Friday, October 14, 2011

47 & 48: An Egg Grows in Gotham/The Yegg Foes in Gotham

Season 2 Episodes 47 & 48
Original Air Dates: 10/19/66 & 10/20/66
Special Guest Villain: Vincent Price as Egghead
Guest stars: Edward Everett Horton, Gail Hire
Written by: Stanley Ralph Ross, Story by Ed Self
Directed by: george waGGner

At eggsactly one minute past midnight, the ownership of Gotham City will revert to Chief Screaming Chicken (Horton) unless the sum of nine raccoon pelts is delivered. All this is not overlooked by the criminal genius known as Egghead. If he has his way (and he means to have his way) Gotham will have a new owner very soon.

PE: First of all, let me just ask you all to rise from your sofa, drop your comic books and Pez dispensers to the floor for a moment and join me in thanking Vincent Price for being Vincent Price. A happy 100th, Vinnie, you were one of a kind. 

JS: The only man who could bring class to anything he appeared in, be it Batman, The Brady Bunch, or Michael Jackson's Thriller. Of the villains introduced in Season 2, so far only Egghead even deserves mention alongside the show's heavy hitters.

PE: I'd say this is the episode PETA regularly protests. The person screaming the loudest though should be the original owner of that hideous raccoon coat that Bruce chops up to create his three pelts. I'm trying to picture someone walking down the street with three raccoon heads and tails hanging from their coat. 

JS: When Bruce is giving Dick a lesson on Gotham history, and he refers to the Waynes, the Tylers and the Savages—how many of you thought the savages reference was a politically incorrect statement? Thankfully that turned out not to be the case. Upmost care was taken to avoid racial insensitivity with the Native American references. And so we meet Chief, what-was-that? Chief Screaming Chicken? Oh, my.

PE: We find out in this episode that the population of Gotham is ten million. And yet, here we have those same three women approaching the Batmobile in front of Gotham City Hall.

JS: We are told that Egghead has to stop one—or all three—millionaires. Um, just to be clear, stopping one pretty much would have sealed the deal.

PE: O'Hara exclaims that simple murderers are easier to face than Egghead. When, do you suppose, has O'Hara faced a real murderer? He proclaims Egghead the "smartest man in Gotham" and exclaims "Present company excepted" when chastised by Robin. You just know the Chief meant himself!

JS: I love how when O'Hara sees Bruce Wayne, he asks if he's seen Batman, since he has to shoot him as soon as he finds him. Thank goodness for the caped crusader that the dim bulb was running the show.

PE: Miss Bacon (Gail Hire) moves right into first place for Babe of the Season with her Demi Moore in full Disclosure mode.

JS: I'm afraid we're going to have to EGGree to disEGGree on that front. 

PE: You're saying to yourself "My gosh, that Screaming Chicken character sure sounds familiar. Yep, he was the narrator for "Fractured Fairy Tales" on the Bullwinkle Show! Even closer to home, he played a character named "Roaring Chicken" on The F Troop.

JS: I love the scene where he's about to scalp Robin! But even better than that is when Egghead indicates that his exploding egg will go off at the slightest vibration before rolling it along the floor!

PE: I just know that Batman spends a bit of time in the morning, before setting out on adventures, trying to decide which pills and devices to bring with him. He can't fit it all in that utility belt even as wide as that waist is. "Hmmm, will I need my sad pills today? Well, Penguin's in the pokey, so I don't need my Penguin Anti-Umbrella pellets. No water, no sharks."

JS: I still don't get why sad pills would disrupt laughing gas. However that laughing sequence is one of the scariest ones from the show to date.

PE: I thought Bruce's method of remembering a friend's phone number for the Bat-Automatic Dialing Phone was a stroke of genius. He just remembers the name of the girl he stole from Pete Savage and corresponds the letters of the dame's name to the numbers. He brings it back to earth a minute later though (and deters me from using the same system) when he admits to Robin that trick doesn't always work because he's stolen so many girlfriends and more than one of them was named Bambi. 

JS: Okay. So Egghead thinks he's got it all figured out. Batman is one of the three millionaires. But not Tyler or Savage. Hmmm.... Who does that leave. Possibly Bruce Wayne, but let's go to the machine to find out. Hey Egghead—how about the fact that he has a Robin-aged ward that he drags along everywhere he goes?

PE: Excuse me. Egghead's machine will leave Bruce Wayne "an empty-headed fop"? Some cliffhanger this is.

JS: How did I (and probably every one of you following along at home) just know that Bruce Wayne was going to claim to have been a marble champion? 

PE: Best Bat-dialogue this episode comes as the Dynamic Duo are shown the city limits by "Gotham's Finest":

Robin: This is the saddest day of my young life, Batman.
         Batman: What will be will be.Robin: Goodbye Gotham City. You were my kind of town.

PE: How many out there remember the wondrous Bill Dana? Us kids of the 1960s loved the guy. "My name Jose Jimenez." No Andy Kaufman without this guy. There, I said it.

JS: I was quite pleased to see our old pal Burt Mustin as Old McDonald. Burt had bit parts in Thriller and The Outer Limits, not to mention the Jesse James episode of The Brady Bunch.

PE: Batman finds a clause in the contract that specifically states that the sale of Gotham can't go through if the buyer has committed crimes against Gotham. Robin, punching his fist as he is wont to do, asks "Gosh, Batman, what does it mean?" I really wanted to see Batman throw that priceless parchment at the Boy Wonder. 

JS: Don't you think it might have been in the city's best interests for the mayor to have read the fine print on the city charter before handing over the reins of the city to a hardened criminal?

PE: Speaking of throwing things at the Boy Wonder, I lived vicariously through Vincent Price when he pelted Burt Ward with those eggs.

PE Rating: 

JS Rating: 

Next up... Fingers! Same Bat Time, Same Bat URL!


  1. Outstanding all around; one of the very best shows in the series. The casting was ideal from Price down to the bit players. The story was quite a variation on the formula, and the humor was admirably metacognitive. (My favorite line comes after Bruce's admission about the marble championship. "Even then..." We forget what it must be like to be Dick Grayson sometimes. Yes, he is a paragon of virtue, a genius of the first rank, and a very kind guardian, but Bruce Wayne can drive you a little nuts, too...)

    One of the funnier implicit jokes in the story is that Egghead is meant to be the smartest man in Gotham City and he must be, as he is the first to even suspect Bruce Wayne of being Batman. One wonders where Chief O'Hara and Aunt Harriet fall on the Gotham's Brainiest List.

    And just to make sure this isn't a controversy-free comment, I will suggest that this story would have been far less funny had it been pitched, written, and filmed in the first year. Among other things, the egg puns, the marble scene, and Edward Everett Horton would never have been allowed, and I would miss them all.

  2. P.E.: "I lived vicariously through Vincent Price when he pelted Burt Ward with those eggs." You and, reportedly, everyone else on the set at that time.

    I'm not going to take LJS's bait and rise to the controversy. If by S2 this was to be the new, not improved, "Batman," then episodes like this and the Tut-fests were the finest of their kind. For this episode even Stan Ross developed a story and controlled his nervous tic of winking every ten seconds at the audience. Maybe he was too busy making up egg puns. (BTW: The story is credited to one Ed Self. Batscholar: Any relation to Bill Self in Fox production?)

    The casting is perfect. The EGGsquisite Mr. Price was born to play this show. Even the smallest roles are EGGcellently cast. Why, there's even good ole Ben Welden, assistant heavy in what seemed like a hundred "Adventure of Superman."

    I"m still waiting for the Batbeam to spotlight Nelson Riddle, who for the first time in his career was asked to arrange "Old MacDonald" into a big band fight cue. Of course he could do it. Can't everybody?

    Can someone EGGsplain to me the dress code for this outing's henchmen? My guess is they're supposed to mimic stereotypes of college professors: tweed jackets, vests, even briar pipes. But what if Acme® Tailoring for Super Villains had suggested a different approach: the breakfast theme? What if Miss Bacon had dripped grease, and the other two, renamed Pancakes and Sausage, had been layered in syrup and red peppers?

  3. read my comments on this episode, you will learn a lot of what when on with this episode. Ed Self was the son of William Self. Egghead's men were meant to be old style gangsters not mob men like in Zelda or even Mad Hatter, but the old type that wore three piece suits. and carried guns.

  4. Pretty well concocted story in the spoofier, wacky new format, from the daffy pop-art Egghead hideout to Price's over-the-top (tho completely in tune) performance. It even an egg-stra dollop of inside nudges, from casting to sly asides. When Wayne talked about how he got a hold of his three raccoon pelts, that seemed to be a pretty obvious (at the time) shot at one-time swooner crooner Rudy Vallee (who I wonder if was already on the slate to appear as Pfogg, or wrangled that out of them for the cheap shot?)..
    Some intentionally goofy lines, as usual: "wholly semantics Batman, you never cease to amaze me!"
    Egghead's whole schtick seems based around him being the brilliant mastermind, however he just seems a bare cut-above the usual sly schemers that Batman foils.
    Why does Bruce's old friend Savage have a french accent -- is Gotham akin to Quebec City?
    The actor who played Tim Tyler looked like the father of David Rasche of Sledgehammer...

  5. rockfish: "Why does Bruce's old friend Savage have a french accent?" So that, by his uncanny powers of deduction, Egghead can immediately eliminate him as Bats and move directly to turning BW's brain to mucilage.

  6. Egghead may have just edged out Bookworm as my favorite villain. I guess I can love them both. I don't much care for the storyline, but Vincent Price could make rotten eggs smell like roses, and as noted, there's still quite a lot to enjoy about these episodes. Edward Everett Horton is a good egg, but does not really get to shine as Chief Screaming Prejudice, as he really is quite a funny, animated guy. I guess you can't make an omelette without breaking eggs.

    Hope I don't end up with egg on my face, or egg anyone on, so I will try to walk on eggs here, but as a kid, S2 episodes like this one appealed to me more than the S1 episodes that now cater to my adult tastes. Fortunately my inner child allows me to appreciate them all, though I'm finding that he that would have eggs must endure the cackling of hens in Season 2.

  7. Christine: "…though I'm finding that he that would have eggs must endure the cackling of hens in Season 2." That is Batwisdom on par with the Great Bat himself.

  8. My belief is Egghead knew about the loophole the whole time. It's just that with the charter back in the museum and as part of a trap for Batman should he return and try to take it again. Batman didn't have Egghead by anything. He planned it that way. Silly writers. Hence the major robbery at the treasury,