Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Batscholar on Episodes 85 & 86

By Joel Eisner

This episode was written to try to save the Green Hornet tv series and to answer the pressure being given by the fans to face Bruce Lee off against Robin. Burt claimed he was a martial arts expert and Bruce was Bruce. They were going to have the face off on the Hornet show but since no one was watching the show and this was an attempt to garner an audience, it was decided to do it here. Charles Hoffman the story editor and Oscar Rudolph the resident director were given the assignment. According to Dozier, it was decided to end the episode in a draw so not to damage either heroes reputation, besides, Bruce would have wiped the floor with Batman and Robin and still had time to take down Colonel Gumm by himself, while the Hornet chased down his fallen fedora.

While not a top villain Roger C, Carmel proved he could out act all four heroes in the camp department. Besides Gumm, he also played Boris Severoff, the stamp dealer, the tweedy Englishman who appeared at the runway show and Mr Barbosa, the South American stamp collector. He was probably the only villain capable of destroying all four heroes. He was too weird a villain for the Green Hornet who was used to gun runners and smugglers and too ordinary a villain for Batman who was used to Joker and Penguin. Well, it worked, as you recall he managed to throw the Green Hornet and Kato into his stamp machine (Penguin's recycled campaign packager and Chandell's music roll machine) from which they could not get out without Batman opening the panel so they could get out of the machine. He also managed to trap Batman on his undetachable glue pad. He was only careless for one moment, when he dissolves the glue and releases them from the glue pad. He and his men just let them stand there, unsecured thus allowing them to fight back. Otherwise Gumm would have defeated them all.

Carmel who is better known as Harry Mudd on Star Trek and later Kaye Ballard's husband on the Mothers In Law tv series. He was also the voice of Smokey the Bear in all the public service announcements from the 1960's until his death in 1986 at the age of 54.
Actor Roger C. Carmel “I was so bad that it took Batman and the Green Hornet to get me. I liked playing four different characters, like the crazy Russian stamp dealer, Boris Severoff. “Adam West is a very nice guy, and he took his celebrity very lightly. The assistant director used to call him out of the dressing room by crying: ‘Idol of Millions, we are ready for you on the set.’ Adam would then come out of his dressing room and, while saying thank you, would take bows.”

Actress Diane McBain: “It was a fun part to play, it was really cute. I remember the dog more than anything, that’s because I had a dog myself. I had the little pink dog on the show, and I had a black poodle that I used to drag everywhere with me. I remember the pink dog was a bit of a problem because of the jealously with my dog. I remember Bruce Lee, but I didn’t know who Bruce Lee was at the time. Of course, I remember Van Williams (the Green Hornet) because he was in Surfside 6 with me. I do remember that I had the dog eat up some of the letters from the alphabet soup, so when Batman put the in the right order it spelled out a message. I ran the Pink Chip Stamp Company, it was a cute idea, and it’s too bad they didn’t develop that character a little more; she might have had her own series. I basically remember the costume, the dog and the Pinky stuff being pink all over.”

Gumm's gang consisted of Seymour Cassel who has since gone on to become a popular character actor, at the time he played small parts on various tv shows. Rico Cattani another bit player actor who also doubled as a production manager on serveral films. Then we have Alex Rocco who has since gone on to become a star in his own right in tv and movies. Back then he was a struggling actor who moonlighted as a bartender to pay the bills. Years ago he spoke about his role on Batman. He said he was working in a bar when a call came in for another actor (he didn't mention who) who used to hang out in the bar. Rocco needing the money, told the caller the actor wasn't there but he would take the part. It was that of Block (he called him Blockhead), and he claimed it was like two days work and he was paid $250.00.

The following is excerpted from the October 1979 Fighting Stars magazine article “How Bruce Lee Fought his way to Hollywood” written by M. Uyehara. “As long as both shows were so popular among the viewers, a Kato-Robin confrontation was unavoidable. The young public was clamoring for one. ‘The director decided we should participate in the Batman series instead of ours,’ Bruce Lee said. He had no idea what the director had in mind, but after reading the script, he grinned and whispered to himself, ‘This is great. Kato finally gets to fight Robin.’ “Bruce was a great kidder. He relished playing jokes. Especially on someone he did not care for. On the day Kato was to fight Robin, Bruce put on his most solemn face. He walked around as though carrying a heavy burden on his shoulders. He hardly said anything and did not kid around with the crew in his usual manner. He was not the same Bruce Lee everyone knew. “On the Batman set Bruce continued his pretense. He stood in a fighting stance, teeth clenched and eyes squinted behind Kato’s mask. Meanwhile, Ward as Robin, stood a good distance away from him and attempted to calm him with irrelevant comments which Bruce just ignored. Finally, the director orderd them to proceed and the camera began to roll. Bruce held his deadpan expression and inched his way toward his opponent. Ward kept his distance and yelled, ‘Bruce, remember this is not for real. It’s just a show!’ “Bruce later related the incident. ‘I had a hard time keeping a straight face,’ he said. ‘I started to crowd Burt and he began to flap his elbows and jump around me. I was really keeping him scared and I hear someone in the back whisper, ‘The black panther and the yellow chicken.’ At that point, I burst out laughing. I just couldn’t keep a straight face anymore.’

“The director didn’t want to upset any fans so he cleverly let the heroes fight to a draw. Bruce viewed the whole event with amusement. ‘Lucky for Robin that it was not for real; otherwise he would have been one dead bird.’”

The window cameo was by Edward G. Robinson the famed gangster actor (and my cousin) was at Fox to film the pilot film for The Planet of the Apes, and stepped into the window for the fun of it.

Next King Tut returns for the best Tut episode of the series.


  1. while Bruce Lee might have been able to wipe the floor with everyone, Kato could not.

    love the episode, great reviews.


  2. Love the insider info. Interesting how after a spate shows where the 'hired goons' were unknowns, now we've had a couple of shows where the villians supporting cast are fairly solid profiles of their own. Carmel was an interesting character i recall. You can catch him talking in the train station while cary grant's trying to elude the police in North by Northwest; i remember mothers-in-law and that he wasn't the most popular actor on the lot. Died of a drug overdose or something.
    Any interesting tidbits about your cousin, EG Robinson?