TO THE BATPOLES #121: Send Off the Clown (with Ken Holtzhouser!)

General goings on in the 1966 Batman World

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TO THE BATPOLES #121: Send Off the Clown (with Ken Holtzhouser!)

Post by bat-rss » Thu Oct 17, 2019 6:40 am

Image

In Cesar Romero's final appearance as the Joker, he seems hamstrung, and not only by the lousy plot and the single episode in which to tell it. Ken Holtzhouser, who grew up rating Batman episodes based on their Romeroian content, joins us to identify the problem, separate out the chaff from the episode, and see if there's any Bat-wheat left.

http://tothebatpoles.libsyn.com/121-sen ... oltzhouser

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Re: TO THE BATPOLES #121: Send Off the Clown (with Ken Holtzhouser!)

Post by Mr. Glee » Thu Oct 17, 2019 3:49 pm

Thanks for another enjoyable installment. I can't dispute any of the criticisms made of "The Joker's Flying Saucer," but even so, I still find it a pleasant and amusing way to spend a half an hour (even after countless re-viewings.) I'd agree that Adam West doesn't seem to be enjoying himself here, though.

I was glad to hear Ken Holtzhouser single out the "rope swing" bit for praise, because I've always loved that moment myself - it really does feel like something straight out of the comic books.

It's funny you mentioned the story seeming more appropriate for "Lost in Space," given that the launching pad factory is littered with props and set dressings that were frequently seen on that show.

Regarding Shamrock's puzzling absence from the fight scene - if you study the footage carefully, it appears that he and the Joker were engaged in a tussle with Batgirl (and possibly Alfred) on the other side of the room, but most of that footage was cut. At one point, both Emerald and the Joker look off-screen in that direction, and then exit the frame. The next time we see Joker, he's hopping on one foot and grimacing, indicating that somebody (Batgirl or Alfred) has stomped on his foot, even though we don't get to see it.

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Re: TO THE BATPOLES #121: Send Off the Clown (with Ken Holtzhouser!)

Post by BATWINGED HORNET » Fri Oct 18, 2019 3:06 am

Once again, your show is better than the episode you're covering.

Poor Jeff Burton. After seeing him in this mess, he was better off being chased by far future gorillas a month later.

You know...Gotham City must be the most mismanaged, business-unfriendly city in the U.S. for all of the businesses that have left endless abandoned buildings mentioned over the course of the series. Think of it--this aired during the height of the Space Race, and a launching pad factory left town? What was Gotham doing wrong?

Ken wondered if the Bat-PTB did not want to present the visual of Batman punching an African American. I'm assuming he's wondering if that was a taboo for TV at the time? If that's the theory, I would say that was not really an issue for TV in 1967/68; during the three seasons of I Spy (1965-68), Bill Cosby's Alexander Scott character was in many fights. In 1968, the same year this Joker episode aired, Clarence Williams III's Linc Hayes started a 5 season run of his character finding himself in endless fights (taking his fair share of physical violence) on The Mod Squad (1968-73).

Paul's "Elevator music a the Playboy Mansion" LOL! Yeah, it has the kind of "we're swingers, aren't we cool" kind of music for a house full of randy old men....

Batgirl was useless in this episode? I'm laughing because next to one is surprised by that.

Nothing says Greenway no longer cared about inconsistencies (or the audience being able to see them) by using UFO FX shots from Invaders from Mars...nevermind the full-size flying saucer mock up had a completely different shape...

As always, I'm living The Green Hornet spots.
Beneath Wayne Manor

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Re: TO THE BATPOLES #121: Send Off the Clown (with Ken Holtzhouser!)

Post by High C » Fri Oct 18, 2019 4:23 am

Tim, Paul, great show as always, this time with a terrifically amusing guest.

Ken summed it up the best with his much better written plot. Even in a fantasy world, Hoffman struggled mightily to devise plots that had internal logic, even with the fantastic and far-out tenor of the show. This reminds me of some of his earlier scripts and rewrites, especially from season 3. How exactly is Joker going to benefit financially from the flying-saucer hysteria, especially when he has to pay more extras than Dozier had on the Greenway payroll to act as shills. As Ken said, this smacks of dumpster diving on the Lost in Space set (incidentally, also a Fox production).

It's unfortunate the pre-Nora Stanford Sherman did not take a run at this script, because the topic was ripe for riffing. At the time this was filmed, late 1967, the U.S. had gone through 2-3 years of 'UFO fever,' with Congressional hearings on the topic held in 1966. All of that helped fuel ABC's dour 1967 mid-season replacement series 'The Invaders,' about aliens who had landed in the U.S. and taken on human form for their nefarious plans. Batman: 'poor deluded alien creatures.' The series featured about 1-2 'Batfight' type altercations every episode.

In essence, that show was a sort of 'Fugitive' knockoff, with lead Roy Thinnes playing a lone man who knew the aliens had landed and was traveling the U.S. pursuing them and trying to convince a skeptical public (too bad he never met gullible Linseed). Epaddon once suggested to me it would've been a funny cross-promotion if Thinnes, in character, had met Batman for a cameo and been assured it was all the Joker's doing. 'Keep calm, citizen!'

With all that in mind Linseed's hysterical reaction comes across more as a plot point than anything. Bring back Nora and promote her to Mayor, stat! (Or Siren, Mayor Circe would do a terrific job, too. ;) )

Like Batgirl, Barbara comes off badly. I mean, she is freaked out by Verdigris!! Bakalyan, btw, went on to write the screenplay for the ultra-violent nihilistic 1970 Western The Animals, starring Michele Carey (who should have been a henchmoll at some point).

Mrs. Green shouldn't have been worried about Martians. She should have been so serene because she and her husband had a TV in every room (Monkees reference). BTW, maybe Joker should have told his shills they're not henchmen, they didn't need 'green' names to make it obvious they were shills. Oh, and Ellen Corby appeared in the pilot for the aforementioned Invaders show.

Mr. Holtzhouser was on fire--the idea of Gordon saying, 'I have no idea, I'm calling Batman now' on a recorded loop would have been very cost-effective for Gotham City.

The Dragnet reference made me think Virginia Gregg, a regular member of Jack Webb's acting troop, should've been Mrs. Green. She often played 'bunco' types.

Ray Walston should have cameod. Didn't he reportedly once say, 'a martian wouldn't do that'? As Tim said, Bakalyan came off as an alien from a sitcom.

I think Adam's line reading of the 'penal code' bit for reporting men from outer space fit in with season 3 cynical Batman, like the one who said if we went to war with Belgravia because 'Kittwoman' stole the Golden Fleece, we'd have to spend years supporting them financially.

I agree with you guys, the fight music is too jaunty. However, I will say this--growing up in the 1970s, next to Batman reruns, my favorite show was the syndicated NFL highlights from the prior Sunday, with music beds underneath. The sound editors almost always had to truncate or elongate the tracks to fit the allotted time of the highlight, and they thought nothing of skipping ahead or behind. So I am used to that.
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My hobbies include gazing at the Siren and doing her bidding, evil or otherwise.

'She had a devastating, hypnotic effect on all the men.'--A schoolmate describing Joan Collins at age 17

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Re: TO THE BATPOLES #121: Send Off the Clown (with Ken Holtzhouser!)

Post by Mr. Glee » Fri Oct 18, 2019 1:04 pm

This episode might be my favorite example of "extra henchmen materializing out of thin air for the final fight scene." Not counting Verdigris, there are only two henchmen aboard the saucer...
tjfs-104.jpg
...but when it lands, a total of five henchmen emerge:
tjfs-106.jpg

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Re: TO THE BATPOLES #121: Send Off the Clown (with Ken Holtzhouser!)

Post by Mr. Glee » Fri Oct 18, 2019 1:10 pm

If you focus your attention on the right side of the screen during the fight, it seems pretty clear that they must have filmed scenes of Shamrock fighting with Batgirl, which were then dropped from the final edit. You can see Joker, Alfred, and Emerald all turn their attention away from the main fight to look behind them, obviously at something that is happening off-camera. Then, both Alfred and Joker move off camera, while Emerald watches the fight that we can't see:
tjfs-110.jpg

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Re: TO THE BATPOLES #121: Send Off the Clown (with Ken Holtzhouser!)

Post by gothosmansion » Sun Oct 20, 2019 10:26 am

I've got to admit, I always enjoyed this one. Maybe I'm not to hard to please.

Anyway, the epidote did spawn a bit of merchandising.

https://www.80stees.com/products/the-jo ... an-t-shirt

I'm glad you commented on it, because I always thought the complete line with the "but you're the first one I sent into orbit" was quite funny. I think I would have liked the shirt better if it featured the entire line and had a picture of Batgirl trapped on the rocket while showing the Joker as well. Surely, such a still exists somewhere.

As for Batgirl tied to the rocket, I'm going to have to chastise you guys. I always enjoy the show, but you're pretty hard on the dirty old man audience....and then you're thinking of bathroom humor while one of the most beautiful women of 60s tv is dressed as one of our (ok, my) favorite super heroes? For shame! You should just admire her pluck that she was able to somehow diffuse the bomb. I don't know how she did it, but it wasn't in as gross a way as you suggest. Batgirl is much too lady-like for that. Just look at how dainty her kicks are.

Boy, Grandma Walton was really wreaking havoc back in the 60s. Remember when she ran that crooked used car ring in North Carolina and sold a lemon to Barney Fife?

The mistaken alien invasion plot was a staple of 60s TV. The Beverly Hillbillies saw some green little people and a fake saucer Drysdale was using for an advertising gimmick and thought martians were invaded. The Man from U.N.C.L.E. had an episode where an industrialist faked an alien invasion to have himself set up as dictator. It went more into the details of how his plot would work and would have been one of the few decent episodes of U.N.C.L.E.'s abysmal third season if it weren't fatally wounded by the presence of Nancy Sinatra. Finally, the U.N.C.L.E. spinoff The Girl from U.N.C.L.E. trotted out the same plot with much less entertaining results. And talk about your dirty old-man audience! The Girl episode, in spite of its faux science-fiction trappings, managed to find an excuse to get Stefani Powers into a harem outfit. Green Acres also had an alien invasion episode, but I don't really have time to get into the plot of it, now.

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Re: TO THE BATPOLES #121: Send Off the Clown (with Ken Holtzhouser!)

Post by zippgun » Tue Oct 22, 2019 3:13 pm

There was also The Munsters -"If a Martian answers - hang up!"
And a Gomer Pyle episode as well.

gothosmansion wrote:
Sun Oct 20, 2019 10:26 am


The mistaken alien invasion plot was a staple of 60s TV. The Beverly Hillbillies saw some green little people and a fake saucer Drysdale was using for an advertising gimmick and thought martians were invaded. The Man from U.N.C.L.E. had an episode where an industrialist faked an alien invasion to have himself set up as dictator. It went more into the details of how his plot would work and would have been one of the few decent episodes of U.N.C.L.E.'s abysmal third season if it weren't fatally wounded by the presence of Nancy Sinatra. Finally, the U.N.C.L.E. spinoff The Girl from U.N.C.L.E. trotted out the same plot with much less entertaining results. And talk about your dirty old-man audience! The Girl episode, in spite of its faux science-fiction trappings, managed to find an excuse to get Stefani Powers into a harem outfit. Green Acres also had an alien invasion episode, but I don't really have time to get into the plot of it, now.

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Re: TO THE BATPOLES #121: Send Off the Clown (with Ken Holtzhouser!)

Post by bat-rss » Tue Oct 22, 2019 10:36 pm

And don't forget the Green Hornet's "Invasion from Outer Space!"

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Re: TO THE BATPOLES #121: Send Off the Clown (with Ken Holtzhouser!)

Post by Dr. Shimel » Sat Oct 26, 2019 9:49 pm

Even Wild Wild West (set in the 1870's) had a space ship/UFO episode.

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Re: TO THE BATPOLES #121: Send Off the Clown (with Ken Holtzhouser!)

Post by High C » Sun Oct 27, 2019 11:14 pm

Dr. Shimel wrote:
Sat Oct 26, 2019 9:49 pm
Even Wild Wild West (set in the 1870's) had a space ship/UFO episode.
bat-rss wrote:
Tue Oct 22, 2019 10:36 pm
And don't forget the Green Hornet's "Invasion from Outer Space!"
And both of those episodes featured a Bat-moll in a very moll-like costume, Leslie Parrish in The Wild Wild West and Linda Scott in Green Hornet.
'I thought Siren was perfect for Joan.'--Stanley Ralph Ross, writer of 'The Wail of the Siren'

My hobbies include gazing at the Siren and doing her bidding, evil or otherwise.

'She had a devastating, hypnotic effect on all the men.'--A schoolmate describing Joan Collins at age 17

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Re: TO THE BATPOLES #121: Send Off the Clown (with Ken Holtzhouser!)

Post by High C » Thu Nov 07, 2019 10:10 am

Here are some more cast things I wanted to comment on, including Ken's observation about how there didn't seem to be as much emphasis on the choices for moll actresses in season 3. And I'm not disparaging the quality of any of the performances. But other than Betsy Boldface and Lady Prudence, most of the molls really weren't all that germane to the plot, as were many season 1 and 2 molls. I mean, in back-to-back episodes near the end of the run, this one and Mummy's Uncle, both molls call the villain 'Poopsie.' It doesn't get much more generic than that.

Forgive me for this being long, but looking at the list of S3 molls, one can draw some definite conclusions on how they were not a priority anymore.

Betsy Boldface (Peggy Ann Garner)--Garner, a former child star, hadn't had a TV credit since The Outer Limits in early 1965. In fact, in the first draft dated July 10, 1967, 3 weeks before, the character was called Barney Boldface. So obviously Garner was hired fairly late in the game.

I wish Siren had female assistants, but that's for another post. 8-)

Shirley (Patti Gilbert)
--She had only one credit, per imdb, before being cast as Tut's moll.

Lila (Lisa Seagram)--A notable exception. She had worked steadily in the 1960s.

Undine (Sivi Aberg)
--Had only credit before her 2 Batman arcs.

Lady Prudence (Lyn Peters)--Had entered the business in 1966. Because of her inexperience, Fox/Greenway lowballed her on salary.

Angelina (Inga Neilsen) and Evelina (June Wilkinson)--It's no offense to them, but let's face it, they were known more for their looks than their acting.

Lotus (Nobu Atsumi McCarthy)
--Another exception. She had worked steadily that decade.

Miss Clean (Monique Van Vooren)
--This was only her fifth credit in the 1960s.

Florence of Arabia (Angela Dorian/Victoria Vetri)
--As I noted in another post, she had numerous credits before posing for Playboy.

Emerald (Corinne Calvet)
--She had been in films in her native France in the 1950s, but hadn't been working much in the 1960s.

So there definitely was a shift, as Ken noted, from the Jill St. Johns, Leslie Parrishes, Diane McBains, Sherry Jacksons of seasons 1 and 2 to a lot of women either beginning their careers, or on the back nine. Also, some small female roles (one of the finishing-school girls, the ticket seller at Gotham Square Garden, Minerva's assistant) who only had one credit per imdb, leading me to infer they may have been part of Fox's training school for beginning actors.

Other cast notes--Verdigris (Richard Bakalyan) wrote the screenplay for a nihilitic 1970 Western called The Animals (also sometimes titled Five Savage Men).

Finally, I'm surprised there were no in-jokes about Yvonne having appeared in Mars Needs Women in 1967 or Adam being in Robinson Crusoe on Mars in 1964 with future Bat-henchmen Paul Mantee and Victor Lundin.
'I thought Siren was perfect for Joan.'--Stanley Ralph Ross, writer of 'The Wail of the Siren'

My hobbies include gazing at the Siren and doing her bidding, evil or otherwise.

'She had a devastating, hypnotic effect on all the men.'--A schoolmate describing Joan Collins at age 17

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Re: TO THE BATPOLES #121: Send Off the Clown (with Ken Holtzhouser!)

Post by Ben Bentley » Sun Nov 10, 2019 2:42 pm

A very enjoyable discussion of an episode that really seems to divide fans of this show.

Always great to hear Ken H on the show too, his enthusiasm for this episode warmed my heart.

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