Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Episode 118: The Joker's Flying Saucer

Season 3 Episode 118
Original Airdate: 2/29/68
Special Guest Star: Cesar Romero as The Joker
Guest Stars: Richard Bakalyan, Corinne Calvert
Written by: Charles Hoffman
Directed by: Sam Strangis

Synopsis: The Joker intends to build a flying saucer in order to terrorize Gotham. He's sent some of his henchmen out to stir up panic. To craft his craft, he must steal a mother lode of Beryllium from the Wayne Foundation.

PE: Ed Wood lives! Yvonne Craig screams! The nail is driven firmly and loudly into the coffin!

JS: Was Barbara screaming due to the fact that footage from a sci-fi classic was repurposed for this embarrassing space mess?

PE: Was she screaming because there was a hairy green Martian in her library, or because said Martian had just knocked a row of her nicely stacked volumes to the floor? 

JS: Is this screeching little mouse really the alter-ego of our tough-as-nails Batbabe? 

PE: She never screamed at the mice in the Pied Piper episode.

JS: And no one stopped to consider that just maybe the Gotham City Public Library won't be the first stop on a space invader's intergalactic tour...

PE: LOL-dialogue:
Batman: Since there is no intelligent life on Mars as we know it, there can be no intelligible Mars-ish language... it is the duty of every good citizen of Gotham City to report meeting a man from Mars in a public park. Gotham City Penal Code section 32, subsection 14.
JS: They've got that in the penal code, and yet right and left, super-villains are allowed to walk free for kidnapping, assault, and various other infractions that must have slipped under the radar of Gotham's forefathers.

PE: The Dynamic Duo had me in stitches while grilling Mrs. Green (Ellen Corby). They kept bending over and looking very closely at the old lady. I kept waiting for Bats to have a smell of her.

JS: Gotta love Ellen Corby. I like to think her role here is a crossover from the one she played in The Ghost and Mr. Chicken.

PE: Sounds like another really complicated and yet dopey plot hatched by The Joker: he's going to steal some incredibly rare metal (not Nilanium, but Beryllium), build an operational flying saucer, fly in from Outer Space, and scare Gotham City into paying what he wants.

JS: Fortunately, the latest gadget in the Batcave has access to the scripts, so the dynamic duo were on to the plot in no time. Let's assume that in one of the many budget-saving offscreen developments (such as Alfred and Batgirl being captured!), it warned them about the bomb in the Batmobile. And it was quite an explosion, when you consider it knocked not one but two phones off the hook.

PE: Bakalyan (as Verdegris, the faux Martian) seems to think he's doing Shakespeare, gesticulating wildly and chewing the scenery.

JS: Granted, but at least it gave him a chance to do it in make-up, this time around. When he first showed up at the Joker's lair, I did a double-take because I thought he was Al Lewis!

PE: I could be wrong but that spaceship looks a heck of a lot bigger on the inside than it looks from the out. And those three extra henchmen that get out of the ship when it lands must have been in the john while the UFO was in the air!

JS: What do you want for $1.98? I'm sure I saw an ad for that in the back of a comic book...

PE: 19 appearances on Batman and Cesar Romero gets his send-off with this crud? After the the last three episodes, I really was hoping this series would go out on some high notes but I fear the quality is in the rear view mirror, Bat-fans.

JS: And if that weren't bad enough, look what they do with Batgirl. They almost completely removed her when editing the fight footage—we're treated to a single WHACK! as she smacks the Joker with leftover plywood used in making the saucer, and nary a single Batgirl-kick. The only thing they managed to squeeze in was her obligatory bondage scene, as she's strapped to the rocket. That also gave us one of the Joker's best lines:
Joker: I've thrilled many a woman, Batgirl, but I've never sent one completely into orbit before!

PE Rating:

JS Rating:

Next up... Dr. Cassandra! Same Bat time, same Bat URL!


  1. Given the "invasion from Mars" theme, it's clear that Barbara's robust scream was a deliberate homage to posters and publicity shots of alarmed starlets from 1950s sci-fi movies. So, as with all broad parodies (pardon the expression), this iconic reaction was embraced, whether it was out-of-character or not. Of course, mild-mannered alter egos are supposed to act like milquetoasts in order to conceal their crusading natures -- just ask Don Diego or Clark Kent, let alone millionaire playboy Bruce Wayne. So while daddy's little girl Babs is expected to scream her head off when she sees a scary Martian, fearless Batgirl would most assuredly step up to the plate, fists-on-shapely-hips, and demand that the creep surrender himself... no matter what planet he hails from.

  2. Was this made before or after Larry Buchanan's "Mars Needs Women"? Either way, Yvonne Craig has had to deal with either real or fake Martians twice in her career. (That's about as much as Jack Kruschen, in his three space movies.)

  3. MARS NEEDS WOMEN was made in late 1968 or early '69 -- I'd like to think right after BATMAN was canceled, suggesting that Yvonne grabbed the job for a few extra bucks when her regular series gig ended and the future seemed uncertain. She looks exactly like Barbara Gordon in MARS, same hair-do, etc., based on my distant memory of the picture...

  4. According to wikipedia and imdb, Mars Needs Women was a TV movie made in 1966 and released in 1967. It was pre-Batgirl for Craig.

  5. Thank you both.
    That's supposed to be the pattern for a lot of Larry Buchanan ones. I don't understand the ins and outs of it, but evidently they were "technically" theatrical movies, but were meant to go straight to TV all along.

    In spite of everything you hear about his movies, Mars Needs Women really has its moments, and it really gives her a chance to act.

  6. Does anyone else think the martian's makeup reminds them of Andro's (particularly the hair) in the original Outer Limits episode "The Man Who Was Never Born"?

    1. Exactly what I was thinking, but not as hideous as the poor Andro..

  7. Houston was the metropolis where MARS NEEDS WOMEN was filmed in a week in November 1966. Lake Texoma was the location for Les Tremayne's CREATURE OF DESTRUCTION, Uncertain, Texas, posing as the bayou in CURSE OF THE SWAMP CREATURE.