Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Batscholar on Episodes 105, 106 and 107

By Joel Eisner

By far the worst episodes of the entire series let alone the third season. With the exception of actress Glynis Johns there is nothing worth while about these three episodes. The only reason it was done as a three parter was to cover the cost of the guest stars (they needed the two parters to pay for two guest stars) but the three parter was used to pay for the extra bit players and the extra outdoor sets and the redressing of the regular set, besides the two guest stars.

Yvonne Craig, “Rudy Vallee was without a doubt one of the worst people I’ve ever worked with. I had so looked forward to working with him .He’d been in the business for two hundred years. And he came on the set and he was an absolute churl. He was this little old cranky man. He was the meanest man, just awful. He didn’t interact with anyone, and when he did, all he could manage was a snarl. It was a three-parter; we thought we’d never get rid of him. His cohort, Glynis Johns, was just a dream.”

Rudy Vallee had been a big singing star in the 1920's and 1930's but now he was making a comeback on Broadway in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. Why they gave this part to a non Brit, is amazing. They had several British actors on the show but when it came to a leading British part, they gave it to Vallee. James Mason had expressed interest in doing the show, why not use him. Glynis Johns had scored big in Mary Poppins but now was appearing on television. Lyn Peters gave up her career in the early 1970's to marry actor Paul Burke (star of Naked City and 12 O'Clock High).
Of the three henchmen, Harvey Jason ( a regular character actor,) Larry Anthony (his career ended in 1969 and then disappeared), Monte Landis is the best known of the group for his many appearances on the Monkees tv show.

Maurice Dallimore last seen in the Chad and Jeremy episode where London was London makes his last appearance on the series (he was also the British delegate in the Batman movie. The four girls were bit players who had very short acting careers.

There was one more cast member (seen here with director Oscar Rudolph)character actor Joseph Abdullah (who last appeared in episode 87-88 as a guard,) was to have appeared in one of these episodes in as the character of Fagin. At the time the musical “Oliver!” based on the book Oliver Twist was a big hit on Broadway and was then in production as a motion picture. The addition of the Fagin character would have been a parody on the Dickens’ story. Recently uncovered behind the scenes production photos of director Oscar Rudolph with the Fagin character prove the scenes were filmed, but as to why they were cut out, is unknown.

Writer Elkan Allan (Cohen) was a prolific British reporter and columnist for Variety and the Times. He was the producer of the British tv series Ready Steady, Go. this was his only venture into American tv writing. Probably because he was British, but they still turned the actual script over to Charles Hoffman who did his own tinkering on the script, no telling how much better the original teleplay was before it was rewritten.

Aunt Harriet makes the second and final of her two cameo appearances in this episode. Madge Blake died on Feb. 19, 1969. She had been in poor health for quite awhile. She had fractured her left ankle, and then died of Arteriosclerosis,

Madge and her husband both worked for the U.S. government dining World War Two, and both had top secret clearances. They ended up in Utah., working on the detonator for the atomic bomb. She later started working in local plays in. Riverside. California and was discovered by Fanny Brice.

Prior to Batman, Madge got a call about a new series starting and they wanted her to accept a role. Due to conflicts with the Leave it to Beaver show, where she was already under contract, she had to turn it down, but recommended her friend. Frances Bavier who went on to accept the role of Aunt. Bee on the Andy Griffith Show.

Alfred drove around Londinium in his second cousin Cuthbert’s taxicab. No doubt another one of his lookalike relatives.

Next Eartha Kitt takes over as the Catwoman.

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!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Batscholar on Episode 104

By Joel Eisner

After the upswing with Pop Goes the Joker last season, this episode proves that Flop Goes the Joker. By far one of the worst Joker episodes and nor one of the best third season episodes. The Joker's Flyings Saucer was the best of his three appearance (he took a back seat to Eartha Kitt in the team-up), This episode is as much a duplicate to Louie the Lilac than any other. Instead of trying to control the flower children, Joker tries to take over the surfing kids. Sort of an enlarged version of his attempt to corrupt the kids when he went to school.

Cesar does his best under the circumstances with his best line being "I know more than he's forgotten". It did give Joker a chance to use the joker mobile one more time and to get outside to a real location set. (although the Hang 5 and other buildings are more limbo sets. It was a really ridiculous idea for Joker to go surfing in his full suit with baggies on top. The closeups of Adam and Cesar against the process screen looked real fake compared to the stuntmen doing the actual surfing. Of all the episodes he did, Cesar hated this one the most. I don't blame him.

The fake cliffhanger turning Batman and Robin into surfboards was unique but the thickness of the boards ruined the scene, They were too thin to have encased their bodies.

The surfing footage was borrowed from the film The Endless Summer.

It was nice to see Yvonne outside of her costume and Gordon and O'Hara trying to fit in but failing to be anything out of their element.

John Mitchum returns as Hot Dog Harrigan, (formally Rip Snorting, from the Shame episode), now that F Troop was cancelled he was looking for work. Sivi Aberg, formally of Liberace's girl gang, is his new moll with actor Skip Ward (Dozier's first choice for the Green Hornet) and monster actor Ron Burke (he played the alien fish monster in the film Destination Inner Space opposite Jonny Quest's Race Bannon, Mike Road).

Yvonne Craig: ‘The crew and I got along great; the cast— Burt and Adam—very well, although I understand they had had trouble with both of them before I joined the show. I didn’t join the show until the third season. By that time whatever trouble they had had with them about being prima donnas, as far as I could tell, certainly with Burt in particular, had vanished. He knew his lines always, he came prepared, and when he finished shooting he went to his dressing room and played chess with somebody. Other than that, he was delightful. All of them were.”

Johnny Green and his Green Men only proved they had better hairdressers than Cesar, his green wig looked yellow this time around. He had said that the wig was green but photographed everything but green.

Next Batman and Robin travel to Londinium (not London as in the Chad and Jeremy episode) where they meet a down on his luck singer (minus his raccoon coat) and Mrs Banks from Mary Poppins as a larcenous brother and sister and her school for criminal girls. And the second and last appearance of Aunt Harriet. Plus the Londinium Batcave complete with skeleton.

Episode 104: Surf's Up! Joker's Under!

Season 3 Episode 104
Original Air Date: 11/16/67
Special Guest Villain: Cesar Romero as The Joker
Guest stars: Skip Ward, Sivi Aberg
Written by: Charles Hoffman
Directed by: Oscar Rudolph

Synopsis: The Joker steals Surfer Skip Parker's moves, which he thinks will be more than enough to beat Batman in a surfing competition. In case you were wondering—yes, there is a shark, and for all sakes and purposes, it is jumped.

PE: Now we're talkin'! Yvonne Craig in a hot one-piece makes this watchable for at least a couple reasons. It's not a coincidence that Johnny Green and The Green Men are singin' their swingin' hit "Just a Little Bit Harder." In fact, there's a lot of nice flesh on display here.

JS: Ay, caramba! I thought there were several things to like in this one, but the high points were definitely offset by the lowest of the lows.

PE: In the land of Batman, coincidence is king. There's a surf board in the Wayne study and Dick Grayson has his millionaire beach wear on just as Batman gets a call that a surf board star has been kidnapped. Burt Ward looks so natural, in that green shirt and Hawaiian pattern baggies, on the beach that it's hard to believe he wasn't featured more prominently in his comeback role as Mr. Bun in Beach Babes from Beyond (1993).

JS: How sad is it that the bag they use to kidnap our old pal John Mitchum (as Hot Dog Harrigan this time out) isn't even a bag. When the Joker's henchmen pull it over his head only to realize it was open on the opposite end, Mitchum had to help pull it back up.

PE: If re-visiting this show on this blog has taught me one thing, it's expect the unexpected. I think I could have gone another fifty years without seeing Commissioner Gordon and Chief O'Hara in shorts, straw hats, and forty cent sunglasses. And just who out there in casting thought an out of shape 35 year-old Skip Ward (with belly hanging out of his shirt in some scenes) was the perfect beach stud? According to Joel Eisner, Ward was William Dozier's first choice to play The Green Hornet! I'm in agreement that the Hornet TV show wasn't a smashing success nor a high point in television quality, but this guy as The Green Hornet instead of Van Williams? And Tony Randall as Kato, maybe?

JS: Here's where you and I disagree. The Commish and O'Hara going undercover is an exercise in endearing silliness. I loved it. Compare that to the stupidity of showing the dynamic duo turned into surfboards. That scene really took me out of the episode. And keep in mind that I would have settled for normal sized surfboards with Batman and Robin's heads extending from them.

PE: I think if William Dough-zier had searched a bit longer, he could have found a worse band than Johnny Green and The Green Men (weren't The Association available?). Inexplicably, an off-shoot of this band still plays high school hops and the finer bars in Toledo. Their website claims they appeared on 27 episodes of Batman, but I can only remember covering my ears to their unique sound this once. 

JS: Don't knock The Association. Better a one-hit wonder than a none-hit wonder.

PE: We certainly have come a long way (down) since the fun Batusi night club scene of the premiere episode. Here we're given 8 or 9 extras attempting to dance to the worst sounding beach music ever recorded (I've gotta believe some of this can be found on Rhino's Worst Music of All Time discs). I say "attempting" as they're not doing much more than imitating an epileptic seizure. The laughs are hardy though when Robin takes one look around and disgustedly mutters "We shoulda wore our baggies." 

JS: Wrong again. The 'worst sounding beach music' award goes to the music played under the surfing competition. This was the best they could come up with?

PE: LOL-dialogue of the episode comes when Batman and Robin enter the aforementioned crab shack and approach the cleverly-camouflaged Commish and Chief:
Batman: May we join you?
Gordon: Drop anchor. (pointing at O'Hara) This is Duke.
Batman (with a painful smile on his face) What else is new?
Gordon: Barbara  had to go back to the library but she told me to keep an eye on the girl behind the counter.
Batman: You mean the one talking to her hot dog?
JS: Again, for my money, tongue (or hot-dog, as the case may be) in cheek humor is perfectly reasonable. 

PE: Joker's character has certainly changed from a master criminal who stole priceless jewels and thunk up nefarious ways to kill Batbrain and The Boy Blunder to the clown (pun intended) out to steal a beach jock's ability to surf. The machinery used to heist the prowess is certainly some of the finest used in the series, a gauge with a couple of dials hooked up to the head with a piece of felt. Hot dang! More dough saved! Speaking of money-saving, Dough-zier saves another $11.50 this show by disposing of such unnecessary props as backgrounds and fake glass in the window the Dynamic Duo break through.

JS: I'm shocked that you failed to mention Bruce Wayne's 3247th honorary role as head of the Gotham Surfing Point Association.

PE: Hard to decide who's the Bat-babe this episode: Craig or the exquisite Sivi Aberg, 3rd runner-up in the 1964 Miss Universe pageant, who delivers all her lines, if I'm not mistaken, with her incredibly cut abs. 

JS: I think Sivi (who had previously appeared as one of Liberace's molls) edges Yvonne out in this particular episode. But what a nice change of pace for her to have some real competition for a change.

PE: I have a feeling, judging by the Batman and Joker in the surf scene, that Dozier was still reading the current Batman and Detective Comics every month. Those who say this show mocks the hero never read stories like "Batman Junior and Robin Senior" (where the Duo's roles are reversed), "The Rainbow Batman" (Bats decides he needs to wear a different colored cowl every night), or the self-explanatory "Creature from the Green Lagoon." It wasn't until artist Neal Adams rescued the titles from this bilge in 1970 that Batman acquired the dark reputation he's famous for today. I'm not arguing  the quality of the TV series here, just the myth that this show ruined the character. He was broke already.

PE Review:

JS Review:

Next up... Lords and Ladies! Same Bat time, same Bat URL!

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Batscholar on Episodes 102 and 103

By Joel Eisner

The return of Vincent Price as Egghead was a mixed blessing. To see Vincent in anything was something to look forward to. However, Stanley Ralph Ross did not write these episodes, Stanford Sherman did and he did not understand the Egghead character. He turned the world's smartest villain into a babbling/crying fool. Now, Batman claims he was brought down by his assoctiation with Olga, but it just covered up a poorly written story.

Before I go on, I need to point out that this was a three part episode. The second part, entitled the Ogg Couple was removed and the ending changed to turn it into a one part episode to be aired a few weeks later. (All three episodes had the same production number). So what we have here is the first and third parts. Egghead started out fine when he turned up in Gordon's office to kidnap him but by the third part he lost all sense of intelligence by trying to hatch a fossil egg.

Olga, Queen of the Cossacks aka Anne Baxter (formally Zelda the Great) was the only main villain to return to the series as a different main villain. Egghead who is now engaged to marry Olga, has no henchmen of his own. He is totally in the control of Olga and her cossacks. (non speaking stuntmen, including a poorly disguised Gil Perkins). He is forced to ride around on a burro while Olga and the Cossacks ride horses down Gotham City Streets. Vincent has his moments such as his tear gas eggs, and when he complains about Olga wanting to marry Batman, he gets hit on the head and does a humerous doubletake before falling over.

Baxter was over the top and had worked with Vincent before in the Ten Commandments, and A Royal Scandal (directed by Otto Preminger and also starring Tallulah Bankhead), so they got along well. But they were so far apart in intelligence, that the joke wore thin quickly.

Alfred Dennis as Omar Orloff, had a humerous bit in cooking the borscht with the Commissioner and Robin. He used the same cauldron seen in many previous episodes. It was also reused in the single episode to drown Batgirl in caviar.

Anne Baxter: “The set for Olga was absolutely crazy. The costuming alone was hysterical, like reaching into your old dress-up box as a kid. That red wig—they kept putting nice quiet reds on me, and I said, ‘No, no, no. We wanted RED!.’

Vincent Price: “I was thrilled to be on the Batman series. I really felt that it was one of the most brilliant television series ever done and I still think so. The imagination and the creativeness that went into these shows were extraordinary. They were way ahead of their time.”

One of the scenes in the first part features Alan Hale Jr aka the Skipper from Gilligan's Island making a gag appearance.

Alan Hale Jr:: “When I did Batman it was right after I opened my restaurant “The Lobster Barrel and Steak House”. Vincent Price, was a friend of mine, kidded me about it and then invited me to come out and work with him as Egghead in the restaurant scene; then as an added joke they named my character Gilligan. So we had a lot of giggles about that one.”

Other bits of trivia

The Neosaurus costume was a hand- me-down from “The Questing Beast” episode of the Lost in Space. TV series. It was recolored from red to green but it was the same costume. Also, the reason you never saw the back of the suit, was that fell apart during LIS and the whole back of the suit including the tail came off and had to constantly patched together just to finish the show.

If you look closely while Egghead and Olga are in the Museum, you will see the Moldavian Mammoth last seen in the pilot episode. It is conveniently turned with it’s left side towards the wall, so we would not see the huge gapping hole left by the dynamic duo when they burst out of it to surprise the Riddler.

There is also one sequence that was cut from the cut, while Alfred and Batgirl search the city for the smell of Gordon's aftershave. Alfred was supposed to come upon the exact smell coming out of a house. Alfred knocks on the door but rather than finding Gordon, he finds an Indian man (played by James Lanphier) making a curry dish. Alfred quickly leaves and continues his search. This scene was cut (I don't know if it was filmed, the part was cast ) but it was replaced with Alfred doing the doubletake at the garbage can instead.

More on these episodes when we get to the Ogg Couple.

Next, The Joker finally returns to take up Surfing.

Episodes 102 & 103: The Ogg and I/ How to Hatch a Dinosaur

Season 3 Episodes 102 & 103
Original Air Dates: 11/2/67 & 11/9/67
Special Guest Villain: Vincent Price as Egghead
Extra Special Guest Villainess: Anne Baxter as Olga
Guest stars: Alfred Dennis, Alan Hale, Jr.
Written by: Stanford Sherman
Directed by: Oscar Rudolph

Synopsis: With the help of Olga and her Bessarovian Cossacks, Egghead has kidnapped Commissioner Gordon. If the tax of ten cents for every egg consumed in Gotham City is not levied, Gordon will be mailed back to Gotham City Hall in an egg carton. Meawhile, Olga and her Cossacks desire the Samovar of Genghis Khan and they'll do just about anything to get it. All these wonderful schemes get put to the side though when Egghead learns he can hatch a 40,000,000 year old dinosaur egg. He plans to let the monster loose in Gotham.

PE: Bats says he's heard rumors the two nefarious criminals, Egghead and Olga, have joined forces. Clearly, he's still rattled from the fondling he took at the petals of the man-eating plant last episode and has no memory of seeing the two criminals riding burro-back through Gotham at the climax of that show.

JS: I assumed they came right over to Gordon's office after seeing the criminals to save the Commissioner the cost of the Batphone call. How else can you explain why they would just show up unannounced?

PE: Bonnie used to be such a good voice on the phone. Now she'll let any Tom, Dick, or Baldy in the office. Chief O'Hara seems to be baffled when he enters Gordon's office and finds... egg sandwich, hold the Commish. He searches high and low, he even opens the desk drawers but... nope, no boss. I was surprised he didn't eat the sandwich.

JS: I kept waiting for O'Hara to check under the rug. And to be fair to Bonnie, Egghead was wearing a hat. What struck me as odd was everyone's failure to notice that Egghead's demands did not mention his returning the Commissioner once they were met.

PE: Nice in-joke having Alan Hale, Jr. playing a diner cook named Gilligan. Hale had just finished off a three-year tour as the Skipper on Gilligan's Island. To further the joke, Hale impersonates his "little buddy" rather than the Skipper.

JS: Nice to see him, but pure padding in what should have been a single-shot episode.

PE: I think Barbara Gordon's bird must be getting jealous since Babs confides in Alfred now.

JS: You better believe it—now that she's inviting him over. What would the neighbors think (I assume Alfred isn't scaling the wall to sneak into the single young lady's apartment, or at least if he was that they'd show it).

PE: I never pegged Gordon for the "rare Sumatra aftershave" type. He always seemed so Old Spice to me. Now we know why the babes go wild for the old timer.

JS: I'm glad we don't know what it smelled like, considering that while walking the streets of Gotham sniffing for that scent, Alfred had to do a double take when passing a garbage can.

PE: Olga and her band of merry Cossacks steal the Samovar (basically a fancy-looking coffee pot) but I really wanted to see how they got it back to their base since it was obviously too large to get out the embassy door! And how did Batman talk the Bessarovian ambassador into letting the Dynamic Duo hide inside the priceless artifact? The Caped Crusader should have smelled a rat. Obviously, they've been inside the percolator far too long and are oxygen-deprived. When they lift the top, they hear muffled eggspletives and look all around the room (this, despite the fact that the man is right in front of them):
Robin (spotting Gordon and excitedly pointing at him): There's the Commisioner, Batman!
Batman (listening keenly to the muffled rantings): I think he's trying to tell us something, Robin.
JS: I thought he was easier to understand than Olga.

PE: Hey! Don't get me wrong. I'm a hot-blooded male and I dig Batgirl just like all the other males out there (and some of the females, no doubt) but the "pause and kick, pause and kick" routine's getting old. Henchmen line up and wait to be kicked in the face. Couldn't this super-heroine work her fists as well? If we could swallow part of the bait, we could swallow it whole, I says.

JS: What about the helicopter kick? I think the henchmen take one look at those gams and are basically hypnotized into walking into those spiked Bat-heels.

PE: Anne Baxter was still a Bat-babe at the age of 44. A major Hollywood star in the 1940s and '50s with roles in The Razor's Edge (1946 Best Supporting Actress Oscar winner), All About Eve (1950), and The Ten Commandments (1956), but by the 1960s she was a regular on TV westerns.

JS: I have to wonder who was going to eat the Robin/Commissioner stew? If they had thought it through, they could have said it was Neosaurus food...

PE: Without the cliffhanger in these two-parters, episode one ends with a whimper, not a bang. The overacting in the onion egg scene is a crying shame.

JS: Yeah, that was embarrassing all around. For all that he was asked to do in the series, West almost always managed to sell it. This was one of a very few instances where he phoned it in and it really stops the episode in its tracks.

PE: Two pounds of Radium in Gotham City in 1967: $16,000. The look on Commissioner Gordon's face when Chief O'Hara says, "I can just feel those radioactive Gammas and Betas crawlin' up on me right now": priceless.

JS: Ah, the Gotham City Radium Center—where pants for female employees are optional!

PE: That Gotham Museum is full of wonderful oddities: a purple Woolly Mammoth and an extra Cheaposaurus suit from The Land Unknown. The suit's a little more flexible than his cousins in the croc pit.

JS: I was just bemoaning the absence of a good rubber creature, and here we get a biggie. Of course, we must ask what the hell a rubber Neosaurus suit is doing in a museum of paleontology. On the other hand, it sure came in handy when Batman needed a Neosaurus suit in a pinch. Lucky for Bats that Egghead didn't bother to do the standard teeth count. Otherwise he would have clearly realized this was a fake, and not a real 2562-toothed Neosaurus.

PE: How many phones in the Wayne study?

JS: Alfred had an extra line installed so he could take Batgirl's calls.

PE: In the grand tradition of the Batshield that shields only Batman, we get Egghead's "Zapping Machine," a tall hunk of metal with a window and two gloved "hands" used to "zap," which protects Egghead but not the group of onlookers.

JS: I enjoyed Egghead's pre-zapping dance with the egg.

PE: Holy Expository, Batman! You've come up with satisfactory answers to all those questions about your silly Neosaurus costume and the radium you were absorbing and why the heck you did it in the first place but I got a couple for you. How did you get into the egg and when?

JS: Forget about that—I want to know when hindsight is better than foresight? There's something for you to think about, Batman...

PE Rating: 

JS Rating:

Next up... The Joker! Same Bat time, same Bat URL!

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Batscholar on Episode 101

By Joel Eisner

Created by motion picture screenwriter Dwight Taylor (I Wake Up Screaming, Top Hat, an numerous other Fred Astaire musicals, and detective films like the Thin Man Goes Home) Louie, the Lilac could have been one of the funniest parodies on gangsters ever done. Here we have a character who dresses all in purple and surrounds himself with flowers (and later perfume in his next appearance). He wants to take over the flower children and create his own army of young people. If ever an over the top effeminate actor were needed for the show this would have been the part to play. Milton Berle could have pulled it off, he had played all sorts of parts and especially women on his old variety show back in the 1950's. When Berle left NBC he was signed to a 20 year contract with ABC and given his own show. However, times changed and his brand of comedy no longer was popular. ABC was stuck with him. He hosted Celebrity Bowling, he guested on most ABC sitcoms, including this one. Why he chose to play Louie as a straight (no pun intended) gangster role, is anybody's guess. Berle never reverted to his comedic talents except when he did his famous stamping walk (he used to walk on the sides of his feet for comic effect) into the hot house at the end of the episode.

Louie's gang consisted of actor Karl Lukas (Arcacia), who spent most of his career playing gangsters, thugs and policeman. Jimmy Boyd, (Dogwood) who was famous for singing I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus (at age 14), he was a regular on the Bachelor Father and Broadside sitcoms. He was also Yvonne Craig's ex husband. Finally was Dick Bakalyan as Arbutus. Last seen as in last season's King Tut Coup and as Riddler's henchman for the silent movie episode. He would later appear as the Joker's little Green Man later in the season.

Actor Richard Bakalyan: “This was a fun show to do. I mean, everybody wanted to be on it, only because it was an ‘in’ show to be a part of, like ‘The Untouchables’ was years ago. We had such fun doing the one on Louie the Lilac, where we stole all of the flowers in Gotham City. “Milton was such a fun guy. They kept throwing me off the set, because he kept breaking me up. Every time he went to do a scene in his costume, I would just stand there and laugh. When I stopped laughing, he knew I was going to laugh, so he started to laugh.”

Lisa Seagram who appeared on numerous tv shows of the 1950' s and 1960's left the business to open an acting school and that is where she is today.

Skye Aubrey is the daughter of actress Phyliss Thaxter and former CBS President Jim Aubrey has appeared in numerous bit parts over the years.
Production Manager Sam Strangis “That was a difficult shoot. We were out in Fox’s Rancho Park and almost a thousand kids and adults came crowding around to see Batman and Uncle Miltie. Miltie was quite a ham. He went out and told jokes and signed autographs. We lost a day of shooting.”

This is the second and last time the Batgirl theme song was heard on the series.

Next Vincent Price returns as Egghead and this time Anne Baxter formally Zelda the Great returns to the series as Olga Queen of the Bessarovian Cossacks. Baxter was the first and only guest villain to return to the series playing a different guest villain. The following two part episode was in reality a three part episode (they all have the same episode production number) but rather than air it in three parts, the second part was removed and a new ending was added allowing it to be show at a later date.