Friday, September 30, 2011

33 & 34: Fine Finny Fiends/Batman Makes the Scene

Season 1 Episodes 33 &34
Original Air Dates: 5/4/66 & 5/5/66
Special Guest Villain: Burgess Meredith as The Penguin
Guest stars: Julie Gregg, Victor Lundin
Written by: Sheldon Stark
Directed by: Tom Gries

The Penguin has kidnapped Alfred, butler/chef of stately Wayne Manor in order to brainwash him. The finned fiend is attempting to glean information about the highly secret meeting of The Multimillionaires' Annual Award Dinner, wherein twelve millionaires gather for dinner, discuss politics and golf, give one million dollars each to charity, and play grab-ass with the dessert. The Penguin is determined to infiltrate the meeting via Alfred so that he can grab a little for himself.

PE: Up front, I have to say that I voted for women's rites, respect the weaker sex, and have a poster of Sarah Palin hanging over my bunkbed. I'm a real lover of women. Having said that, I must admit I'm surprised at the amount of skin on parade in this episode. Penguin's moll, Finella, wears an incredibly risque outfit during the cliffhanger that would have found a home nicely on Farrah Fawcett in Charlie's Angels, but on a kids' show? How is it I don't remember this episode from my childhood? My favorite scene of the show (which I wish we could imbed) is when Finella is bending over to look at the gauge and the two henchmen are huffing away at the bellows behind her. I ask again: How is it I don't remember this from my childhood?

JS: Perhaps you missed the point, Peter, each woman represented a charitable cause. So they were celebrating charitable causes. And preaching good manners, like Miss Civil Rights passing on the canap├ęs to maintain her figure.

PE: I'm a big Alfred fan but I gotta say he deserves getting kidnapped trying to save a buck or two buying "cut-rate caviar." The guy works for a multimillionaire, ferchrissakes! I hope Bruce Wayne wasn't cutting corners when he was building his nuclear reactor downstairs in the basement. And he should start feeding Master Robin. The poor kid is eating caviar off the brick wall.

JS: We also find that Alfred is not just the dual-purpose butler... he also is the resident chauffeur, ladies man, and (as seen in previous Penguin episodes) undercover brother. When all decked out in formal wear, they make quite the triumphant trio.

PE: That henchman who sprays Alfred in the fish store is a lousy shot. He sprays himself first!

JS: I've been quite satisfied with the henchmen we've seen to date—until this episode. It would appear that central casting ran out of quality henchmen, and we're saddled with the over-the-top-even-for-Batman performance by Victor Lundin as Octopus. Hopefully he was a better writer than actor... I'll have to dig up his Hawaii 5-0 episode "Return to Pearl Harbor."

PE: Why does Chief O'Hara keep calling ahead to "clear the parking lot exits for Batman"? He doesn't park in the lot!

JS: That's why the villains never find their way to the Batcave. They've got all the parking lot exits staked out, and don't notice them leave from right out front.

PE: If I was Batman, I wouldn't be worried about Alfred's new twitch. I'd be worried who the hell's going to be making dinner for the multimillionaires' bathing suit orgy when the butler/chef is dusting the batcave! 

JS: This was an interesting story in that without knowing it, The Penguin was so close to finding out the true identities of the dynamic duo. Unlike the Riddler episodes, all of which impressed me, this Penguin episode was a low point of Meredith's first season appearances.

PE: And, not to keep ragging on Bruce Wayne, but how will he explain taking off right in the middle of judging which swimsuit model has the biggest... love for charity? He and Dick suit up and hop in the Batmobile while all the rich dudes eat his cheap caviar and drink Aunt Harriet's spiked punch. And who wins the biggest breasts contest right to represent her favorite charity? Ms. Natural Resources! Holy double entendres, Batman!

JS: In this episode, we also get to spend some quality time with Bruce Wayne, debonair man about town.

PE: Just to show that not all millionaires are sexist pigs, I love how our heroes, Batman and Robin, cheer on their rich buddies as they throw money at Finella's favorite charities.

JS: Well, she must have captivated Penguin and the boys, too, as no one happened to notice Alfred's mention of Batman and 'Master' Robin. And for those keeping score at home, PAM! makes another fight appearance, along with what I believe is our first FLRBBBBB!

PE: So Batman had the combination to Penguin's safe?

JS: I thought it was a nice touch that in just about every scene she was in, Finella (Gregg) prances about like she's on stage, despite the fact that no one is looking.

PE: The law can be just as fond of the female form as a millionaire. Commissioner Gordon leaves his dowdy old wife at home (probably helping little Barbara with her homework) and escorts Finella (on a one-day pass from Arkham Prison) to Wayne Manor for yet another swanky party. Bruce Wayne pays the jailbird the ultimate compliment: "Someday, when you've paid your debt to society, you may be released, not for one day but forever!"

JS: I love how Aunt Harriet's big scene in the episode is chastising Alfred for having a swimsuit beauty on each arm, while being surrounded by millionaire suitors herself!

PE Rating: 

JS Rating: 

Next up... The Catwoman—NOT! Don't believe everything you hear, Bat-fans! Next up (for real)... our Season 1 recap! Batman: The Movie! And Joel Eisner's Season Two primer! Same Bat Time, Same Bat URL!


  1. Not having seen this episode in many, many, many years, I can already tell you what sticks in my mind from it:

    1. "And I'll teach you how to waddle like the penguins do."

    2. The swimsuits and their wearers. I may have been eleven years old, but Finella and Miss (that's Miss) Natural Resources made strong impressions.

    To add to the ever delightful PAM and FLRBBBBB, what about UNOMP and ALTEEVE and REOTONKS and WANDAT? These are the gibberish I have to type in before I can post on this blog.

  2. I am underwhelmed by this episode. Suffice to say Sheldon Stark deserves a good FLRBBBBBing for writing this inane piece of sexist tripe.

    I am willing to suspend a lot of disbelief to enjoy Batman, but I don't believe for a second that Alfred would be out buying substandard, cut-rate caviar.

    I think Aunt Harriet chastised Alfred at the end because she was jealous. He had two hot babes, while she was stuck with two old goats. Either that or she's holding a torch for sprightly old Alfred.

    What a disappointing way to end the first season.

  3. Christine: "I am underwhelmed by this episode."

    I am, at most, whelmed. If you think this is bad, wait until S2, when writer Sheldon Stark plumbs new depths of awful

  4. Speaking of which, Julie Gregg also appears in the 1966 movie as the French singer.

  5. Julie Gregg also played a beauty queen in the opening sequence of "Green Ice," watching as the nearly 40 year old Bat Babe Dee Hartford gets kidnapped by Otto Preminger's Mister Freeze.

  6. Fine Finny Fiends F ~ 6th letter of the alphabet ~ 666
    33rd episode ~ 33rd degree of Masonry