Monday, November 28, 2011

The Batscholar on Episodes 102 and 103

By Joel Eisner

The return of Vincent Price as Egghead was a mixed blessing. To see Vincent in anything was something to look forward to. However, Stanley Ralph Ross did not write these episodes, Stanford Sherman did and he did not understand the Egghead character. He turned the world's smartest villain into a babbling/crying fool. Now, Batman claims he was brought down by his assoctiation with Olga, but it just covered up a poorly written story.

Before I go on, I need to point out that this was a three part episode. The second part, entitled the Ogg Couple was removed and the ending changed to turn it into a one part episode to be aired a few weeks later. (All three episodes had the same production number). So what we have here is the first and third parts. Egghead started out fine when he turned up in Gordon's office to kidnap him but by the third part he lost all sense of intelligence by trying to hatch a fossil egg.

Olga, Queen of the Cossacks aka Anne Baxter (formally Zelda the Great) was the only main villain to return to the series as a different main villain. Egghead who is now engaged to marry Olga, has no henchmen of his own. He is totally in the control of Olga and her cossacks. (non speaking stuntmen, including a poorly disguised Gil Perkins). He is forced to ride around on a burro while Olga and the Cossacks ride horses down Gotham City Streets. Vincent has his moments such as his tear gas eggs, and when he complains about Olga wanting to marry Batman, he gets hit on the head and does a humerous doubletake before falling over.

Baxter was over the top and had worked with Vincent before in the Ten Commandments, and A Royal Scandal (directed by Otto Preminger and also starring Tallulah Bankhead), so they got along well. But they were so far apart in intelligence, that the joke wore thin quickly.

Alfred Dennis as Omar Orloff, had a humerous bit in cooking the borscht with the Commissioner and Robin. He used the same cauldron seen in many previous episodes. It was also reused in the single episode to drown Batgirl in caviar.

Anne Baxter: “The set for Olga was absolutely crazy. The costuming alone was hysterical, like reaching into your old dress-up box as a kid. That red wig—they kept putting nice quiet reds on me, and I said, ‘No, no, no. We wanted RED!.’

Vincent Price: “I was thrilled to be on the Batman series. I really felt that it was one of the most brilliant television series ever done and I still think so. The imagination and the creativeness that went into these shows were extraordinary. They were way ahead of their time.”

One of the scenes in the first part features Alan Hale Jr aka the Skipper from Gilligan's Island making a gag appearance.

Alan Hale Jr:: “When I did Batman it was right after I opened my restaurant “The Lobster Barrel and Steak House”. Vincent Price, was a friend of mine, kidded me about it and then invited me to come out and work with him as Egghead in the restaurant scene; then as an added joke they named my character Gilligan. So we had a lot of giggles about that one.”

Other bits of trivia

The Neosaurus costume was a hand- me-down from “The Questing Beast” episode of the Lost in Space. TV series. It was recolored from red to green but it was the same costume. Also, the reason you never saw the back of the suit, was that fell apart during LIS and the whole back of the suit including the tail came off and had to constantly patched together just to finish the show.

If you look closely while Egghead and Olga are in the Museum, you will see the Moldavian Mammoth last seen in the pilot episode. It is conveniently turned with it’s left side towards the wall, so we would not see the huge gapping hole left by the dynamic duo when they burst out of it to surprise the Riddler.

There is also one sequence that was cut from the cut, while Alfred and Batgirl search the city for the smell of Gordon's aftershave. Alfred was supposed to come upon the exact smell coming out of a house. Alfred knocks on the door but rather than finding Gordon, he finds an Indian man (played by James Lanphier) making a curry dish. Alfred quickly leaves and continues his search. This scene was cut (I don't know if it was filmed, the part was cast ) but it was replaced with Alfred doing the doubletake at the garbage can instead.

More on these episodes when we get to the Ogg Couple.

Next, The Joker finally returns to take up Surfing.


  1. The Neosaurus costume had already been used twice on Lost In Space. It appeared in the third season, as a contestant in an intergalactic beauty contest, repainted green, and given a few spikes, which is what it looked like on Batman. Here's a pic.

    All the best,

    Glenn :)

  2. Thanks Glenn - I added that image to the our post for comparison!

  3. I confess that reading about this episode jolted me back to childhood, when the scene with the dinosaur hatching really frightened me. But then, I hid behind the couch during Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein.

  4. No worries John. It's a shame the Megasoid costume wasn't available. Batman could've disguised himself as a Leghornasaurus.

    All the best.

    Glenn :)

  5. Watched these two eps on MeTV tonight -- pure fun! The Neaosaurus was quite a spectacle -- and I *knew* I had seen it before, and thanks to your post, now I know it came from LiS!