Third Season Queries and What Ifs

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Avenger90
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Third Season Queries and What Ifs

Post by Avenger90 » Sat Aug 17, 2019 5:21 am

Hi guys,

So, Season 3 is probably my best season (I know that's the complete opposite to a lot of people :D)

It's the first season I watched when I was a young kid, and I think my first introduction to Batman as a character, so naturally I have more of a soft spot for these episodes.

Few things about the third season I wanna discuss with you guys.

Firstly, does anyone know why Frank Gorshin only made 1 appearance as the Riddler during this final season (not counting the character's appearance in the penultimate episode). Is it known whether Dozier & co tried to get him back for more episodes during the season but he was too busy? Or had he decided to leave the show altogether and so it would have been known at the time amongst the cast and crew that 'Ring Around the Riddler' was to be his final episode?

Next, how different would season 3 have been with the presence of Julie Newmar? I like Eartha Kitt in the Catwoman role, but I can't even envisage Julie in a season 3 episode for some reason. Maybe it's the singular episode format, the more simple storytelling. I don't know. I can't even imagine her with the minimalistic settings of season 3, which they had in most of, if not all, of the villain's lairs. How would she have reacted to Batgirl? What would her team up with Cesar as the Joker have been like? Would they have still had a story about Catwoman wanting to be the best dressed woman if Julie was still in the role?

Mr Freeze appeared in the first two seasons, but was absent for the whole of season 3. Again, I can't imagine the character being in a season 3 episode. I wonder whether the reason for not having Mr Freeze back was that the character wouldn't have fitted into the whole third season format. The simple sets, the mostly singular episodes. And I wonder if they had, if Eli Wallach would have returned. Or would they have got a fourth actor to take on the role?

I'll leave it at that for now, but more queries' to come :D :D

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AndyFish
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Re: Third Season Queries and What Ifs

Post by AndyFish » Sat Aug 17, 2019 6:32 am

There are definitely some fun moments in Season Three but I'm in the Season One and done camp.
There are more knowledgeable members who I'm sure will chime in here but I'll get the ball rolling;

My understanding was that Frank had asked for more money which is why he's replaced in Season Two's Batman's Anniversary-- he had become a big Vegas star with some of that owed to the show no doubt-- and Dozier agreed to pay him more for his appearance in Season Three. Why were there no more Riddler episodes? I doubt it was a statement, more likely the scripts that came in featured other characters.

Eli Wallach was pretty busy in Europe making films so they probably couldn't have gotten him back for Mr Freeze even if they'd wanted him. My guess here is Freeze was a more expensive villain than say, Penguin, with the effects and all, and they were certainly skimping on budgets for Three.

I would have loved to have seen Julie or Lee back as Catwoman, Eartha Kitt was great but she's a totally different character than what was established.

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epaddon
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Re: Third Season Queries and What Ifs

Post by epaddon » Sat Aug 17, 2019 2:39 pm

I got the sense that Frank knew he had to come back once in the wake of being replaced by John Astin that he needed to re-establish himself as THE Riddler. Even as he was absent from the show in S2 working Vegas etc. and arguing with Dozier over the money, he still liked to bask in the stature of being known as the Riddler and a recasting could certainly damage that. Once he'd done it one time, he may have felt confident the recasting route wouldn't happen again and he wasn't clamoring to do another appearance. And since Dozier was working more cheap in S3 it's not surprising that he didn't prepare another Riddler script to me.

If Mr. Freeze had returned again, I think Dozier's first instinct would have been to try and get Preminger back even with Wallach already doing the role. He'd wanted Preminger initially but it couldn't be worked out (the fact that Adam couldn't stand Preminger wasn't relevant since Adam by this point no longer had the kind of clout to nix a director or a guest star that he had earlier in the run when he saw to it that Don Weis never directed another episode)

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Aussie Batfan
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Re: Third Season Queries and What Ifs

Post by Aussie Batfan » Sat Aug 17, 2019 7:10 pm

Regarding Julie returning as Catwoman, I'm sure I've read somewhere a quote from Yvonne that Julie would have towered over her as Batgirl had she been the Catwoman in S3....
Terry

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Dr. Shimel
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Re: Third Season Queries and What Ifs

Post by Dr. Shimel » Sat Aug 17, 2019 7:29 pm

Interestingly, this was an item in an October 27, 1967 newspaper-which obviously never came to pass:
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Dr. Shimel
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Re: Third Season Queries and What Ifs

Post by Dr. Shimel » Sat Aug 17, 2019 8:03 pm

As far as Eli Wallach, his first film with wife Anne Jackson, "The Tiger Makes Out" was released in August 1967 and was followed almost immediately by Jackson filming the movie, "The Secret Life of an American Wife" in Hollywood, while Eli watched their kids in New York. In the first few months that Batman was in S3 production, Wallach and Jackson were doing summer stock. In short, he had no time to do a repeat.

George Sanders' wife, actress Benita Hume, had been seriously ill for most of 1967 and actually died on November 1 of that year, so his priorities were obviously not focused on doing some low-rent rehash of his character.

Avenger90
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Re: Third Season Queries and What Ifs

Post by Avenger90 » Sun Aug 18, 2019 1:39 pm

That's interesting that it looked as though Preminger was going to resume the role in season 3. I agree with AndyFish that the character was a more expensive villain in terms of the make-up, costume and overall set design. Maybe Dozier took this into account and they didn't think it worth it, especially if by that point they knew the show was coming to an end. I guess it was a case of why go to the effort of doing a Mr Freeze episode when they could do another Louie the Lilac ep or Egghead & Olga. As I said earlier, I can't even imagine the character fitting in by that point. Especially not George Sanders in the role. Imagine Sanders playing the character in a Third Season episode. It's weird to think haha.

It makes sense that Gorshin would want to re establish himself in the role. I just can't see Dozier not wanting him back for more. The character was probably the most popular villain in the first season, as well as appearing in the movie. As much as I enjoy Ring Around the Riddler, there is something different about the Riddler that I can't quite put my finger on.

In regards to Catwoman, does anyone think the scripts & stories would have been any different if Julie had resumed the role. Would the eps have been written with Julie in mind or would they have already known by that point that they were writing for Eartha.

LittleLouisGroovy
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Re: Third Season Queries and What Ifs

Post by LittleLouisGroovy » Sun Aug 18, 2019 9:09 pm

I find it interesting that although Catwoman was played by Eartha Kitt in season 3, the character's appearance in the Dr. Cassandra episode was modeled on Julie Newmar.

The casting of Kitt put an end to the flirtation between Catwoman and Batman, and I find that Kitt's Catwoman is written as an edgier villain, possibly to avoid even the slightest suggestion of an attraction between the two characters.

I do wonder if the writers knew that Kitt would be taking over the role when they wrote the third season scripts, because there is a scene in "Catwoman's Dressed to Kill" that I find quite startling. It's when Catwoman invades the luncheon and says to the women in attendance, "You women with your fancy hairdos -- what do you know about beauty?" For me, it's a powerful moment -- a woman of color confronting a group of privileged white women about standards of beauty -- and I don't think it would have the same impact if those words were spoken by Newmar. Is it possible that Stanley Ralph Ross was trying to insert commentary on race and class?

robinboyblunderer
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Re: Third Season Queries and What Ifs

Post by robinboyblunderer » Sun Aug 18, 2019 10:59 pm

LittleLouisGroovy wrote:
Sun Aug 18, 2019 9:09 pm
"Catwoman's Dressed to Kill" that I find quite startling. It's when Catwoman invades the luncheon and says to the women in attendance, "You women with your fancy hairdos -- what do you know about beauty?" For me, it's a powerful moment -- a woman of color confronting a group of privileged white women about standards of beauty -- and I don't think it would have the same impact if those words were spoken by Newmar. Is it possible that Stanley Ralph Ross was trying to insert commentary on race and class?
Could be that was the intent but I never took it that way; it seemed more in line with her vanity and a female-based crime instead of a more cat-based crime.

My guess is it had nothing to do with any type of social and political moment and just more of the bad third season in my opinion. Different plots with villains seems fine but Catwoman never seemed hung up on how hot she was. This plot seems beneath her but to be fair, it's been a long time since I sat through this one so maybe she had some other scheme going on too.

cheers

robinboyblunderer
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Re: Third Season Queries and What Ifs

Post by robinboyblunderer » Sun Aug 18, 2019 11:09 pm

Avenger90 wrote:
Sat Aug 17, 2019 5:21 am
Hi guys,

So, Season 3 is probably my best season (I know that's the complete opposite to a lot of people :D)
Holy Minority Opinion!

Interesting to hear from someone who enjoys the third season. It has three of my favorite episodes, the Londinium Trilogy but the rest of it, well...most of it is terrible in my opinion. And Batgirl through no fault of Craig's messed up the chemistry.

Wasn't a fan of Mr. Freeze for the most part so I don't mind him not being in the third season but I would've preferred a better Riddler episode for the last time Gorshin played him. I guess that's one of the few moments I like from the 70s Legends Superheroes special, one more Riddler outing.

I don't even know if Julie Newmar could've saved the third season. Certainly Eartha Kitt did her best and was all right but Julie was a tough act to follow...! Lee Meriweather couldn't do it.

They also bring back Egghead, one of the best villains from Season 2 and neuter him! What a waste. And three endless episodes too!

I think Semple's opinion or strategy to the show was the smart call and while going a bit zany was fine, adhering to what he laid out would've made for higher quality episodes overall, ignoring it ended up with the the third season and so many awful moments; and what I'd call the stupid Batman who seemed much more ineffectual.

There are some bright spots for me though; the two King Tut episodes, especially his last episode, what a plot to go out on! And what a finish in the mine shaft!

I'm fond of the Surfing and Flying Saucer episodes because both seem to me, to fit the Joker's bizarre personality. While I dislike them, the Shame episodes do have some funny moments with the henchmen.

I"m sure there are some moments with Adam and Burt's acting or bits of clever, witty moments within episodes I don't care for. But overall, I just don't like most of it.

cheers

Avenger90
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Re: Third Season Queries and What Ifs

Post by Avenger90 » Mon Aug 19, 2019 5:34 am

LittleLouisGroovy, that's one of the queries I was going to mention. It's always interested me, even as a kid, why they went for a Julie Newmar lookalike as opposed to Eartha Kitt, when Kitt had played the character just 7 episodes before. I'm guessing it was easier for them to get someone who looked like Julie, maybe Julie's stunt double from seasons 1 & 2. But then surely Eartha would have had a stunt double too who they could have used?

I've never really thought of the line she uses in 'Catwoman's Dressed to Kill' when she arrives at the luncheon, although yes I can certainly see how it would come across as different if Newmar was saying the lines. But I don't feel the whole script/storyline in general would fit Newmar. It seems too amateur for her. And that first scene in Catwoman's lair where she is outlining her plan to her henchmen whilst looking at herself in the mirror. It's hard to imagine Julie doing that scene for some reason. It's like 2 completely different characters to me. Not a bad thing, just wish we had got to see some of what Julie could have done in the third season and how different that would have made the episodes.

Robinboyblunderer, think it's just pure nostalgia for me :) I think if I'd seen the first season first then I may have felt different. I get what you say about Batgirl messing the chemistry up. It changes the formula so much.

Another thing about season 3 I always wondered, is why they chose the Minerva episode to be the final one. Wouldn't it have made more sense for the Dr Cassandra episode to be the finale, what with the major villains all being shown in that episode (even though they were stunt doubles), wouldn't it have been more fitting to have them all bow out in the last episode. Seems a bit odd to have that ep with them all in, and then the last episode featuring an unknown/one-off villain.

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Dr. Shimel
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Re: Third Season Queries and What Ifs

Post by Dr. Shimel » Mon Aug 19, 2019 6:44 am

LittleLouisGroovy wrote:
Sun Aug 18, 2019 9:09 pm
I do wonder if the writers knew that Kitt would be taking over the role when they wrote the third season scripts, because there is a scene in "Catwoman's Dressed to Kill" that I find quite startling. It's when Catwoman invades the luncheon and says to the women in attendance, "You women with your fancy hairdos -- what do you know about beauty?" For me, it's a powerful moment -- a woman of color confronting a group of privileged white women about standards of beauty -- and I don't think it would have the same impact if those words were spoken by Newmar. Is it possible that Stanley Ralph Ross was trying to insert commentary on race and class?
It's ironic that this scene was a precursor to real life since it was broadcast approximately one month before Kitt trashed Lady Bird Johnson to her face at a White House event for women. That got Eartha effectively blacklisted for the next decade.

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Keith Mayo
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Re: Third Season Queries and What Ifs

Post by Keith Mayo » Mon Aug 19, 2019 6:50 am

AndyFish wrote:
Sat Aug 17, 2019 6:32 am
There are definitely some fun moments in Season Three but I'm in the Season One and done camp.
There are more knowledgeable members who I'm sure will chime in here but I'll get the ball rolling;
Similar situation with The Adventures of Superman in that the first season had more of a gritty noir vibe and then switched to a more "kid friendly" show.
"It's the very essence of our democracy". - Batman, S1 Ep 11

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Dr. Shimel
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Re: Third Season Queries and What Ifs

Post by Dr. Shimel » Mon Aug 19, 2019 8:31 am

Keith Mayo wrote:
Mon Aug 19, 2019 6:50 am
AndyFish wrote:
Sat Aug 17, 2019 6:32 am
There are definitely some fun moments in Season Three but I'm in the Season One and done camp.
There are more knowledgeable members who I'm sure will chime in here but I'll get the ball rolling;
Similar situation with The Adventures of Superman in that the first season had more of a gritty noir vibe and then switched to a more "kid friendly" show.
The black-and-white Superman episodes definitely have a darker tone, with a criminal couple falling to their death off a cliff after being placed there by Superman, a crime witness having his mind destroyed by a machine, an elderly woman getting pushed down the steps in her wheelchair and even Lois Lane getting punched!!!

robinboyblunderer
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Re: Third Season Queries and What Ifs

Post by robinboyblunderer » Mon Aug 19, 2019 11:09 am

Avenger90 wrote:
Mon Aug 19, 2019 5:34 am

Robinboyblunderer, think it's just pure nostalgia for me :) I think if I'd seen the first season first then I may have felt different. I get what you say about Batgirl messing the chemistry up. It changes the formula so much.

Another thing about season 3 I always wondered, is why they chose the Minerva episode to be the final one. Wouldn't it have made more sense for the Dr Cassandra episode to be the finale, what with the major villains all being shown in that episode (even though they were stunt doubles), wouldn't it have been more fitting to have them all bow out in the last episode. Seems a bit odd to have that ep with them all in, and then the last episode featuring an unknown/one-off villain.
I understand about the nostalgia.

Concerning Minerva, I often thought the same thing, as lame and paradoxically inventive as the black-out fight scene was, and despite how much I dislike Dr. Cassandra, it would've made for a better finale with all the villains getting beaten at the end.

Maybe they didn't have a choice with why Minerva aired last and/or didn't much care at that point. One good thing about the Minerva episode is Batman saying he would've been proud to call Robin his son; nice moment. I think it's that one.

cheers

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