Batman (1966) – The Joker is Wild, and Batman is Riled

Robert Dozier pens this week’s episode that introduced Joker (Cesar Romero) to viewers on 26 January, 1966.

Joker literally springs himself from Gotham Prison and is intent on turning to his life of crime forthwith, unfortunately, he didn’t count (again) on the alter egos of Bruce Wayne (Adam West) and Dick Grayson (Burt Ward)… Batman and Robin stop his theft of an art gallery, barely, with the help of Batman’s utility belt.

Escaping to the deserted carnival park on the pier, Joker comes up with his own utility belt, determined to never fall victim to Batman’s gadgets again, and by the episode’s cliffhanger conclusion, it seems Joker has completely outsmarted Bats and is about to reveal his secret identity on national television!!

Romero is delightful as the Joker, and his laugh is singularly entertaining and creepy at the same time. Even with his moustache showing through his makeup, his Joker is iconic, and it’s amazing that they held the character back until episode five to introduce him.

The jokes and the polite civility of the two heroic vigilantes continue, although I’m starting to feel sorry for Gotham Police. It seems they are completely inept without Batman and Robin there to guide their investigations.

William Dozier’s narration is continually perfectly suited to the series, and this episode marks the first time he says, same bat-time, same bat-channel.

The series is still shaping itself and making the world of the Dynamic Duo it’s own, but it’s been incredibly entertaining from the off. I can’t wait to see more!

Batman is Riled was also penned by Dozier, and aired the following night 27 January, 1966.

Batman and Robin are able to escape unmasking on television by using Batman’s utility belt, but Joker is able to escape using his own. When the Caped Crusaders track the Joker to his next heist something happens during the following kerfuffle and the Joker is able to trick Batman with a replica of Joker’s utility belt.

But that may prove to be the Clown Prince of Crime’s undoing, because the replica is a little too exact, and provides our heroes with the info they’ll need to deal with Joker when he and his crew attempt to take control of a newly commissioned cruise liner.

The goofy fun continues, while Batman/Bruce reminds Robin/Dick about the importance of being polite, using manners, and keeping your commitments. Sorry Dick, you have to practice the piano.

I hate the fact that I never saw this series as a kid, because it would have delighted me constantly, much like it’s doing now. All I got to see was the movie, which was released between seasons one and two, and I loved that, I can only imagine how bat-crazy I would have gone had this been playing on syndication on some channel I got in the 70s.

I can’t wait to see what happens next for the Dynamic Duo!


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