Thursday, November 24, 2011

Episode 100: The Unkindest Tut of All

Season 3 Episode 100
Original Air Date: 10/19/67
Special Guest Villain: Victor Buono as King Tut
Guest stars: James Gammon, Patti Gilbert
Written by: Stanley Ralph Ross
Directed by: Sam Strangis

Synopsis: King Tut has a new scam going: he's predicting crimes in Gotham and trying to convince the townfolk he's gone straight. In the process, he discovers that Bruce Wayne and Batman are one and the same. Now he intends to let the rest of the city in on the news.

PE: I thought our opening scene had something we hadn't experienced on Batman in quite a while: charm. I could almost believe that Bruce Wayne honestly didn't know what to do with a willing girl in a limo with the dark curtains drawn. After a long look into the Commish's beautiful daughter's eyes, he fumbles:  "Would you like to watch the.... uh.. television news broadcast together?" Of course we know they're coming off a hot accordion recital date as Barbara exclaims: "Oh, there's nothing I like better than hearing 'Lady of Spain' eight times in succession!" And then, faced with the choice of spending time with a gorgeous brunette or chasing a 400-pound amnesiac Egyptian teacher, which do you think he chooses?

JS: But once he gets on the Bat-duds, he's one smooth operator. In the middle of a fight, he asks Batgirl out on a date, and sounded prepared to give her a set of keys to the Batcave. Let's face it, for those brief moments all three are together each episode, they make quite a team.

PE: Bruce spends millions on libraries, bird calling clubs, race horses, and tuba lessons for young wards but he's still driving around in that horrible excuse for a limo. His millionaire buddies are all laughing at him.

JS: I think he went with that model since it had the blackout shades. For optimal TV news viewing, of course.

PE: Looks like there was a sale at the Gotham Casino on microphone lamps. 

JS: I don't know what to make of that. I was willing to buy that his wrist-radio could connect to the Batphone. Why would anyone think it would be better to have a lamp someone could talk into?

PE: Buono's still capable of having a great time and entertaining the viewer at the same time with his Egyptian stand-up, as in the hilarious scene when Batman questions the veracity of Tut's predictions:
Batman: Come off it, Tut. Your predictions are nothing but phony fatuous flim-flam!
Tut (screaming): Who dares impugn the veracity of Tut! Nabob of the Nile! Moongod of Thoth and... and... stuff like that! By the instep of Ramses, I'll have his head!
PE: And this: "I'll be a son of a Byzantine King!"

JS: I agree. While I'm still partial to the last Tut episode, I've grown fond of Buono in the role.

PE: I couldn't figure out whether Adam West was playing Bruce Wayne or the dummy in that scene. I'll bet that dummy was the prop used on the spinning wheel in season one's "A Riddle a Day Keeps the Riddler Away." Yes! Twenty more bucks saved!

JS: I don't know... This was a pretty good looking dummy. I'd go so far as to say the best Bat-dummy of the series.

PE: By the time I was six years-old, this show had stopped being cool (I was ahead of the curve) and so a lot of these shows I've never seen, including this one. I have to say, the fifty year-old me thought the librarian bound Thuggee style (played by a never-better Katharine Hepburn) was a pretty creepy sight. The six year old me would have thought Tut had cut her legs off. To add a cherry on top of the scene, Batman tells Robin the woman won't live more than a minute longer in that position and then goes into a lengthy monologue about saving lives, all while the tortured librarian gasps for air. Priceless!

JS: Clearly Ross had mastered the tone of the show by this point. The line about her dying in one more minute was completely ridiculous, and then made brilliant by Batman's several minute long pontifications (and Robin's enrapt attention).

PE: Even Neil Hamilton gets into the act in our last scene when one of his Keystone Kops gives him a call:
Gordon (into the phone); You don't say? You don't say? You don't say?
(He hangs up the phone)
Batman: Who was it?
Gordon: He didn't say!
JS: I got a chuckle out of that as well.

PE: The comedy worked for me in this show, as dopey and cliched as it is. Almost as if the rest of the cast is inspired by Victor Buono's obvious love for this character, everyone seems to be right on the money, even Burt Ward who delivers his lines with both deadpan seriousness and a wink. What a wonderful way to celebrate a milestone episode.

JS: I will admit to being underwhelmed by Tut's moll this time out. But the gang of skull masked robbers was a nice touch.

PE: In keeping with this episode's theme, my prediction is that King Tut will win Best Villain this season, an honor that has eluded him only slightly in the first two seasons and, barring some kind of miracle, this will be the second best Batman ever aired.

JS: How appropriate that we got this episode on Thanksgiving!

PE Rating: 

JS Rating:

Next up... Louie the LIlac! Same Bat time, same Bat URL!


  1. "There must be some kinda delayed echo in here..."

    An outstanding show and it doesn't even feel rushed in the single-part format. It may be that the diminished budget and reduced number of characters allows (nay, encourages) Buono to carry more of the load, which is always welcome. His obvious disgust at Batman's squareness translates beautifully to Batgirl as well. She just seems, as she should, like one more cloud in a Gotham City archvillain's day.

    The Bruce/Barbara thing is cute, but I see why it doesn't sustain. He can never respond and it makes her look either too desperate or too sarcastic, depending how it's played.

  2. The well-oiled Stan Ross-Vic Buono system: Feed him the lines, he always delivers. Except for the obvious, Batgirl would never be missed from this episode and its sequel ("Ill Be a Mummy's Uncle"). These episodes, and by now the series, belong to Buono. Wonderful comedy. There: I said something nice about S3.

  3. Hate to be a buzzkill, but I never found Yvonne as 'gorgeous' as you guys do, especially in her civilian guise. She was cute, but was a very limited actress and had zero chemistry with Adam.

  4. Speaking of attractive, I can't help really liking Patti Gilbert as Shirley. Including the voice, which I imagine is supposed to be comical, period. I know that outside of Betty Boop cartoons and a few other places, a voice like that probably ISN'T supposed to be "cute," but it seldom seems to work that way for me.

  5. When King Tut learns the location of the BatCave, his henchman is listing coordinates. What were they? It caught me off guard...

  6. And the exterior of the Gotham Public Library appears with the letters "New York Public Library" plainly engraved on its exterior . . . .