Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Episodes 83 & 84: Catwoman Goes to College/Batman Displays His Knowledge

Season 2 Episodes 83 & 84
Original Air Dates: 2/22/67 & 2/23/67
Special Guest Villainess: Julie Newmar as The Catwoman
Guest stars: Jacques Bergerac, Stanley Adams
Written by: Stanley Ralph Ross
Directed by: Robert Sparr

Catwoman is paroled and promises she'll go straight. In fact, she enrolls in the Gotham University. Of course, no one is fooled (well, maybe just the entire cast of characters) and the feline soon returns to her wicked ways. Her goal is to steal the Batagonian Cat's Eye Opals and she'll do anything, including framing the Caped Crusader, to achieve that end. 

PE: The last time we encountered The Catwoman, she had supposedly fallen to her watery death. This episode begins with her parole. Take a good long look, boys and girls (especially boys) as this is the last time Julie Newmar suited up as Catwoman. I'm not sure there'll be anything left to look at from here on in. 

JS: Okay, since you said so, I'll look... but I could have gone 36 more episodes without knowing in advance we were done with Newmar. That means only one thing—let the Yvonne Craig countdown begin!

PE: Things have gotten so busy at Police Headquarters that Commissioner Gordon must turn to Batman to find the thieves of ... Batman's full-size replica. Holy High End Crime!

JS: Hold on just a second. You're going to let it go without commenting on Bruce Wayne's signing up to be Catwoman's parole officer? I think our resident millionaire/crime fighter has finally crossed the line, with ulterior motives in mind.

PE: I'm impressed. Years before it was fashionable, Batman has created a Bat-Hair analyzer to study the one single red hair found in the beanie.

JS: I don't know if he was more proud of the analyzer, or the beanie, hair, and his tweezers. I must also comment on the dynamic duo's continued inability to speak to one another privately. When you shield your mouth with your hand, the goal is not to block your voice from the person you're trying to talk to, but that's what they both do.

PE: Granted, we're not supposed to notice things like this but since the Caped Crusader has already alerted Gordon to the fact that stealing the replica might be a way to initiate a bogus Batman, where's the mystery when a supermarket is knocked over by ... Batman? The entire plot thread is dropped after this scene. Yet another set-up that goes nowhere. 

JS: Well, once the real Batman is tossed in jail, the fake Batman has to go back into hiding. Darn shame that it interfered with the real Batman's first date with Catwoman.  

PE: Alfred dressing up as Batman isn't exactly the novelty it once was, is it Johnny? It's become a staple of the show just as much as the villain stealing the Batmobile. The laugh of the episode is that once Alfred has switched places in jail with "Master Bruce," we get a shot of Wayne, relaxing on his couch, reading a newspaper. When Gordon finds out our hero (actually Alfred, is this getting confusing?) has escaped prison, he gleefully exclaims "Good old Batman! No jail can hold him. Not even ours!"

JS: Yes, even I'll admit that chicken-leg Batman has worn out his welcome, but the real shocker in the episode was Bruce somehow having a spot-on Alfred costume. 

PE: There's actually a Bat-Calendar Computer taking up room in the Batcave? Couldn't Alfred simply hang up a Millionaires' Calendar on the Batcave wall?

JS: Batman is about ready to cry when he realizes Catwoman's 'lovey-dovey' business was all just a trick. Oh, really?

PE: How many times have the Dynamic Dupes fallen for the "Can I just powder my nose before you head me off to jail?" trick, only to be sprayed in the face by some knock-out gas?

JS: I guess this will be the last. Sniff.

PE: Our celebrity window guest this episode is "television personality"  Art Linkletter. Captain Courageous is played by Stanley Adams, a veteran of more TV show appearances than we can list here, perhaps best known by genre fans as Cyrano Jones, the salesman responsible for the troublesome tribbles on Star Trek

JS: How long before Captain Courageous gets O'Hara's job?

PE: "I don't know how we do it, Batman" says the Boy Wonder after they've narrowly escaped being scalded to death in a giant coffee cup. "The way we get into these situations and get out of them..." Indeed, I agree. If I was Batman, however, I'd be slapping the kid across the face a few times since just moments before Robin had thrown in the towel, proclaiming their situation hopeless (as he usually does). Batman even spends a nice moment or two getting close to the Boy Wonder while cutting his ropes. I wonder... Nah...

JS: I don't think so. Remember, after Batman speaks of Catwoman's... um, abilities, Robin proudly proclaims that, "I'm too young for that kind of thing."

PE: There goes Batman again claiming that Catwoman played right into his hands by stealing those jewels. Gotta keep face in front of his youthful ward.

JS: I just wish we got to see Catwoman use her Cat-ra-te on Batman.

PE: Best scene in the show is when Catwoman brings her stolen jewels to Jacques Bergerac (playing Freddy the Fence. Get it?) and the goofy Frenchman uses his fencing mask to strain his spaghetti. This guy was genuinely funny and so natural that the producers should have brought him back for his own show.

JS: Thanks, but I would have preferred the Adventures of Catwoman.

PE: The Bat-Syllable Device is ingenious. Alfred simply types in the words and the BSD pumps out Bruce Wayne's voice saying those words, very smoothly and naturally. It sounds just like a really bad robot voice but when the guy on the other end is as dense as Commissioner Gordon, why bother perfecting it? Gordon even jokes about this throwing his theory that Batman is actually millionaire Bruce Wayne out the window.

JS: So this is it, Newmar is done. I think I may have to pick up her new book, The Conscious Catwoman Explains Life on Earth. It's got pictures, right?

PE Rating: 

JS Rating: 

Next up... The Green Hornet and Kato! Same Bat Time, Same Bat URL!


  1. Julie, we hardly knew ye. Farewell.

  2. I truly think it's THIS episode in which BATMAN "jumps the shark!" That little "this is real life, Robin" comment finally takes things over the "cute" line, leading to complete comedy in the final season. Before, the show carefully toed the "camp" line, always keeping sure not to place a toe over into comedy, or cute territory!

    Love the blog!

    Al Bigley

  3. Newmar's title sounds like a book Catwoman herself would write to con the masses. Mock the plot as you will and should, but I think Ross sent Newmar out on a high note, -- the "cat-rate" scene has her and West going on all comic cylinders -- and I think they both knew she was done, whatever tales they've told afterward. That little "goodbye" she breathes just after she walks out of the frame gives it away in retrospect. Too bad.

  4. The last 2 Newmar double-shots were to me what Batman should have been. More playfulness, more toying between the tangled lives of the Bat and Bruce -- and Catwoman as foil proved up to the challenge of stretching the antics into sizzling sexuality. Understandably, Meredith and Romero didn't have the same assets to deliver but, when the show flew well, it was when a plot has a basic sketch but the characters took over. Love this episode. To know we sacrificed more Newmar Catwoman for one brief skinnydip swimming shot in McKenna's Gold still doesn't seem fair... Altho I'll take another look at that one next time its on the turntable...

  5. Ah, Julie Newmar in McKenna's Gold...


  6. What has always bothered me about this episode is nothing was mentioned of her 'death' from Catwoman's last appearance. Catwoman said "anything is better than facing prison again" before she fell in the water. Robin said, "she made good her threat never again to return to prison even though it cost her her life"...yet she ends up in jail!? How? Couldn't something have been written to tie the storylines together?
    They both were written by the same person. Feels like a cheat to the audience. The last scene with Catwoman and Bruce Wayne was effective and sad.

  7. Some of the episodes may have been broadcast in the wrong order. I seem to remember one that ended with the Catwoman getting caught and presumably going to prison. Then, in her next appearance, when Gordon calls on the hot line and says that she has returned, Bruce/Batman seems surprised: "She's alive?" At the end of that one, she is again arrested and sent to prison, then in "Scat, Darn Catwoman" she appears to fall to her death, then in "Catwoman Goes to College," she is being released from prison. So, I suspect that there was an episode between "Scat" and "College" that acknowledged her apparent death, although it did not bother to explain how she survived.

  8. OH COME ON!!!

    The last 3 Catwoman stories have real continuity between them. The last 2 were just run IN THE WRONG ORDER.

    In the Sandman story, Batman tells Catwoman he'll "put in a good word for her".

    In the "College" story, he apparently did, as she's being let out ON PAROLE. But by the end of the story, you can see how much it hurts her to be going back to prison.

    The "Pussycat" story is clearly designed as the bix climax, the season finale. Catwoman has her genuine "protoge" (like Robin), she gets Robin under her control, then Batman, Batman is made to look like a crook, the two of them hide out in the Batcave, and then you have that wonderful chase scene. At the end of which, the subject of marriage comes up for the 2nd time, she says she'll "NEVER!" go back to prison again, and then she appears to fall to her death. (She jumped.)

    I'd already noticed this when someone else online suggested it should have been run last. Because if you watch the season 3 opener, B&R are returning to the Batcave, and saying, "Well, that takes care of Catwoman again." Further, there's no way Eartha Kitt is the same "Catwoman"; like "Miss Kitka", she filled the slot while the real one was BELIEVED DEAD!

    If the "Pussycat" story was simply aired where the "College" story was (and vice-versa), 2 weeks after CW's apparently death, Bruce meets someone he could get serious about as Bruce Wayne-- heiress Lisa Carson (Lee Meriweather). She really should have been "Kathy Kane"-- that way, in season 3, we could have had BATWOMAN.

    As explained elsewhere on this blog, the 1st Penguin story for season 2 was aired 2nd. It's clear why-- the 2nd one was an "election" episode, so the other one was pushed back til later. In this case, I finally figured out WHY the "Pussycat" episode was pushed FORWARD to where it was. It was to coincide with the release of Leslie Gore's new single. Had they held back the single for a month, the story could have been aired in the RIGHT order.

    Since I had to copy-edit every episode of this show to remove commercial breaks, I swapped the stories. Which means for more than 2 decades, I've been watching these in the RIGHT order.