by Joel Eisner
By this time in his career Sanders was doing frequent tv appearance, he had recently appearance on the final episode of the first season of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and had a recurring role as a Bond like villain on the Man From UNCLE. He as also the former husband to future Batvillain Zsa Zsa Gabor. Dozier had known Gabor for years so it was possible he had known Sanders as well. Sanders was born in Russia but lived for many years in England, which is why both he and his brother had pronounced British accents. He had played numerous German villains during the war years, so he was a good choice for Mr Freeze. However, for some reason, he chose to over due it. Having seen his earlier work I know his German accent was quote good. Here it was too over blown. Too stereotypical German mad scientist sounding. It was still a good performance but Sanders like Otto Preminger had no sense of humor. So, it might have affected his performance. Sanders was known as a very cold man to those who knew him, although Vincent Price who knew him well claimed he was quite a practical joker. But that was earlier in his career so he may have grown sour. He later committed suicide when he felt he had had enough with living. Alan Napier was also one of Sanders friends and he told me stories about Sanders. He knew him very well and said he was a very deep and sensitive man underneath this cold exterior. (He was afraid of being hurt so he developed this cad personna). Well, Sanders (and Preminger) being a cold man may have seemed perfect for Mr Freeze.
The episode was originally assigned to writer Leonard Stadd, but when he turned in his script, it was unfilmable. They turned it over to Max Hodge (who also wrote the Preminger episode) who created the entire Freeze personna. The German accent, the real name of Dr Shivel, and the history of him being an evil scientist who created an instant freeze solution, that during a fight with Batman in his lab has the beaker break covering him in the solution. Forcing him to live at a temperature of fifty degrees below zero. With the popularity of the series, the character returned to the comic books as Mr Freeze. He also appeared in the 1967 Filmation cartoon series. Hodge towards the end of his life filed a lawsuit against Warners and DC (when Mr Freeze turned up on the big screen) claiming he created the character and was entitled to be paid for it. It never went away and not long after Hodge died
Sanders despite the restrictions of the accent and the spacesuit he was forced to wear, managed to instill a Bond like villain quality to the character when he is attired in his smoking jacket and sitting around drinking martinis and acting more like Goldfinger than a Batman villain. Of note was his order to his men not to use their guns against Batman. He seemed to prefer his temperature control device. He like his prior German villains of the past prefered to toy and torture Batman rather than kill him outright. He also showed some remorse for having to kill Robin. Having found the location of his frozen headquarters (where in Gotham did they have ice covered mountains in July) so he couldn't let him live.
As to the rest of the guest cast, Shelby Grant as Princess Sandra she had little to do. She was not Mr' Freeze's girl (Preminger kidnapped Miss Iceland but it wasn't until Eli Wallach that Mr Freeze got a girl). and as a victim she was just there to break up the all male cast members. She is married to Medical Center star Chad Everitt.
William O'Connell who managed the Diamond Exchange was the Andorian Spy in the Star Trek episode Journey to Babel. John Zaremba as Freeze's butler Kolevator later became Dr Swain on the Time Tunnel tv series. Robert Hogan was a staple on many soap operas and prime time detective shows. Freeze's henchmen were the usual bunch of actor/stuntmen. Troy Melton who played Chill had a long history as a Fox stuntman and also doubled for actor Richard Webb on the Star Trek episode Court Martial.
Since Batman for the first season was filmed at both Fox and Desilu (which produced Star Trek) and shared the same casting directors, there was a great crossover between the shows. When the series moved completely to Fox, the crossovers changed and there were more crossovers from the Fox feature and series players.
Sanders was supposed to return as Mr Freeze but was unavailable so they recast the part with Preminger (when Preminger couldn't come back Wallach stepped into the role). The villains never had a contract. They were paid a flat fee of $2,500 for a two part episode and no residuals (no additional money for reruns). Not having a contract, gave the producers the advantage with the guest star, when Gorshin demanded more money to return for the second season. They could recast the part (although in Gorshin's case it was a mistake) But it allowed Preminger to step in without having to wait for Sanders to available.
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