Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Batscholar on Episode 97

By Joel Eisner

Another attempt to create a new female villain and a chance to give Robin and Batgirl something more to do. Joan Collins in a role written especially for her, (see below) tried to bring life to this really one dimensional character. A singer who could entrance men into her power. She manages to get Gordon and Bruce under her power but the kids (as Robin and Batgirl have and will be called) over power her and put her out of business (she loses her voice forever, so much for a return appearance) and restore Gordon (without his memory of Batman's identity) and Bruce back to normal.

Stanley Ralph Ross “The producers would say, ‘We need a script.’ Then I would say, ‘Let me come up with an idea for a good character.’ I would then come up with the character, and they would say, ‘Go write it.’ My first drafts were almost always shoot-able. My second drafts took me less than part of a day to do. When they told me they had Joan Collins, they said create a character for her. I thought Siren was perfect for Joan. She was married to a guy that I later went into partnership with, Anthony Newley, I wrote a musical with him.”

“The network stayed away from us because we were such a smash. If we had been in trouble, there would have been a lot more network intervention, but because it was such a hit, they figured we knew what we were doing. Usually they cast the actor after the script was written. The only time they would have an actor in mind is when we did the sequences when Batman and Robin walked up the side of a building and someone would come out of the window. Then I would write something in particular for whoever it was in the window.”

The grotto set and the rooftop building sets were another attempt to enlarge the non existant budget by using limbo sets. Her gang consisted of two well worn character actors Cliff Osmond (aka Clifford Ebrahim), a writer and acting teacher who was a staple throughout the 1960's and 1970's sitcoms and cop shows.

The other is Mike Mazurki, a former wrestler (Iron Mike Mazurki) turned actor. He specialized in henchmen before their were henchmen. He was Splitface in the 1945 Dick Tracy movie He worked with just about everyone including Abbott and Costello. He is best remembered as Moose Malloy in the film Murder My Sweet and as the caveman Clon on the sitcom It's About Time.

He died in 1990 at the age of 82. He was last seen in a bit part in the 1990 Warren Beaty Dick Tracy movie.

Next up the first of the two part non-cliffhanger episodes. Penguin teams up with Ethel Merman (in a non singing role, she could have played the part of the Siren's mother) to fix a horse race.


  1. "One dimensional character?" I don't see how, especially in going by the original script in which we saw Lorelei Circe describing more her dissatisfaction with her life as a "world-renown chanteuse" and why she is inclined to a life of crime. Also, Siren was unique to the series in terms of being the only character, good or bad, who had a clearly definable super power, and whose guise was not based on a "gimmick." In that respect, the Siren was by far the most interesting and multi-dimensional character the series came up with in its latterperiod.

  2. I agree totally, Eric. The Siren, in fact, needed to have a two-part arc to give her time for more backstory and for her to 'ravage and pillage' Gotham City, as she had promised to do. There were many ways the writers could have taken this idea, so I don't at all see how she could be called 'one-dimensional.'

  3. Joan at her wicked best, in that silver lame number that still doesn't leave much to the imagination, even by today's standards. She makes this the only worthwhile season three episode. What man, unless he's gay, dead, or 93, could resist Lorelei Circe's stunning charms...or would want to?

  4. Maybe I take it much too seriously, but I always have a problem with that "To Catch A Thief" moment between Robin and Siren toward the end. Sure, it plays around with his "squeaky-clean" image, but I'd just as soon they'd done it another way.