Batman (1966) – The Joker Goes to School, and He Meets His Match, the Grisly Ghoul

The Joker (Cesar Romero) is back as Lorenzo Semple Jr. pens The Joker Goes to School. Originally airing on 2 March, 1966, we get a peek inside one of Gotham City’s high schools, the very one that Dick Grayson aka Robin (Burt Ward) attends. And there’s something going on there.

It seems the vending machines aren’t dispensing treats and drinks but valuable trinkets instead, and Commissioner Gordon (Neil Hamilton) and Batman (Adam West) are convinced the Joker is up to bo good.

But what could the Clown Prince of Crime’s dastardly plan be?

Apparently, in a convoluted way, the vending machines are a bit of a recruiting drive. Who needs an education if you can get everything you’ve ever wanted from a vending machine?

Batman is determined to stop the Joker, but things aren’t going as easily as he would like, the Joker can use Batman as an alibi for a crime, and there’s someone in the high school working with the Joker! Susie (Donna Loren) is trouble and is quite happy to work with the Joker to ruin her fellow students, as long as she gets her end.

Batman and Robin investigate a new vending machine in the high school only to be captured by the Joker and his gang! They awake to find themselves strapped to an electric chair and a one-armed bandit, the Joker warns if three lemons come up, they’re fried! Enter the cliffhanger for the episode!

This one is goofy fun, and the students of Gotham City are about as square as the adults, but that just adds to the laughs. How do our heroes escape? Let’s find out!

He Meets His Match, the Grisly Ghoul aired the following night on 3 March, 1966 and was also written by Semple.

The Dynamic Duo survive thanks to a city-wide blackout, and upon returning to the Batcave they try to put the pieces together to suss out the Joker’s plan. Robin is a little bummed to learn that Susie is working with the Joker, she seemed like such a groovy girl.

Batman suggests that Dick go undercover as a bad boy to infiltrate Joker’s gang, but he’s just a little too squeaky clean, and the Joker sets a trap for the Caped Crusaders. Happily, Batman sees through it, has a handy bat-shield, and is able to figure out Joker’s final plan!

The Clown Prince is going to release the answers to an important college entrance exam and frame the basketball team so that his wager on the opposing team goes wins. Seems like a silly result for all the work he put into it.

Batman and Robin foil the attempt with some gadgets and fisticuffs, Joker is captured (again) and Susie takes her lumps of justice, but not before giving Dick a kiss he’ll remember.

The endgame of Joker’s plan was even more silly than everything leading up to it, but this was a really fun pair of episodes. Semple gets the balance that is needed to make the show just camp enough.

Let’s see what the Dynamic Duo get up to next time!


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