Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Batscholar on Episodes 76, 77 & 78

By Joel Eisner

The second and last of the second season three part episodes has Penguin (he obviously escaped from the end of the Zodiac Crimes and teams up with former Morticia Addams Carolyn Jones to form a motion picture company, which will enable them to steal the gold from the sub treasury by turning it into a solid gold tank. Along for the ride is daffy Aunt Hilda the witch, who has a pet monster named Mortimer living in her cauldron.

A complicated story but interesting none the less. Penguin uses ancient bullet proof armor to break into the Hexagon's Room Z (with the help of Fred Flintstone) to steal the plans for an old army tank, which he plans to transform the gold into and thus allow him to steal the gold.

The episode features the then 36 year old Carolyn Jones in various stages of undress, and doing her variation of the dance of the seven veils. Otherwise she spends most of the time in the park with Aunt Hilda looking for old toads.

Burgess in his last appearance for the season, appears to be having fun running around the studio backlots. I love the scene where he gives the garbage truck driver an extra five dollars to mash the trash cans (including the armored duo) down good.

Burt Ward’s Stuntman Victor Paul remembered “In this episode there was a magnetic crane that picks up Batman and Robin (in armor) and takes them over this giant trough and drops them in, and they go through a giant funnel into a trash bin. We’re up about 20 feet, when the director tells them to let us go. I said, ‘Let us go, bull. You can’t let us go in the funnel with all this junk and metal? You can’t do that.’ He said, ‘Gee, you’re stuntmen.’ And I said, ‘Yeah, but we’re not idiots.’ “Ultimately, dummies were sent through the funnel.”

According to Director of Photography Howard Schwartz “There was a feud between Burt and Adam about coming on to the set. Neither one of them wanted to be there ahead of the other. So, the assistant directors always had a bad time about getting both of them on the set. You would have to bring them on at the same time.”

Among the guest cast were Alan Reed, the voice of Fred Flintstone and Bob Hastings (like Joe Flynn in the Catwoman episode) from McHales Navy, he was also the voice of Superboy in the 1966 Superman Filmation cartoons series. He would later appear as Kelsey the bar owner on All in the Family, and as the voice of Commissioner Gordon on the 1990's Batman cartoon series.

With the added costs of the guests, Penguin's henchman were nameless stuntman and bit players. One of which was Frank Conte who appeared as a thug on the Adventures of Superman.

There are a few errors which I want to point out. When Penguin has Batman and Robin atop the giant catapult, why didn't the duo just role off catapult. They were tied up but they were not tied to the mechanism, otherwise they would not go flying into the air when it was sprung. Also, the cameras were strapped to their ankles yet the footage when screened later was as if the cameraman was flying with them, giving a sideview.

There are many odd calculations here as well, Batman was able to determine exactly when the truck with the armor would blow a tire, he was able to send by remote control the batmobile (which drives itself, stops at crosswalks and red lights and for children in the street) to the exact spot they would land and using the Tardis trunk expel the giant net in time to catch them.

The one major complaint I have about these episodes is the ending. They spent the whole episodes to get to the point where they build the sold gold tank and Robin takes it out with one blast of the Batzooka. Anti climatic to say the least, and the fake flattened police car was so unreal that it could be lifted and moved by a few cops, so O'Hara could pop out of the manhole.

Penguin would return for the third season opener, but would not have a decent episode until his final appearance in Penguin's Clean Sweep.

Next, John Astin, as Gomez Addams, as the Riddler.

1 comment:

  1. When Diana Rigg as Emma Peel performed her dance of the seven veils (well, six anyway) in THE AVENGERS "Honey for the Prince," Patrick Macnee's John Steed conceded that the number was six due to her poor education! Compared to that, Marsha's definitely needed the love potion to cinch the deal.