Friday, October 21, 2011

Episodes 57 & 58: Marsha, Queen of Diamonds/Marsha's Scheme of Diamonds

Season 2 Episodes 57 & 58
Original Air Dates: 11/23/66 & 11/24/66
Special Guest Villainess: Carolyn Jones as Marsha, Queen of Diamonds
Guest stars: Woody Strode, Estelle Winwood
Written by: Stanford Sherman
Directed by: James B. Clark

Marsha, Queen of Diamonds will do anything to get her hands on the ultimate gem: the Batcave's Bat-Diamond, which provides all the incredible power to the Dynamic Duo's secret lair. Marsha captures Robin, Commissioner Gordon, and Chief O'Hara with her deadly love darts and blackmails Batman into marrying her. Only a last-second reprieve allows the Caped Crusader to walk away unscathed.

PE: Hey, Marsha's in town and Batman and Robin are fixing their bat-diamond. What a coincidence! Alfred doesn't seem too happy that the Duo are horning in on his territory. I'm still trying to figure out how Marsha found out about the bat-diamond when her man-servant exclaims "But, Marsha, no one knows where the batcave is!" I'm wondering if, at some point, Marsha shot Alfred with one of her tell-all love darts and he spilled the beans on the diamond.

JS: I thought it was handy that they had recently installed a new Batphone extension near the diamond, so they wouldn't have to make that long walk to the Batphone a few feet away.

PE: Holy variety! No trip to the batpoles this episode as the boys are already downstairs and in their underclothes. This was an oddly structured arc altogether as there's also no recap at the intro of Part 2.

JS: Yeah, this one's unconventional all the way around. 

PE: Here's a first for the series: Commissioner Gordon refuses the advances of a lovely lady. 

JS: I think Gordon had the best bit in this episode, which reads just as well out of context when he says, "Your hanky-panky won't work with me. I want O'Hara." Well that explains a lot...

PE: My favorite Bat-dialogue for this episode:
Marsha: You mean you're not in love with me?

Batman: I'm not even mildly interested.
JS: After being shot with Cupid's arrow, Batman seems even more affected than the others. Can you say Batgasm?

PE: Evidently, Stanford Sherman answered "not on your life" when the producers interviewed him for the job with the question "Have you ever watched the show?" He'd have known that Batman's excuse for not bringing Marsha to the Batcave doesn't hold water. He's brought three strangers that I know of: "Poor, deluded (or is it diluted?)" Molly (Jill St. John), Commissioner Gordon and The Penguin. I think he really wanted to marry Marsha. A new kick.

JS: I would have liked to have seen a scene between Alfred and Aunt Harriet where they work out their plan to save Batman from getting married to Marsha.

PE: When Batman gets to the altar, his first question is, naturally, "How is Robin?" My question is: "Who are these people in the church?" and more importantly "will they spill the beans that Batman is actually married to a wrinkly old hag?" No worries though, I'm sure Gotham will forget by the next episode anyway. 

JS: Damn. While not a conventional Bat-Babe, 'wrinkly old hag' is a pretty harsh description of Marsha! 

PE: In California, Alfred and Batman would never get away with driving around with a "Just Married" sign on the Batmobile. 

JS: You're wrong, Peter. California would welcome the new dynamic duo with open arms.

PE: When Batman and Alfred break the door down to rescue the love-craved hostages, Bats tells his butler "Never mind about them, Alfred, our first concern is Robin." He must have dug down deep into the Bat-Vitamin and General Drug Locker for those Anti-Love pellets.

JS: How can we go without mentioning Bat Toad and the Toad Wonder? I had to rewind and re-watch this scene to believe it. Putting costumes on toads, and asking the audience to believe they can talk was a new low for the series.

PE: Not a bad cast here for support: Carolyn Jones is, of course, best known as Morticia on The Addams Family, but my favorite Jones role would have be the giggly Cathy in House of Wax (1953). What I didn't know was that she was Aaron Spelling's first wife. She died way too young in 1983 at age 53. Grand Mogul is played by the great Woody Strode, who etched himself in the brain of all western fans, despite a meager amount of screen time, in the opening scenes of Once Upon a Time in the West (1968). 

TV veteran Estelle Winwood steals every scene she's in as Marsha's goofy Aunt Hilda. So, not a great episode but certainly a step up from the pap we were exposed to yesterday. Ouch, what was that. As I was saying.... the best batman episode ever. The best TV show ever...

PE Rating: 

JS Rating: 

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


  1. There was a scene in which Alfred and Aunt Harriet decide to help, wasn't there? We don't see them hatch the exact plan, but it's actually Aunt Harriet who really lights the fire under Alfred, who presumably worked out the details.

    Not the tightest story in the series, particularly by the ending, but Carolyn Jones is ideal and she really has the perfect tone for the character and the series. So glad to see her again in a few weeks, especially with a stronger story next time. I mentioned it once before, but we all dodged a bullet here in that Zsa Zsa wasn't available to play Marsha.

  2. We have now hit that point in the series I knew was coming: the Enfantino/Scoleri commentary draws deeper laughs than the shows they are watching. Well done, gentlemen. Your priceless humor is the reason I signed onto this Batblog to begin with.

  3. Question #1 for Joel: Was this episode shot before "Green Ice..." but broadcast after it? The reason I'm asking has to do with Question #2: Did Burt Ward injure his right forearm during the filming of "Marsha"? More often than not (if memory serves), we see his cape covering that arm. And in "Green Ice..." it is quite clearly bandaged (check out the shot, posted in that episode's blog entry, with B & R and the little boy). To compromise the show's cartoon unreality with a big bandage on the Boy Wonder's arm suggests that this must have been one heck of an injury. Any details?

  4. Green Ice was filmed right before Marsha. The Joker episode which aired inbetween the two was actually filmed before Green Ice. Shame is next in production order after Mzrsha.

  5. So speaketh the Batscholar: "The character of Marsha Queen of Diamonds makes no sense what so ever." He goes on to point out that Estelle Winwood's witchy character with her magic potions doesn't enhance the logic. May I point up an obviously missed opportunity? Poison Ivy. I believe she was introduced into the comics at about the same time the series was peaking. Poison Ivy was a valid character in her own right; her chemically enhanced lipstick wielded romantic powers; and, attired in a knock-out costume, could have been played with relish by a hot babe of the period. And so I ask: With this plum ripe for the plucking, why was Marsha foisted on us—not once but again and again?

    1. And I know the one guest villainess who would have been perfect to play Ivy, back in the day: Ann-Margret!

  6. Nuts about plants is better than nuts about diamonds? I'm not convinced...

  7. LJS: "Nuts about plants is better than nuts about diamonds? I'm not convinced..." How about this: In cahoots with a revamp of Woody Strode's character (BTW, I love this episode's actors more than I love their roles), from her top-secret greenhouse (calling Serge Krizman) Poison Ivy grows a pleasant, powerful weed with which she covers Gotham City in her souped-up crop-duster (recycling the sky-writing footage from S1). She holds a supremely mellowed-out city for ransom until millionaire Bruce Wayne pays out his entire fortune. By nature he's already so hopped-up that he can't tell his cowl from a cave in the ground. Dick couldn't care less: under the influence of aerial hash, he's too busy making out with every cheerleader at Woodrow Roosevelt High. So Poison Ivy wins control, spinning off the next fantastic series, Magna, P. I., the grandmother of today's hit, Weeds.

    I think there's a chance my story might have sold.

  8. I stand corrected. That's a pretty good scenario. Of course, once we all started watching the spin-off, we would complain that none of the episodes were as good as your pilot and that it became too campy...

  9. LJS: "I stand corrected. That's a pretty good scenario." Thanks—but will you PAY me for it? I need the bread, and badly.

  10. Yes, but after you give part of it to Time Warner, and part to the heirs of Greeneay Productions, how much would you really have left? Probably doesn't pay to put the series out at all...

  11. Sorry to say I thought this was one of the weakest episodes I've seen so far. I like a good witch's brew, but it didn't work here. Morticia needed to stay at home with the Addam's Family, darling. Judge for yourself it's believability, but I think it couldn't happen here.

    I also would have liked to have seen Poison Ivy, though I think I'd prefer that character with the Season 1 flavor. She certainly operates on the same level as Catwoman.

    Whew! I'm almost caught up now.

  12. I agree, Clifton. Never cared for Marsha and Ivy would have been a much better choice. As Batscholar says, it was too much like Morticia.

  13. MY favorite exchange:

    "Grand Mogul?"
    "YES, your highness?"
    "Carve them into camel food."
    "YYYES, your highness!"

    He just seemed to be enjoying the idea too much.

  14. Tune in to see if she misses or Mrs! "You two timing Bat fink!"