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** Episode Guide #1 **
#1 HI DIDDLE RIDDLE
#2 SMACK IN THE MIDDLE ***
1/12/66,1/13/66. Written by Lorenzo Semple Jr.
Directed by Robert Butler.
Batman and Robin are sued for one million bucks for false arrest by the Riddler, who seeks to force
Batman to unmask in court. Clues hidden in the legal documents bring the Dynamic Duo to a hot and
trendy discotheque. What A Way To Go-Go, as Batman does the Batusi with the Riddler's moll, played
by Jill St. John.
"I didn't know that I was going to have to do a dance in a disco before I came in," Adam West has noted.
"That was all improvised on the set. The watusi was the dance that was popular then.
I said, 'Okay, I'll do the Batusi.' And it just happened."
Production values and the pilot's high budget are evident in the creative and original set designs,
lighting and excellent use of color, noticeably absent in some underbudgeted third season misfires.
Variations between pilot and regular series: opening theme is slightly different, Alfred's rarely used
tuxedo is worn throughout #1/2 and the superimposed cliffhanger texts are angled.
BatBits: Based on "Remarkable Ruse of the Riddler" from Batman #171
(5/65), written by Gardner Fox. Lyle Waggoner was originally cast as Batman and filmed for a test reel.
#3 FINE FEATHERED FINKS
#4 THE PENGUIN'S A JINX ***
1/19/66,1/20/66. Written by Lorenzo Semple Jr.
Directed by Robert Butler.
Fresh out of the slammer, Penguin and his gang create several disturbances, including a giant umbrella which
lands in Gotham. Nothing is stolen, so Batman and Robin theorize the antics are a ruse.
Batman's origin was never specifically dealt with during the series. Bruce Wayne mentions the murder of his
parents in episode #1, refers to an umbrella that belonged to his late father in #3, and recalls "the murder of my
parents by dastardly criminals" in #82. The references to Batman's past appear in material worked on
by Lorenzo Semple Jr., initially the series head writer and someone who appears to have recieved the most influence
from (or paid better attention to) established Batman comics lore.
At the end of #4, Semple had Commissioner Gordon explain the origin of the Batcostume. "It's simple. As Batman
realized when he set out on his crusade, nothing so strikes terror into the criminal mind as the shape and
shadow of a huge bat." Semple felt strongly about using shadow imagery. "I think that's very important, and
should be in all scripts from now on," wrote Semple in a November 6,1965 letter to producer Bill Dozier.
"The bat-costume and bat-shadows throw terror and dismay into criminals. Indeed, that's the very kernel of
the whole costume gimmick and we certainly didn't make that point in the pilot. Tell all toiling Bat-Writers
to try to work it in." No such emphasis was ever made.
BatBits:Based "Partners in Plunder!" from Batman #169 (2/65),
written by France Eddie Herron. Mickey Rooney was considered for the role of the Penguin.
#5 THE JOKER IS WILD
#6 BATMAN IS RILED ****
1/26/66,1/27/66. Written by Robert Dozier.
Directed by Don Weis.
The Joker devises a utility belt of his own, and switches it with Batman's. He captures the Dynamic Duo and
threatens to unmask them on live TV, a classic bit of Batlore. These episodes avoid the series' typical
bizarro deathtrap cliffhanger, an excellent but underutiliezed change of pace.
This is the best Joker performance by Cesar Romero. Hubi Kerns and Victor Paul, the stunt doubles for
Adam West and Burt Ward respectively, are evident throughout the fight scene at the end of #6. The first
season's more expensive optical on-screen POWs and EEYOWs are less obtrusive and obliterative than later
version, allowing the action to be more visible.
"White was forbidden on the set," said William Dyer, on Adam West's lighting stand-in. "You'd always wear
a shirt the color [of the costume] or close to it. And if something was really important, they'd give you
a smock to wear [in] the color they wanted. Ironicaly enough, you'll see all the heroines in white and
cameraman Howie Schwartz would go bananas. 'Why did you do this to me again? You know I don't like white!'
Patricia Barto did the costumes. She'd always do that kind of thing: he'd get furious."
BatBits: Both Jose Ferrer and Gig Young were considered for the role of the Joker.
"Poor devil. Forced to live in an air-conditioned suit that keeps his body temperature down to 50 degrees below zero.
No wonder his mind is warped." -Batman
#7 INSTANT FREEZE
#8 RATS LIKE CHEESE ***
2/3/66 Written by Max Hodge.
Directed by Robert Butler.
Batman and Robin attempt to thward Mr. Freeze's plans to steal the Circle of Ice Diamonds, and are frozen in
their steps by a deadly ice-gun. "I don't think I did a very good job with George Sanders," lamented director
Bob Butler, of the actor who played Mr. Freeze. "I don't know if I didn't direct him enough. He was certainly
a lovely guy, kind of a gentle, decent, professional guy. Why it didn't gel with him, I don't know."
Sanders was less bombastic than others who followed in the role, including Otto Preminger and Eli Wallach.
Sanders is more serious and perhaps more understatedly deadly. Some of this stems from Sanders' calm on-screen
indifference as a cultured cad. In keeping with his screen persona, Sanders' 1972 suicide note observed that he was "bored."
BatBits:Based on "The Ice Crimes of Mr. Zero" from Batman #121 (2/59) by Dave Wood.
Mr. Zero was changed to Mr. Freeze for the TV show, and the comics followed suit. Watch for Teri Garr in the bit part of a girl in #7.
#9 ZELDA THE GREAT
#10 A DEATH WORSE THAN FATE ***
2/9/66,2/10/66. Written by Lorenzo Semple, Jr.
Directed by Norman Foster.
Master escape artist Zelda the Great steals $100,000 from the First National Bank on April Fool's Day, and believing
the cash to be counterfeit, kidnaps Aunt Harriet, suspending her over a vat of boiling oil for ransom.
Though not of supervillain status, Ann Baxter as Zelda and Jack Kruschen as Albanian genius Eivol Ekdol work
because Semple's story is well written.
Lorenzo Semple's initial outline for these episodes used comics escape artist Carnado. William Dozier wrote,
"Let's remember we must work dames into these scripts, both for Batman and Robin, wherever feasible." The comment
inspired Semple to modify his work. From a November 11, 1965 letter to Dozier: "Am changing the Great Carnado into
Zelda the Great, a super-sexy femme escape-artiste and illusionist!"
BatBits: Based on "Batman's Inescapable Doom-Trap!" from Detective Comics #346 by John Broome.
These epiosdes were originally entitled "The Inescapable Doom Trap/Zelda Takes the Rap" and scheduled to air 1/26 and 1/27.
Frankie Darrow, who plays a newsman, previously was a Dead End Kid. Both Zsa Zsa Gabor and Bette Davis were considered
for the role of Zelda.
#11 A RIDDLE A DAY KEEPS THE RIDDLER AWAY
#12 WHEN THE RAT'S AWAY THE MICE WILL PLAY ***1/2
2/16/66,2/17/66. Written by Fred De Gorter.
Directed by Tom Gries.
Visiting King Boris is kidnapped by the Riddler, leading Batman and Robin into a trap. Director Tom Gries uses
complex camera setups, occasional lengthier fluid takes, deep focus and some unusually dark sets for the series.
Gries also directed #33/34, and brought visual excitement to the series.
BatBits:At the beginning of #12, look for the blatantly (campy) stuffed dummies of Batman
and Robin on the drive shaft.
#13 THE THIRTEENTH HAT
#14 BATMAN STANDS PAT **1/2
2/23/66,2/24/66. Written by Charles Hoffman.
Directed by Norman Foster.
Using his Super Instant Mesmerizer, paroled Jervis Tetch (alias the Mad Hatter) attempts to capture every member
of the jury which originally convicted him, as well as Batman, who testified against him, burying the Caped
Crusader in super-fast hardening plaster.
With Hatter's criminal acts more appropriately tied to hats, these episodes are superior to the other Hatter
installments (#69/70). David Wayne gives the Hatter a goofball accent (or whatever that is), but fails to
make him a major league villain. Diane McBain has a gorgeous voice as Hatter's moll, Lisa.
BatBits:Two-Face was originally considered as a first season villain, using the
theme of a TV commentator who has a TV tube blow up in his face.
This was a variation of a Two-Face story as reprinted in Batman Annual #3 (1962), originally from Detective
Comics #230 (4/56), written by Bill Finger, where a klieg light blows up in an actor's face.
Ultimately, the character did not appear on the series.
#15 THE JOKER GOES TO SCHOOL
#16 HE MEETS HIS MATCH, THE GRISLY GHOUL **1/2
3/2/66,3/3/66. Written by Lorenzo Semple Jr.
Directed by Murray Golden.
Joker plans to undermine student morale and recruit high school dropouts for his gang, the Bad Pennies.
The Clown Prince of Crime wires the Dynamic Duo to a slot machine about to generate 50,000 volts.
Atypically, Dick Grayson helps solve crimes, infiltrating the Bad Pennies sans Batman. Much of the show
revolves around Grayson, his school and classmates.
Even though Burt Ward was several years out of high school, he still looked young enough to do justice
to the role of a student. "I was 20 years old," Ward has observed regarding his initial involvement
with the series, "and became 21 and had to go to court to get my contract approved so that I could work
on the show."
BatBits: In November 1965, Semple concocted a new villain named The One-Armed Bandit,
"whose peculiar kick is gimmicked coin machines of all sorts." The idea ultimately wound up in these episodes
with Joker in charge of the One Armed Bandit Novelty Company and vending machines that churned out silver
dollars, quarters, answer sheets to exams and knockout gas.
"The opposite of a girl is a boy!" -Robin puzzles out a clue
#17 TRUE OR FALSE FACE
#18 HOLY RAT RACE ****
3/9/66,3/10/66. Written by Stephen Kandel.
Directed by William Graham.
False Face steals the Mergenberg Crown, replacing it with a replica, then gasses Gotham Guardians and then
epoxies them to subway tracks (with quick setting plastic cement) as a train approaches.
In many episodes, the outcomes were either evident or foreshadowed long before the conclusion; not so here.
With numerous twists, turns and false leads, this offbeat pair of episodes remains consistently oblique,
even to the end, regarding whether Batman and Robin will ever apprehend the tricky False Face. The villain's
abhorrence of the word true as well as his use of false clues are other nice touches. Batman at its best,
for this writer's taste.
"Not even his mother will recognize the actor playing False Face," said producer Howie Horowitz in a
February 2 ABC press release. "He's a classically styled actor with a background in New York theater,
movies and television." In Joel Eisner's The Official Batman Batbook , actor Malachi Throne lamented
a modification to the original concept which called for makeup instead of a mask. Throne's credit
appread as "?" in episode #17 and #18. However, curious viewers could simply open TV Guide which listed
his credit on both evenings.
BatBits: Bill Finger created False Face in Batman #113 (2/58).
"I'll be back in three minutes and twenty seconds." -Batman to Robin
#19 THE PURR-FECT CRIME
#20 BETTER LUCK NEXT TIME ***1/2
3/16/66,3/17/66. Written by Stanley Ralph Ross and Lee Orgel.
Directed by James Sheldon.
In the series' first Catwoman adventure, the Feline Fury spirits away one of a pair of golden cat statuettes
containing the secret to Captain Manx's lost treasure. Catwoman traps Batman to battle a ferocious tiger and
balances the Boy Dinner over a pit of hungry tigers and lions.
Noted director of photography Howard Schwartz in "American Cinematographer", "We try to use color in an
exciting way and for that reason we use a great deal of colored light on the sets. We felt that amber was a
'cat color' we played everything in her office and lair in ambers. We went to the greens for the Riddler
because he wears a green outfit, and on the Penguin we used purples. These colors are produced, of course,
by placing appropriate gelatins over the lamps. Naturally we keep the colored light off the faces, except
for extreme effects where somebody will turn on a red light or a green light or something of the sort."
BatBits:Suzanne Pleshette was considered for the role of Catwoman, played by Julie Newmar.
Catwoman's alter ego Selina Kyle was never shown on the show.
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