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TO THE BATPOLES #116: Victor Buono: Holy Ad-Libbed Comedy!

Posted: Thu Aug 08, 2019 5:02 am
by bat-rss
Image

One question on our minds almost since the beginning of To the Batpoles! has been: Just how much did Victor Buono, as King Tut, ad lib on the show? In this episode, we answer that question by comparing the final script to King Tut's Coup/Batman's Waterloo to what was broadcast, helping us to see the difference between Buono's sense of humor and Stanley Ralph Ross's, and to gain a keen appreciation of the considerable comedic contributions of Lee Meriweather to this arc. The script also reveals the producer's instruction to insert a late-season-two reference to Barbara Gordon.

We also compare Ross's version to the original version of the story that he rewrote, Tut Tut Tut by Leo and Pauline Townsend, and discover how Ross inserted Ross family members' names into the script, how much the Townsend's story (especially the opening teaser) resembled that of season one's The Curse of Tut, the Catwoman reference Ross wanted to insert, and more.

http://tothebatpoles.libsyn.com/116-vic ... bed-comedy

Re: TO THE BATPOLES #116: Victor Buono: Holy Ad-Libbed Comedy!

Posted: Thu Aug 08, 2019 10:47 am
by Jim Akin
Excellent analysis!

FYI, after consulting A. Pennyworth's YouTube compilation of batclimb window cameos, I found that four of the 14 encounters occurred during reverse batclimbs, when the duo was descending a wall:

Dick Clark (Shoot a Crooked Arrow)
Bill Dana (The Yegg Foes in Gotham)
Don Ho (The Bat's Kow Tow)
Carpet King (Ice Spy)

P.S. I just noticed that there's box of Pink Chip Stamps in the background of your screen grab of Tut and the royal jester. Maybe Tut sublet his hideout from Pinky Pinkston (or Col. Gumm).

Re: TO THE BATPOLES #116: Victor Buono: Holy Ad-Libbed Comedy!

Posted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 8:17 am
by Ben Bentley
Jim Akin wrote:
Thu Aug 08, 2019 10:47 am
P.S. I just noticed that there's box of Pink Chip Stamps in the background of your screen grab of Tut and the royal jester. Maybe Tut sublet his hideout from Pinky Pinkston (or Col. Gumm).
Great catch!

Re: TO THE BATPOLES #116: Victor Buono: Holy Ad-Libbed Comedy!

Posted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 5:43 pm
by chrisbcritter
I spotted another difference between the final draft and the show as it aired: the reason Mayor Linseed was out of town was that he was on "one of his many trips to Vietnam". As filmed, it was changed to "the Asian Front". Just trying to be a bit less specific? At least they didnt't call it Cambonesia or Nyet Vom...

Re: TO THE BATPOLES #116: Victor Buono: Holy Ad-Libbed Comedy!

Posted: Sat Aug 17, 2019 7:12 pm
by kyle
Interesting episode!

As Paul mentioned, this project has also brought me a greater appreciation of Victor Buono (and Burgess Meredith).

I'm sure I'll be in the minority on this, but as a "romantic" I like Ross' original script where Batman admits his love for a villianess (and liked even more the listener's suggestion that he could have said he would only love her if she reformed). The reality is it was filmed the way it had to be... but I wish it could have been filmed as Ross scripted!

Re: TO THE BATPOLES #116: Victor Buono: Holy Ad-Libbed Comedy!

Posted: Mon Aug 19, 2019 6:42 am
by High C
Thanks to Tim and Paul for yet another enlightening show. Tim, you certainly proved your point about Buono's ad-libbing. I'll add this--he played a lot of villains in those days, on The Wild Wild (non-Adam) West, Voyage To The Bottom of The Sea, even one in Dozier's unsold Dick Tracy pilot, and he always was very good, but he brought so much more to Tut. Nobody else, not even Newmar, as good as she was as CW, could go from comedic to sinister and vice-versa in a millisecond the way Buono did.

It's funny in a way how Tut probably suits season 3's and late season 2's absurdity better than he does the more legit action/adventure tone of season 1, but the character 'works' in all 3 seasons.

I'll go so far as to say this--as much as The Siren is my favorite character of all-time and Joan Collins is my favourite actress, I can picture other TV guest stars of the day in that role (Julie London, Tina Louise, Antoinette Bower, et al). I cannot see anybody else as Tut. Tut. Tut.

Re: TO THE BATPOLES #116: Victor Buono: Holy Ad-Libbed Comedy!

Posted: Thu Aug 22, 2019 1:43 pm
by BATWINGED HORNET
There two Victor Buonos at work in his portrayal of Tut: the one who was sneering and demanding from his first appearance, and the gradual downslide into screaming, insulting man-child that would shape the rest of his appearances, but both sides stem from his talent more than any other influence.

Stanley Ralph Ross might have considered himself some witty screenwriter, but Buono always had the ability to tap into, then turn up the odd and/or humorous as in his appearances in Robin and the 7 Hoods (1964), Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre (the two-part "Memorandum for a Spy" - 1965), and I Spy ("Turkish Delight" - 1966), among many similar performances. The ability was always there, so I would say Ross was handed a gift in Buono having so many "faces" he could use in the role of Tut. Its just that the series took a quality nosedive toward the end of season two / season three, so Buono modified his routine to fit the absurdity overflowing from those last handful of Tut scripts.

Re: TO THE BATPOLES #116: Victor Buono: Holy Ad-Libbed Comedy!

Posted: Sat Aug 24, 2019 9:29 am
by gothosmansion
This was probably the most informative show you guys have done yet. Kudos. I liked how you went through all the treatments and scripts at one time. Very educational.

Really, I don't have a lot to add myself, but I think the series missed out by not having the henchman cause the Professor to revert to Tut. Having them already have their own motives and trying to use Tut to accomplish them would have been an interesting break from the formula the series had fallen into.