Wednesday, November 2, 2011

74 & 75: That Darn Catwoman/Scat! Darn Catwoman

Season 2 Episodes 74 & 75
Original Air Dates: 1/19/67 & 1/25/67
Special Guest Villainess: Julie Newmar as The Catwoman
Guest stars: Leslie Gore, J. Pat O'Malley
Written by: Stanley Ralph Ross
Directed by: Oscar Rudolph

Synopsis: Catwoman uses her new protege Pussycat (Gore) to enslave Robin with a new drug that turns the Boy Wonder into a criminal. Batman won't sit still for his ward's new occupation however and attempts to bring him back to his senses. To buy back Robin's freedom, Batman must agree to become Catwoman's partner in crime.

PE: Poor Robin looks at Pussycat like she was just one of the guys. All that tuba practice, I tell ya.

JS: And Pussycat looks at him like he's about to be just one of the guys as well—assuming she can get him alone. Of course, when they finally kiss, he just about swallows her whole.

PE: The budget for this arc gets maxed out when new intros have to be filmed to show only Batman in the Batmobile heading for Gotham City Hall. Notice there's no shot of Batman pulling up to the steps. That was fifty bucks more.

JS: If they had only known what the future would hold on the day they shot that original footage...

PE: Oscar Rudolph must have been boning up on his Hitchcock that week. There's a very effective 38-second overhead shot in Gordon's office, done without any cuts. The most impressive aspect is that Staford Repp has more than one line in the sequence.

JS: In this episode we learn that Bruce only keeps $200,000 set aside in housekeeping money. No wonder the place is such a dump. 

PE: An admittedly ridiculous question but I'll ask it anyway. If Robin were under Catwoman's spell when they break into Wayne Manor, wouldn't the Boy Blunder spill the beans about his relationship to Alfred and Bruce and especially Aunt Harriet? Speaking of the old crow, if I was Alfred I would have strangled her years before and dumped her body into the nuclear reactor (located in the basement) rather than come up with new reasons why she can't go into the study when there's that beeping sound.

JS: How is it that Batman could be surprised by the fact that Catwoman has the power to cloud men's minds?

PE: "She has the ability to cloud men's minds" is an allusion to the old pulp hero, The Shadow. I wanted someone to cloud my mind while I was watching the extremely painful pre-MTV Leslie Gore video (complete with fade-outs). Holy Milli Vanilli! Some 1960s pop stars should be seen and not heard. For those of you keeping score on such things at home, Gore was definitely the biggest singing idol to appear on Batman. She scored 11 Top 40 Hits between 1963 and 1966 (including episode 1's howler "California Nights" which made it to #16 two months after this episode aired). She's best known for her #1 single, "It's My Party." The fact that she was Batman producer Howie Horwitz's niece has no bearing whatsoever on her appearance here.

JS: I thought for a moment we had crossed over into an episode of The Monkees. But again, you have to feel sorry for any secondary babe featured in an episode with Julie Newmar.

PE: Here's an interesting bit of nonsensical trivia (well, I thought it was interesting): Batman's insult to Catwoman, "I find you odious, abhorrent, and insegrievious" rang a bell. According to several websites (including Wikipedia), the line was first uttered by Gary Owens known best for his stint on the late 1960s Laugh-In. Some sources claim that Owens uttered the line in 1968 but that would mean this episode predates the uttering. So what's the real truth?

JS: Google can be your friend, Peter, but it can also be your enemy. Until we get around to Laugh-In-A-Day, we may never know.

PE: Catwoman must have spent at least $50,000 of her money on that mousetrap. Why doesn't she just toss Bats out a window? That's why these bad guys (and gals) have to keep robbing banks... to pay for their elaborate deathtraps. And none of them work! What do they do with the old traps afterwards? Doesn't Catwoman ever think to use that old giant magnifying glass again rather than spending the dough and time on another trap? Which brings up another question: don't these villains ever use the same henchmen again or do the grunts get more time in jail than their bosses? Does every moll go straight? If Bill Dozier had given me $47.50 (the going rate, I believe) to write a Batman script, I swear I'd have cleared up some of these grey areas.

JS: I love that, even if under the influence of Catwoman's spell, Robin finally got to kick some Bat-ass. In fact, it was great getting nearly an entire episode with evil Robin.

PE: Ohmygosh! Batman was faking it? He had me so fooled with all that "Catbaby" talk. What a dope though. He gets Catwoman begging for a little extra something while all alone with her in the Batcave and he keeps on with the ruse. Who's to know? This would have been amended in my script as well. I'd even volunteer to be Adam's stand-in for the scene.

JS: I think we need to hit you with the henchmen's cattle prods. I was amused that not only does Commissioner Gordon turn on Batman at the first sign of trouble, but he doesn't hesitate to put out an APB that he's wanted dead or alive. Yikes! Remind me not to get on Gordon's bad side.

PE: After her robbery at the mint goes awry, Catwoman heads off in the Batmobile. The Dynamic Duo just finish off her henchmen as Gordon and O'Hara enter the vault. "We got the goons but Catwoman has slipped away," explains Batman. "Did you guys see her?" Chief O'Hara, being the helpful (and observant type) says "Yeah, just saw her driving away in the Batmobile."

JS: At this point, have any of the arch-villains not been to the Batcave? Might as well start selling tickets.

PE: Batman throws in a little Spanish lesson for Robin while they're chasing Catwoman in the Batmobile. Sounds like it was Batman's second language but I'm not sure I want him going into the hijacked plane in Mexico to negotiate. But as he tells Robin: "One should always keep a breast on foreign tongues.

JS: This episode includes the memorable "Tears of the Batman" sequence. Since this wasn't the first time Catwoman was feared dead, you have to wonder why Bats chose this opportunity to get so emotional.

PE: Because he was this close in the Batcave and let her slip away. 

PE Rating: 

JS Rating: 

Next up... The Penguin and Marsha, Queen of Diamonds! Same Bat Time, Same Bat URL!


  1. A pretty good show all around, but the last extended sequence between West and Newmar is one of the best moments in the entire series. When you covered the earlier Catwoman episodes and everyone expressed a preference for the first episode, my dissent sprang from the closing scenes in this story and the Chad and Jeremy one; the romantic interest gives both actors so much more to play than they usually have. And they are very comfortable playing comedy has no one starred them in a revival of Private Lives yet?

  2. I understand why these shows had to opt for camp; there was simply no money and Batman would inevitably look ridiculous if treated seriously. The first season, and up to a point the first episodes of season two, somehow kept the balance between camp and adventure. After the first Joker season two episode, however, it all goes downhill. There's a few good ideas (Penguin for mayor, Aunt Harriet in love with Liberace) but everything else is mostly forgettable. This episode is where the series hits rock bottom and the show never recuperated. It has songs literally stopping the action. A treacherous Robin is not even a new idea by then, it was used literally yesterday in the show's timeline, and does not merit a whole two-episode arch. The idea Batman knows Robin is drugged and still walks in without a plan makes him an utter and unconditional fool, even before he would rather let himself be beaten up rather than, forget fighting back against the kid but at least immobilize Robin - what is the utility belt for, anyway? - to capture him and save him, then stop Catwoman- which is what eventually does in part two, so what was the delay all about? And don't get me started on Catwoman's plan: To buy a blueprint from an old guy to rob more money. Isn't she a criminal? Can't she just rob the old guy -- and the whole idea of the 'criminal's home' - geez - this is no longer camp but brain-dead attempt at comedy; it wouldn't be funny even in the worst sitcom. The humor in this episode tries to wink at the audience at the criticism the show had gotten from the mainstream press, forgetting that the whole campy approach is a wink at the audience already. As I've said, this show never quite recovered. Season three was marginally better, shabby production budget and all, because the Batgirl character was yet to be portrayed as a moron; you almost wish Batman and Robin would take a walk and leave the whole shabby season to the curvaceous Yvonne Craig, a sense of desperation that should've forewarned everyone the end was near.

  3. Batman was crying at the end? I thought he was heavily sniffing that article of clothing Catwoman left behind!