Monday, October 31, 2011

Episodes 69 & 70: The Contaminated Cowl/The Mad Hatter Runs Afoul

Season 2 Episodes 69 & 70
Original Air Dates: 1/4/67 & 1/5/67
Special Guest Villain: David Wayne as The Mad Hatter
Guest stars: Jean Hale, Lennie Bremen
Written by: Charles Hoffman
Directed by: Oscar Rudolph

The Mad Hatter steals 700 hat boxes from BonBon's Box Boutique but that's only an appetizer to his evil main course: stealing the ruby from the Golden Buddha of Bergama and replacing it with the cheap phony he stole from the hat of Hattie Hatfield. In the process, The Mad Hatter also manages to embarrass Batman by spraying him with radioactive particles and turning his cowl pink (a nice look on him). 

PE: Did I hear that right? The Mad Hatter broke out of jail last week and Warden Creighton thought to mention it to Commissioner Gordon only after the heinous crime was committed? As Gordon puts it: "Sometimes I wonder if the Warden's rehabilitation program isn't... getting out of hand." Fairly soon, I have a feeling we'll be seeing a new criminal in Gotham, The Warden!

JS: There are times, during his long speeches, that the Mad Hatter reminds me of an overacting Mike Myers. That said, Myers would have been ideal casting had Joel Schumaker picked the Hatter for resurrection in the 80s-90s film series.

PE: Do you ever wonder why Batman and Robin bother coming to Gotham City Hall? I do. They rush over, breaking who knows how many speed limits to listen to some baloney the Commissioner could relay over the phone and, after hearing the startling news that, yep, it's The Catwoman (or fill it in with this week's guest villain) alrighty, Batman says "well, Robin, to the Batcave, quick!" Robin should look up at his big brother and sigh, "But we just got here!"

JS: Gas was a lot cheaper then. Biggest revelation for this episode—Batman reads the daily gossip column.

PE: When Bats gets it with the radioactive spray, I was hoping he'd sprout wings or at least fangs. Instead, we get a ridiculously pink cowl (doubtless, The Mad Hatter will really want it now). I'm sure those who were living near nuclear plants sighed in relief to know that their children wouldn't grow that third eye all the No-Nukes fools threatened.

JS: But let's be frank. If the cowl were just radioactive, Bats would have focused on the business at hand, his own safety aside. But you knew he wasn't going to run around for the entire episode in a cowl that had been turned pink (not that there's anything wrong with that! -PE). Although to be honest, I was a little disappointed that his cape wasn't turned as well.

PE: And Bruce Wayne cut a check to Professor Overbeck for his continued studies in atomic energy. The first thing he says to Batman is that "so little is known about radioactive agents." Is the check to get the professor started in the field? Shouldn't Wayne already know all about radioactivity since he's got a frickin' nuclear reactor in his basement?

JS: Anyone who followed Thriller knows I'm a sucker for skeleton cameos, so it should come as no surprise what a treat it was to see our dynamic duo stripped to the bone (or shorts, as the case may be). It would have been a worthy exit, had it proven to be true.

PE: Gordon, sitting in exactly the same pose as he was in the opening, moans that his world "has been ripped to shreds... seam by seam," when he learns that the scantily-clad skeletons of the Dynamic Duo have been found. Man, were we fooled! I thought for sure, after seeing those realistic bat-skeletons, that this time it was curtains for Batman and Robin. I was contemplating what I would do with all my free viewing time: What's Happening-a-Day? 60 Minutes-a-Day? One Day at a Time-a-Day?

JS: How about Stafford Repp's Emmy-worthy scene as he's overcome with emotion upon hearing Batman's fate. Once again, the thought of actually having to do his job surely got to Chief O'Hara.

PE: Luckily, Bats packed his Bat X-Ray Deflector in his utility belt (shouldn't he be wearing a Bat-pack by now with all the stuff he lugs around?) and the extra costumes in the Batmobile, so I won't have to worry about unemployment just yet.  Who decided the Boy Wonder should be shirtless? In the best line in the show, the Caped Crusader remind the professor that the ruse would never have worked were it not for the "two skeletons in your closet!"

JS: I loved how he bragged about it like he were on an infomercial. 

PE: The more screen time Aunt Harriet gets, the more I appreciate nails on a chalkboard.

JS: As she often brings with her more Alfred time, it's a small price to pay. I love that we get a little more Pennyworth history, and love the ghost-white faces of Bruce and Dick when he decides to tell Aunt Harriet the truth.

PE: When Gordon tells Batman how glad he is that the Duo are back to solving all the crime in Gotham, you can see the two empty bottles of JD on his desk and O'Hara passed out on the floor.

JS: How appropriate was it that when O'Hara and the GCPD arrive on the scene, it's played out like a Keystone Cops routine.

PE: That hound dog Gordon did me proud again. He leaves his squad to clean up the mess while he takes Polly in by himself to "book her." Since she's obviously the most dangerous of the gang, she'll need special attention.

JS: I think he wanted to interview her for the French maid position at Casa Gordon.

JS: You've also gotta love the stock shots of the crowd of 50,000 Gotham City locals that follow the Dynamic Duo around everywhere they go.

PE Rating: 

JS Rating: 

Next up... The Joker & The Penguin! Same Bat Time, Same Bat URL!


  1. I thought this episode should have been titled, "The Pepto-Bismol Cowl." I guess there were trademark restrictions.

    As God is my judge, I re-watched this episode during an insomniac fit and forty years later I still don't understand the water-tower. What does it have to do with hats? Why is it there? On the side the camera doesn't show us, was Dr. Richard Kimble still duking it out with the one-armed man?

    PE: "… so I won't have to worry about unemployment just yet." Somebody PAYS you guys to do this?

  2. I rather like the Mad Hatter's speech when Polly has a crisis of conscious.
    Who made Batman a world famous figure? Criminals. So honor his memory by staying crooked.