Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Batscholar on Episode 119

By Joel Eisner

Dr. Cassandra and Cabala were an attempt to merge the hippies with the older generation. Sonny and Cher they are not. Ida Lupino and her husband Howard Duff were an odd combination for this episode. Lupino a member of the British Lupino acting family, was the female lead in the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes opposite Basil Rathbone, later one of the first female tv directors (she worked on shows such as Thriller and Gilligan's Island). Duff was the star of the then cancelled Felony Squad. I liked this episode, it was so off beat, that the pair seemed like something out of a 60's version of a LSD trip done like a Rocky and Bullwinkle episode.

This was also the cheapest episode of the series. No henchmen, invisible crooks and six arch criminals played by stand ins. As I pointed out before, the Catwoman standin was Julie's not Eartha's .There were some things thatalways got to me, why were the villains all housed in a special arch villains wing, when they never were before. Why are they wearing their street clothes. Why was King Tut in jail, since his memory returned after each episode and he went back to teaching. He never went to jail. Why was Catwoman housed with the male villains. Why was the electric switch that released all the villains on the wall in Warden Crichton's office and not outside the wing where it would be more useful. I mean why would the Warden need a switch to release all the arch criminals at once.

This was David Lewis's last appearance as the Warden, so they gave him a new Prison Captain played by Bill Zuckert. (the sheriff from the Spectre of the Gun episode of Star Trek).

G. David Schine, the former assistant to the late Senator Joseph McCarthy during the blacklisting trials of the 50s, portrays the jewelry store floorwalker under his given name.

Stanley Ralph Ross, “The producers ran over budget on this episode, and they could not afford to take the two days necessary to block and shoot the fight scenes. So, I wrote this episode in such a way that the fight was in the dark; therefore, the episode was shot in less time.

I wanted to call Cassandra’s weapon a Ronald Ray-Gun. This was the only time they really censored me. The weapon took the third dimension out of them and made them into cardboard cutouts. At the time Ronald Reagan was our governor of California. So, instead I used Alvino Rey who was an old-time band leader from the ‘40s. Ross later used the Ronald Ray Gun on the Monster Squad TV series.

Cassandra was named after a little girl who lived next door to me and was always asking to be put into a ‘Batman’ story.”

Next In the final episode of the series Zsa Zsa Gabor finally plays a villain. Plus the return of Jacques Bergerac as Freddie the Fence. Plus Producers William Dozier and Howie Horwitz play themselves.


  1. The George Reeves "Adventures of Superman" series includes a fondly remembered episode ("The Phantom Ring") that also riffed Wells's "The Invisible Man." Until today's reminder, who knew that Dough-zier spent less than Whitney Ellsworth in producing a haircut script?

  2. Duff and Lupino had starred in the sitcom "Mr. Adams And Eve" from 1957-58 (two seasons) which was basically about themselves, a showbiz married couple. Theirs was a combustible relationship that was already on the rocks when this episode filmed. They parted company a couple years later but weren't formally divorced for another decade.

  3. Howard Duff also played SAM SPADE on the radio show. According to SCARLET STREET magazine, the immensely-popular series got funnier and funnier the longer it was on the air, slowly developing a style almost identical to the much-later ROCKY & BULLWINKLE!

  4. Does anyone recognize Bill Zuckert from a similar role as Chief Segal in another superhero parody of the 1960s called Captain Nice?