Questions about the show universe

General goings on in the 1966 Batman World

Moderators: Scott Sebring, Ben Bentley

User avatar
BatBomba
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Jan 16, 2014 5:30 pm

Questions about the show universe

Post by BatBomba »

1- Is the Joker supposed to have been bathed in the acid a-la Jack Nicholson? I can see that his hands are naturally skin-coloured under the gloves, so we can assume he just uses clown make-up. Or not?

2- IN FICTION, how do you justify the fact you can see Joker's facial hair?

3- IN FICTION, how do you justify the fact The Riddler was played by two men? And Mr. Freeze (3 men)? And, of course, Catwoman (3 women)?

4- Batman's secret origins in this series? Any mention?

5- Is "Legend of Superheroes" CANON within the fictional universe of the series?

6- Any given secret origin for some villain here?
User avatar
Batfanman
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Aug 28, 2013 9:03 pm

Re: Questions about the show universe

Post by Batfanman »

Italian Bat wrote:1- Is the Joker supposed to have been bathed in the acid a-la Jack Nicholson? I can see that his hands are naturally skin-coloured under the gloves, so we can assume he just uses clown make-up. Or not?

This is never explained in the TV series one way or the other. Today, it is obvious that he's using clown make-up but what the writer's intent for the character was left intentional vague. My guess is that they chose not to focus upon Joker's acid bath origin to avoid further frightening children that found him scary enough already.

2- IN FICTION, how do you justify the fact you can see Joker's facial hair?

Cesar refused to shave off his mustache for the part so they simply applied make-up over it. When you watched the show back in 1966 as a child, you most likely never noticed this.

3- IN FICTION, how do you justify the fact The Riddler was played by two men? And Mr. Freeze (3 men)? And, of course, Catwoman (3 women)?

None of this was ever explained either nor would they have attempted to. The show had a tight production schedule and sometimes when an actor/actress was unavailable, they had no choice but to re-cast the role to match the script. This did cause some confusion with the kids at the time and certainly helped to lay the foundation for future discussions on that topic such as this. The key to understanding these continuity issues is to simply suspend your belief in continuity. The show was not that stringent in this area.

4- Batman's secret origins in this series? Any mention?

Episode 1 references his parents' deaths and there's another early episode that I can't recall where Bruce mentions them again and a portrait hangs in the living room of Wayne Manor but other than that, nothing too specific about how he became Batman. We just join things in progress and are left to figure it out on our own through comics.

5- Is "Legend of Superheroes" CANON within the fictional universe of the series?

I would say no to this one. It was a poorly written attempt to cash in on the nostalgia of Adam & Burt and the continuity of the other DC heroes they depicted was a mix that didn't work on many levels.


6- Any given secret origin for some villain here?
Not sure I understand this question.
Every Day Is BATMAN DAY!
Visit & Like - https://www.facebook.com/batfanman66
User avatar
Jim Akin
Posts: 0
Joined: Tue Sep 18, 2012 8:24 pm

Re: Questions about the show universe

Post by Jim Akin »

1. It was established in the first Penguin episode that Gotham State Penitentiary Warden Crichton has a new policy of letting inmates wear their preferred civilian garb -- but only for a week or two before their parole. In the Joker's first appearance, we see him stage a jailbreak; he's dressed in prison grays but has green hair, white face, and red mouth. Since he wasn't in the pre-parole period when he broke loose, it seems safe to assume that his appearance was just how he looks -- not a result of make-up (which would be a special privilege, even at Gotham State Pen). No explanation is ever given as to WHY Joker looks like he does.

2. In fiction, the Joker doesn't have a moustache, so there's no need to explain it. There's no need to explain the seam you can sometimes see between Vincent Price's head and the Egghead bald wig, either. Such realities exist outside of fiction, not within it.

3. Likewise, in fiction, there's no need to explain why different actors portrayed Catwoman and Riddler (and Mr. Freeze). Each was playing the same (fictional) character. I think of it like comics stories in which different artists draw the same characters. The characters differ in appearance, sometimes radically, in the hands of different artists, but they're always the same characters.

4. The pilot episode (Hi Diddle Riddle) makes passing reference to the murders of Bruce Wayne's parents and their role in shaping Batman's crusade, but it falls far short of an "origin" sequence.

5. I don't think Legend of the Superheroes should be considered canon for anything.

6. King Tut's origin is the most fully explained (Yale Egyptology professor gets hit on the head, thinks Gotham is a reincarnation of ancient Thebes, and he's its ruler). Mr. Freeze's origin is touched on -- Batman spilled some kind of quick-freeze formula on him during a batfight.

Cheers,

QQ
User avatar
Gernot
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Mar 08, 2013 5:39 pm

Re: Questions about the show universe

Post by Gernot »

They DID gloss over a couple of the villains' origins on the show a bit. The Joker was said by Batman to have been a stage hypnotist before turning to crime (hinting that becoming a criminal was a conscious choice for him). We saw how the Professor of Egyptology became King Tut, and I imagine something very similar was his origin, and Mr. Freeze's origin was hinted at being an accident in a battle with Batman.

But we never saw any of the villains' origins on TV as we did in the movies, if that's the question you're asking. :)
User avatar
Gernot
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Mar 08, 2013 5:39 pm

Re: Questions about the show universe

Post by Gernot »

Ha! I was typing at the same time you were posting your message, Quillpen! Glad to see I got some of my stuff right! :)
User avatar
Lord Death Man
Posts: 0
Joined: Mon Dec 02, 2013 7:03 pm

Re: Questions about the show universe

Post by Lord Death Man »

Quillpen Quirch wrote:5. I don't think Legend of the Superheroes should be considered canon for anything.
If it was, it would also beg the question of whether the 1972 Public Service Announcement with Batman (Dick Gautier), Robin, and Batgirl for equal pay for women would be 'canon' (it implies Batman has been PAYING Batgirl to fight crime and she sees it as a job, not a public service!). Or the program where Batman and Robin preview the new ABC Fall season in Commissioner Gordon's office and run across a non-'Louie The Lilac' Milton Berle. Or even the 'promo' Batman and Robin did for the 1966 movie in the movie trailer.
He flies and fights-BATMAN!
Purity and virtue-BATMAN!
Cowards run away!
Batman saves the day!
Also, Boy Wonder Robin.
Batman and Robin-caped crusaders at night!
BIFF! POW! BAM! BATMAN!
User avatar
SprangFan
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Sep 04, 2012 5:34 am

Re: Questions about the show universe

Post by SprangFan »

Okay, I'll try to play fair and answer your questions assuming the TV show is the "real world" (which is what I think you're asking).
1- Is the Joker supposed to have been bathed in the acid a-la Jack Nicholson? I can see that his hands are naturally skin-coloured under the gloves, so we can assume he just uses clown make-up. Or not?
I think it's a safe assumption that it's just make-up. And maybe a wig. Besides the fact that you can see the facial hair (as mentioned in your next question), it's also obvious that the "whilteface" is caked on and chalky-looking, not smooth like it would be if it were his natural skin pigmentation. Of course this answer presents a bit of a problem in that the Joker is seen in "make-up" even while incarcerated (in his prison grays), but given that Warden Chrichton allows Penguin to wear his whole costume behind bars, we can perhaps chalk this up to his "progressive" (ie: daft) approach to rehabilitation.
2- IN FICTION, how do you justify the fact you can see Joker's facial hair?
Considering the guy is willing to go out in public in clown make-up wearing a purple and green suit (with tails) I should think leaving the mustache unshaved would be a relatively MINOR personality quirk. Maybe he leaves it on to give him something else to joke about.

BYSTANDER: (pointing at Joker's upper lip): "Um...is that..."
JOKER: "I mustache you not to mention that! Hahahahaha!"
3- IN FICTION, how do you justify the fact The Riddler was played by two men? And Mr. Freeze (3 men)? And, of course, Catwoman (3 women)?
In the case of Mr Freeze, I don't think a name was given for any of them, was it? Didn't the whole "Victor Fries" identity originate with the animated series in the 90s? So it's not such a stretch to imagine a string of men assuming the "Dr Freeze" persona, in the same way that the comics have had multiple Blockbusters, Captain Boomerangs, Clayfaces, etc. All that's required is some off-camera accident of circumstance or birth that makes them all need extreme cold to live. Maybe Otto and Eli were henchmen to George's original, or victims of his freeze ray. Batman and Robin know how they all started, but we don't need to.

Catwoman is a bit trickier but again no one ever calls Julie, Lee or Eartha "Selina Kyle," so they don't HAVE to be the same person. In some ways it'd make more sense if they were NOT, since Julie's relationship with Batman is more romantic than the other two, and Batman seems *shocked* that "Miss Kitka" is Catwoman despite encountering her in season one -- without her mask!

Riddler is the hardest but again, is he ever called "Edward Nigma"? If not, then the same rule applies: the Riddler persona could be assumed by a new guy. Personally I'd have loved it if in Season 3 we found out that Astin's episode happened while Frank was in Gotham Penitentiary, and when he gets out, he tracks down Astin and takes revenge against "that clod who stole my schtick".
4- Batman's secret origins in this series? Any mention?
As noted, the murder of the Waynes is mentioned in the pilot, and even though he doesn't say "that's how I became Batman" (because he's in a room full of people who shouldn't know that!), I think most viewers understand what it means. Beyond that, what more "origin" do you need? The show was made in an era when the only "motivation" a hero needed to do right was a desire to see justice done. Did they ever say why Joe Friday became a cop? Or why Perry Mason defends the innocent? If they did, I missed it, and it's unnecessary anyway.
5- Is "Legend of Superheroes" CANON within the fictional universe of the series?
It was made by different people on different sets in a different style, nearly a decade after the original, so I would say "no." But if it were canon, it suggests Batman is the first hero of his world (since none of these other guys get a mention on the '66 show) and apparently it is a world with no Superman or Wonder Woman. Let's call it "Earth-A" (for Awful).
Image
User avatar
BatBomba
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Jan 16, 2014 5:30 pm

Re: Questions about the show universe

Post by BatBomba »

Thank you so much for your meaningful answers and your "warm welcome". :D
As my nickname suggests, I'm an Italian fan. The series was a GIGANTIC smash hit in Italy, and it had multiple re-runs in the eighties (I was born in 1977). 8-)

Anyway, my take on your answers:

1- Maybe only his face was bathed in the acid, which would explain the naturally-coloured wrists. Or the wrists are just a flub, I don't care, we can barely see those. Said that, the prison is a great hint. Maybe Penguin was allowed to wear his costume only temporarly, because he may have been imprisoned just some days before. :idea:

2- If his skin is 100% white and "altered", that wouldn't mean his facial hair don't grow anymore, so the "moustache" is plausible. We can assume they are green facial hair as well, but the Joker keeps shaving them!

3- I love the "multiple persons" theory. I agree with it. Looking foward the "Edward Nigma" issue. Is any of the secret identies ever mentioned on screen?

I must add two questions:

1- Is Robin ever addressed as "the Boy Wonder"?
2- When did the ratings start to fail in America? In the middle of Season 2 or later? Any episode to pinpoint as the "starting point" of the decline in ratings?

Thanks! 8-)
User avatar
High C
Posts: 0
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2012 8:01 am

Re: Questions about the show universe

Post by High C »

BatBomba wrote: 6- Any given secret origin for some villain here?
I'll try to answer this one for my favourite villain, The Siren.

In the show, she is given a civilian name (Lorelei Circe) and the backstory that she is a 'world-famous chanteuse.' In writer Stanley Ralph Ross' original outline, Siren says she used 'years and years of rigorous training' and 'honed' her voice so that she could produce a note that would be able to hypnotize men.

In a deleted scene from the final script, Siren indicates she is bored with being a famous singer, and makes it clear that is why she has turned to crime.
'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
User avatar
BATWINGED HORNET
Posts: 0
Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2012 5:32 am

Re: Questions about the show universe

Post by BATWINGED HORNET »

Quillpen Quirch wrote:1. It was established in the first Penguin episode that Gotham State Penitentiary Warden Crichton has a new policy of letting inmates wear their preferred civilian garb -- but only for a week or two before their parole. In the Joker's first appearance, we see him stage a jailbreak; he's dressed in prison grays but has green hair, white face, and red mouth. Since he wasn't in the pre-parole period when he broke loose, it seems safe to assume that his appearance was just how he looks -- not a result of make-up (which would be a special privilege, even at Gotham State Pen). No explanation is ever given as to WHY Joker looks like he does.
I believe that is the best explanation. If the Joker was just some guy with the option of removing his make-up, he would not appear as insane or dangerous to the Dynamic Duo.
3. Likewise, in fiction, there's no need to explain why different actors portrayed Catwoman and Riddler (and Mr. Freeze). Each was playing the same (fictional) character. I think of it like comics stories in which different artists draw the same characters. The characters differ in appearance, sometimes radically, in the hands of different artists, but they're always the same characters.
Agreed; in the plots for Riddler, Catwoman or Mr. Freeze, we do not get the impression (in dialogue) about the physical change--or personality. As in your comic reference, different artists can illustrate the same character, but still take on a unique style.
5. I don't think Legend of the Superheroes should be considered canon for anything.
...perhaps it ties into Hanna-Barbera's Super Friends series (the company behind Legends), but it has nothing to do with any part of the Dozier series.
Beneath Wayne Manor
User avatar
High C
Posts: 0
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2012 8:01 am

Re: Questions about the show universe

Post by High C »

I agree with what most of the previous posters have said. Except for this--Catwoman clearly was not the same character, for reasons we all have discussed on this board many times, when portrayed by Eartha Kitt instead of Julie Newmar. She wasn't written nearly the same way.
'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
User avatar
Dr. Shimel
Posts: 0
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2012 8:14 am

Re: Questions about the show universe

Post by Dr. Shimel »

Regarding two of the issues:

*Given the fact that the comics have off killed off characters and brought them back, such as Alfred, it's not that great a jolt (or shouldn't be) to the viewer's reality for the show to have used different actors.

*In the first Mad Hatter episode, Robin reminds Batman that Mad Hatter swore he'd get him "if it was the last thing he ever did" after the Caped Crusader testifed against him during his previous trial.
User avatar
Jim Akin
Posts: 0
Joined: Tue Sep 18, 2012 8:24 pm

Re: Questions about the show universe

Post by Jim Akin »

Civilian names are never given for Catwoman, Penguin, Riddler or of course Joker (whose true name is unknown in the comics).

Jervis Tetch's name is used over and over in the Mad Hatter episodes; that's the most widely used "true name" for a villain. As High C mentioned, we also Iearn Siren's first-and-last, Lorelei Circe. King Tut's full first, last and *middle* names are given: William Omaha McElroy.

Lord Marmaduke Pffogg, Cassandra Spellcraft and Nora Clavicle have no villainous "secret identities," of course, but neither do several other villains for whom we never learn both first and last names: Black Widow is Mrs. Max Black, but we never learn her first name; ditto for Ma Parker, Col. Gumm and Drs. Somnambula (Sandman) and Shivel (Mr. Freeze). And we never learn last names of Zelda, Marsha, Minerva or Louie.

Cheers,

QQ
User avatar
BatBomba
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Jan 16, 2014 5:30 pm

Re: Questions about the show universe

Post by BatBomba »

BatBomba wrote:Thank you so much for your meaningful answers and your "warm welcome". :D
As my nickname suggests, I'm an Italian fan. The series was a GIGANTIC smash hit in Italy, and it had multiple re-runs in the eighties (I was born in 1977). 8-)

Anyway, my take on your answers:

1- Maybe only his face was bathed in the acid, which would explain the naturally-coloured wrists. Or the wrists are just a flub, I don't care, we can barely see those. Said that, the prison is a great hint. Maybe Penguin was allowed to wear his costume only temporarly, because he may have been imprisoned just some days before. :idea:

2- If his skin is 100% white and "altered", that wouldn't mean his facial hair don't grow anymore, so the "moustache" is plausible. We can assume they are green facial hair as well, but the Joker keeps shaving them!

3- I love the "multiple persons" theory. I agree with it. Looking foward the "Edward Nigma" issue. Is any of the secret identies ever mentioned on screen?

I must add two questions:

1- Is Robin ever addressed as "the Boy Wonder"?
2- When did the ratings start to fail in America? In the middle of Season 2 or later? Any episode to pinpoint as the "starting point" of the decline in ratings?

Thanks! 8-)
This was my reply, finally approved.

I must add that I changed my mind a bit on the multiple persons issue:

Mr. Freeze (addressed as Dr. Schivel in the series) is one and only (played by 3 actors).

John Astin played an alternative Riddler, a sort of "poser". He wasn't Edward Nigma (Gorshin).

I'm positive we got 3 different Catwomen. 8-)
User avatar
BatBomba
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Jan 16, 2014 5:30 pm

Re: Questions about the show universe

Post by BatBomba »

I've rewatched some pics of the Joker in prison. His neck and hands are naturally-coloured. In my mind, only his head fell in the chemical vat... another cool origin variation.
Post Reply