Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Batscholar on Episode 120

By Joel Eisner

After three years the producers were able to get Zsa Zsa Gabor onto the program. She was under consideration for Zelda the Great, she was scheduled for Marsha Queen of Diamonds, but was unable to do it. Now when Mae West was unable to take on Minerva, Zsa Zsa got her chance. They never should have bothered. While not a bad episode, it just wasn't worth ending the series with this episode.

Mae West the comedic bombshell of the 1930's, was now 75 years old and would have been just too much a cartoon version of her former self. Zsa Zsa was much younger but the part was just too vague to be considered an arch villain. Some have suggested that Carolyn Jones return as Marsha in this episode. It might have helped but it was just another one of Charles Hoffman formula/hatchet jobs.

Producers Howie Horwitz and William Dozier made on screen appearances as themselves partly to save on paying for more guest stars and partly to give a send off to the series.

We have a number of returning henchmen in this episode, Al Ferrara last seen as Trap Door to the Black Widow. Boyd Santell, last seen as Sethos in the Spell of Tut (this time he played a security guard) and Jacques Bergerac returns as French Freddie the Fence. Tough guy actor William Smith was Adonis. Mark Bailey who spent most of his career playing guards and army officers (he had a recurring part as a German Officer on Garrison's Gorillas) was Apollo. As far as Aphrodite, this was Yvonne Arnett's only acting role. whether she was someone's girlfriend or just another Fox starlet, this was it for her.

The only other guest cast member was light comedy actor George Neise, who played Mr Shubert, who appeared in numerous sitcoms and worked with Three Stooges.

Zsa Zsa Gabor, “I loved the character; she was a real wicked woman. The wardrobe was all gaudy and silver and nothing can be more exciting than that. She had a beauty parlor and she had these hair dryers on the people’s heads. These hair dryers got all of the spy stories out of the people’s brains and I could find out what they were thinking. One person for example was a jewelry salesman and I could find out the combination to his safe. I opened that safe and diamonds kept on falling all over me. I loved it.”

By this point in time the show had reached rock bottom and even Adam West had had enough.

Adam West: “I became extremely frustrated and unhappy, and wanted out. There was nothing I could do to convince the producers or the studio to make improvements. I was just a hired hand. Eventually I lost all interest because I felt the series was being neglected. They weren’t spending the money they should have and we weren’t getting the scripts we deserved. I didn’t want any part of that kind of situation. But I still hated to leave the character because Batman had been good to me.”

What would have happend if the show had gone to a fourth season is unknown. But there almost was a fourth season. Check out my epilogue for more.


  1. Zsa Zsa was, indeed, a weak villainess. However, the scene where Batman and Robin were marching down the hall in towels . . . draped over and around their costumes . . . made the episode worth it right there.

  2. There's a 5th season GET SMART with a very similar plot, "Smartacus", in which Ronald Long plays a man with the nicname "The Emperor" who runs a Roman-style bath house, in which he has the steam room bugged to steal secret information. It also doubles as a death-trap when the door is locked and the steam is turned way up. It ends with a gladiatorial sword-fight. One of the highlights was the Chief's growing frustration with his sidekick Larrabee, who kept getting stupider by thw week, making the Chief want to escape death just to make sure he could KILL Larrabee!

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