If you don’t like the 1966 Batman TV show, then guess what? You’re a moron.
A pretty harsh judgment, I know, but I’m pretty sure that if you ask my less-angry peers–or even my frequently more angry–the response is going to be the same: Batman is stone cold awesome, and that is a fact.
Because after all, this is the show that brought us the undeniable beauty that is Surf Jams Joker.
Surf Jams Joker, people. Seriously.
But that’s not what brings us here tonight. I’ve recently been re-watching the series–through Completely Legal Means, which is no mean feat since, with the exception of the movie, it continues to be shockingly unavailable on DVD–and the first episodes I went for were the ones I liked the most as a kid: A three-parter where Batman and Robin head across the pond to Merrie Olde England! Uh, I mean… Londinium!
I’ve mentioned some of the more awesome aspects of the episode and its hand in my adolescence before, but what surprised me here was that unlike a lot of stuff that I’ve gone back to after my childhood, it was even better the second time.
Probably because I get all the sex jokes now.
Anyway, the whole thing gets started with a series of daring robberies in fogbound Londinium, including the theft of Her Majesty’s Priceless Snuffboxes, that end with the culprits getting away in a man-made fog. Clearly, this is the sort of problem that the conventional law enforcement of 1968 was ill-equipped to deal with, and so venerable Ireland Yard puts in the call to Gotham City, request the aid of Batman, and before long, the cast is on its way to the Olde Country.
Actual Quote: “What a pleasant surprise to find you and young Dick among our fellow passengers!”
Incidentally, despite Comsisioner Gordon’s reference to others, this appears to be the sum total of the ship’s passengers. And yet, they still can’t figure out Batman’s secret identity. No wonder they needed a super-hero.
Once the Dynamic Duo are across the sea and ashore–and sequestered in a rented manor house that happens to have its owns subterranean lair, complete with skeleton–it’s time to investigate our Special Guest Villains for the evening: Lord Marmaduke Ffogg and Lady Penelope Peasoup, of Ffogg Place, Ffoggshire.
Slightly of note is the fact that Lady Penelope is played (awesomely) by Glynis Johns, who’s probably better known for her role as Winifred Banks, the neglectful suffragette mother from Mary Poppins.
Of far more interest to a young Chris Sims, however, was the fact that Fogg Place doubles as a “posh girls’ finishing school,” in which the young ladies are actually trained as delinquent shopliftresses under the leadership of the blonde, accented, and be-miniskirted Lady Prudence:
Further explanation on that point should not be necessary. What matters, though, is that after about three minutes of Burt Ward’s overtly masculine charm, Prudence breaks down and reveals the whole sordid story behind Lord Ffogg’s school of shoplifting, while Batman’s elsewhere, having elected to take a tour of the school’s Judo studio and rare African Death Bee hive.
That’s right, folks: Delinquent martial artist schoolgirls and their deadly bees are a major plot point in the show I used to watch for at least an hour every day after school. Is it any wonder I turned out this way?
Anyway, after a minor altercation with the Ffoggs’ domestic help, wherein Batgirl makes her first butler-kicking appearance of the saga, Batman starts to suspect that Lord Ffogg might have a hand in the robberies. The truth, however, is even more terrifying, as the enemy is revealed at last to be…
Who else? Hippies!
Thus, one hippie-thrashing later, Batman emerges to find that Robin has been set upon and kidnapped by the Ffogg School Shoplifting Crew–who are consistently and slightly creepily referred to by the narrator as “the pretty little student bodies“–and while I know this is a bad thing to say this far into a post, this is where things start to get interesting.
Why? Because this is where we get our pretty much mandatory scene of Batgirl in bondage.
Okay, okay, hold on a second. Before you go running off to report me to When Fangirls Attack for being creepier than I actually am, allow me to point out that in and of itself, this isn’t the part that’s so interesting. Especially since, you know, that sort of thing happened to Babs pretty much every day back in the ’60s. No, it’s actually what it leads to that’s so awesome.
So here’s how it goes down: As you might expect, Batman eventually shows up to save the day, and while Robin’s dealing with the twin perils of death by bee-sting and collar-ruffled seduction…
…Batman sneaks into the dungeon to rescue Batgirl, and gives us the greatest fifteen seconds in televison history. This one’s going to work better if you actually see it for yourselves, so feel free to hit play and queue it up to 2:45 to witness the majesty.
For those of you who don’t want to watch, I’ll explain: In order to free Batgirl, Batman whips out his handy bat-file, gives her what is probably the most hilarious sex face of all time, and then essentially just starts fucking the shit out of the chain until the camera cuts away a few seconds later. Special Bonus: Watch closely as Yvonne Craig struggles to contain her laughter, then responds with a comedically seductive look of her own.
Truly, it is a beautiful thing.
And that’s pretty much all there is to it: Robin reveals that allowing himself to be stung by the African Death Bee was all part of his master plan to get back to the student bodies’ dorm room and gives them a stern dressing-down that causes them to change their ways, and eventually he, Batgirl and Batman punch enough people so that everything works out okay.
Thus, we all learn a valuable lesson: Batman and Robin are stone cold pimps.
And that’s real.
That right there is about six and a half minutes’ worth of concentrated, weapons-grade awesome.
This post couldn’t have been timed more perfectly. I just watched “Return to the Batcave: The misadventures of Adam and Burt” today, and the discussions of lewd innuendo in that movie coupled with seeing that chain scene? i almost injured myself laughing.
I think what made that clip for me was Yvonne Craig’s barely-contained mirth. And you’re right, getting all the sex jokes makes this infinitely better (thought what’s up with Batman just getting pushed down the stairs by the Ffogs like an old man on crutches?)
Fact: venerable Ireland Yard is so venerable, that right before you say “Ireland Yard”, the word “venerable” forces itself out of your mouth before you brain can even begin to process what’s happening!
“Batman and Robin are stone cold pimps.”
Hey Chris, did you know the sun is hot as well?
PS. Your last link is a broken one, I think you ment to link to this:
Wait, Batman always keeps his anti-lethal fog spray handy, but left his batarang in the car? That Batforesignt is hell of a fickle mistress.
I stand by my assertion that the ’60s Batman TV show remains the most faithful live action adaptation of the comic. And people who deny it are fooling themselves.
I always remember this episode because of Robin’s “I was down to my last African Death Bee Antivenom pellet…”.
you know, it may sound blasphemous to some, but i still think ASB&R is the modern version of this show. The dialogue is ridiculous and the violence moreso, but in a way that reflects the times. Stripped down to its bare essence, its the same exact ball of insane camp.
or i could just be insane. we will know 20-30 years from now with the benefit of hindsight. (also, isnt it scary to think that 30 years from now, there could be a MORE insane and over the top batman comic that puts this one to shame?)
I thought they altered the 60s comic to be more like the tv show?
Oh well, I liked the show when I was nine. I liked the D&D cartoon then also. Now, not so much…
Wow, Rudy Vallee? Cool!
Completely Legal Means? Do tell how!
“Completely Legal Means? Do tell how!”
I think the little TV bug in the corner of all the screenshots gives away the Super Sekrit Completely Legal Means to watch the show.
So, it would seem that Batman wasn’t as wary of magic in those olden days. Since that rope trick seems pretty magical to me.
Was Fogg Place built on the former site of Castle Anthrax?
Robin: “Well, I suppose I could stay a -bit- longer.”
Isn’t it amazing how much like Los Angeles, Londinium looks? Gosh, I miss these, they were hilarious as a kid, and even MORE hilarious as an adult.
For those who insist that Batman was always dark and grim, just remember Bat Hombre!
Bees. My God.
I thought they altered the 60s comic to be more like the tv show?
Clearly, you need to do some reading.
If I had the skills, I’d make a looping animated GIF of the Batman-filing frames, and play “Let’s Get It On” by Marvin Gaye over it.
In fact, I just might teach myself the skills so I can do that.
Since batgirl appears to be wearing a pretty hefty corset under her superhero lycras, I wouldn’t be surprised if she wasn’t phased by the odd bit of bondage. That looks like a Corset that could deflect bullets!
I’m convinced you used the phrase batgirl in bondage simply to further tilt the internet in your direction and bring in even more hits from all those perverted Googlers.
Boy, won’t they be disappointed when they don’t find fan fiction. Then again, the Tarot reviews will help ease they’re pain…
*Wonders if this will be an all Adam West Batman Week*
They need to do whatever it takes and get this show out on DVD already. I kind of need it.
Big Pimpin’ Destro
I owuld love to enjoy the wonder of the old Batman TV show, if they would just put it out on DVD already!
Its on reruns all the time.
A truly epic 15 seconds, Sims.
I have new respect for Adam West.
Burt “Reading the Cue Cards” Ward can still rot in hell, though.
You just know Burt had fun with inter-cast relations when they were shooting that episode.
Yes, 1960s Batman was truly a magnificent combo of cheese and innuendo.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen this episode. How sad.
You know what’s NOT awesome about the 60s Batman live-action TV show?
The whole “still no goddamn DVDs because the stupid suits can’t get it together to work out the stupid business issues & tangled rights” thing.
Yeah, you probably knew that already, but I just had to throw that in.
Last killer African bee anti venom pill, you say?
Batman really does think of everything.
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