This episode is based on a February 1964 comic book story in which the Mad Hatter commits crimes based on the occupations of the jurors who sent him to prison. This is far more interesting than the version seen here. It made no real sense to kidnap the jurors who sent him to prison, just to get their hats. If he was planning to kill them, to get revenge that would make more sense, but it was never explained what he planned to do with them. Other than this plothole, Mad Hatter comes off as a rather bizzare campy villain not as manic as the Joker but something more ambiguous. David Wayne another Fox contract player claimed he had a hand in the depiction of the character, in particular the makeup, the voice and mannerisms. Jervis Tetch, (one of the few villains to actually use his real name in the show) is a cross between a hollywood dandy, an effeminate stereotype homosexual and a prissy old movie villain. The lispy voice, gloves, dapper costume, he brought something to the character which he could not get from the comics, a personality. Jervis Tetch was the second Mad Hatter in the Batman comics, the first created in the 1940's, and was based on the Alice in Wonderland character. He didn't last long before he was replaced. The most recent incarnation has him as Jervis but closer to the Wonderland character.
David Wayne did Batman as a lark. It was the show to do, but he claims it was beneath him as an actor and hated the whole experience. He claims he was blackmailed by the studio to return for the second season, they had the script written and refused to recast the part. Despite his hatred of the role, he seemed to be enjoying himself quite a bit, especially when he is giving the tour of his hat factory torture room.
Diane McBain as Hatter's girl Lisa, has little to do but she works for Madame Magda, a hat designer/boutique owner who was one of Tetch's 12 jurors. Once she helps get Magda and her hat, her job is over. Until she aids in the capture of Turkey Bullwinkle, the final juror who owns a bowling alley. Otherwise, Diane had to wait until second season to fare somewhat better as Pinky Pinkston in the Green Hornet episode. Diane had no memory of working on this episode, in fact she had thought she worked with the Penguin.
The Hatter's henchmen consisted of Dicer, played by frequent Batman stuntman Gil Perkins and Cappy played by Roland La Starza a former heavyweight boxer who once fought champion Rocky Marciano for the Heavyweight Boxing Title. Someone on this series must have been a boxing fan as several former boxers turned up on the series over the next two years. (There were of course the extra henchmen that turned up during the final battle but they were never given names).
Story editor Charles Hoffman wrote this episode and many more over the lifetime of the series, but he was not a very good writer. He penned several episodes that are fun but make little sense and have too many plotholes. Norman Foster returned to direct his second and final episode, which is far better than Zelda, in that it had a final Bat-Fight. As much as the rotating knives and felt shredders looked fake, they still added to the battle. In the end, Jervis winds up in his own vat of shrinking solution. It would have been funnier if when the hauled him out of the vat, his clothes had shrunk. On the topic of clothes, how could I leave out the Hatter's Super instant mezmorizer in his hat. That put Penguin's purple hat to shame. Operated by a wire which fed from the back of the hat and down into Wayne's suit jacket with the control wire going down his sleeze. When he pressed the squeeze bulb, it popped the hat open. The light effects were added later in post production. I wonder whatever happened to that hat.
Next: Joker Goes to School.