Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Batscholar on Episode 118

By Joel Eisner

The final appearance of Cesar Romero as the Joker has him using the plans for a flying saucer he got from his recent cellmate (a mad scientist who is also a notorious pickpocket) and using Beryllium stored at a Wayne Research Lab, and Alfred (whom he believes is a mad scientist, despite having had his ups and downs at Alfred's hands last season) builds a flying saucer. Add having one of his henchmen dress up as a martian and some of his cohorts spread rumors about a Martian invasion, he plans to take over the world from outer space.

Another one of Charles Hoffman's wacko stories. the saucer (which Alfred builds in a matter of hours) is a combination of a cheap prop (similar to the one used on Wild Wild West) and stock flying saucer footage from the original version of Invaders From Mars. The Joker's hideout is an abandoned lauching pad factory where he also plans to shoot Batgirl into outerspace strapped to a giant bottle rocket.

The one surprising moment comes when the Martian henchman plants a time bomb which literally destroys the Batcave and almost Batman and Robin. What happened to the automatic bomb detector from the Bookworm episode?

The flying saucer’s interior seems to change in size throughout the entire episode. During the footage at the end of the previous episode, we are shown the Joker, his girlfriend and three henchmen seated in the only five seats on board. Yet, during the actual episode, there is room for two additional seats for Alfred and Batgirl. But at the end of the episode three additional henchmen are seen exiting the saucer to take part in the Bat-Fight. Where did they come from?

By this time it appears no one cared about logic so anything is possible (next episode people turn invisible). Cesar appears to had been having fun, maybe he knew it was his last turn as the Joker and just let it go.

Joker's girlfriend Corinne Calvert, was a French actress in her mid forties who had seen better days and later left show business to become a hypnotherapist. she died in 2001 at the age of 76.

Dick Bakalyan returned after playing henchmen to Louie the Lilac for what is his best performance on the series as the wacky Martian.

Dick Bakalyan, “Originally, an actor named Marc Cavell was supposed to have played the Martian. It was fun to do that—Verdigris and the flying saucer—and anytime you work with Cesar is a pleasure. It was not work doing these shows. We just went and played and had a good time.”

Marc Cavell was Fangs, one of the Riddler's river rat gang members.

Fritz Feld (formally artist Oliver Muzzy from Pop Goes the Joker) is Professor Greenleaf and Grandma Walton Ellen Corby played his sister Mrs. Green. Both were cohorts of the Joker and helped spread the Martian rumors.

Besides the explosion in the Batcave, this episode had another milestone, the second black henchman. actor Jeff Burton who was best known as Astronaut Dodge from the original Planet of the Apes movie (the one that is killed and stuffed in the museum) played Shamrock, Joker's token henchman. Burton had small roles over the years and died in 1988 at the age of 62. Lloyd Haynes was the first black henchman in last season's King Tut's Coup.

Bit Player Tony Gardner played the other henchman. The three mystery henchmen who popped out of the saucer were uncredited stuntmen.

The episode is not bad if you look at it as a parody of 1950's low budget sci fi movies but as Batman episodes go, they could have ended the series when the Batcave blew up.

Next, Ida Lupino (one of tv's first women directors) and estranged husband Howard Duff team up in one of the series cheapest episodes. Dr Cassandra and Cabala.


  1. Lloyd Haynes was King Tut's
    henchman. He was black.
    He was the first.

  2. Haven't seen this one in a long time (definitely my least favorite Joker story), but I remember thinking that Burt Ward was wearing glasses in the long, upward shot just before the Batfight. Is that possible? Did he wear glasses at the time? I never noticed it anywhere else.

  3. I presume the "Astronaut Dodge" reference is to the original PLANET OF THE APES?

  4. What you thought were eyeglasses was only shadows cast by the light shining through Burt Ward's mask.