Monday, September 19, 2011

15 & 16 The Joker Goes to School/He Meets His Match, the Grisley Ghoul

Season 1 Episodes 15 & 16
Original Air Dates: 3/2/66 & 3/3/66
Special Guest Villain: Cesar Romero as The Joker
Guest stars: Donna Loren, Kip King
Written by: Lorenzo Semple, Jr.
Directed by: Murray Golden

The Joker's back in Gotham, recruiting new faces for his Bad Pennies gang. He uses a milk machine at Dick Grayson's high school to lure teenagers to a life of crime. Only the wave of blackouts in Gotham City save the Dynamic Duo from a shocking finish this time.

PE: There's nothing I like better than young kids getting sweaty and working out in the gym. Dick Grayson (aka Robin the Boy Wonder) must be lifting at least 20 pounds on that barbell (to be fair, the bar itself probably add another 5 pounds). No wonder he's in such good shape! His partner seems a bit...distracted, watching young Dick.

JS: By the end of the second part, we'll see Batman toss that, with real weights, right over the Joker's head! It was nice to finally get an age range for young Dick Grayson. At least we know he's in high school (when Aunt Harriett thought he was at the playground a few episodes back, I was beginning to wonder).

PE: Commissioner Gordon is obviously smarter than he looks if he was able to guess immediately the Joker was at work from a handful of silver dollars.

JS: That seemed like quite a stretch for me, too. I was sure it was the work of the villianous Vending Vandalizer!

PE: Where else but in Gotham can you get sent up the river for 5 years for loitering (with a $5000 fine!) but attempted murder, extortion, kidnapping, and bad costumes will get you three episodes?

JS: On school grounds, Peter, on school grounds. Clearly that's a special circumstance. Clearly the school is a hotbed for criminal activity—just listen when the Batman, listening in on Commissioner Gordon's call with the principal, curtly addresses him by just his last name, "Schoolfield!" 

PE: Sweet Sue (Loren) was a nice twist for a moll (well, kind of a moll). I didn't see that coming when she was sis-boom-baa-ing. Donna Loren had quite the career in the early to mid-1960s. She was the Dr. Pepper girl, starred in Beach Blanket Bingo, recorded several singles, was a regular on Shindig, and made tons of appearances on other TV show before marrying Warner Brothers Records president Lenny Waronker and retiring in 1968. She made a return to recording last year with the album, Love It Away. This record has just found its way to the top of my must-haves as I see it includes such wacky covers as ELO's "Don't Bring Me Down" and "Old Man" by Neil Young! As the poster for Love It Away shows, she's still a hot looking woman at 63. She's currently "working on her autobiography."

JS: I imagine that Robin got in a lot of fights about being millionaire Bruce Wayne's ward. Hell, he was ready to clock Bat Babe of the Week Susie when she brought it up.

PE: The Joker needs to get his money back for that voice distorter. Sounded just like The Joker to me.

JS: I kept trying to figure out The Joker's motivation. Sure, inspiring future criminals is a noble effort, but is it worth the cost of filling up vending machines with silver dollars? It seems like a rather elaborate setup to get around to fixing a basketball game to win a high risk bet. Fortunately, Romero is once again charismatic in the role, from his initial appearance loitering on campus to his exploding cigar setup that we viewers all saw coming from a mile away. And give him credit for taking a Bat-arang to the head!

JS: I was sure that the power outage that saved the dynamic duo from electrocution was all part of their master plan. Turns out that it was just dumb luck.

PE: We learn this episode that: the Batcave is eqipped with an anti-crime auxiliary generator, clocks showing the time for five different countries over the exit; Bruce Wayne runs a foundation for delinquent girls (who grow up to be his dates); Batman carries his Batshield with him (but where does he keep it?).

JS: I look forward to the episodes where we actually get to visit the Wayne Foundation for Delinquent Girls. 

PE: Where do all the young delinquents of Gotham hang out? Not at Dead Man's Curve but The Easy Living Candy Store! What's not widely known, even among Bat-enthusiasts is that this episode was a pilot for Dick Grayson, Undercover Agent. If the pilot had been picked up, the youthful ward would alternate duties between the Batcave and the vice squad. Future storylines included Grayson infiltrating a counterfeit hula hoop factory and busting a ring of chihuahua smugglers (guest-starring Eve Arden as Dogwoman). I was really surprised at how natural young Dick looks in his biker outfit. Note how subtly he places that camera on the bar and puts the wrong end of the cigarette in his mouth. This is some of Burt Ward's finest acting on the show.

JS: I loved that Batman was still proud watching Dick put the cigarette in his mouth backwards, knowing that in the process he was blowing the entire undercover operation. But that, Peter, explains why he knew to have the Bat Shield tucked away.  

PE:  Holy Blown Secret Identities! Batman seems to have no problem explaining to Robin why his ruse as Dick Grayson, Juvenile Delinquent didn't tread water... in earshot of an entire bar of patrons.

JS: I thought for a second Batman wasn't going to be dissuaded by the Girl's Locker Room when it came to saving Susie. Fortunately (or unfortunately) for young Dick, they were able to save her at the door.

PE: Las Vegas has odds on Woodrow Roosevelt High School's basketball game against Disko Tech despite the absence of a functioning basketball team. It says loads about Disko Tech's team when one of WR's members claims they'll beat Disko by 50. Actually, Roosevelt's team looks like a disco group. I've never seen a basketball team practice with a barbell on the court. Limits their range a bit, doesn't it?

JS: A hotbed for criminals, I tell ya. They're tough there.

PE: Bat-dialog this episode:

Batman: It's an old story, Robin, as old as Eve and the apple.

JS: Prior to the episode's big brawl, Batman and Robin make their presence known in the rafters of the gym. What I can't figure out is who was casting the bat-shadow behind the Joker and his henchmen?

One more time! 63 years old!
PE: We learn poor Susie has turned to a life of crime because, you guess it, she had an unhappy childhood and came from a broken home. At least she had the wherewithal to learn all her cheers while working for The Joker. And where does she live? The Easy Living Candy Store? 

JS: If you can pull your attention from Susie for a moment, it's worth noting that one of her cheerleading companions was none other than the lovely Linda Harrison, still a few years from her (also dialogue-free) performance as Nova in Planet of the Apes.

PE Rating: 

JS Rating: 

Next up... False Face! Same Bat Time, Same Bat URL!


  1. Donna Loren has definitely had work done. She has the bizarre plastic surgery cat face thing going on now. I find that more frightening than any of the villains on Batman.

  2. Peter and John: For this episode's pulchritude alone I'm surprised you didn't up your Bat-signals.

    This show's cliffhanger is one of the most memorable for me. It's genuinely scary, and the deus ex machina seems more strained today than it did in early '66. The Northeast Blackout that killed most of the power in NYC for fourteen hours had occurred only four months previously; everybody knew about it. Hollywood even capitalized on it with a Doris Day comedy, "Where Were You When the Lights Went Out?"

    No one has yet commented on all the wristwatches worn by our special guest villains. Were they Timex or Ingersoll? Did they keep on ticking when they took a Bat-licking? I want to know these things.

    Semple's scripts remain at the top of the heap. It amazes me how he stone-cold nailed this show's sensibility from the beginning.

  3. Always got a kick out of this episode. Donna Loren was cute and, as mentioned, a little offbeat for a bad girl. The gimmick of our heroes strapped to electric chairs would be logically re-visited in that second season Ma Parker prison-themed episode, but it works better here. And Ward is pretty funny doing his JD thing. Yep, the famous New York blackout was still fresh in our minds, and BATMAN got points for subjecting Gotham to a similar outage...

  4. This episode is completely ludicrous, but still fun to watch.

    Favorite moments:
    -when the power goes out, the cops come, and the Joker yells, "Cheese it, everyone!"
    -Batman saying, "Bartender, a word of advice. Always inspect a jukebox carefully. These machines can be deadly."
    -Dick's mishandling of the barbell (the guy spotting him had to be *distracted* to allow that bad form), as well as his unconvincing leather clad bad boy act

    This episode imparts a valuable lesson for kids to stay in school and work hard, because nothing in life is free (unless, of course, you happen to inherit millions of dollars). Good gravy!

    1. Great review, Christine! I love your comments on these episodes:)

    2. Thanks, Anonymous! You are obviously an extremely intelligent and kind hearted person.

    3. HA HA HA HA....thanks! This site is AWESOME.....there are not enough people who appreciate this show`s absurd brilliance! I can see that you obviously do as your commentary always highlights those episodes great lines/moments and are written in the same wonderful spirit that permeated the series. I guess if I keep posting on here I should probably start using a name, huh? LOL

  5. Two casting tidbits:

    That guy standing behind Finger-Pointing Dick looks like Tim O'Kelly from Bodgonavich's awesome TARGETS.

    Linda Harrison played Wonder Woman (kinda) in the mini-pilot produced by Dozier. If you don't know what I'm talking about, get thee to YouTube, STAT. The pilot itself is gob-smackingly awful, but Linda's brief scenes are worth the torture.

  6. If that's the Wonder Woman pilot I'm thinking of, it didn't seem like "camp" (even overdone camp) as much as all-out comedy. I thought it was all right, in a "Captain Nice" kind of way. Of course, not everyone was / is fond of captain Nice.

  7. I'm surprised that no one made any mention of Joker's stooges wearing pantyhose over their heads and faces during the cocktail lounge hold up scene in "The Joker Goes To School". I always get a kick out of that scene. Did Susie ever find out that her partners in crime had been raiding her underwear and stockings drawer(s)? Also notice by watching the recap scene at the beginning of "He Meets His Match..." that the sequence of events (as in the cocktail lounge hold up scene and when Joker "magically" appears in the classroom) are somewhat reversed from what we saw in "Joker Goes To School". Judging by that those two events must have happened at the very same time.

  8. The John Doe execution van-which Joker found when he bought the one armed Bandit novelty company was made for a south American dictator-who was overthrown before it could be delivered. Three Liberty bells got you your freedom and $50,000; three oranges and you just got free; three lemons got you 50,000 volts of electricty.. Interestingly the Gotham City Policeman who finds batman and Robin was Breeland Afirican American actor.
    The One armed Bndit novelty company was back to back with Joker's Front..the Easy Living Candy Store