the hive queen with her instant-death sting.

(By now, any entomologists who are reading this may want to find a paper bag to breathe into.)

You might find this unbelievably cheap (honest to God, Dynahunk made more realistic-looking killer insects than that) or audaciously, enjoyably goofy, but I fall in the first category. Perhaps if the gimmick behind this trap had a little more charm, I might've been able to accept it. As-is, though... feh.

But not to worry, more BG bondage to the rescue! Oh, and the reason she's not dead yet is apparently because Lord Ffogg's poison gas has gone bad from being unused for so long. Unfortunately, Lady Peasoup's girls just made a fresh batch. Fortunately, Batman (who split up with Robin for some reason) has just invaded Ffogg Place and circumvented all of Lord Ffogg's thugs offscreen. Another annoying, cost-saving plot device, but the way that Lord Ffogg's butler sadly puts the phone down right after getting fired almost makes up for it.

So Batman finds Batgirl in the dungeon, but gets ambushed by the villains, tossed down the steps, and nailed with a bunch of poison gas capsules. Oh horrors! Nothing can save our heroes now!

Just to make the cliffhanger extra cliffhanger-y, Robin's gotten stung by the queen bee offscreen, so he's also done for. Lady Peasoup gets in some extra villain points by suggesting they let him die in the girls' dormitory, and then all the bad guys leave so they can pull the heist every British crook (according to American TV) aims for: the crown jewels.

(And funny - why does Burt Ward act like he's sleepwalking when he should be in massive pain?)

But wait! The villains have forgotten the most underestimated and dangerous member of the good guys, and Alfred is going to make them pay for that. His first trick: muscling open a door that even Batman had trouble getting open. Seriously, can we just give this guy his own show? Meanwhile... oh, are you shitting me? Instead of more Batgirl bondage, you decided to give Aunt fucking Harriet another cameo? Seriously? You were that strapped for runtime? Jesus, this place might as well be Gotham now!

(I feel kind of bad bagging on this, especially since this was Madge Blake's last appearance on the show, and she'd die less than a year later, but it's really a wretched idea. It doesn't even advance the plot.)

Oh, and Batman's taking care of that pesky poison gas with his trusty Anti-Lethal-Fog Bat-Spray, right before he gets to work on Batgirl (no, not like that) with his trusty Bat-file. Alfred's eavesdropping on the villains' latest monologue (they apparently plan to escape to Argentina- I mean, Argentuela after stealing the Crown Jewels), and Robin's both saved himself from the bee sting and escaped the all-girl goon squad offscreen. Jesus, this story has more offscreen resolutions than Lost.

Having given up any pretense of realism now, the writers have Batman escape Lord Ffogg's dungeon not by breaking down the door, but with actual magic. All because for this episode, Batman has only one Batarang and he left it in the car. The only mildly funny part about all this is that he lets Batgirl climb up the magic rope first, because even Batman can't pass up a chance to peek at those Bat-buns.

(For extra eyerolls, the showrunners didn't even bother to hide the wire "magically" levitating the rope.)

So all the good guys regroup and crash into the Tower of Londinium before the bad guys do, in an extra-lazy plot device that kills several hundred of my brain cells every time I think about it. Seeing B&R decked out like they're going to a Renaissance Fair is kinda funny, but the following fight sequence is rather yawnworthy. Which it shouldn't be, since the Tower is filled with about a gazillion different weapons, but there ya go. I also think this is the first fight scene where there are more onlookers than combatants (since none of Lady Peasoup's girls can fight), and that's not a compliment.

Wait, Bruce, since when did you have a Pipe of Fog Batreverser, and why the fuck haven't you used it till now?

Blah. Let's just get this over with. Bad guys get arrested, good guys get a laugh, Omega gets a splitting headache. Also, I have to wonder what time-slot this thing aired on in Britain with all those stray bloody's flying around.

Let's see if the epilogue can save it. Huh. Batman's gotten invited to a BBQ by Lyndon Johnson himself. But never mind that, someone's stolen all the policewomen's new uniforms... ooh. They don't say those uniforms were stolen right off their wearers' bodies, but they don't not say that either, so...

Turns out the culprit - and next week's villain - is Catwoman. Y'know, I'm seriously curious as to what viewers back in '67 thought when they heard that name, saw B&R run over to the elevators, and saw someone who looks nothing like Julie Newmar in any way, shape, or form in the Catwoman outfit. Eartha Kitt's Catwoman was memorable in her own way - as I'll discuss next time - but it's pretty telling that she didn't even try to act like Julie, opting for a feral hiss before running into the elevator full-tilt.

What, this episode? On the whole, dreadful, with the Batgirl-in-chains scenes and Alfred being the only real redeeming features. I've always felt the Londinium three-parter got a bad rap from fans of the show, but now... I can kind of see why people are so lukewarm towards it. All the really stupid bits came to a head at the end. I'm still not going to call it the show's worst episode, but it's not far.

Final Judgment

4-and-a-half Batgirl-Cycles (out of 10).

Grab of the Day:
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Next time: Batgirl gets into her first real catfight! Sadly, Ms. Newmar couldn't be here for this moment, but still - Bat vs. Cat! What more could a man ask for?
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Re: Batgirl's Secret Closet: A Little Annex for Reviews!

Post by Visitor »

Batgirl had to be careful when she was chained up in the dungeon, those manacles were so big her hand could slip out.

If the show hadn't originally aired so early in prime time, Robin could have enjoyed being in the girl's dormitory. :)
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Re: Batgirl's Secret Closet: A Little Annex for Reviews!

Post by Renegade »

It does feel like they decided to stretch out a two-part episode to three. (Perhaps a cost-saving measure considering the greater than normal number of guest actors and sets used.) But how many pieces of film retain their "oofa" quality for 50 years? Batgirl chained in the dungeon is one.

I don't think I remember it verbatim, but:

"Rassu.. Sira... Rocca.. that's Hindu for 'Rope stay straight', Batgirl".
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Re: Batgirl's Secret Closet: A Little Annex for Reviews!

Post by tallyho »

Ahhhhhhhh. As they say in the record biz 'that's the A side.'
At last the pic we have all been waiting for

:thumbup:

BUT only 4.5 Batgirl cycles out of 10?!!!!!! You jest, sir!
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Re: Batgirl's Secret Closet: A Little Annex for Reviews!

Post by Disciple »

tallyho wrote:Ahhhhhhhh. As they say in the record biz 'that's the A side.'
At last the pic we have all been waiting for

:thumbup:

BUT only 4.5 Batgirl cycles out of 10?!!!!!! You jest, sir!
Harrrumph. My dear boy, if every member of Lady Peasoup's school had grabbed Batgirl right there in the dungeon and fucked her senseless, I wouldn't have given the story more than a 7. The rest of it is that damn tedious to get through.

Besides, the next episode's going to have an equally iconic moment of BG peril, and do it with a much leaner story.
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Re: Batgirl's Secret Closet: A Little Annex for Reviews!

Post by tallyho »

But all those hilariously bad British accents must notch it up to at least a 5 , surely?
Or do you Yanks really think we all say 'Cor blimey Guv'nor!' and sound like Dick Van Dyke in 'Mary Poppins'?
;) :D
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Re: Batgirl's Secret Closet: A Little Annex for Reviews!

Post by Disciple »

Ehhhhhhh. Lord Ffogg's henchmen (the real masters of the over-the-top Cockney accents) barely said a word this episode, Rudy Vallee himself didn't really act so much as sit there and mumble a few lines every now and then, and my brain turns itself off whenever Superintendent Watson shows up.

I will say, though, that without Glynis Johns and the girls' school, my rating would probably be a 3 or even a 2.5.
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Batman (1966) Season 3, Episode 14: Catwoman's Dressed to Kill

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Batman (1966) Season 3, Episode 14: Catwoman's Dressed to Kill
Original Airdate: December 14, 1967
Director: Sam Strangis
Writer: Stanley Ralph Ross
Special Guest Villain: Eartha Kitt as the Catwoman
Man, five seconds into the episode and I'm already finding things to snark about. Who the hell still opens businesses with names like "Maison du Chat" (French for "Sign of the Cat") in Gotham? Do Gordon and O'Hara seriously have nothing better to do than attend a luncheon for Gotham's best-dressed women? And since Batgirl seems to be the only costumed hero in Gotham with two X-chromosomes, is there really a point to a "Best-Dressed Crimefightress in Gotham" category?

... and who the frick-frack names an award "The Batty"?!

(Okay, never mind about that one complaint, since the cops are apparently here to accept the award on Batgirl's behalf, but still...)

The luncheon is predictably crashed by Catwoman, who most of Julie Newmar's devoted fans will likely know as That Other Woman. Now, Eartha Kitt was an interesting and talented person by any standard (if nothing else, she was 50% of the reason why The Emperor's New Groove is in my Top 5 Disney movies, and she had one hell of a set of pipes), but her take on Catwoman is... eh...

See, while it's pretty inarguable that the '66 version of Catwoman was probably the most evil version of the character in any media, I feel that Kitt doesn't play it with any of Newmar's subtlety. She's irritable, snippy, and motor-mouthed all the way through, and while that might seem intimidating at first, it gets kind of old very, very quickly.

Okay, back to the plot. In standard catty fashion, Catwoman is furious that she hasn't even been mentioned at the luncheon (I'll be generous and extrapolate that she's mad they didn't include a "Best Dressed Villainess" category - which might've had some actual competition!), and takes her horrible revenge by tossing a bomb thingamajig that ruins the hairstyles of every woman there. I'd make a joke here, but who knows? Some of those styles might've literally cost hundreds of dollars and hours of time.

Also, one thing Kitt definitely has in her corner (aside from the punny name): that is an awesome, almost Disney-worthy evil laugh.

Over on the other side of town, Bruce and Dick are clothes shopping (apparently, it's Dick's first prom) when Bruce's Bat-alarm pen goes off. Better hope EON Films doesn't sue, bro. Oh, and for extra "modesty", he insists that he and Dick change in the limo and then run three miles to the police station. Personally, I think he's just getting back at Dick for all the time the little horndog got to spend with Lady Peasoup's girls last episode.

"Set a thief to catch a thief" = "Set Batgirl to catch Catwoman"? Barbara, I think you need a refresher course in Analogies 101. Not that it matters anyways, since Batman apparently took an extra-strength Bat-chauvinism pill this morning. "Leave the crimefighting to the men", indeed...

We then get our first look at Catwoman's hideout, and in a hilarious (and cost-saving) touch, the "Abandoned" sign over the doors actually opens with the doors. Inside, we get a peek at the latest top-of-the-line $29.99 fashions, all while Catwoman rants about her real goal: The Golden Fleece of Belgravia.

(Belgravia, incidentally, is a real place. In London. For one reason or another, Professor Moriarty and his pals seem to like hanging out there.)

Like a good little supervillain, Catwoman immediately sends a telegram gloating about her plan to the cops. Gordon, O'Hara, and Batman immediately agree to not breathe a word about it to Batgirl. But then, of course, Barbara walks in... and cue Gordon going "Well, you're not Batgirl..."

(This joke might very well be the funniest I've seen all season - the content doesn't seem anything special, but the execution, with perfectly-timed jump cuts, pushes it ahead of the pack.)

Barbara finally - finally - gets suited up as Batgirl, all while Catwoman keeps on dicking around with the fashion world. Batman and Robin crash in on her latest caper, and the two actually trade semi-romantic innuendo for a while (not to Newmar levels, but contrary to what critics say, the showrunners didn't snip out the whole Bat/Cat stuff when Kitt stepped into the catsuit). Then, of course, Catwoman's goons take down B&R with that deadliest of all weapons: a NET!

Naturally, Batgirl shows up just in time to save the Dynamic Duo, and the way Adam West goes "We can fight our OWN battles!" is all kinds of adorable. This leads us into another great piece of comedy (my word, Ross is just on fire this episode), where B&R are left helpless when Catwoman escapes into that Land Where No (Decent) Man Has Gone Before: the ladies' dressing room. Oh, sure, Batgirl charges right in, but she gets taken out mighty fast by Catwoman's Knockout no. 5 perfume - it's a disappointingly quick KO, but it's a premonition of the delights to come.

Instead of just telling all the (fully-dressed) women in there to, y'know, vacate, B&R decide to charge in with their eyes closed (also: anyone who was alive back then, was R.L. Stevenson's Kidnapped more well-known in the '60s? Seems a bit obscure of a reference for Robin). There's about a minute of them stumbling around like drunk fools before the women (who are surprisingly not barely holding back giggles) let them know that they're all fully clothed. Good God, that exasperated "Couldn't you have told us sooner?" look on West's and Ward's faces is priceless.

"Do you think she'll... kill Batgirl?" "Or worse, Robin. Or worse." Youuuu mean that Catwoman will fuck her first? Please say yes.

After the commercial break, we get... yes! More Batgirl bondage! And this time, in bonds that look like they can actually hold her! I'm actually not too big on ropes to begin with, but the semi-hogtie Catwoman has going on here is a nicely humiliating touch. And then... can it be...? A-yup, they go the full nine yards and gag her, too.

Oh my, and it looks like she's going for the gold this time. Rope, gag, and that ever-classic deathtrap, the slowwwwwly approaching buzz saw... er, pattern cutter! Screw the "Best Dressed" award, Catwoman gets all the "Best Villain" awards in the world, far as I'm concerned.

(That said, she gets points off for not really thinking the rest of her plan through. Distracting Batman from the Belgravian Embassy so you can steal the Fleece is fine and all, but Batman doesn't work alone, and I'm pretty sure he's sent Robin on solo cases before.)

Clearly worried that we're having too much fun, the episode then gets us back to the Batcave, where B&R mouth off about Catwoman's plans some more. Turns out that Batman is scheduled to meet with the Queen of Belgravia today, so Batman "deduces" that Catwoman must be after the Belgravian Golden Fleece. Tedious as this part is, it does lead to yet another knockout punch line, when Batman discusses the possibility of war with Belgravia:

Robin: Gee, Batman. Belgravia's such a small country. We'd beat them in a few hours!

Batman: Yes, and then we'd have to support them for years.

Over at Catwoman's hideout, that glorious, glorious deathtrap has Batgirl in its clutches, and it's not about to let go. Catwoman gets extra style points, too, for giving the soon-to-be-sliced BG a rose to hold. Really, the only thing that could make this better is if the pattern cutter were approaching Batgirl from the... other end.

Catwoman goes to drop the requisite taunting phone call to the rest of the good guys, and even though it's not terribly seductive, Catwoman does sound like the most gleefully evil villain on the show since Gorshin's Riddler. But not to worry - Batman has a brilliant counterstrategy: send Alfred to rescue Batgirl!

(Normally, I'd make a crack about how Batman apparently thinks Alfred could do a better job than a solo Robin, but since Alfred seems to be the most competent good guy on the show, I'd say it's high time.)

At two minutes to three, Catwoman makes it to the Belgravian Embassy, and takes down the Queen and her two bodyguards solo with her Inhaler of Doom. But never mind that - the pattern cutter is getting within two feet of Batgirl's head! One and a half feet... One foot!

But wait! It's Alfred to the rescuhahahahahahahahahaha! Wait, wait I literally can't breathe-

So... in another one of his brilliant insights, Batman ordered Alfred to rescue Batgirl in disguise, fearing that she'd recognize Alfred as Bruce Wayne's butler. And Alfred... decided to disguise himself as a hippie. A hippie janitor. Dear Lord, it has to be seen to be believed, and Alan Napier's attempt at an American accent had me in stitches.

Oh, and he saves Batgirl. Yeah, big surprise, considering that Catwoman didn't even leave anyone behind to guard the place. At least he gets in one wonderfully dark line about how a successful murder would've meant a bigger mess for him to mop up. Oh, and apparently, Batgirl's inherited her old man's capacity for facial recognition.

So... now that Catwoman's gotten her paws on the Golden Fleece, why she doesn't skedaddle is anyone's guess. But no, she decides to disguise herself as the Queen so she can... kick Gordon's and O'Hara's asses, I guess? Geez, is that considered an accomplishment for anyone?

Anyways, Batman, Robin, and Batgirl all show up, fight scene ensues, yadda yadda yadda. You know, considering that all of Catwoman's henchmen here are "disguised" in suits and ties instead of their usual tabby-cat uniforms, I like to think that half the people the good guys are beating up are innocent bystanders from the embassy who just wandered in at the wrong time.

Batgirl does let out a strange giggle as the fight wraps up - I believe the only time in the series that Yvonne Craig laughs out loud - which I guess does make the scene a little more distinctive.

Epilogue: the Queen has given a medal to each of our three heroes, plus two more for O'Hara and Gordon because she had some leftover gold and ribbon lying around, I guess. Ross tries for one last - much less successful - gag here with O'Hara continuously interrupting Gordon, but really, the only funny bit is when Neil Hamilton puts his hands on his hips in that class "Go to your room" pose.

Oh, and next episode's villains? Egghead and Olga. Again. In the adventure that should have been their first appearance, but wasn't. Yaaay.

Upon rewatch, this episode was even funnier than I remember it being, with some nice BG-in-peril scenes, and - most importantly - a lean runtime to make sure that nothing quite overstayed its welcome. Eartha Kitt's turn as Catwoman isn't a substitute for Newmar's, but on its own merits, it's pretty nice. Strong recommend.

Final Judgment:

8 Batgirl-Cycles (out of 10).

Grab of the Day:
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Next time: The Price is right... for more Vincent Price-y goodness, Batgirl perils, and Anne Baxter doing a Russian accent! Stay tuned.
Last edited by Disciple 5 years ago, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Batgirl's Secret Closet: A Little Annex for Reviews!

Post by Visitor »

The show had one major continuity error in that Batgirl is placed on the pattern cutter with her hands tied in front and when they return her hands are tied in the back under her. It would have been nice to see her retied while Catwoman gloats besides her.
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Re: Batgirl's Secret Closet: A Little Annex for Reviews!

Post by tallyho »

"Batgirl does let out a strange giggle as the fight wraps up - I believe the only time in the series that Yvonne Craig laughs out loud - which I guess does make the scene a little more distinctive."

She giggles when tied to Joker's rocket too.

Thanks for doing this its good fun. :thumbup:
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Re: Batgirl's Secret Closet: A Little Annex for Reviews!

Post by MightyHypnotic »

It's a tire jack with a box and a motor attached to it spinning a styrofoam disk!
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Re: Batgirl's Secret Closet: A Little Annex for Reviews!

Post by Disciple »

MightyHypnotic @hyponlinemedia wrote:It's a tire jack with a box and a motor attached to it spinning a styrofoam disk!
Quiet, you. It looked real enough when we were little! :ras:

(My OCD-ness was hoping that I could get through all 26 episodes in the third season in one page, but at this rate, it looks like a second page is inevitable. Yaaaay. At least I got commentary from MH himself.)
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Re: Batgirl's Secret Closet: A Little Annex for Reviews!

Post by tallyho »

MightyHypnotic @hyponlinemedia wrote:It's a tire jack with a box and a motor attached to it spinning a styrofoam disk!
You've spoiled it for me now.
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Re: Batgirl's Secret Closet: A Little Annex for Reviews!

Post by Visitor »

They had to cut costs somewhere. :)
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Re: Batgirl's Secret Closet: A Little Annex for Reviews!

Post by MightyHypnotic »

tallyho wrote:
MightyHypnotic @hyponlinemedia wrote:It's a tire jack with a box and a motor attached to it spinning a styrofoam disk!
You've spoiled it for me now.

Unless, of course, I copied the idea and used it! Just gotta find one of those old motors. :)
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Batman (1966) Season 3, Episode 15: The Ogg Couple

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Batman (1966) Season 3, Episode 15: The Ogg Couple
Original Airdate: December 21, 1967
Director: Oscar Rudolph
Writer: Stanford Sherman
Special Guest Villains: Vincent Price as Egghead and Anne Baxter as Olga
So... in case that little history lesson about six reviews up has slipped your mind: this was actually supposed to be the first part of the three-part Olga/Egghead teamup, and indeed, the pre-credits sequence feels a lot more introductory as to who these new villains are. If nothing else, it at least provides something of an eggsplanation for why the non-word "Ogg" keeps popping up in the Olga/Egghead episodes (aside from being a sickeningly cutesy couple name): Egghead spends the pre-credits sequence stealing the Golden Egg of Ogg, while Olga helps herself to the Silver Scimitar of Taras Bulbul, the other treasure which magically determines the legitimate ruler of Bessarovia.

(On a side note: Vincent Price's "Quiet. This is a museum." bit alone makes this sequence.)

My goodness, Egghead must be one strong motherfucker if he can lift that thing with his bare hands. Sure, he's huffing and puffing, but if that thing really is pure gold, it's got to weigh two or three hundred pounds at least.

Over at Commissioner Gordon's office, where the mood is... tenser than you'd eggspect from a Season 3 episode. The cops discuss how Bessarovia didn't want the Cossacks back, while Egghead apparently eggscaped his jail term on a technicality. Hell, Gordon even seems reluctant to dial Batman.

Since this episode was originally made with two more parts in mind, it can afford to take a more relaxed, Season 1/2-ish pace, complete with the classic scene of Bruce and Dick relaxing at Wayne Manor before they hear the hotline ringing. More eggsposition at Police HQ, confirmation that Olga is making Egghead dumber, yadda yadda yadda, and...

Over at the villains' hideout, Anne Baxter spits out more of her delightfully nonsensical-sounding Russian (my research indicates that she learned genuine Russian cuss words from a friend, but I'm not sure how much stock to put into that), before launching into a goopy love scene with her "Eggski" that will likely have sent any actual children watching this running for the hills. Good riddance, I say. Don't you know that only adults are meant to watch two grown men running around in their PJs and beating up the mentally ill?

So here's the plan: heist a giant shipment of caviar, thus... holding the Gotham's rich and powerful at the Cossacks' mercy, I guess. Screw it, let's see how Barbara is doing. Ah, so I see they're trying to hide the seams and pretend that this eggpisode was filmed after the other two Olga/Egghead shows. Emphasis on try.

(Oh, and Barbara's pet parrot is back, and I think it's a different bird now, but who cares?)

Down in the Batcave, B&R are actually taking sensible steps for once and alerting every business even remotely connected with eggs to beef up security. I wonder if that includes any local tampon plants. I kid, I kid, but that's something I've always wondered about "theme" criminals - how far are they willing to stretch their crime patterns if it means getting an actual haul? Like, would Penguin consider a store on Jackson Street a legitimate target because Andrew Jackson once kept a famously foul-mouthed pet parrot? Would Two-Face say it's fair game to rob the First and Third national banks because 3-1=2? Would-

Okay, okay, I'll stop now.

So... the caviar is apparently a gift from some nation on Bessarovia's border, and it's even more priceless than normal caviar. Naturally, Olga and her merry band ride straight into the bank where it's being stored, and walk right out with it. The guard (singular) there doesn't even try to stop them, but to be fair, one guy with one revolver probably wouldn't stand a chance against five big Soviet dudes twice his size and close enough to snap his neck.

Oh, and I neglected to mention this, but it's a running gag throughout all the Egghead/Olga stories that Egghead, as an outsider, has to ride a little donkey while all the Cossacks get horses. Thus, he only makes it to the bank after the Cossacks are gone, and for the one and only time in the series, we actually see someone drawing a gun on a supervillain. Egghead, eggstraordinarly ruthless criminal genius he is... immediately folds like a Chinese fan and begs for mercy.

Good thing Batgirl shows up just in time to start interrogating the guy before he starts pissing himself. It's a pretty badass moment on BG's part, and her not-so-veiled threat that she'll let the bank guard shoot Egghead in cold blood if he doesn't rat out his buddies is downright Jack Bauer-y for this show's standards.

Oh, and the first passenger BG ever carries on the Batgirl-Cycle is an arch-criminal. She must be so proud.

This whole sequence is an eggsquisite piece of work, and Price and Craig actually have some pretty decent chemistry going on as they go into the Cossacks' hideout. While it's all happening, B&R get filled in by the bank manager (who, humorously enough, almost blurts out that he meant to kill Egghead before amending it to "arrest").

I suppose I should be eggcited at the sight of Batgirl taking on a whole band of bloodthirsty Cossacks and winning, but the fight is a little too short for my tastes. At least the villains get in a fittingly underhanded takedown of BG, tossing that "caviar" (I dunno what it really is - maybe pencil shavings?) under her feet. Which leads us to...

... awwwwwww yeah. The saber dance. It's not a feat of choreography genius or anything (none of those swords came anywhere near her feet), but the idea behind it is eggcellent. It's sadistic and eggciting all at once, and unlike your traditional deathtrap, it makes Batgirl work that luscious body of hers (not to mention let Yvonne Craig show off her dance training).

So naturally, the Dynamic Dunderheads swoop in to ruin everything (also, the Batgirl-Cycle is apparently radioactive, so I assume that Barbara and Egghead are both on the verge of developing superpowers. Or leukemia). At least they announce themselves in a suitably badass manner, pulling the record player that Olga and Egghead are using to add a little music to Batgirl's torment (it would've been better if they deliberately scratched the record, though).

You all know what's next: fight scene! God, I still love that eggcellent "Cossack" battle theme, and Egghead hiding behind Olga's skirts like a little bitch is just the cherry on top. And oh, what's this? Two deathtraps for the price of one? However will I choose just one pic for my Screencap section?

(I dunno how Craig managed to do that "I'm drowning! ... I'm also freezing!" line without cracking up, but good for her.)

So all the bad dudes get away to fight another... oh no, wait. Since this is now a standalone episode and the bad guys not ending up in jail is a Season 1 privilege, there's a last-minute ass pull where it turns out Chief O'Hara was waiting right outside with the paddy wagon again, and tricked all the villains into running right in. When you think about it, that's even lamer than all the offscreen action in Londinium, but at least it's over quickly.

And it's onto the epilogue, featuring the quick return of Catwoman and the Joker and... oh sweet Jesus in Heaven what the hell is with Catwoman's car? I'm sorry, but a fourth-grade art class could've done better than that.

In final review, this episode went down a lot smoother than the previous Olga/Egghead story did, the BG peril is quite welcome, and the script - while not as sharp as a Ross script - is still pretty funny. Plus, Price got a bit more to do this time around, which is always welcome. Sure, sometimes the seams from the fact that this is the amputated Part One of a three-parter start showing, but that's a minor complaint.

Final Judgment:

7-and-a-half Batgirl-Cycles (out of 10).

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Next time: The beginning of the end of Eartha Kitt's turn as Catwoman, plus the ever-reliable Cesar Romero! Can Cat and Clown get along better than Bird and Clown did back in Season 2? Stay tuned to find out!
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Re: Batgirl's Secret Closet: A Little Annex for Reviews!

Post by tallyho »

The egg can be PURE gold without being SOLID gold. (Which one do they say?) [Or maybe its just Vince and he can do anything. ;) ]

Wish the brief glimpse of her hitting the deck in this one (where she slips on the caviar) hadn't involved her cowl slipping. Would have loved a lingering close up shot of her out cold on the floor. Shame. :weep:

I love the Price and Baxter pairing though - two quality actors who knew their craft.
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Batman (1966) Season 3, Episode 16: The Funny Feline Felonies

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Batman (1966) Season 3, Episode 16: The Funny Feline Felonies
Original Airdate: December 28, 1967
Director: Oscar Rudolph
Writer: Stanley Ralph Ross
Special Guest Villains: Cesar Romero as the Joker and Eartha Kitt as the Catwoman
Interesting fact that you only need to be a medium-sized comic book nerd to know about: the Joker and Catwoman debuted in the exact same comic (Batman #1), albeit in different stories. In this sense, they're essentially the elder statesmen of Batman's rogues gallery, a status cemented by the fact that they were also the first Bat-villains to share a story (in Batman #2 - yeah, writers back then had even fewer qualms about overusing characters that proved to be a hit). The '66 incarnations of Felonious Funnyman and the Princess of Plunder had technically teamed up once already, in the 1966 feature film, but since Catwoman spent most of her time in that movie going undercover as a Soviet journalist, there was little, if any, opportunity to examine her chemistry with the Joker. Let's see if this story can fix that.

So we begin at the state prison, where we see a rare instance of an arch-criminal actually being lawfully released. It seems that in addition to his zillion other titles, Bruce Wayne is also chairman of the parole board, which is actually an element that several modern Batman writers have adapted back into the comics. What they haven't adapted, fortunately, is the gaping idiocy it would take to pardon a dude who was going to turn you into a human surfboard about six episodes ago.

A lot of people have argued that Batman takes an inherently conservative stance on law-and-order, and it would be hard for me to argue against that here. Warden Crichton of the Gotham Pen was a regular source of ridicule on the show, mostly because his "liberal" penal ideologies would inevitably result in supervillains continuing to plague Gotham, but strange enough is the fact that Bruce/Batman would choose to go along with it so easily. If you're interested, noted Batmanologist Chris Sims did a brief discussion of this (about halfway down the page).

Okay, that's enough politics for one review. Joker's getting released, and there's nothing any of us can do about it. Oh, and apparently, Romero's Joker isn't meant to have bleached skin (either that, or they just cheaped out on the detail): his prison suit is a little short in the arm, and you can see Romero's tanned skin between the sleeve and the glove.

Roughly five seconds after he leaves jail, Joker gets his sorry ass "kidnapped" by Catwoman and her abomination of a car (even her pet cat seems to hate it!). Joker puts on the worst innocent act I've seen since the last season of Sherlock, then hops right in, and we're off to the races!

(And a rare moment of insight from Commissioner Gordon: "Seems I'm always the last to know anything!")

So the Cat and the Clown have set up shop in the Sleazy Hotel (no, really - that's its actual name), which is conveniently across the street from Police HQ. And since time's a wasting, Catwoman gets right to sending her first clue to the Dynamic Dimwits. Via sniper rifle.

The following scene could have been tense and unnerving (Chief O'Hara even gets out his gun for once!), but in the true spirit of the Adam West show, all the tension is deflated by the Dynamic Duo's ridiculous "Bat-Crawl". The real cherry on top is when Barbara comes in, sees everyone on the floor, and goes "Did somebody lose a contact lens?"

A couple dull minutes of detective work, and... yes! Surprise Batgirl appearance, bitch! And she's gotten a little sassier this time around, too. Hell, she even steals a piece of evidence away under Robin's nose (Batman, being older and wiser, saw her but decided to let her keep it). Least this time, she lets B&R see her leave.

Over to the Joker/Catwoman co-hideout, where the showrunners are doing their best to make the whole thing look like an equal partnership. The decor has creepy clown dolls interspersed with golden cat idols, and the henchmen (all two of them) are split between Catwoman's tabby-stripes attire and Joker's beret-and-vest uniform. They're both named after the Joker's motif, though.

(It's interesting to note that one of the goons says working for the Joker has always been his "boyhood dream". How long has the Joker been operating, in this 'verse?)

Anyways, we finally get to the actual plan: follow a three-hundred-year-old treasure map to an old store of gunpowder that will let the villains blow a hole in the federal depository and make out like bandits. Okay, I have to admit it: even by this show's standards, this is a pretty weak plan. Never mind the fact that gunpowder that old would probably be useless, it's just not a very exciting MacGuffin. And maybe it's just my modern sensibilities speaking, but something seems wrong when Joker is the one pointing out that your plan is needlessly convoluted.

(On the plus side, it is pretty neat foreshadowing of Kitt's role as Yzma about thirty years later, so... small mercies?)

Catwoman rattles off the poem that ancient treasure maps are required by law to be written in, and there's a cute moment where Joker criticizes the author's meter. Oh, and it seems that just to give the good guys an extra leg-up, Catwoman deliberately left a scrap of paper from the treasure map behind in the hotel room. The same scrap of paper that Batgirl snuck out. Ohhhh boy.

So BG does a little detective work of her own, and the scrap of paper she has somehow leads her to a... young music tycoon called Little Louie. Oookay...

This is mostly a chance for Ross to get in some more Subtle Social Commentary (TM) about the '60s music industry, and admittedly, it is a little funny to see how over-the-top Little Louie is (oh, and his hippie beard and wig are both faker than my last term paper). The "fight" between his karate skills and Joker's and Catwoman's thugs is a hugely silly affair that digs pretty brutally at the chop-socky pictures of the time: according to Catwoman, karate isn't effective unless the practitioner is doing lots of yelling, so the henchmen just hang back until Little Louie has screamed himself hoarse.

... at which point the thugs dogpile him and steal his nightshirt. Presumably muttering "no homo" under their breath the whole time.

But never fear! B&R show up to... wreak $11,000 worth of damage on Little Louie's pad in trying to apprehend the villains (Jesus, couldn't you have waited until they were outside before ambushing them?). For extra fun, Joker and Catwoman were actually trying to avoid making a mess, hence why they let Louie tire himself out.

So now the jig is up, and... oh, no, wait. We've got a second part to go, so B&R double down on the stupid and not only buy Joker's BS about being an innocent victim, but agree to shake his hand. And wouldn't you know it, Joker picked today to wear his lethal joy-buzzers.

The bad guys all escape, and... I'm assuming minutes later, Batgirl shows up to bail the Dynamic Dimwits' asses out with her Batgirl Antidote Pills (on that note: three beats a minute? How the hell are B&R still alive?). Apparently, the reason she was so late (despite getting the clue first) was because of traffic. Seems legit.

Oh, and in case anyone was wondering: the nightshirt was one of the clues to the gunpowder's location, and the other is an old cradle. For some reason, the showrunners packed that theft of the cradle and the heroes' too-late arrival into the last minute of the episode, so for the cliffhanger, we get a lame-ass shot of Joker and Catwoman waiting juuuust outside, waiting for an ambush. Yawn.

I think it's pretty safe to say that this episode was Ross' weakest so far. Most of the satire fell flat, the pacing is awkward, and Joker spends most of the episode acting like Catwoman's sidekick. Romero and Kitt really don't have much in the way of chemistry, so lucky for us, we'll get to suffer through another episode with the two of them tomorrow.

Final Judgment:

5 Batgirl-Cycles (out of 10).

Grab of the Day:
Batgirl16.gif
Batgirl16.gif (9.1 MiB) Viewed 5769 times
Next time: Courtroom chaos abounds, as we see villains getting put on trial for their crimes for the first time in this show! Also, yet another iconic BG peril moment! Be there!
Last edited by Disciple 5 years ago, edited 2 times in total.
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Batman (1966) Season 3, Episode 17: The Joke's On Catwoman

Post by Disciple »

Batman (1966) Season 3, Episode 17: The Joke's On Catwoman
Original Airdate: January 4, 1968
Director: Oscar Rudolph
Writer: Stanley Ralph Ross
Special Guest Villains: Cesar Romero as the Joker and Eartha Kitt as the Catwoman
Well, at least this episode knows to get its star attraction out nice and early. About two seconds after B&R leave, Batgirl finds her Batgirl-Cycle conveniently missing a spark plug, and all the bad guys immediately dogpile her. We get a healthy dose of Batgirl-manhandling, before she gets stuck in the latest in cost-effective deathtraps: fishing wi... I mean, heat-activated Cat's Whiskers! Notice how no-one even suggests unmasking BG.

(I don't know if this was intentional, but Cesar Romero makes a bunch of "I wish I were anywhere but here right now" faces while Catwoman is explaining how the Cat's Whiskers work. That's just plain sad.)

After the credits roll, we get treated to some more delightful scenes of Yvonne Craig working those spandex-clad curves. Fortunately, it seems that the bad guys were stupid enough to use the Cat's Whiskers right next to a sprinkler system, and a couple of awkward maneuvers later, BG is back to her old butt-kicking self. Aaaaand now I have a weird desire to see Batgirl enter a wet T-shirt contest. 'scuse me.

... Bruce, you dick. Alfred probably put his heart into that snack. The least you could do is let Robin have some!

(Yes, it's a cheap, childish little moment of comedy, but it's effective nonetheless. Burt Ward's sad little face when Batman refuses the sandwiches is priceless.)

Oh, and it's only now that Catwoman and Joker's hideout gets a name: the Grimalkin Novelty Company. I don't even wanna know how long it took them to find a place in the address book that caters to both their themes. Anyhoo, the treasure hunt gets started, and apparently, the nightshirt they stole off of Little Louie last episode functions as a map. Better hope the thing isn't also carrying smallpox residue.

I'm told that the main reason Kitt was hired for the Catwoman role was because she spoke fluent French, and fair's fair, the part where she translates the clue leading to the gunpowder sounds entirely natural and grammatically correct (disclaimer: I speak no French whatsoever). Catwoman the character might need a French dictionary, but I suspect that Kitt herself might have actually written the clue, or at least gave Ross pointers.

For a change, it's the heroes who get off-screen teleportation privilege. That two or three minutes of exposition up there gave them enough time to park right outside the novelty company, but conveniently enough, Batman decides that multiple cases of aggravated assault, robbery, and attempted murder isn't big enough to bring in the villains on. So we're going with the old tail-the-villains-to-their-destination plot again. Yippee. At least there's a steamy little moment where Batman suggests that to save time, he, Robin, and Batgirl will have to squish into the Batmobile together.

(And seriously? Joker and Catwoman don't spot the heroes when they're literally two feet away? Jeez, are there no optometrists in Gotham?)

Meanwhile, Catwoman and Joker follow their map to the Phony Island Lighthouse wherahahahahahahaha... oh dear God that is a pathetic set. Look, I think that the hate on Season 3's minimalist sets is largely overblown, but one thing I can't stand is an indoor set pretending to be outdoors. The so-called "lighthouse" set looks like it's from a second-grade production of The Lion King.

And because we're still going to be short on running time otherwise, Ross shoehorns in the painful additions of the lighthouse keeper and his wife. Frankly, none of their inane dialogue is worth recapping, and in the spirit of getting this over with as quickly as possible, I'm gonna go ahead and tell you that the villains find the gunpowder about five seconds after entering the lighthouse. It's not even buried or anything.

(Oh, and extra continuity gap: Joker acts surprised to see the heroes still alive, because that joy-buzzer scene from last episode was supposed to be the cliffhanger, and he assumes Batman & Robin to both be dead. But with the Cat Whiskers scene, the whole exchange is made into nonsense. Tsk.)

Then Joker takes an extra ten levels in dumbass, and tosses a match onto the whole pile. Everyone goes kablooey. The en... oh, no, wait. Batman's not that merciful, so he coated the room in Anti-Blast Bat-Powder just in time. So everyone has a good laugh, the bad guys get carted off to jail, and we're finally fini...

... hold on...

... why are there still twelve minutes left?!

Oh. Okay. So they're going to focus on what happens to the crooks after they get arrested, for once. Okay, I'm game. Maybe it'll turn out to be the equivalent of Law & Order: Gotham. Only funnier.

(Fun fact: the villains' attorney, Lucky Pierre, is played by JFK's one-time press secretary. Guy seems to have a photo of Nixon on his desk, for whatever reason - this episode was written and aired before Nixon's presidency.)

As expected, Joker & Catwoman don't have a hope of beating the rap. According to Lucky Pierre, the only way they're getting off is if they bribe every man, woman, and child in Gotham City, because no honest jury on Earth would fail to convict them. Just to make things extra impossible, the D.A. is letting Batman prosecute.

(Unbiased attorneys? What's that?)

I have to say that, given the placing of the commercial break, this is almost like a reverse Batman adventure. It's the villains who are on the ropes, and if we wish to get any conflict out of this at all, it's them we have to root for. But then, the bad guys are usually always more popular than the good guys, so I guess the showrunners have finally decided to just admit that up front.

Trial starts, the jury's been assembled, and Batman wastes no time in charging our new heroes with robbery, attempted murder, assault & battery, mayhem (which is a real crime and surprisingly violent at that), and -gasp- overtime parking! I gotta say, West is in his element here, the stick-in-the-mud to end all stick-in-the-muds.

Cue a passably funny montage of witnesses, consisting of all the innocent citizens that Joker and Catwoman screwed over during these two episodes. Pierre waives cross-examination on every one. Nail-biting stuff here, folks. Oh, and the previous bits of this story apparently took place on July 22-23.

Wait a sec... fourteen separate witnesses testified against Joker and Catwoman? We've got the guy they stole the nightshirt from, the guy they stole the crib from, the lighthouse keeper and his wife... hell, even throwing in Robin, Batgirl, Commissioner Gordon, and Chief O'Hara, we're still short six! Batman needs to check his Bat-Math.

Trial draws to a close, Pierre waives everything else except the "Not Guilty" plea, and...

Yes, Batgirl, this case has set a record, alright. Record for most corrupt jury in the history of the Universe.

So, yeah: the jury turns out to be composed entirely of old henchmen (they must be some loyal guys, seeing as how every job they've ever taken has probably ended in failure and beatings from B&R), who waste no time in letting Joker & Catwoman off. It would be a cute touch if all the fellows in the jury box consisted of actors who'd actually played previous henchmen, but that's probably asking for too much, and I'm too lazy to go check.

Both Batman and the judge rightfully call the whole thing a sham, at which point Catwoman stops fucking around and commands the foreman to just shoot everyone (ahh, the days before metal detectors in courtrooms...). But a quick batarang gets rid of that gun in a hot second, so it's time for our fight scene of the day!

Despite the huge number of players, this fight isn't really that exciting. Sure, it's nice to see the bailiff actually be useful and keep the "jury" from joining in, but Catwoman is taken out disappointingly early by Batgirl (and held tight by Gordon & O'Hara for the rest of the fight). The only other real highlight is seeing the judge clonk Joker over the head.

Bad guys get arrested (again), and Batman makes an extra-corny speech about how he hopes they can be reformed one day, presumably just to make them suffer more. Court dismissed.

(What, you're not taking in Pierre, too? He had to have been in on this!)

Epilogue, and my word is Burt Ward wasting a lot of breath trying to convince us that that all the new people they met this episode were interesting. What is this, Pokemon? A couple of obnoxious references to Pierre's actor's background in politics, too. Let's just move on... the next villain's going to be...

Oh.

Oh no.

Another appearance from Louie the Fucking Lilac? Oh dear God, what did we do to deserve this?!

It looks like we're going to go from the frying pan and straight into the fire, but that's still not going to stop me from declaring this episode (and its preceding sibling) to be Ross's weakest yet. I mean... what happened? Most of the humor is stupid and overly long (and the courtroom scene did not hold up as well as I'd remembered), the villains' plot is just pathetic, and the whole thing is one big wash. If it weren't for the Batgirl-Cat Whiskers scene at the beginning, I'd probably have declared this whole thing one big waste of time.

My Lord, did Eartha Kitt not deserve this as her last episode on the show.

Final Judgment:

4-and-a-half Batgirl-Cycles (out of 10).

Grab of the Day:
Batgirl17.gif
Batgirl17.gif (9.63 MiB) Viewed 5766 times
Next time: The return of the villain that nobody asked for! Whoopee.
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Re: Batman (1966) Season 3, Episode 17: The Joke's On Catwoman

Post by Renegade »

Omega Woman wrote:(Fun fact: the villains' attorney, Lucky Pierre, is played by JFK's one-time press secretary. Guy seems to have a photo of Nixon on his desk, for whatever reason - this episode was written and aired before Nixon's presidency.)
Aha, a chance to take off my fetish, I mean comic geek hat, and put on my political geek hat!

John F. Kennedy actually defeated then-Vice President Nixon in the 1960 Presidential election. So the gag here is "evil" Pierre Salinger would have worked for Nixon. (Aside: I liked the joke better when Peter Falk used it in the motion picture "The In-Laws".)
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Re: Batman (1966) Season 3, Episode 17: The Joke's On Catwoman

Post by Disciple »

Renegade wrote:
Omega Woman wrote:(Fun fact: the villains' attorney, Lucky Pierre, is played by JFK's one-time press secretary. Guy seems to have a photo of Nixon on his desk, for whatever reason - this episode was written and aired before Nixon's presidency.)
Aha, a chance to take off my fetish, I mean comic geek hat, and put on my political geek hat!

John F. Kennedy actually defeated then-Vice President Nixon in the 1960 Presidential election. So the gag here is "evil" Pierre Salinger would have worked for Nixon. (Aside: I liked the joke better when Peter Falk used it in the motion picture "The In-Laws".)
Ah, thank you for the tip!

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Batman (1966) Season 3, Episode 18: Louie's Lethal Lilac Time

Post by Disciple »

Batman (1966) Season 3, Episode 18: Louie's Lethal Lilac Time
Original Airdate: January 11, 1968
Director: Sam Strangis
Writer: Charles Hoffman
Special Guest Villain: Milton Berle as Louie the Lilac
At least the episode begins promisingly. Okay, by "promisingly" I mean that we get to see Barbara walk around in tight, tight yoga pants, but a guy has to take what he can get.

The set-up: Dick is holding a beach party with his little buddies from school, and Barbara has been called in to chaperon (in case anyone needed more confirmation that Barbara is older than Dick in every way that counts). Then Dick comes in with a piece of painted Styrofoam... I mean, "ambergris", which, in case you didn't read Encyclopedia Brown as a child, is basically whale vomit that happened to be a major ingredient in perfumes back in the Good Old Days.

Okay, so the plot does get kicked off fairly quickly: Louie the Lilac sends his trigger monkeys in to steal the ambergris, and kidnaps Bruce and Dick while he's at it because, hey, what gangster passes up the chance to ransom two rich guys? There's a jarring bit where the camera focuses on Louie and he's standing against a completely different background, but I'll let it slide because the implication is that this is going to be a Batgirl-Alfred adventure, which I cannot find enough words to voice my excitement for.

I can't be sure because I haven't seen every episode, but I think Louie's girl Lotus (Nobu McCarthy) might be the show's first East Asian character. It's nothing really groundbreaking, but at least they're not making jokes about her eating dogs, and her English is realistically choppy. She's basically the lynchpin to Louie's plot to corner all of Gotham's lilac markets like soaps and cosmetics and... uh... well, Jesus, Berle, would it kill you to emote a little? This is a gold mine of gangster-as-fop material, but you're not giving me much to work with here.

In what will probably be the only time Berle actually breaks out his comic chops, there's a pretty funny scene where Louie's goons ask him about all the complicated animal parts that Lotus needs for the perfume, and Louie shows that he's not a whole lot smarter than they are. Oh, and because his gang is so pathetically tiny, he plans on drafting Bruce and Dick to help him dissect the animals' scent glands.

Over to Commissioner Gordon's office, where... oh for fuck's sake, really? This episode is so light on material and/or interesting characters that it needs a goddamn clip show? Yeah, maybe the showrunners thought they could make this episode suck less by inserting highlights from Season 2 episodes, but really, all that does is remind me of what an actually good episode looks like.

After that waste of time, it's over to Wayne Manor, where Alfred is dealing with the standard paparazzi. Man, Bruce must've lost quite a bit of prestige and/or money over the course of the show, if only five journalists bothered to show up to cover his kidnapping. But never mind that, Barbara's here! What follows is a mildly amusing bit where Alfred has to hide the Bat-Hotline from her, but how quick Barbara is to ignore the beeping duster, I'm inclined to think that she already knows The Secret and is just letting ol' Alf save face.

Waitaminnit... no one besides Barbara even knows who kidnapped Bruce and Dick? Even if we take Barbara's suspicion that her dad wouldn't take her seriously at face-value, there were at least three or four of Dick Grayson's classmates who saw the kidnapping! What, did they have short-term amnesia? Did Louie just kill them all?

Another lame cliffhanger, where the narrator just reiterates the plot so far and cuts to black. Yawn.

Oh, what's this? An actual, independent plot development in Barbara's life? Seems that Barbara's fellow tenants are slightly less brain-dead than the average Gothamite, so they've noticed all the noise that her secret closet makes when it revolves, and have called for the maintenance guy. Said maintenance guy is a creep of the first order, and goes right into Barbara's apartment without knocking and immediately starts screwing around with the revolving wall. Holy ID in Peril! How will BG get out of this one?

... with her handy-dandy Secret Batgirl Room Instant Transformer, of course! Geez, how the hell does that thing even work? My "Batgirl is a secret practitioner of the dark arts" theory is looking more reasonable by the day...

(Also, it seems the revolving wall is common knowledge and was designed by "the previous tenant". Hmm...)

Barbara keeps guns in her apartment? Well, I guess it's part and parcel with being a cop's kid, but... really, I can't see her packing heat as either herself or as Batgirl.

And wow is Alfred not taking chances on this one. As soon as he pinpoints Louie's hideout, he sends in Batgirl, a driverless Batmobile, and two cars' worth of police backup. Louie, in case you needed a reminder, has two guys and a passably hot Asian chemist, which makes this the most lopsided fight since the last World Cup.

I mean, sure, Louie's got hostages, but costumed vigilantes like Batgirl were practically born to handle these kinds of situations. Sure enough, Batgirl sneaks in there in a jiffy, dodges Louie's goons with that wonderful laugh of hers, and then...

... gets KO'ed by Louie's lapel flower.

I was a fool. I was a fool to hope.

Ehhh... at least on the plus side, we get yet another Batgirl deathtrap, and it's a pretty gruesome one: being stuck in a hot-oil chamber, to be made into a perfume ingredient. Sure, in practice it's just Batgirl standing with her arms crossed in a glass case, but that's what imaginations are for.

Bruce, a gentleman to the end, finally caves and says that he'll help Louie remove the animals' scent pouches in exchange for Batgirl's life. All the equipment he needs is two glasses of warm water. Louie is thickheaded enough to not question this too much (for one thing, wouldn't Bruce at least need a knife, too?), but he gets a few more villain points in with the old "psych, I'm gonna kill her anyway" exchange with Lotus.

In one of this show's most pathetic cost-saving moments yet, Bruce and Dick walk into a basement supposedly full of animals, and the camera stays on them the entire time. No archive footage. Not even a few chirps or hisses to make it seem like there's something else in there. We do, however, get to see a new Bat-gadget: Instant Bat-Suit Pills (Just Add Water!) that let them suit up and start kicking ass.

Hey! For once, the police are actually useful in a fight! Well, to the extent that they help B&R break down the door. After that, though, the Dynamic Duo are all on their own against Louie's gang (which has suddenly doubled in size). The whole time, Batgirl is standing in the deathtrap with just the dullest expression on her face (is the implication supposed to be that she's still under Louie's knockout spray?)... until one subsequent shot has her free and joining in the fight with no explanation whatsoever.

Oh, wait, we do get an explanation: BG's trusty Batgirl-Vat Opener. Gee, thanks a bunch. At least we're not ending on the hackneyed "Batgirl vanishes without explanation" note again. Heck, it's the opposite - Batman and Robin are the ones who "mysteriously vanish" this time around, leaving Batgirl in the dark.

Epilogue: Commissioner Gordon is taking a vacation next week! For a minute there, I thought Bruce and Dick were actually going to strangle the lazy old dimwit, but no - they're just disappointed because they were going to hold a civic luncheon for him then. Let's just see who our next villain's going to be... just about anything would be better than...

... wait, wait! I take it back, I take it back! Please don't saddle me with... her. Fourth-wall breaking powers won't save you, lady!

So... this episode. It's bad. But it's not as bad as Louie's debut ep. It's kinda like Cars vs. Cars 2 that way, and I do kind of have to give the showrunners credit for having the semi-original idea of sidelining Batman & Robin for most of it, even though it didn't really lead to more Batgirl screentime like I'd hoped. I'm still not quite sure as to how it came about - it doesn't feel like a chopped-apart two-parter, so were there that many people clamoring for Berle's return to the show?

Ah, well. At least we got another BG deathtrap out of it.

Final Judgment:

4 Batgirl-Cycles (out of 10).

Grab of the Day:
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Next time: Batman tackles women's lib! Oh boy! Lemme just get my good friends Mr. Guinness and Mr. Daniels to help me review it...
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Batman (1966) Season 3, Episode 19: Nora Clavicle and the Ladies' Crime Club

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Batman (1966) Season 3, Episode 19: Nora Clavicle and the Ladies' Crime Club
Original Airdate: January 18, 1968
Director: Oscar Rudolph
Writer: Stanford Sherman
Special Guest Villain: Barbara Rush as Nora Clavicle
*Hic*

G-goo' mornin', everyone (or is it night?)... lessh take a look at Batman's infamoush Feminisht Epishode, shall w-we...?

*Hic*

Wh-wha...? Oh, never mind me... I only had shree glasshes... or wash it shree hunnerd...?

All kidding aside, Batman's history with women's lib is... dodgy at best, and for all its charms, the third season of the Adam West show was really not a good place to get your dose of insightful (or even original) social satire. All told, maybe it's a good thing that the show got canned before it had to deal with things like racial segregation or environmentalism.

Okay, okay, I'll try to dial down on the meanness for now. Let's just begin the episode.

Boy, that's actually a lot of people who showed up to a civic luncheon celebrating the guy who has to be the most incompetent police commissioner in history. Maybe City Hall paid a couple of them to be there?

"I... I really don't think I deserve all this." Oh, don't worry, Gordon. No one's under the illusion that you do, but the plot stops for no one.

Oh, here's a face we've seen very little of this season. Mayor Linseed (a pretty transparent parody of New York's Mayor Lindsay) usually popped up in the first two seasons when the plot needed an extra dose of government incompetence, but the shortened format of the third season left him largely redundant. And, setting the tone for the rest of this episode, he enters being harangued by his wife.

So the Mayor gives Gordon a 24-karat gold watch (better hope the Clock King doesn't find out), and then... fires his ass. Can it be? Has the administration in Gotham finally become sane enough to realize they can do much better than this blithering old fool as its police commissioner? Sure, it's taken them over a hundred episodes to realize it, but better late than never!

... or so we can dream. Turns out that Gordon's replacement is Nora Clavicle, who we've never heard of before this episode and will probably never hear from again. Based on everyone else's reactions, she's apparently some kind of eeeeeevil feminist who's strongarmed her way into Gordon's seat, but who knows? Maybe she'll still be a better police commissioner...

And look! She's firing Chief O'Hara already! ... and appointing Mrs. Linseed in his place. Holy nepotism, Batman!

So, according to the Mayor, his wife got brainwashed by Ms. Clavicle's eeeeevil feminist ideals and refused to do any chores around the house until he agreed to appoint Ms.Clavicle commissioner. Uh, Mayor, you do know there's these magical things called takeout, laundromats, and divorce, right? Hell, if nothing else, shouldn't you have a servant/intern or two to do that stuff?

Everyone acts like it's the end of the world with Gordon and O'Hara sacked, but really, as long as Batman & Robin are still there, it's probably going to get along fine and... whoops, spoke too soon.

This does kind of beg the question, though: what power does the Commissioner have over Batman? All that Clavicle does is tell Batman that he and Robin can take an extended vacation, and sever all communications, but... that means Batman can still patrol around in the Batmobile all he likes, and it's not like the local jail warden can't tell him about any breakouts.

Also, notice that Barbara/Batgirl doesn't talk or get talked about during this whole farce. Is she sacked, too? There might've been a germ of an interesting idea in there, but it looks like Sherman was having way too much fun ragging on the Evils of Feminism (TM) to go there.

Well, never mind. Batgirl is all suited up and prepared to investigate. Meanwhile, in an extra-stupid twist, it turns out that the new Chief Linseed fired all the male cops and replaced them with women (in what city does the Chief have that kind of power?). Incompetent women, at that. I should probably be angrier at the whole "women are too obsessed with looks, shopping, and cooking" stereotype than I really am, but really, it's not like Gotham's male cops usually do much better.

Eh, I'll give Ms. Clavicle some points for having two smoking-hot babes as her goons instead of the usual ape-faced men. What the hell.

In the interests of time, all the detective work takes place offscreen, and our heroes are soon creeping along the depths of a knitting-needle factory. Aaaaand Clavicle and her gang immediately grab Batgirl and take her down in seconds, thus providing themselves with a hostage. Welp, there goes our last hope.

Now it's time for what has to be the weirdest deathtrap this season, and probably in the entire show. How Nora and her goons actually got the Terrific Trio into that human knot without getting their asses kicked is left unexplained, as is how the thing is supposed to kill them. Was Dozier that short on budget, that he had to just have Adam, Burt, and Yvonne drape their arms and legs around each other and call it a "deathtrap"?

(Yes, yes, I assume that every one of us here has probably dreamed of being in that knot with BG at least once in their lives, but still...)

With the heroes thus incapacitated (and Robin apparently getting a little... grabby with Batgirl), Ms. Clavicle goes into the customary gloating. It seems that the real reason behind her women's crusade is she's taken out a $10 million insurance policy out on Gotham City, and she plans to then destroy the city and collect. Batgirl's "two hundred dollars for a ten-million-dollar policy?!" line is adorable, I'll admit, as is Batman's lecturing her on how insurance in the crazy world of the 1960s works.

(Chances of destroying Gotham City are "infinitesimal", Batman? Considering that the Joker FUBAR'd the whole city's water supply in about an afternoon last season, I really wouldn't put any money on that.)

Oh, and in case you were wondering: here's how Ms. Clavicle plans to destroy Gotham City: several thousand clockwork mice rigged to explode at sundown (which, of course, all the women would clearly be too scared of to stop. Sigh). Personally, I'm more interested in how she plans to wind them all up with a three-person gang.

Whoop - here comes a moderately funny scene. Seems that Gotham's unemployment office has instated a line just for policemen, and seeing Gordon and O'Hara mill around in it is vaguely amusing, especially when they talk about how they're not qualified for any other jobs because they've been cops their whole lives. Yeah, that's real easy when the only real job you have is taking orders from Batman and getting out of the way.

(Lest you think I'm exaggerating: in one episode - I think it was the second Mad Hatter story - Gordon and O'Hara reacted with utter horror when discussing the possibility that they'd have to solve a case themselves.)

Back to the knitting-needle factory, where after a long and convoluted series of movements, our heroes finally escape the human knot. And thus ends the closest that Batman or Robin ever got to getting some action with Batgirl.

A-yup. As I thought, all the policewomen in Gotham are too scared to handle Nora Clavicle's mice. This is obviously meant to exploit the age-old housewife stereotype, but allow me to put forth an alternate interpretation: would you be so glad to handle something that probably has building-leveling explosives in it? Really, I'm surprised that our heroes didn't evacuate the city first, given that those cheap little time bombs could probably be set off just from colliding into the wrong thing.

But that leaves the question as to how our heroes are going to get rid of the damn things. We've only got five or six minutes of runtime left, so it's time for some good-old-fashioned ass-pulling: start playing some flutes to lead all the explodey mice over to the docks. There's not even an ass-covering line about how these are special Robotic Wavelength Bat-Flutes or anything; it's just a straight-up clone of the Pied Piper of Hamlin. Except with a "dockside" set almost as pathetic as the lighthouse set from The Joke's on Catwoman.

Okay, there's one cute scene of a stubborn little mouse that just won't jump, but Batman gives him some much-needed encouragement and... Jesus. Please don't post that out of context.

Alright, never mind that part up there. Batman does give a suitably silly explanation for why the flutes would affect robot mice, but it's not really worth recapping here. But what about Ms. Clavicle? Surely she's exited stage-left by now, and...

... okay, never mind that either. Seems that Alfred, Gordon, and O'Hara caught the three of them offscreen. Now that was an adventure I would've liked to see, honest to God. I presume that Alfred did 99% of the heavy lifting.

Well, thank goodness that nightmare is over with. The next villain can't possibly be worse than... wait... that laugh... that squawk...

Yes! Burgess Meredith is back, bitches! One last Penguin episode before the season's out, and it's going to be sweet! I think. I hope.

Let's be honest, though: I would probably take another Louie the Lilac episode over this one. I don't think the feminist movement should be above satire, but the script here is lazy as well as weak, the solution is downright stupid, a lot of the interesting stuff happens offscreen, and Barbara Rush's character simply isn't as memorable as the show's other female villains. One marginally creative (if cheap) deathtrap and a few funny bits can't really change that. Notice how there's not even a fight scene, presumably because TV standards still didn't let men hit women on-screen back then.

By the way: what the hell do clavicles have to do with feminism, anyhow?

Final Judgment:

2-and-a-half Batgirl-Cycles (out of 10).

Grab of the Day:
Batgirl19.gif
Batgirl19.gif (11.58 MiB) Viewed 5762 times
Next time: The Penguin returns for one final huzzah, and he's got a whole load of tropical little friends with him! Stay tuned!
Last edited by Disciple 5 years ago, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: Batgirl's Secret Closet: A Little Annex for Reviews!

Post by Visitor »

The addition of Batgirl means that Robin is no longer always the Boy Hostage of the series. But to save money the Bat fights are cut or reduced from a lot of season 3 episodes and the death traps rarely need elaborate sets.
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Batman (1966) Season 3, Episode 20: Penguin's Clean Sweep

Post by Disciple »

Batman (1966) Season 3, Episode 20: Penguin's Clean Sweep
Original Airdate: January 25, 1968
Director: Oscar Rudolph
Writer: Stanford Sherman
Special Guest Villain: Burgess Meredith as the Penguin
Well, at least the cold opening isn't fucking around. Penguin invades the Gotham Mint, encounters hardly a peep of resistance, and runs off with a wheelbarrow o' cash. Oh, and in other news, Barbara's been named chair of Gotham's anti-littering committee, but that's not important. Probably.

Stock footage of B&R driving down to Police HQ, and... well, seems the Penguin's saved them the trouble of doing any detective work. Whatta guy. And boy, has that got to be the most awkward elevator ride ever.

Up in Gordon's office, it turns out that Penguin actually didn't steal anything from the mint (gee, Chief, couldn't you have told Batman that over the hotline?), so now he has grounds to sue B&R over false arrest. Good Lord, Pengy, are you so tapped out of ideas that you need to start stealing from the Riddler?

But it turns out that Batman's grown smarter since Season 1; he can't nail Penguin on robbery, but Penguin's still guilty of breaking and entering. Buuuuut since we still need a villain for the plot, Batman decides to drop the charges if Penguin will agree to drop the lawsuit even though Penguin already has no grounds to sue and look there a bunny with a pancake on its head!

Oh, and Batgirl pops up for no reason, but who's complaining? Definitely not me.

So our heroes drive down to the mint to see what damage Penguin did, and get a nasty little surprise: turns out that Penguin infected all the banknotes in the mint with sleeping sickness bacteria, which is pretty horrifying as supervillain plots go. This wouldn't even be the last time Penguin resorted to germ warfare, mind you.

(On the plus side, Batgirl gets to show up Robin in a battle of wits, which is always welcome.)

The Terrific Trio splits up to handle the crisis, but Penguin's already one step ahead of them: he's had his whole gang inoculated against the disease, and then made the local hospital fork over the rest of the vaccine (complete with Meredith's glorious threat to "demonstrate the Penguin technique of open heart surgery"). Then, in a moment that actually manages to approach chilling, he opens up the bottle (yes, there's only one bottle) and pours all the vaccine down the sink.

B&R show up too little, too late, and Penguin escapes with what is literally the cheapest peril the series thus far: a case of deadly Ligerian fruit flies. This basically equates to Batman & Robin "fighting" empty air with a buzzing sound effect slapped over it (fercryingoutloud, even Lord Ffogg's killer bee got a pipe-cleaner puppet). What pushes it into acceptably silly territory is Batman's Bat-Swatter, and the fact that the final fly lands right on Robin's nose. I only regret that we never saw Adam West smack Burt Ward in the face in an attempt to get the fly off.

So, our heroes finally have a specimen of the deadly, bacteria-carrying fruit fly, yaaaay. Now let's check in on Batgirl. Aaaaand it turns out that she's also too late. The local bank has already passed out about $13,000 of the infected money, and with no way of tracking those bills, there's only one thing left to do: order everyone in Gotham to stay the hell away from all paper money.

Jesus, nice de facto dictatorship they've got going on in Gotham (couldn't they have narrowed it down at least a little, to "everyone who got visited X bank today between times Y and Z"?). Still, the part where two bank robbers make off with a bunch of cash, hear the news bulletin, and then immediately drive back and return every cent, made me guffaw out loud.

Here's where the episode's name finally starts making sense: Penguin and his gang freely roam the streets, sweeping up all the discarded cash with brooms and vacuums. Of course, brave Batgirl tries to stop them, but quickly falls to Penguin's umbrella gas-gun. Phew. For a sec, I thought that the most knockout gas-happy bad guy in the show was going to bow out without KO'ing Batgirl even once!

In fact, Penguin's so confident in his victory that he just leaves Batgirl on the sidewalk to sleep it off. Hell, he and his gang have more money than they know what to do with! Interestingly enough, Penguin doesn't let the stuff get to his head as much as you might think; when his moll asks him for a house in the country, he rings up the "World League of Nations" (not the United World Organization?) to buy her a whole country to put that house in! Now that is what we call a gentleman.

After a hilarious bit where the not-U.N. offers to sell him Russia (seriously), Penguin encounters a problem: seems that Bruce Wayne's been throwing his international businessman weight around, and the whole world now knows to not accept cash transfers from Gotham City. Now this... this is what elevates this whole episode from another run-of-the-mill Penguin plot to a story worthy of a Carl Barks-penned Duck comic. Heck, you can already envision Penguin & his gang as the Beagle Boys, and Bruce as Uncle Scrooge.

(That might sound like it's faint praise; it's not. Carl Barks' Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge comics are serious business among many comics fans and historians, and they're practically treated like Scripture in parts of Europe. There have been dozens of books & articles written on how they reflected economic, political, and philosophical realities - and even changed history - out there).

Oh, and it's absolutely adorable how Penguin's actual name is apparently "Penguin". No "Oswald Cobblepot" for this guy, even when he's making business transfers.

Just in case it might've been too subtle for audiences in 1968, Batman & Robin reiterate the moral in their next scene: money that can't be trusted can't be spent, and money that can't be spent is nothing but paper. Still, they're not out of the woods yet: Penguin's definitely spiteful enough to just go the kill-em-all route if he realizes his money is worthless, and he might still have some of that fruit fly bacteria at his disposal. Sure enough, Penguin rings up Bruce, demanding that he fix this situation, and when Bruce refuses, he unleashes the rest of the deadly flies.

So... while all this has been happening, Gordon, O'Hara, and Batgirl have been sitting at Police HQ with their thumbs up their asses. Before the Commish is forced to think about what might happen if B&R were actually out of commission, Batman finally calls and gives them their marching orders.

All told, the final strategy against Penguin isn't all that exciting. The good guys all play dead on the sidewalk, and then ambush Penguin when he tries to steal from their "corpses". Oh, and it turns out that all the fruit flies Penguin unleashed couldn't survive in Gotham's climate, anyways. Man, Pengy's plan this episode is just a never-ending train of fail. For that extra kick in the pants, the heroes even stuff him inside a trash can!

Jesus, they're really bent on making us all know this will be Penguin's last appearance, aren't they? According to Robin, Penguin took such a big dose of the vaccine for himself that he's actually contracted sleeping sickness. And sure enough, the poor little guy nods off mid-rant, presumably for the rest of his life. Sleep well, ya black-hearted little bastard.

Epilogue: you can just taste the sarcasm in Barbara's voice about how nice it was for both Bruce and the Commish to drop by her apartment unannounced and then demand coffee. You can't believe how Gordon's office can get any work done, Barbara? Neither can we.

Well, now, this is a pleasant surprise. Looks like Shame's going to be our next villain. I'll talk more about him in the next installment, but suffice it to say that he might be the most underrated original villain that the Adam West show ever gave us. Also, obligatory snark: my that is a cheap prison visitor's center. Shame could literally walk around to the other side!

As for this episode: a worthy send-off for Burgess Meredith, with a surprisingly sharp script, plenty of laughs, and the all-important Batgirl KO. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I'm actually getting a little misty-eyed. Oh, sure, Danny Devito, Paul Williams, and Tom Kenny - among others - would go on to succeed him as the Penguin in the future (for better or for worse), but truly, it all feels like the end of an era.

Final Judgment:

8 Batgirl-Cycles (out of 10).

Grab of the Day:
Batgirl20.gif
Batgirl20.gif (9.4 MiB) Viewed 5757 times
Next time: Yippie-ki-yay, motherfucker! Cliff Robertson challenges y'all to a showdown at high noon tomorrow! Be there, or be called a yella-belly!
Last edited by Disciple 5 years ago, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Batgirl's Secret Closet: A Little Annex for Reviews!

Post by tallyho »

Ahhh, love the umberella gas, and the follow up of her groggily coming to on the floor :thumbup:
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