Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Episodes 105, 106 & 107: The Londinium Larcenies/The Foggiest Notion/The Bloody Tower

Season 3 Episodes 105, 106 & 107
Original Airdates: 11/23/67, 11/30/67, 12/7/67
Special Guest Villain: Rudy Vallee as Lord Marmaduke Ffogg
Extra Special Guest Villainess: Glynis Johns as Lady Penelope Peasoup
Guest stars: Lyn Peters, Maurice Dallimore
Written by: Elkan Allan & Charles Hoffman
Directed by: Oscar Rudolph

Synopsis: Commissioner Gordon is called by the President himself and requested to travel to Londinium, where a series of robberies has local bobbies flummoxed. The Prez demands that Batman and Robin accompany Gordon so off on a steamer they go. Coincidentally, The Commish has been trying to get his daughter  to vacation with him in Londinium and as soon as Barbara gets wind of her father's traveling companions, she packs a few extra clothes. Turns out the crimes are being pulled off by local royalty, Lord Marmaduke Ffogg and his sister Lady Penelope Peasoup. Can Batman, Robin and Batgirl get to the bottom of the larcenies before Ffogg pinches even more priceless antiquities?

PE: I was too young to know what was going on in the Johnson White House, but common sense couldn't have been in shorter supply when the Prez calls on Commissioner Gordon to travel to Londinium to solve some dastardly crimes. Forget sending Joe Friday and Bill Gannon, we'll send Gordon. And the case is so high priority that the crew is sent by boat! If ever Gordon would add two plus two and come up with Bruce Wayne, it should be this trip. And how are we going to do without O'Hara for three episodes?

JS: I have to assume the President was behind NOT inviting O'Hara along. And when it comes to mysteries that should have been solved—I can't believe the dynamic duo didn't finally connect Barbara to Batgirl.

PE: Dick Grayson's quest to learn every musical instrument continues with a drum set this episode. "Cool it, Ringo," says Bruce when the Bat-phone lights up. I was thinking more along the lines of Sonny than Ringo.

JS: Alfred was so flustered by the drumming that he referred to Master Robin!

PE: I love how Bruce deflects Barbara's question about the giant crate in his name being brought on board by telling her that it's filled with Dick's "1000 key works of literature, biological specimens, and Dick's own desk." To which his youthful ward adds that he plans to "study hard." What, no tuba?

JS: Even more amazing than a reasonable person's willingness to buy that line of bull was the speed in which the Londinium Batcave was up and operational. Hell, it took Superman's Fortress of Solitude more time to craft itself. Chalk it up to the Amazing Alfred, I guess.

PE: Even though we're transported thousands of miles away to the far-away land of Londinium, the place has a homey feel to it. There's definitely a vibe of deja vu. Take Superintendent Watson's office. If I didn't know better I'd say it was Gordon's with a bit of posh decorating (it's even got a Bat-phone). Batman asks Watson if  he may take a ride out to Ffogg's estate to have a look around. He needn't bother. It's Wayne Manor sans that disturbing green sofa.

JS: I think Aunt Harriet was in one of the closets, hence her rare (and unnecessary) Season 3 appearance in this story.

PE: When we're introduced to Lady Prudence and her four students, I thought for sure they'd break into some sort of quasi-Supremes number ala last episode's nauseous beach jingle.

JS: That would have been a welcome jolt from the crash cart for these flatlining episodes. An exclusive all-girls school (5 students?), and they choose to molest Robin, who squirms his way out of their grasp. Had they only chosen Batman, they might have seen a different result.

PE: Nothing like traveling subtly: Barbara Gordon has her Batgirl emblem stenciled on it her suitcase. At least she had the good sense not to bring her Bat-cycle. That would have taken some explaining. But then Bruce brings not only the Bat-mobile but also the Bat-computer (disguised as the aforementioned "Instant Grayson Study Facility").

JS: Were the silly naming conventions to avoid offending our friends across the pond? I have to imagine that if they caught a whiff of any of these three shows, using real names for places would have been the least of the offenses. 

PE: An interesting pub to say the least. It looks like exactly what it is: a set. When Bats swings from the chandelier, we get a real good look at it. There are a couple pieces of furniture and a bar with mirror that doesn't seem to go all the way up the wall.  The tables and chairs appear to be from an American furniture outlet or a local flea market.

JS: How about criminals that depend on manufacturing fog to hide their escape, when there never seems to be anyone there to witness their crimes anyway.

PE: The exhibition of stolen items in Ffogg's Cricket Pavilion raises an interesting question. Since we clearly saw Ffogg and Peasoup steal the snuffboxes and diamonds earlier in the show and cart them away, did they return at a later date to steal the glass cases and display signs? Or did they make copies for their own little museum?

JS: They had plenty of time to do that. The majority of the run time seems to be filled with them pacing back and forth the redressed sets.

PE: The only indelible image I'd take away from this over-long yawner is Batgirl chained up in the dungeon. She's overdressed for torture but my imagination can take care of that.

JS: Ah, Batgirl in Bondage. Just enough of a reason for me to rate this above a No-Bat Signal. I love the mischievous look in her eyes when Batman whipped out the file to work on her chains.

PE: Rudy Vallee puts in the sleepiest turn as a Bat-villain since Art Carney hiccuped his way through The Archer arc. There's not a lot for him to do other than play with his pipe and exclaim British cliches.  Glynis Johns is probably best known to movie fans for her role as suffragette Winifred Banks in Mary Poppins but I'll always remember Glynis as the dee-lightful wife who plants a hammer in the skull of husband Terry Thomas in "The Neat Job" segment of The Vault of Horror (1973).

JS: I was really hoping for a Minstrel- or Chandell-like surprise with this pair. Hard to believe (or understand how) they rated a three part episode. Maybe if they actually shot on location in London it would have made sense. Like Ross' wedding trip from Friends, or the Brady Bunch going to the Grand Canyon or Hawaii.

PE: The fantastic has always been a facet of this show but now we get a slip of the supernatural when Batman works the Hindu Rope Trick to get himself and Batgirl out of the torture dungeon.

JS: Every time he did his magic I would have sworn he was muttering obscenities under his breath.

PE: When Robin tripped the Death Bee hive wire, I hoped we'd get to see a Zanti or some terrifying little creature rather than the colored pipe cleaner we get. Not even stock footage of killer bees. A missed opportunity here. Lady Prudence is a strange bird. In one scene. she's telling Robin that Ffogg's manor is actually a haven for shoplifters and later, she's actually getting a sadistic thrill out of watching the Boy Wonder threatened by a killer pipe cleaner.

JS: A Zanti Misfit he ain't.

PE: I doubt if this lame snoozer would have worked at one-third the length. The pacing is deadly, the acting awful (the usually reliable Neil Hamilton sleepwalks through this one), the story non-existent. Bottom of the barrel. Easily the worst Bats we've had so far. If you haven't dipped into the pool yet, don't bother.

JS: Despite what the Londinium law enforcement officer said, this was no "jolly little bean fest."

PE Rating:

JS Rating:

Next up... Catwoman! Same Bat time, Same Bat URL!


  1. I can't speak for anybody else, but planting a hammer in the skull of Terry-Thomas was one of my long-standing ambitions, as well.

  2. I'm sure I speak for us all when I thank you, Peter and John, for watching these losers so the rest of us can save ninety minutes of our precious lives.

  3. Hello Fellow Bat Fans
    My name is Bob Siler. I've put together what I call "The Batman Tour", which is a list of home addresses and grave sites for many of the people who worked on Batman. If anyone would like a copy just e - mail at and
    let me know. I'll be more than happy to send copies to anyone
    who loves this site as much as I do.
    Take care

  4. As much as I like him as a musician and actor, I agree that Rudy Vallee wasn't the greatest choice for the role. Unlike Matthew Bradley, I keep imagining Terry-Thomas in the role, and really liking the idea.
    Also, I'm sentimental about those "hero vs. the nubile female army" adventure stories, and at least this one delivers in THAT area. (Maybe I've read too many "Destroyer" books and seen "Some Girls Do" too many times, but somehow I'm ALMOST surprised that all the girls survive, instead of the episode going back to the pilot of the show and having one or more of the girls do a "Molly.")

  5. Batman and Robin in that last photo look like they're about to take part in a musical number with the Two Ronnies. (A Much loved British Comedy Double-Act.)

  6. Rudy Vallee is on a tear at this time of his life. In the space of a year or two, he also did an episode of Night Gallery and a Here's Lucy. What made the guy so in demand, I don't see. On Here's Lucy, he was described as a real potty-mouth and not hesitant to tell everyone else how things should be done on the show. At one point, Lucille Ball (an old friend of his) was said to be sick of his swearing on the set. In front of a crowd she yelled at him, "For Chrisss-sakes, don't you know there are f-cking children who can hear us?"