Thursday, October 27, 2011

65 & 66: The Puzzles Are Coming/The Duo is Slumming

Season 2 Episodes 65 & 66
Original Air Dates: 12/21/66, 12/22/66
Special Guest Villain: Maurice Evans as The Puzzler
Guest stars: Barbara Stuart, Paul Smith
Written by: Fred de Gorter
Directed by: Jeffrey Hayden

Synopsis: Batman thinks the Puzzler has come to town to take advantage of one of Gotham City's other millionaires, only to find out that he is courting a potential business associate. Or is he? The Riddler—oops—The Puzzler, is really after the plans to a secret new plane. Turns out he's quite the aviation enthusiast, and perhaps should have chosen a different name.

JS: Call him The Puzzler if you must, but for this viewer he's a clean-shaven Dr. Zaius.

PE: Wearing more make-up here than he will as an orangutan! Yep, you gotta love Maurice Evans, but love him for Planet of the Apes, not this. He looks bored and, weird to say with all these classically trained actors hanging around Gotham, out of place. I had a hard time understanding what he was saying half the time. 

JS: Early on we find out Dick is a master bird caller. Most surprising—that comes into play later in the story. Something tells me no one told de Gorter how this was supposed to work.

PE: You know how to whistle, don't you...

JS: Batman wants to cross swords with Artemus Knab. No comment.

PE: You mean the Artemus Knab who's never seen Batman and Robin? Come to think of it, that scene confused the heck out of me. Puzzler says "Batman and Robin?" and Bats looks at him and says "Yes, Puzzler, we are Batman and Robin." Does this infer that, even though the Chief and Commissioner automatically knew that it was The Puzzler up to his old tricks again, the Dynamic Duo had never faced this criminal before?

JS: Gotta love how Batman kicks Robin for mouthing off to fellow millionaire Knab. I guess those millionaires have to learn to keep their wards in their place.

PE: Actually, John, Knab is a "reasonably successful billionaire" according to Robin.

JS: It seems that Batman has balloon issues. From the double-take when he sees the balloon animals in The Puzzler's lair (perhaps a hint at some childhood trauma that ties to his origin?), to the attack of the balloons, to his all too serious, "Well... What have we here...." when he finds Alfred and Aunt Harriett blowing up balloons in Wayne Manor, there's something going on. I'm sure of it.

PE: Maybe Fredric Wertham was right?

JS: Say it with me now: "The elusive, high-flying giant red-eyed hermit newthatch bird."

PE: You mean the one that will pluck small holes in the balloon and allow it to glide slowly to earth? That one? Looks like a crow to me.

JS: This episode's would-be Bat-Babe is from the vintage collection. But Knab certainly appreciated her "well-rounded talent." 

JS: For the first time since the series started, I felt like a pandered-to kid by the ludicrous inclusion of Santa Claus during the wall crawl. 

PE: Everything up to this point I could buy. Bat shark-repellant. Penguin paroled after two months. Jill St. John as Robin. Adam West pulling down more dough than Frank Gorshin. A billionaire naming his new plane "rooster backwards."  There's no such thing as Santa. What kind of fools did they take us kids for? 

JS: Batman's Hamlet delivery convinced me that he'd best keep his day job.

PE: To quote Artemus Knab: "We can do without any more lines from Shakespeare."

JS: What do you imagine the "odor of secret writing" smells like? Medicine with a hint of lemon, perhaps?

PE: Probably the same odor the script for this gave off.

JS: I actually thought the fight choreographers did some nice work in this episode, with some well crafted altercations and a few nice synchronized moves from the dynamic duo.

PE: Please don't make me explain (or ever watch again) the scene where Batman solves the puzzle of "sevens." You're going to make me explain it, aren't you? Well, as Batman so eloquently puts it: "It must be something connected to his trying to tell us something!" So, there are seven digits in the modern phone number except there are no "z"s on a phone dial and "z" stands for zounds which means surprise which is what The Puzzler clearly wants to do to the Dynamic Duo, right? Wrong! They're not surprised because Shakespeare wrote The Merry Mothers of Windsor and that had a lot of odd numbers in its lines and that means The Puzzler's phone number is made of odd numbers! Voila! Huh? 

JS: Some things should not have to be explained. Others have no explanation. For example... 

PE: To paraphrase John Mellencamp: "This may not be the bottom, but you can see it from here."

PE Rating: 

JS Rating: 

Next up... The Sandman! And The CatwomanSame Bat Time, Same Bat URL!


  1. Regarding "the odor of secret writing," in Ian Fleming's ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE, James Bond needs to get some information down on paper and is forced to use the only invisible ink available...his own urine.

  2. Beside this the Clock KIng looks like a masterpiece. These episodes are wretched beyond words. (I hope I'm not offending anyone. A chacun son gout, to quote the Bard.)

  3. Not so much "Dr. Zaius" as "Maurice" (Samantha's father). Except HE was a lot more fun.