Monday, October 24, 2011

The Batscholar on Episodes 59 & 60

By Joel Eisner

Well, we have reached the halfway mark in the series There are exactly 120 episodes to the series, and with the next episode we start the second half of the remaining 60 episodes. Now, with one two and three parters, there are actually only 66 stories. We will reach the halfway point in number of stories when we reach the Puzzler, and we start the remaining 33 episodes with the Sandman. But for now, we have a new villain especially created for both the series and for Cliff Robertson “I think I do kind of remember the producers making several calls ahead of time, saying, ‘We would love to have you on the show’. I was doing two films, when I talked with them, and at one point they said, ‘What kind of character would you like to play?’ I said it might be kind of fun to play a very, very, very dumb cowboy, who took himself very, very seriously. Then they decided to do a takeoff on Shane. That is how they came up with his name, Shame. I recall they kind of let me pick my own costume, and I did a lot of my own stunts.” (Charles Picerni did double Cliff for the more dangerous stunts).

Makeup Artist Bruce Hutchinson: “Cliff had his own ideas. He wanted to be very dark and very leathery-looking. So I just let him go. I’d put on the basic stuff and he did the rest himself. A lot of makeup men get upset if the actor wants to do his own makeup. But if it works for the character, I don’t object.”

The idea that there were still cowboys left in Gotham City, sort have goes with Edward Everitt Horton's Chief Screaming Chicken, the Last of the Mohicans. In fact it was the same writer Stanley Ralph Ross,“A lot of times the casting was not what we had imagined. I would just write the scripts and then find out Cliff Robertson was playing the part of Shame. I would have loved to have seen it played by Clint Eastwood, and he was a television actor at that time.”

Ross was told to write a cowboy episode, but never told who it was for, despite Cliff asking to play the cowboy part and the producers ordering Ross to write the script on his request. But in the case of Egghead, he knew Vincent Price was playing the part. I suppose the Archer was the same way, he didn't know Art Carney was playing the part.

Ross also recalled, “There was a scene where I had them staked out on the ground and had these cattle about to trample them, and I couldn’t figure out how to get them out of it. My son, who at the time was only about eight—and his name is Andy, which is why the kid’s name was Andy—said, ‘Would it make sense if all of these cattle would jar the ground enough that Batman could get his hands free?’ I liked it, so that is what we used.”

Eric Shea who played Andy was the kid in the Poseidon Adventure movie (1972). His brother Christopher was the voice of Linus on the Charlie Brown specials during the 1960's and the neighbor on the Odd Couple TV series. neither one has been seen for decades.

Shame's gang was made up of an ex Playboy playmate (at age 18) turned actress Joan Staley, She has long since retired from acting. Timothy Scott usually played in westerns and died in 1995. John Mitchum the younger brother of Robert Mitchum was something else. (he would later return as Hot Dog Harrigan, in the Joker surfing episode), he was a singer/songwriter who was a regular on F Troop as the German speaking Hoffenmueller (although the best episode he did was when he played the singer narrator in the Day They Shot Agarn episode). He would later be Clint Eastwood's sidekick in the first three Dirty Harry films. he died in 2001.

Milton Frome, returns as Laughing Leo, (he was the Admiral in the Batman movie), he was also appearing on the Bevery Hillbillies at the time as the head of Mammoth Studios. He was a carry over from the old Adventures of Superman show. Like Adam West, Joe Besser, Benny Rubin, and many others on the show, he also worked with the Three Stooges.

Laughing Leo’s car lot is located on the corner of Surf Avenue and 20th Street, which is where the childhood home of writer Stanley Ralph Ross was located, in the Coney Island section of Brooklyn, New York.

One of the other things Batman was doing was giving work to standup comedians, Jack Carter as Hot Rod Harry, was another in the line up which included Jerry Lewis, Milton Berle, Henny Youngman, and Bill Dana.

The Bat-Diamond which was located next to the power core in the previous episode reappears on the opposite side of the Batcave for its second and last appearance on the series.

Personally, I have never been a fan of westerns. Looking at the episode from a different view, I found Robertson was very adept at the comedy word play and the rest of the cast quite enjoyable. When Shame returned in the 3rd season, Robertson brought his new wife Dina Merrill with him.

The strangest thing about this episode is the appearance of Werner Klemperer as Colonel Klink in the window. “Hogan’s Heroes” was on a different network, and the fact that it was set during the 1940s made it impossible for the series to cross over. However, this didn’t faze the Dynamic Duo, who goes so far as to tell Klink to say hello to Colonel Hogan for them.

As you recall from episode 22. Batman and Robin have bulletproof soles at the bottom of their boots. So, you would have to assume that they did not extend the full length of their boots otherwise; Robin could not have been shot in the heel.

Next up the Penguin opens a resturant. An even stranger episode to start the second half of the series. Penguin's Nest was the first episode filmed for the second season but didn't air until four months later.


  1. As a die-hard ODD COUPLE fan (Hmm..."An ODD COUPLE a Day"?), I'm mortified that I never knew their annoying neighbor Philip was also the voice of Linus. Just shows once again how invaluable these blogs are.

  2. And wasn't the DJ at the radio station Jack Carter?