Friday, September 16, 2011

13 & 14: The Thirteenth Hat/Batman Stands Pat

Season 1 Episodes 13 & 14
Original Air Dates: 2/23/66 & 2/24/66
Special Guest Villain: David Wayne as The Mad Hatter
Guest stars: Diane McBain, Roland La Starza
Written by: Charles Hoffman
Directed by: Norman Foster

Synopsis: Seeking revenge for being sent up the Gotham river, Jervis Tetch (aka The Mad Hatter) begins stealing hats (and, oh, their owners too!) and lining up the twelve jurors who put him away in his private lair. There's only one top and owner missing: Batman and his cowl!

PE: Commissioner Gordon excitedly exclaims to Batman that The Mad Hatter has been stealing hats and, as an afterthought, their owners.

JS: This is the first time Batman snaps at Chief O'Hara. Of all the crimes in Gotham of late, the theft of hats seems to have really gotten under his skin. You would think he might be a bit more disturbed by whoever is selling replica Bat-suits. Of course the Mad Hatter wouldn't settle for an after market cowl. Do you suppose this is the same dummy who was strapped to the turbine last episode? If we could see his legs I'd know for sure.

PE: Our Bat-babe of the episode, Lisa (McBain), has a sexy cone-shaped bra but a horse's laugh that distracted me even more.

JS: Laugh? I didn't notice she had a laugh.

PE: I gotta ask: Doesn't Gotham's budget allow for real helmets for their firefighters? Bruce Wayne, your help is needed at the fire station.

JS: How is it no one was able to put the puzzle pieces together when so many folks from different walks of life (and their hats) went missing, considering the only thing they had in common was they were on a jury that put The Mad Hatter away?

PE: They should have used that "Motive Figurer Outer" Machine in the Batcave. David Wayne gets us back into the vibe I felt with Gorshin, Romero, and Meredith (after the unfortunate outing with Sanders). He's having a great time and he's given one of the best props in the series: that fabulous hat. How was it operated?

JS: A great second-tier villain, to be sure. And  you're right—that hat is where it's at.

PE: Batman's map is labeled "Giant Lighted Lucite Map of Gotham City." in case the Caped Crusader should forget which town he protects. (Take note that the label is on the back side of the map, where everything would be reversed. -JS) Did Alfred have to sit one day and make labels for every damn object in the Batcave? Does Batman call Alfred from the road and tell him to put out the labels for all the equipment he'll need to use because he just can't remember where everything is? I notice some of the equipment isn't labeled this episode. I'm very disappointed we didn't get to see exactly what the "International Frequency Computer" gets up to.

JS: Speaking of Alfred, he gets his first real assignment in this episode. How long before he bumps Dick Grayson to the curb?

PE: Batman has time to sit for sculptors? Well, next time he should have a look at the guy who's sculpting him. I know The Mad Hatter is the spitting image of sculptor Octave Marbot (well, except for the bright red hair, of course), but it took quite a while for the Dynamic Dumbbells to figure out that "something stinks!" as The Boy Wonder so succinctly put it.

JS: Why have him sit when they can just dump plaster on him...

PE: This is the episode where we find out that Batman can hold his breath forever.

JS: I love how Batman offers to stay and help clean up the mess at the sculptor's place, only to be reminded that he has more important things to do.

PE: Did I actually see a "PAM!" during the climactic fight scene? "PAM"??

JS: Yes, you did. A dozen episodes in, and they have resorted to using PAM!

PE: Every bowling alley owner I've met owns a bowler.

JS: The dynamic duo almost needed to resort to the Bat Computer to determine that 13 minus one equals 12.

PE: Which brings me to my Bat-dialogue for the episode:
Batman: How could I have been so stupid?
         Robin: All in all, Batman, you've been pretty busy.

PE Rating: 
JS Rating: 

Next up... The Joker! Same Bat Time, Same Bat URL!


  1. PE: "… one of the best props in the series: that fabulous hat. How was it operated?" We're all counting on the Batscholar to come through for us on this factoid. My bet is that it has something to do with that bulb that Wayne (David) and West (Adam) discreetly press.

    "Did Alfred have to sit one day and make labels for every damn object in the Batcave?" Yes, he did, and he did it with dignified competence. "Very good, sir."

    "Did I actually see a 'PAM!' during the climactic fight scene? 'PAM'??" Maybe it's an inside joke: a shout-out to somebody's girlfriend.

  2. Yeah, love that nutsy hat. David Wayne is certainly colorful enough, and the sultry Miss McBain has a casual meanness to die for. Batman transformed into a prized Bat-hat? Pretty sick stuff, we kids thought. The plaster-entombed Batman made us gasp, while gagged Robin tied to that horse statue was downright funny -- how else does one dispose of a pesky Boy Wonder? And what the hell actually happens to Hatter when he falls into his own vat of 'stuff'? Is he partially shrunken? Never did figure that out...

  3. Damn. I grabbed a screen cap of Robin on the horse, just for the sheer absurdity of it, and then I didn't include it in the post. I'll rectify that asap.

  4. The Mad Hatter has grown on my, kind of like a well-worn ballcap. I wasn't partial to the lisping when I saw it as a child -- since i had a friend who was mercilessly teased because of his -- but I've grown to appreciate Wayne as an actor over the years, sort of a cosmopolitan Burgess Meredith (who always seemed to be small-town noreastern ish, but one of the great TV actors). Yes, plot holes aplenty and some just dumb or lazy work by the writers, but this bridges some pretty decent stuff coming ahead, doncha think?

  5. "David Wayne gets us back into the vibe I felt with Gorshin, Romero, and Meredith" This is exactly what I was thinking. He sure was fun to watch. Too bad he didn't have a better story to showcase his talent.

    Before Batman pulls the Mad Hatter out of the vat of shrinking solution, he says, "I suppose he's passed the Acid Test, Robin." For those not well versed in 1960's counterculture, this little wiki page can help explain what happens to the Mad Hatter when he falls into the vat:

    It seems likely, from the way this episode was written, that Charles Hoffman may have been participating in the Acid Tests himself. LSD was still legal and becoming widespread in its use at the time these episodes aired. Much like the rest of the episode, the reference really makes no sense, but was quite amusing nevertheless.

  6. This has always been one of my favorite episodes of the Batman series... And always liked how it seemed THE MADHATTER main goal was obtaining Batman's cowl...

  7. Of course, to MST3K fans, Diane McBain will also always be the woman whose murder started the vendetta in "Sidehackers."

  8. Great guest cast. Not only do we have Wayne and McBain, but also Roland LaStraza, an ex-boxer who fought Rocky Marciano for the heavyweight championship of the world. I also liked the rather pretty woman who played Babette the hat check lady.

    I wish they would've used the Mad Hatter for season three. A great storyline might have had Tetch foregoing Batman's cowl for an even rarer prize--Batgirl's cowl!!!