Friday, November 25, 2011

Episode 101: Louie, the Lilac

Season 3 Episode 101
Original Air Date: 10/26/67
Special Guest Villain: Milton Berle as Louie the Lilac
Guest stars: Lisa Seagram, Richard Bakalyan
Written by: Dwight Taylor
Directed by: George WaGGner

Synopsis: A college classmate of Barbara Gordon (turned flower-child) is kidnapped by Louie the Lilac, and it's up to Batgirl to save her.

JS: Bats sounds just a little too excited to be the guest of honor at the flower-in.

PE: Oh my! We go from the crazy, madcap humor of the Tut episode yesterday to the strained, "check us out, ain't we hip, kids" nausea of this one. Teens (and drugged adults) of 1967 must have seen through this facade just as easily as we do today. Clearly, writer Dwight Taylor was watching the evening news, saw a bunch of hippie kids, and thought "what a great idea for a with-it show like Batman." But, instead, it ends up "like freaky, man!" Furthering the idea that none of the squares associated with the creation of this episode had any idea what the youth movement was all about is the laughable "flower-in," clearly patterned after the "love-in" rallys of the "Summer of Love." Gotham's hippie revolution consists of about 20 kids spread out over a park.

JS: Unfortunately, the first time Barbara/Batgirl is thrust into the point position, she's not given much of a story to work with. It was nice to see Richard Bakalyan back again (Say that three times fast-PE).

PE: Well, the only interesting facet of this dog is the fact that Barbara Gordon takes her case for the kidnapping of Princess Primrose to her father and Chief O'Hara, two monuments to squareness in Gotham, and is shrugged off with a "don't worry about it, Barbara, dear." Clearly, the cops have more urgent matters to attend to than a missing pothead. The irony here is that young Barbara is just as square as her pop. She's not the far-out beatnik that Batman is. I mean, they're applying flower decals to the Batmobile! How cool is that? Which brings up those Season One all-male outings yet again. Maybe more than marshmallows were being passed around that campfire.

JS: We've come a long way from the cool creatures of Season 2. The Bat-eating plants of this episode are embarrassing. How would you like to be the guy that got to stand behind the flower wall and hug the dynamic duo?

PE: Especially when the director calls out "Now fondle Batman's midsection!" I could have done without the disgusting sucking sounds made by the plants. I'm not sure I understand exactly what Louie's lapel flower really does to Princess Primrose. I'm sure it hypnotizes its target but due to Skye Aubrey's somnambulistic acting all through the episode, I couldn't see the difference. When we first meet her charcter in the park, she has a weird curling to her lip. When Louie zaps the girl, she just gets a weird curling of the lip. That seems to be the range of emotion from Aubrey.

JS: Batgirl rather cruelly sprays Louie with the Powdery Mildew. And here I thought she was a nice girl. 

PE: LOL dialogue:
Robin (in a Burt Ward heartfelt style): The flower children think we're cool, man. You know, we turn 'em on!
PE: And what was George WaGGner's direction to Yvonne Craig in that shot below, where we see Batgirl motoring back to her Batalley? "Look uncomfortable. Don't smile. Remember you are fighting crime and it's a filthy world." It almost looks as though Craig has a really bad toothache.

JS: This is the first half hour episode that actually felt padded. Not only do we get the Batgirl theme as she rides her scooter through Gotham, we actually get a new POV this time around.

PE: Well, who told Milton Berle this would be his first non-comedic role? His agent? The director? I've seen Uncle Milty do his stand-up schtick and, while he's no Victor Buono, he's got his moments. Why would you cast a comedian and then neglect to write him some comedy? The guy's so stiff, I thought he'd been replaced by one of Colonel Gumm's life-size postage stamp.

PE Rating: 

JS Rating:

Next up... Egghead! Same Bat time, same Bat URL!


  1. I believe this is the only script of the season not at least partly credited to Ross, Sherman, or Hoffman. One of the problems with some of the new villains, especially this late in the series is that they seem to have been developed on a one-line basis with no thought as to where a story would go. Flower king of Gotham City? Just hard to see from where they expected the humor to spring in this case. Berle is certainly a talented man, but has nothing to do here. He is just a jerk in a purple suit. And yet, the well was running so dry, they decided a sequel was called for...

  2. Totally agree with your commentary, guys, about Skye Aubrey. It's nearly impossible to tell the hypnotized Primrose from the alert Primrose thanks to her sleepwalking through the entire role.