TO THE BATPOLES podcast #65: The Black Widow goes camping... DAAAH-ling

General goings on in the 1966 Batman World

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bat-rss
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TO THE BATPOLES podcast #65: The Black Widow goes camping... DAAAH-ling

Post by bat-rss »

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Our latest episode is one long camping trip! If you didn't think women could dress in drag, we present exhibit A: Tallulah Bankhead as the Black Widow!

We also touch on some ways in which this late season two arc differs from early season one — but characters talking to the camera isn’t one of them.

ALSO: Further findings on the Legends of the Superheroes cowl, the De Maskers’ version of the Batman theme, and your mail!

http://tothebatpoles.libsyn.com/065-the ... aaaah-ling

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Mr. Deathtrap
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Re: TO THE BATPOLES podcast #65: The Black Widow goes camping... DAAAH-ling

Post by Mr. Deathtrap »

Citizens and podcasters,

I'm not sure anyone noticed the fine police work Commissioner Gordon did in his opening scene. Once Irv Cash reported the robbery, the Commissioner recounted Black Widow's modus operandi and revealed the thief's identity to a horrified Chief O'Hara. For the head of a department that can neither solve Riddler's riddles nor realize Catwoman's not wanting Batman to know she was released from prison is suspicious, his recollection of Black Widow is a shining moment.

Of course, having identified the perpetrator, he immediately summoned the Dynamic Duet . . . er. . . Duo.

Mr. Deathtrap
Tune in for their exciting conclusion. Same Bat-Time! Same Bat - Channel!

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chrisbcritter
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Re: TO THE BATPOLES podcast #65: The Black Widow goes camping... DAAAH-ling

Post by chrisbcritter »

Tell us which scripts you'd be interested in from the Dozier Archive Holdings!
Do you mean posting a .pdf of the script? If so, as if you couldn't guess :roll: , all three versions of the Sandman script!

Also "The Silent Film Capers", and "The Curse of Tut". I'd like to hear more about the ones with odd titles like "The Phantom Pharoah", "Hickery, Dickery, Doc", and "Please Omit the Tomatoes"(???) - were they unproduced or working titles for other episodes?
"To the medical eye, such childish claptrap means only one thing, young man: You need some sleep."

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Re: TO THE BATPOLES podcast #65: The Black Widow goes camping... DAAAH-ling

Post by bat-rss »

chrisbcritter wrote:
Thu Jul 06, 2017 7:51 pm
Tell us which scripts you'd be interested in from the Dozier Archive Holdings!
Do you mean posting a .pdf of the script? If so, as if you couldn't guess :roll: , all three versions of the Sandman script!

Also "The Silent Film Capers", and "The Curse of Tut". I'd like to hear more about the ones with odd titles like "The Phantom Pharoah", "Hickery, Dickery, Doc", and "Please Omit the Tomatoes"(???) - were they unproduced or working titles for other episodes?
Actually, Hickery Dickery Doc has already been covered:
http://tothebatpoles.libsyn.com/050-tur ... ical-joker

But will certainly add the others to the list!

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Re: TO THE BATPOLES podcast #65: The Black Widow goes camping... DAAAH-ling

Post by Dr. Shimel »

*Sadly, Bankead was the first Bat Villain to die (in December 1968)--reportedly partly due to the Hong Kong flu that was running rampant in late 1968-early 1969.

*Wikipedia notes that Bankhead's voice "was the result of chronic bronchitis due to childhood illness." Of course I'm sure the heavy smoking (one estimate--150 cigarettes a day :shock:) didn't help.

*Her father actually served as Speaker of the House from 1936-40 before dying in office. In addition, both her grandfather and uncle were U.S. Senators from Alabama that also died in office.

*Bankhead's "loose" reputation recalls one notorious story that, for obvious reasons, I can't repeat here. However, googling Bankhead and Chico Marx will fill in the blanks. Wikipedia also notes that her choice for an early film role were based on reasons beyond liking the script. ;)

*Another mature female actress that got the "Miss" treatment in credits was Barbara Stanwyck for The Big Valley.

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High C
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Re: TO THE BATPOLES podcast #65: The Black Widow goes camping... DAAAH-ling

Post by High C »

chrisbcritter wrote:
Thu Jul 06, 2017 7:51 pm
Tell us which scripts you'd be interested in from the Dozier Archive Holdings!
Do you mean posting a .pdf of the script? If so, as if you couldn't guess :roll: , all three versions of the Sandman script!

Also "The Silent Film Capers", and "The Curse of Tut". I'd like to hear more about the ones with odd titles like "The Phantom Pharoah", "Hickery, Dickery, Doc", and "Please Omit the Tomatoes"(???) - were they unproduced or working titles for other episodes?
I can say with almost virtual certainty Please Omit the Tomatoes was the first draft of 'Louie The Lilac,' given the fact it is credited to Dwight Taylor, who wrote the first Louie ep. My best guess is the original title was a play on comics like Uncle Miltie getting pelted with tomatoes in the old days.

Similarly, the two writers of The Phantom Pharoah are the same two who penned the first Tut arc, so it likely was retitled.
'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 podcast #65: The Black Widow goes camping... DAAAH-ling

Post by chrisbcritter »

Dr. Shimel wrote:
Fri Jul 07, 2017 8:02 am
*Another mature female actress that got the "Miss" treatment in credits was Barbara Stanwyck for The Big Valley.
And "Miss" Bette Davis for Perry Mason. Speaking of whom, wasn't she supposed to be the first choice for the Black Widow role, or is that just Bat-lore?
"To the medical eye, such childish claptrap means only one thing, young man: You need some sleep."

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clavierankh
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Re: TO THE BATPOLES podcast #65: The Black Widow goes camping... DAAAH-ling

Post by clavierankh »

I think she was first choice for Ma Parkwr.

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Golddragon71
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Re: TO THE BATPOLES podcast #65: The Black Widow goes camping... DAAAH-ling

Post by Golddragon71 »

When Chief o'Hara takes Black Widow into custody and seems nervous to be around her (apparently recognizing the danger she represents just by virtue of her name) It reminds me of the Sandman arc when J.Pauline Spaghetti shows Sandman the memorial plaques of her various husbands and then a blank plaque that she has set up "for the future" We clearly draw the conclusion that J. Pauline Spaghetti is as much a Black Widow as Black Widow but she seems much more subtle about it....either that or she just has the worst luck when it comes to husbands hmmmmm
"Someone might be able to substitute for Batman, for a very short time, but no one could ever replace him!"

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Re: TO THE BATPOLES podcast #65: The Black Widow goes camping... DAAAH-ling

Post by bat-rss »

Good point. J. Pauline is more the unassuming type, but may be equally dangerous!

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Re: TO THE BATPOLES podcast #65: The Black Widow goes camping... DAAAH-ling

Post by BATWINGED HORNET »

Where to start...

Black Widow--with her gang of controlled (and occasionally grumbling) men was a throwback villainess, with influences taken from The Spider Lady, the villainess of the 1948 Superman serial starring Krik Alyn, along with characters from pulp novels. The problem with the arc is that Bankhead's performance was understandably fatigued (considering her health problems), so she never took the character to the level of the calculating, formidable villainess she was (probably) meant to be.

Even the spider trap and mind control were borrowed from deeply rooted films, Golden Age comics and pulp novels that on paper, would seem like the Black Widow arc could have played just as well 20 years earlier in as a 15-chapter serial without missing a beat.

Further, her control of men was (by 1967) a very old character / plot device used to explore/comment on early ideas of females (feeling suppressed) resenting males, usually with some need for a female character to prove herself, or constantly yell at male lackeys and/or opponents about her superiority. We see this in the first Catwoman arc ("The Purr-fect Crime" / "Better Luck Next Time") with her whip-cracking, and angry reply to Felix, who mentioned how other supervillains failed to stop the Dynamic Duo:
"The Catwoman is not like the others! I'll show you how to clip Batman and Robin's wings! Iwill prevail!"


All part of that long-lived character / plot device, only thanks to the decline in overall quality and Miss Bankhead's health, we were never going to see that kind of aggressive villainess. Instead, the episode as shot just turned her into the equivalent of the kind of pompous, rich matriarch characters one would see troubling the Three Stooges.

Speaking of stooges, her henchnen were quite simply, the worn-out, grumbling and/or stupid character archetypes seen on F-Troop, McHale's Navy or Get Smart. Honestly, she should have called CONTROL's Larabee or Fort Courage's Corporal Agarn, begging them to moonlight, since she only seemed to need support from buffoons.

The sharp decline in quality (or Dozier & Company not giving a Bat-stuff anymore) after the all-too-short late season two bright spots (the bittersweet departure of Newmar as Catwoman / the Green Hornet crossover), it all comes down to party store spiders, moronic henchmen and...

....Adam West singing. Oh, how I sense a growing disturbance in the Force...and its shaped like a surfboard in the distance....
Beneath Wayne Manor

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Re: TO THE BATPOLES podcast #65: The Black Widow goes camping... DAAAH-ling

Post by High C »

BATWINGED HORNET wrote:
Tue Jul 11, 2017 8:13 am

Black Widow--with her gang of controlled (and occasionally grumbling) men was a throwback villainess, with influences taken from The Spider Lady, the villainess of the 1948 Superman serial starring Krik Alyn, along with characters from pulp novels. The problem with the arc is that Bankhead's performance was understandably fatigued (considering her health problems), so she never took the character to the level of the calculating, formidable villainess she was (probably) meant to be.
Well-said. It would have been interesting to see what a healthier actress could've done with the role.
'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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Dr. Shimel
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Re: TO THE BATPOLES podcast #65: The Black Widow goes camping... DAAAH-ling

Post by Dr. Shimel »

High C wrote:
Tue Jul 11, 2017 8:50 am
BATWINGED HORNET wrote:
Tue Jul 11, 2017 8:13 am

Black Widow--with her gang of controlled (and occasionally grumbling) men was a throwback villainess, with influences taken from The Spider Lady, the villainess of the 1948 Superman serial starring Krik Alyn, along with characters from pulp novels. The problem with the arc is that Bankhead's performance was understandably fatigued (considering her health problems), so she never took the character to the level of the calculating, formidable villainess she was (probably) meant to be.
Well-said. It would have been interesting to see what a healthier actress could've done with the role.
"Miss" Bette Davis was obviously in the same age range, but she was in much better shape than Bankhead. I think she was considered a fairly decent actress, too. ;)

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High C
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Re: TO THE BATPOLES podcast #65: The Black Widow goes camping... DAAAH-ling

Post by High C »

I find it interesting that Estelle Winwood, aka Aunt Hilda, was 19 years OLDER than Bankhead and lived to be 101. There's certainly a message there about taking care of oneself.
'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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bat-rss
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Re: TO THE BATPOLES podcast #65: The Black Widow goes camping... DAAAH-ling

Post by bat-rss »

High C wrote:
Wed Jul 12, 2017 1:15 am
I find it interesting that Estelle Winwood, aka Aunt Hilda, was 19 years OLDER than Bankhead and lived to be 101. There's certainly a message there about taking care of oneself.
For sure!
And yes, Hornet, that surfboard is looming ever larger...shudder

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