Frank Gorshin returns for another brilliant turn as The Riddler in A Riddle a Day Keeps the Riddler Away. Written by Fred De Gorter this episode was first broadcast on 16 February, 1966.
When King Boris (Reginald Denny) arrives in Gotham City accompanying a priceless Queen of Liberty statue, the Riddler concocts a plan to use the King as bait to draw Batman (Adam West) and Robin (Burt Ward) into a trap from which the villain is so convinced they won’t escape, he leaves them to it at the cliffhanger end of the episode.
Through the course of the episode, Riddler leaves riddles along the way to entice the Dynamic Duo and guide them right into his trap, outsmarting them almost every step of the way.
Gorshin is simply priceless as the Riddler, everything from his character’s movements to that brilliant laugh, he truly throws himself into the role and seems to be having a great time doing it.
There are some very obvious stunt doubles in play for our heroes, especially as they approach the Riddler at the climax of the episode, and then when they are captured, the Riddler and his Rat Gang, strap them to giant spinning wheels, activating them and then walking away to carry on with their crimes.
As the pair begin spinning faster and faster we’re left to wonder what happens next. Happily, we didn’t have to wait a whole day, we could find out right away, by jumping into…
When the Rat’s Away the Mice Will Play aired the next night on 17 February, 1966 and was also written by De Gorter.
Despite the fact that we don’t see it (and can obviously tell that it’s dolls strapped to the Riddler’s trap, Batman frees himself with his bat-cutter and shorts out the machine just in time. He rescues Robin, and the pair regroup to figure out how to stop Riddler, and how they can figure out what he’s up to.
The duo is able to put it together that the Riddler is planning something with King Boris’ donation of a golden statuette and a time bomb. He plans to place it in the Gotham art museum, which also features a large painting of Batman and Robin.
They are able to get there just in time, bursting through their own image and stopping all the problems the Riddler poses. This time.
It’s a very fun pair of episodes, and I quite like De Gorter’s writing. So far Semple has been my favourite of the series, but De Gorter seems to be a close second, and despite the false escape from Riddler’s trap at the top of the episode, everything was really enjoyable.
I can’t wait to see what happens same bat-time, same bat-channel. Damn this is a fun show.