Batman (1966) – Instant Freeze, and Rats Like Cheese

Batman (Adam West) and Robin (Burt Ward) have their work cut out for them when Dr. Shivel (George Sanders) aka Mr. Freeze returns to Gotham in Instant Freeze. Written by Max Hodge, this episode first debuted on 2 February, 1966.

Batman is a little bothered by Freeze’s return to Gotham, not only because of the crime wave the villain is instituting but because the Caped Crusader blames himself for the accident that turned Shivel into Freeze. After some exposure to an instant freeze chemical, Shivel can only exist in a -50 degree climate and he’s come to town for revenge on Batman.

But there seems to be a longer game at play here as the two clash, and Freeze uses his ice gun, which has too settings, ice cold and red hot, to keep the Dynamic Duo at bay.

But our heroes use their bat-anti-crime computer to run a series of possibilities on where Freeze will strike next, which leads to the episode’s cliffhanger! After some fisticuffs and some fire safety, the pair end up being frozen by Freeze, and viewers would have to tune in the next night to find out what happened next.

It’s a fun, fast-paced tale, it doesn’t quite have the oomph of a Lorenzo Semple script, but William Dozier’s brilliant narration makes it all an enjoyable escapade.

I’m loving the batmobile, and I’m wondering if the skywriter who has shown up in this episode plays a bigger part next time around, or if it’s just a curious addition to the story.

Let’s find out what happens in…

Rats Like Cheese.

Airing the following night on 3 February, 1966, this episode was also written by Max Hodge. After Gordon (Neil Hamilton) and Chief O’Hara (Stafford Repp) are able to defrost the frozen Batman and Robin, the duo try to figure out what’s next for Freeze.

In the interim, Batman as his alter-ego Bruce Wayne entertains Princess Sandra (Shelby Grant) at the local Gotham City Baseball Stadium, where it’s announced that one of the players, Paul Diamante (Robert Hogan) has been kidnapped by Freeze and will only exchange him for Batman.

Batman gives himself up to Freeze and is spirited away to his climate-controlled house, but Robin follows having planted a bug on his crime-fighting partner. They both end up caught, but are able to outwit Freeze with their thermal suit costumes!

I didn’t enjoy this pair of episodes (though they are still damned fun) quite as much as the previous bunch, though I really liked Sanders’ turn as Freeze, he’s wonderfully over-the-top as all of the baddies have been so far, and though it wasn’t explored I love the idea that Freeze became the villain he is because of Batman’s actions.

Let’s see what happens next week with Batman – same bat-time, same bat-channel!


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