TO THE BATPOLES podcast #77: Stanley Ralph Ross: Love 'im, Hate 'im

General goings on in the 1966 Batman World

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TO THE BATPOLES podcast #77: Stanley Ralph Ross: Love 'im, Hate 'im

Post by bat-rss » Thu Dec 07, 2017 5:07 am

Image

We're back with a discussion of a Stanley Ralph Ross video interview from 1998. Many of us get exasperated with Ross's scripts, but he and Lee Orgel also turned in one of the best arcs of the series, "The Purrfect Crime/Better Luck Next Time." This interview gives us a clue as to why his later efforts didn't quite stand up against (or in some cases, fell FAR short of) the first one.

What does the interview tell us about his approach to writing, and about him as a person? What lingering questions does it answer?

I think you'll like this one.

http://tothebatpoles.libsyn.com/077-sta ... im-hate-im

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Re: TO THE BATPOLES podcast #77: Stanley Ralph Ross: Love 'im, Hate 'im

Post by Dr. Shimel » Thu Dec 07, 2017 9:03 am

Attached is a July 1977 article that gives a rundown on Ross' infamous show, "The Kallikaks." Note his reference to Batman. :D
Kallikak.jpg

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Re: TO THE BATPOLES podcast #77: Stanley Ralph Ross: Love 'im, Hate 'im

Post by bat-rss » Thu Dec 07, 2017 6:52 pm

"Wrote the bulk of Batman"? Quite a claim. I guess his claim in the video interview of writing more than anyone else is accurate, but that's not the same as "the bulk". He wrote or rewrote 27 out of 120, per IMDB; hardly "the bulk."

But he clearly had a tendency to exaggerate his influence, and he's hardly the only one among the Bat-folk.

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Re: TO THE BATPOLES podcast #77: Stanley Ralph Ross: Love 'im, Hate 'im

Post by clavierankh » Fri Dec 08, 2017 7:48 am

I was 10 when Batman premiered in 1966. I remember when The Purr-fect Crime premiered and the interruptions do to the emergency on Gemini 8. It was the Wednesday night episode. It wasn't long before the networks went wall-to-wall with coverage so I don't know if the episode even aired on the west coast.

Better Luck Next Time aired as usual the next night so it doesn't make sense that with part two already aired part one would air on Friday.

In those days ABC didn't have affiliates everywhere and NBC and CBS stations would pick up some ABC shows and air them on a different day. It is possible some stations aired the show on Friday night.

I recently saw a Kine-scope of Batman is Riled that was sent to stations not airing the show direct from the network. It included commercials for Kellogg's Corn Flakes , Secret Deodorant, Beech Nut Gum and Lifesavers. It was in black and white and the openening Batman bumper did not say In Color. It even had a next weeks villain promo.

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Re: TO THE BATPOLES podcast #77: Stanley Ralph Ross: Love 'im, Hate 'im

Post by BATWINGED HORNET » Sat Dec 09, 2017 4:47 pm

Ross credits: Ross should not be too proud of That's My Mama--I have vivid memories of the show, and it was a terrible, bottomless pit of stereotypes just as bad as anything seen in the worst Blaxploitation movies and frankly, the Amos 'n Andy franchise.

His "black voice" just seemed like someone thinking an exaggerated stereotype made him some chameleon of culture. Not only is he not the chameleon he so clearly believed he was, the entire voice act was actually rather shameful.

Universal Studios Tour: Correct me if I'm mistaken, but Ross makes it seem as if Universal had no attractions and/or tour before he was approached. If he really claimed that, history has something else to say about that, since Universal had tours which included watching films being shot and a box lunch as early as 1915. From http://thestudiotour.com/ush/chronology.php:
1915: Carl Laemmle invited members of the public to watch films being made (in exchange for a 25 cents admission fee). A chicken lunch box was also available for a nickel; the first step towards the Universal Studios theme park we know today!
1956: Gray Line Bus Tours have Universal International Studios part of their Hollywood tour, along with movie star homes and other Hollywood landmarks such as Will Rogers home and Disney Studios. The bus travelled around the backlot, seeing Colonial Street, Courthouse Square, the Tower of London set, western streets, and learning about the use of facades etc. Although there were no \'attractions\' on the tour, visitors appreciated the variety of different locations that had been built on the backlot.

So, how do we rate Stanley Ralph Ross as a Batman writer? Let's put it this way: with Lee Orgel, the first Catwoman arc was one of the best of the entire series. Without Orgel.....I'll leave that assessment up to you guys, and the good folks at Procter & Gamble, manufacturers of Peptol Bismol.

That, or write him off as the living version of 60s cartoon character Commander McBragg.

@ 0:05 -
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nkZzLUvuLLU
Beneath Wayne Manor

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Re: TO THE BATPOLES podcast #77: Stanley Ralph Ross: Love 'im, Hate 'im

Post by bat-rss » Sat Dec 09, 2017 9:15 pm

McBragg indeed. He takes credit for everything related to TV except the invention of the antenna. Not only is he responsible for Sally Struthers getting hired on All in the Family, he also determined Archie's name and prevailed on Norman Lear to have Mike ("Meathead") be Polish. I'd be interested in investigating the recognition he claims to have gotten for encapsulating "the black experience."

Thanks for the info on Universal's tour. Certainly omitted from Ross' telling.

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Re: TO THE BATPOLES podcast #77: Stanley Ralph Ross: Love 'im, Hate 'im

Post by High C » Sun Dec 10, 2017 12:28 am

bat-rss wrote:
Sat Dec 09, 2017 9:15 pm
McBragg indeed. He takes credit for everything related to TV except the invention of the antenna. Not only is he responsible for Sally Struthers getting hired on All in the Family, he also determined Archie's name and prevailed on Norman Lear to have Mike ("Meathead") be Polish. I'd be interested in investigating the recognition he claims to have gotten for encapsulating "the black experience."

Thanks for the info on Universal's tour. Certainly omitted from Ross' telling.
Not to mention he got Lyle Waggoner hired as Steve Trevor on Wonder Woman.

To be fair, I did find a reference to an early script written by someone else for 'Wally's Castle,' so apparently that was the tentative name for the pilot. But Wally Bunker pitched for Baltimore and Kansas City, not the White Sox as Ross claimed.
'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 #77: Stanley Ralph Ross: Love 'im, Hate 'im

Post by bat-rss » Sun Dec 10, 2017 6:39 pm

If I had the time, I would research every word of what he said in the interview. I'd really like to know how much of it is not embellished or misremembered. A la Catwoman being preempted by "a rocket taking off."

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Re: TO THE BATPOLES podcast #77: Stanley Ralph Ross: Love 'im, Hate 'im

Post by High C » Sun Dec 10, 2017 6:55 pm

bat-rss wrote:
Sun Dec 10, 2017 6:39 pm
If I had the time, I would research every word of what he said in the interview. I'd really like to know how much of it is not embellished or misremembered. A la Catwoman being preempted by "a rocket taking off."
Maybe he was thinking of the stupid 'Getaway Rocket' he wrote into the first Catwoman arc of season 2. ;)
'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 #77: Stanley Ralph Ross: Love 'im, Hate 'im

Post by Yellow Oval » Thu Dec 14, 2017 8:24 am

BATWINGED HORNET wrote:
Sat Dec 09, 2017 4:47 pm

That, or write him off as the living version of 60s cartoon character Commander McBragg.

@ 0:05 -
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nkZzLUvuLLU
I say, what a accurate comment.

Hmmph! Quite! :lol:

I gotta say the series went downhill when Ross was given a chunk of the writing. Those episodes were TERRIBLE just like the Man From U.N.C.L.E. episode he wrote and guest-starred in. He seemed to think dopey anywhere was funny but that really only worked for Get Smart of which dopiness was what the show was built on in the first place!
"Hmmm... I don't like the twist this joke is taking. Let us away! Let us away!"

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Re: TO THE BATPOLES podcast #77: Stanley Ralph Ross: Love 'im, Hate 'im

Post by Dr. Shimel » Thu Dec 14, 2017 10:13 pm

The Man from UNCLE's quality dipped considerably when they decided to turn it into a Batman-like tongue-in-cheek romp--so much for the espionage-filled dramas that had been presented during the first two seasons.

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Re: TO THE BATPOLES podcast #77: Stanley Ralph Ross: Love 'im, Hate 'im

Post by High C » Fri Dec 15, 2017 4:08 am

Dr. Shimel wrote:
Thu Dec 14, 2017 10:13 pm
The Man from UNCLE's quality dipped considerably when they decided to turn it into a Batman-like tongue-in-cheek romp--so much for the espionage-filled dramas that had been presented during the first two seasons.
Agreed. However, they then brought in former (and future) Quinn Martin producer Anthony Spinner for season 4, fresh off The Invaders. And like a motorist over-correcting after skidding on an icy road, he turned it into a super-serious slog in season 4, completely missing out on the balance between adventure and humor.
'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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Ben Bentley
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Re: TO THE BATPOLES podcast #77: Stanley Ralph Ross: Love 'im, Hate 'im

Post by Ben Bentley » Sun Dec 17, 2017 9:48 am

bat-rss wrote:
Sun Dec 10, 2017 6:39 pm
If I had the time, I would research every word of what he said in the interview. I'd really like to know how much of it is not embellished or misremembered. A la Catwoman being preempted by "a rocket taking off."
Another great episode! I genuinely appreciate the thought and time you're taking to stray from your chronological look at the series in order to absorb and disect some genuinely fascinating wider-context of the show's production. I took the time around four or five years ago to watch the entirety of the S.R.R. interview around the time someone here on the message board first made me aware of it. I have to say I enjoyed listening to Ross (hyperbole and all). I agree with you that he's a great story teller, if not more so orally than on the page.

On the topic of the "rocket" in question, that was one anecdote that Ross did not entirely exaggerate... The Gemini 8 mission did indeed take off on March 16th 1966, the same night that the "The Purrfect Crime" originally aired. The episode's broadcast was apparently so butchered by breaking news bulletins discussing Gemini 8's progress, that the episode was reportedly narratively incomprehensible. Retrospectively speaking, the irony that an episode widely regarded as one of the best of the entire show's run experienced such interruptions whilst Nora Clavicle enjoyed an entirely breaking-news bulletin free original broadcast, is not lost on me ;)

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Re: TO THE BATPOLES podcast #77: Stanley Ralph Ross: Love 'im, Hate 'im

Post by bat-rss » Mon Dec 18, 2017 4:50 am

Ben Bentley wrote:
Sun Dec 17, 2017 9:48 am
bat-rss wrote:
Sun Dec 10, 2017 6:39 pm
If I had the time, I would research every word of what he said in the interview. I'd really like to know how much of it is not embellished or misremembered. A la Catwoman being preempted by "a rocket taking off."
The Gemini 8 mission did indeed take off on March 16th 1966, the same night that the "The Purrfect Crime" originally aired.
Ah, you're right. I only remember the Apollo missions and after, which were multi-day affairs, but I see now that this entire mission clocked in at 10 hours and 41 minutes -- I was taking for granted that it was longer than that. My error!

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Re: TO THE BATPOLES podcast #77: Stanley Ralph Ross: Love 'im, Hate 'im

Post by High C » Mon Dec 18, 2017 5:37 am

Ross did somewhat mis-remember the fact that it wasn't so much the 'rocket taking off,' but the fact there had been a major glitch causing a situation that threatened the lives of the Gemini 8 astronauts. From what I've read, that's why they kept cutting into the episode.
'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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