By Joel Eisner
Riddler plots to steal enough money to buy a de-molecularizer from Professor Charm (played by favorite movie villain Martin Kosleck, known for his portrayal of numerous Nazis, including Goebbels.) with which he plans to blackmail Gotham City into rescinding the criminal statutes. Why he doesn't just steal the device is beyond me. Astin, who had just come off the Addams Family, can't seem to play this any other way. His reactions to things like the disappearing derby to his ranting and raving about the cheap flashlight device, is so Gomez, that the Riddler costume is unnecessary. When he confronts the duo in the obvious Castro impersonator's penthouse, and hands the a bag of loot to Robin, he is in perfect character with Gomez. I like Astin, I have seen him do many other things but Gomez is Astin and Astin is Gomez. This was just another attempt by ABC to end their contract with the Addams Family stars.
Also in this episode is Addams regular Eddie Quillan (he worked with Parley Baer's Mr Henson, the Addams insurance agent).
The Riddler's gang consisted of bit player Ken Scott as Down and former LA Dodgers player Jim Lefebvre as across. Future Land of the Giants Star Deanna Lund was Miss Anna Gram.
Even the underwater slow motion fight sequence complete with water logged Bat Fight words, couldn't save this episode. The episode needed Gorshin, but it was not to be.
Gorshin explained why he didn't appear, " The reason John Astin played the Riddler, was because I had a night club commitment which I couldn’t cancel. They wouldn’t let me out and the studio wanted to do that episode at that time. So, instead of waiting for me to be available, they figured I wasn’t indispensable; they put my clothes on somebody else. I was really offended that they did. Of course, I understood the logistics and everything. There was nothing they could do. They had a schedule and so forth.”
However the claim Frank Gorshin was booked into a nightclub at the time and couldn’t cancel is probably his way of covering up the real truth. From a letter to William Dozier sent by Gorshin’s new agents, at the William Morris agency, Gorshin demanded $5000.00 for any future Riddler appearance. Already way beyond budget; Dozier informed him that they would have to recruit another Riddler if he insisted on the increase, rather than be satisfied with all the opportunities and recognition the part has given him.
With change over to single part half hour episodes, the villains who normally got $2500.00 per hour show were given an increase to $2000.00 for the half hour, Gorshin agreed to return for one episode, but considering the plot, he would have been better off staying away.
Next The Joker returns with a gang of robots (actually androids) which includes Spock's rival for T'Pring on Star Trek's Amok Time episode.