Monday, November 21, 2011

96: Ring Around the RIddler

Season 2 Episode 96
Original Air Dates: 9/21/67
Special Guest Villain: Frank Gorshin as The Riddler
Guest stars: Peggy Ann Garner, Joan Collins
Written by: Charles Hoffman 
Directed by: Sam Strangis

Synopsis: The Riddler is taking over prize fighting in Gotham City in the hopes of trapping Batman in the ring so he can deliver a knock-out punch, once and for all!

JS: Ah, how nice it is to be reminded why we missed The Riddler so much late last season. Gorshin's still got it, even in the shortened third-season format.


PE: And his moll is played by Brigitte Nielsen? David Bowie? Nope, it's Peggy Ann Gardner, who we remember fondly as the dopey Amanda in The Outer Limits episode, "The Probe."  I'll be the cad and say she's not the most attractive henchlady we've seen on Batman nor was she the prettiest "stewardess trapped in a space/time vortex on a raft, terrorized by a giant Krispy Kreme donut, in another dimension" we've seen but her beehive in the OL show was much more comely than her Annie Lennox-do here. James Brolin and his low budget Rocky Blabboa uniform would make a better moll. Speaking of boxing, millionaire (or is it billionaire?) Bruce Wayne is chairman of the Gotham Boxing Committee? Is there anything this guy doesn't have a hand in? He's got more jobs than his youthful ward, Dick Grayson.

JS: The cost savings on the third season are very apparent right from the outset. The re-use of footage from the movies was not uncommon in season two, but here we're treated to scenes of The Commissioner and Alfred on the Batphones sans dialog, just to save a few standard setups!


PE: Actually, these scenes serve a dual purpose: Dozier save dough and we don't have listen to the inane dialogue that usually emits from these mouths. More obvious are those awful sets. The Steam Room scene looks like a couple of pieces of furniture thrown into a room painted black. I could have done with the "silent treatment" with the "THAT BOX... IT'S BLINKING... HELP!!! POLICE!!!" scream. I've heard more realistic anguish on a Sid and Marty Krofft show.

JS: More of Batgirl's signature traits are on display in this episode, like disappearing when no one is looking. Or, as Batman describes it, "Batgirl uses a particular brand of vanishing cream."

PE: I love that we're finally back to a villain Gotham can fear. Witness the scene when The Riddler grabs ahold of the box office teller by the back of the head and riddles her. Pretty nasty stuff, the kind of edge that's been missing in our Bat-villains since... well, since Gorshin last put on his underwear. Speaking of costumes, where can I get one of those green three pieces? And he stands in for every heterosexual male viewing when he does the eye crawl behind the exiting Joan Collins later in the show.

JS: In that she doesn't have an Alfred or Robin to interact with, Batgirl was given Charlie the bird to talk to in her apartment, so we're not without exposition when she's alone in her apartment (or secret Batgirl nook).

PE: Commissioner Gordo is a typical cop. Never spent any time with the family. That can be the only explanation for having your own daughter in your office (albeit with a sexy outfit on) and not recognizing her or her voice. If Batgirl had been dressed in a bikini, he'd probably have hit on her.

JS: The budget reductions show up throughout the episode. Note the locations set against black backdrops with only a handful of setpieces present. Fortunately, for the most part, these changes don't take away from ones enjoyment of the episode, but it is a marked difference from prior seasons.

PE: I did admire how they took that bolt of green shag carpet they used to make Bruce Wayne's Chesterfield and crafted an entire room of furniture for Barbara!

JS: Based on the ending of the last episode, I was expecting that the formula for Season 3 would be to tease next week's villain in the epilog. So imagine my surprise when smack dab in the middle of a Riddler episode, in walks Joan Collins' Siren, who will be the special guest villainess in the next show! I actually like this bridging between stories, with the villains working together, as it seems less forced than having them just pick up the phone to call Commissioner Gordon to let him know they'll be in town next week.


PE: Hello! Julie Newmar gets her first real competition for Best Bat-Villainess Babe! But hold on, why didn't we get to go into the steam room with Batgirl? I was afraid that Batman might answer the riddle, "What is the chilliest 12 inches in the world?" with "Umm, Mr. Freeze?"

JS: The episodes big payoff scene, with The Riddler and Batman in the ring, suffers do to the limited time available. They get a chance to dance around a bit before Batman is stuck in one place and unable to move, but the way that is setup, you still get a sense that Bats could knock The Riddler out of the ring with a single punch, as long as he got within arm's reach.


PE: Batman proves that the old adage "Sticks and Stones..." has no power in Gotham. He doesn't even need to be goaded twice before he's jumping into the ring against Nebuchadnezzer/Riddler. How cool would it have been to have The Penguin guesting as The Riddler's trainer?

JS: And what would a Gotham City prize fight be without a cameo from boxing enthusiast and former round card girl Aunt Harriet!


PE: And for all you sports trivia nuts out there, we're visited mid-way through the episode by one of the best boxers in the late 1960s, Jerry Quarry. Blink and you'll miss him. 

JS: Alfred's latest effort to take out Robin for the number two slot comes as he serves him Camel Grass Juice after the fight. Really Alfred? And right in front of Batman?


PE: The Dynamic Dunderheads happen upon Chief O'Hara after he's been brainwashed by The Riddler and don't notice that the Chief is out of it, despite his imitation of the blind hermit from The Bride of Frankenstein.


JS: Fortunately, the one thing Season 3 continues to have going for it is the presence of Batgirl. We'll see how long that holds out.




PE Rating: 



JS Rating:



Next up... The Siren! Same Bat Time, Same Bat URL!

4 comments:

  1. This site is good because they give us a new thing and new ideas and new topic how good all of they are we should appreciate them because of these good thing. . I know something information, to know you can click here
    Air Conditioning Brisbane
    Air Conditioning Installation Brisbane

    ReplyDelete
  2. I haven't seen it in a long while, but going by those stills, I think Peggy Ann Garner actually looks pretty nice in an "Annie Lennox-do." And if it means anything, I don't think that about EVERYONE who has one (outside of Annie Lennox herself).

    ReplyDelete
  3. Gorshin would not don his Riddler tights again for 11 years, when he appeared in Hanna-Barbera's January 1979 NBC-TV special Legends Of The Superheroes.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Gorshin would not don his Riddler tights again for 11 years, when he appeared in Hanna-Barbera's January 1979 NBC-TV special Legends Of The Superheroes.

    ReplyDelete