Why were the Chandel episodes everyone's favorite?

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Batfan 66
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Why were the Chandel episodes everyone's favorite?

Post by Batfan 66 » Sun May 12, 2013 1:23 pm

The 2 episodes with Liberace were the highest rated of the series, but it puzzles me because I can think of at least 5 episodes off the top of my head that I liked better. Why were these everyone's favorite?

Of course, the first episode has several firsts, like seeing Dick on a date (that was cute), and Dick being scolded/reprimanded by Bruce for the first time(only time?) in the series ("Your Aunt Harriet is Utterly. Above. Reproach. ! That was funny :) ) I loved the beginning of The Devil's Fingers, lots of fun.

But what components made these the highest rated? Hopefully you guys can help me out here :)
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clavierankh
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Re: Why were the Chandel episodes everyone's favorite?

Post by clavierankh » Sun May 12, 2013 1:58 pm

The big draw was Liberace, who was very popular in the 60s. This was the point where Batman was the in show and Liberace was probably the biggest start to do the show yet.

With his persona there was probably a lot of curiosity about what they would with him and what he would do with the part.

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Riddlersgurl
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Re: Why were the Chandel episodes everyone's favorite?

Post by Riddlersgurl » Sun May 12, 2013 2:08 pm

Before I get into the whole "YOUR Aunt Harriet is above reproach" thing, let me say that the Chandel episodes weren't my favorites.

In my house at the time, we didn't watch Liberace. If anything my family was into Wild Wild West, watching the news, I Dream of Jeannie, Bewitched, and other stuff in that line.

If we watched Batman at all it was rarely (I was an infant, so my viewing habits were nil; the only things I cared about were a clean diaper and a full bottle), I didn't start watching it until I was about three or four, when the first set of syndicated reruns started.

Whenever they put on the Chandel episode, I'd ask my mother to change the channel, because I thought that Liberace's smile was scarier than the Joker's! I was freaked out enough by having to sit through my parent's divorcing, I didn't need to be freaked out by the TV.

And my mother never thought he was that entertaining anyway.

Now, this may be an odd thing to ask, but how in the name of the Great Googly Moogly can Aunt Harriet be above reproach about anything?

Teenagers often resent the intrusion of adults whenever they are doing something they consider important; we've ALL been through that stage, and most of us are now dealing with it from our teenaged kids.

I NEVER liked Aunt Harriet as a character; I thought she was nosey, bossy, and really not all that bright.

Now, others here can disagree with me if they feel like it. Some people can love her to pieces, and others can despise her. It really doesn't matter to me.

But for Bruce to tell Dick, that his aunt is above reproach is laughable. The woman is a human being and therefore fallible about anything and everything. Maybe Bruce simply didn't want to deal with whatever problem Dick had with Harriet, or he simply didn't want to deal with Harriet herself. But to tell a kid to not call someone else on their attitude is really pushing it.

Maybe I'm reading too much into the episode, but that's the way I feel.

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Mr. Deathtrap
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Re: Why were the Chandel episodes everyone's favorite?

Post by Mr. Deathtrap » Sun May 12, 2013 2:53 pm

Citizens,

Clavieranh is right. The reason for this story's popularity is Liberace.

This story is great for the Aunt Harriet character, who is pursued romantically by the villain and fights back when she realizes what is really going on.

This story is not so great for the GCPD, which fingerprints concert goers and watches over the performance with machine gunners. (Worse than the TSA?) The certainly look helpless without the Dynamic Duo.

Meanwhile, the girl gang robs another target. The Phantom Girls were fantastic. What fate would have befallen Batman and Robin in their capable hands?

As for Robin's concerns about his aunt:

1. He let Bruce, who was supposed to be on vacation, call in Robin while his alter ego is on a date.

2. In the swingin' '60s a woman hanging out with a musician does nothing more than drink root beer in his dressing room. Perhaps she is above reproach.

Also, the villain's motivation is explored, which gives the story more depth than many others.

I would not argue this story even approaches the greatest in the series, but it has some points in its favor.

Mr. Deathtrap
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clavierankh
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Re: Why were the Chandel episodes everyone's favorite?

Post by clavierankh » Sun May 12, 2013 6:16 pm

I like the Chandel episodes although there was certainly room for improvement. For example, instead of Liberace playing the twin brother, I would have expanded the James Millhollin character, Mister Sly. I would have made him Chandel's crooked agent who blackmails him.

I thought the story represented a kind of story that wasn't used much on Batman. The one shot villain who turns to crime for reasons other than greed. The only other story of this type I can think of was Zelda the Great. I see both of these stories as stories that could have been used on straight detective or police series, unlike most Batman stories.

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Re: Why were the Chandel episodes everyone's favorite?

Post by Riddler Fan » Sun May 12, 2013 6:25 pm

How can anyone explain the poularity of Liberace? I think the Chandel episodes were the worst!!! If I were tied to a chair and forced to watch "Lee" grinning and winking at Aunt Harriet for just a few seconds, I'd confess to Lindbergh Kidnapping and being the second gunman on the Grassy Knoll!!!

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dell
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Re: Why were the Chandel episodes everyone's favorite?

Post by dell » Sun May 12, 2013 7:09 pm

Liberace was a fantastic piano player and a great showman. He was not a very good actor in my opinion. To be fair, every guest star overacted on Batman so maybe he was a good actor, but not a good overactor (that is probably not a real word, but you know what I mean). Liberace's popularity is what drove the ratings for these episodes. Oh, can you only imagine what could have been if these had been really good episodes? Batman might have attracted more fans. However, since these were not very good episodes I doubt many people who tuned in to see Liberace ever came back to Batman.

I'm with Riddlergurl and not a big fan of Aunt Harriet. However, she actually had something real to do in this episode instead of dithering about that "strange noise in Bruce's study". These were some of the best Aunt Harriet episodes and it is too bad they didn't use her more like this.
dell

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Jim Akin
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Re: Why were the Chandel episodes everyone's favorite?

Post by Jim Akin » Mon May 13, 2013 5:21 am

Aunt Harriet was added to the show as a female "chaperone," to eliminate any impression that the relationship between millionaire and teenage ward was anything but wholesome. (I'd say "platonic," but Plato approved of the kinds of relationships Aunt Harriet was there to prevent.)

I think the whole "above reproach" thing was the writer's tongue-in-cheek underscoring of Aunt Harriet's role as Wayne Manor's guardian of propriety.

Footnote: Aunt Harriet did exist in the comics, and her first appearance in the comics predated the debut of the TV series. But she was introduced in the comics as a replacement for Alfred, who was killed off in 1964, and then resurrected as an evil entity called the Outsider who used Alfred's knowledge of bat-secrets against the Dynamic Duo. (When the Batman TV series debuted in January 1966, the Outsider was still bedeviling Batman; I don't think the surprise revelation that he was really Alfred had been sprung yet.) Based on circumstantial evidence, I surmise that Alfred's career as an arch criminal ended -- amid "healing rays" and total amnesia of ever having been a villain -- in part to sync his comics character up with the the version from the hit TV show. Aunt Harriet's appearances in the comics phased out quickly after Alfred returned to duty.

The inclusion of Alfred in the series, like the use of the yellow oval-less uniform insignia in the screen tests, strongly suggests the show's development was based off comics that predate Alfred's death and Aunt Harriet's arrival at Wayne manor. Dozier has said that Aunt Harriet was introduced to the series head off concern about an all-male household at Wayne Manor. It makes sense that they'd pull a character who existed in the comics to fill that role, even if she hadn't been considered (or even been around TO consider) when the show was in development.

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Dr. Shimel
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Re: Why were the Chandel episodes everyone's favorite?

Post by Dr. Shimel » Mon May 13, 2013 10:04 am

I'm guessing the Chandell audience was aided by the many women who were fans of Liberace that wouldn't ordinarily watch what they likely perceived as a kid's show--no matter how hip it still was.

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Batfan 66
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Re: Why were the Chandel episodes everyone's favorite?

Post by Batfan 66 » Tue May 14, 2013 12:22 am

Wow, thanks for all of your answers and opinions - great stuff. I never knew Liberace was huge during the 60's! :) Some really interesting replies, especially about Aunt Harriet. She had so much more screen time in these episodes, maybe the audience liked that. And maybe Liberace was trying to overact, as dell said, and just didn't do it well. ( King Tut was the most brilliant over-actor of the entire series, anyone else agree? :D :lol: )
The big draw was Liberace, who was very popular in the 60s. This was the point where Batman was the in show and Liberace was probably the biggest start to do the show yet.
I had no idea he was so famous! Wow :)
I NEVER liked Aunt Harriet as a character; I thought she was nosey, bossy, and really not all that bright.
I'm not sure about bossy, but Aunt Harriet kinda reminds me of a mother hen. She treated Dick like he was 5! haha. She tends to faint a lot, but she sure got me when she pulled a gun out on Chandel, lol. Wasn't it said that casting Aunt Harriet was tricky, because she couldn't be sharp enough to be suspicious and curious, but couldn't be a complete dope? She could have been a bit sharper/brighter.
This story is not so great for the GCPD, which fingerprints concert goers and watches over the performance with machine gunners. (Worse than the TSA?) The certainly look helpless without the Dynamic Duo.
Lol. Just remember, when it comes to the human mind, the GCPD just ain't equipped!
Meanwhile, the girl gang robs another target. The Phantom Girls were fantastic. What fate would have befallen Batman and Robin in their capable hands?
These girls seemed evil, criminal, and elusive enough to be a trio of villainesses, and get their own 2 episodes. They seemed to be above moll material.
I like the Chandel episodes although there was certainly room for improvement. For example, instead of Liberace playing the twin brother, I would have expanded the James Millhollin character, Mister Sly. I would have made him Chandel's crooked agent who blackmails him.
That sounds cool! It would take on a different twist :) He would have to be very crooked and evil Mwaahahahaha :D
lol
How can anyone explain the poularity of Liberace? I think the Chandel episodes were the worst!!! If I were tied to a chair and forced to watch "Lee" grinning and winking at Aunt Harriet for just a few seconds, I'd confess to Lindbergh Kidnapping and being the second gunman on the Grassy Knoll!!!
Lol. Downright funny :D
Liberace was a fantastic piano player and a great showman. He was not a very good actor in my opinion. To be fair, every guest star overacted on Batman so maybe he was a good actor, but not a good overactor (that is probably not a real word, but you know what I mean). Liberace's popularity is what drove the ratings for these episodes. Oh, can you only imagine what could have been if these had been really good episodes? Batman might have attracted more fans. However, since these were not very good episodes I doubt many people who tuned in to see Liberace ever came back to Batman.

I'm with Riddlergurl and not a big fan of Aunt Harriet. However, she actually had something real to do in this episode instead of dithering about that "strange noise in Bruce's study". These were some of the best Aunt Harriet episodes and it is too bad they didn't use her more like this.
This is a very interesting answer, and I agree with what you are saying. And dithering is a good word to use for Aunt Harriet when at Wayne Manor. :) It's a shame these episodes didn't attract more fans, since the opportunity was there.
The inclusion of Alfred in the series, like the use of the yellow oval-less uniform insignia in the screen tests, strongly suggests the show's development was based off comics that predate Alfred's death and Aunt Harriet's arrival at Wayne manor. Dozier has said that Aunt Harriet was introduced to the series head off concern about an all-male household at Wayne Manor. It makes sense that they'd pull a character who existed in the comics to fill that role, even if she hadn't been considered (or even been around TO consider) when the show was in development.
This is very interesting too. The screen tests were quite different, think you're right with how they were basing it off of comics of the time mentioned. The more ya think about it, the more sense it makes. Did anyone else wish they had even been 'dressed for work' in the batcave without their masks on, like in the screentest? I thought it was kinda cool. I guess I liked that cause it puts more connection between them and their secret identities. I dunno.
I'm guessing the Chandell audience was aided by the many women who were fans of Liberace that wouldn't ordinarily watch what they likely perceived as a kid's show--no matter how hip it still was.
Did Chandel have crazy hair at times?

Wow, thats so long I'll be surprised if anyone actually reads all of it :) Thanks for all of the awesome replies and answers! Definitely helped bring my understanding of these episodes to new depths!
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Riddlersgurl
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Re: Why were the Chandel episodes everyone's favorite?

Post by Riddlersgurl » Tue May 14, 2013 2:29 pm

Wasn't Lee wearing a toupee at that point? That would explain the Hair from Hell. :lol:

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Riddler Fan
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Re: Why were the Chandel episodes everyone's favorite?

Post by Riddler Fan » Tue May 14, 2013 2:32 pm

Riddlersgurl wrote:Wasn't Lee wearing a toupee at that point? That would explain the Hair from Hell. :lol:
Yes he was wearing a rug. Liberace went bald by the time he was in his early 30's. He had as many wigs as he had outrageous costumes.

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Re: Why were the Chandel episodes everyone's favorite?

Post by Mr.Freeze » Tue May 14, 2013 5:04 pm

I think Harriet understood a lot more than she showed , that she somehow puts on an act.......would've loved to hear her say "I know what you guys are up to !" while winking at Bruce and Dick had there been a s4 ;)

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clavierankh
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Re: Why were the Chandel episodes everyone's favorite?

Post by clavierankh » Tue May 14, 2013 5:46 pm

Mr.Freeze wrote:I think Harriet understood a lot more than she showed , that she somehow puts on an act.......would've loved to hear her say "I know what you guys are up to !" while winking at Bruce and Dick had there been a s4 ;)
Unfortunately that couldn't have happened unless they recast the part. Madge passed away in February 1969. One reason for her reduced role in season 3 was poor health.

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Dr. Shimel
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Re: Why were the Chandel episodes everyone's favorite?

Post by Dr. Shimel » Tue May 14, 2013 5:49 pm

Liberace is credited with one of the classic quotes of all time: when he was asked his opinion about the fact that critics hated his popular 50's show, he replied, "I cried all the way to the bank."

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