Monday, September 26, 2011

The Batscholar on Episodes 25 & 26


By Joel Eisner

While not the best episode of the first season and not the Joker at his best, It is a fun episode. When the Joker first shows up at the fur salon to steal a hairpin from the wife of the golf club owner, he is draped in a cape and slouch hat, he looks like the Shadow.

Later, one of the odd things about this episode happens, we see the Joker high above the trees on a moving platform watching the Maharajah playing golf, but only moments later Joker's men kidnap the now unconscious ruler with the same platform. As we learn later in the story the Joker and the Maharajah are the same person. Unless he is taking lessons from FalseFace, there is no way he could have been playing golf and watching himself on the platform at the same time let alone, quickly change costumes to have his men kidnap him moments later. It gets even stranger when Bruce and Dick find Joker's hideout behind the Novelty store. Using the reverse prism, Bruce spots the Maharajah and the Joker's men in the storeroom, but not only does he see them, he can hear them as well (or is that just for our benefit). Henchman #1 (Joker's men have their usual costumes but this time have no names) played by Norman Alden seems to be perturbed by the Maharajah. Doesn't he know that it is the Joker. Also unless Joker knows someone is watching why is he dressed as the Maharajah when it is not necessary to do so. Norman Alden who played the Captain on Tim Conway's short lived Rango tv series, would later take over the reins from Marvin Miller as the voice of Aquaman for the cartoon Super-Friends tv show.

When Batman and Robin track Joker to the abandoned Oil Refinery, only to be tricked by the folding mirrors on Joker's truck. The truck features the logo, Let Gay Fellow take you to the cleaners. Considering Cesar Romero was gay, it was an ironic turn of phrase although the word gay was not being used at this point in time.

Joker for no apparent reason breaks into song as his men tie up the duo and lead them to the chimney where he intends to drown them in poison gas. What is never explained is why a chimney has a locked door, with a chain latch to keep it closed, hardly airtight, yet the gas does not leak out. But more importantly, why is there a two way intercom system imbedded in the wall of the chimney? I do love Joker's response to his henchman commenting on how Batman and Robin escaped from the chimney. He told him they took the elevator. A snappy answer to a stupid question.

After Batman and Robin surprise Joker (no longer in Maharajah clothing) and his men at the Novelty store, Joker and Jill manage to escape while Batman rounds up his henchmen. That is the last time you ever see Jill. No explaination, no nothing. When the Maharajah arrives at the bank with two guards, she is no where to be found. Also, these two henchmen were not among those captured at the novelty store. Where were they hiding? After the Joker is in his words 'deflated', Batman removes his leftover FalseFace mask and you see the extent of Cesar's makeup, it sort of ends at his neck. He is seen wearing a t shirt underneath his costume and a chain with an unseen religeous medal around his neck. I supose like his mustache, Cesar refused to remove it as well.

Besides the future Aquaman, this episodes features Dan Seymour as the Maharajah, who was one of the most frequent guest villains on the George Reeves, Adventures of the Superman show. Also known as the doorman at Rick's Cafe in the film Casablanca, Seymour (whose real name was Daniel Seymour Katz) played numerous fat man parts (he was 265 pounds) mostly Arabs, like Abbott & Costello in the Foreign Legion and Meet the Mummy, He gave his last known appearance on the 1989 game show 3rd Degree where appeared alongside Leonid Kinskey (Uncle Oscar from the 2nd Mad Hatter episode) where panelists had to guess what the both had in common (besides Batman), which was they were the last surviving members of the cast of the film Casablanca. he died a few years later at the age of 78. He was sort a cross between Sidney Greenstreet and Victor Buono.


Next Victor Buono as King Tut with a guest appearance by the voice of the cartoon Batman.

3 comments:

  1. I love my Monday Bat-fix. Biggest surprise today is learnng that Cesar Romero was gay (like Frank Miller's take on Joker).

    I like the idea that Joker might be wearing makeup instead of having bleached skin -- makes a lot more sense out of the moustache.

    Nice learning about all these cartoon voices too!

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  2. The big non-secret of Hollywood... took stories that would have sold millions of books to the grave, staying the true gent he always portrayed. No matter how humdrum this episode appears, it does lack oomph, but Romero in song makes it a pleasurable memory.

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  3. I remember reading somewhere that Cesar Romero escorted Agnes Moorehead to the Emmys, or some such event. Now the pieces fall in place: he was gay; she was lesbian. A perfect couple in the land of make-believe.

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