TO THE BATPOLES #150: “The Astrologer”: The Proto-“Zodiac” Script

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PNGUINN
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Re: TO THE BATPOLES #150: “The Astrologer”: The Proto-“Zodiac” Script

Post by PNGUINN »

Terry Moore is blatantly just doing a Marilyn Monroe impersonation. Top moll ever in my opinion.
robinboyblunderer
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Re: TO THE BATPOLES #150: “The Astrologer”: The Proto-“Zodiac” Script

Post by robinboyblunderer »

bat-rss wrote: Thu Jan 07, 2021 5:38 am Image

One of our favorite Batman arcs growing up was the three-parter “The Zodiac Crimes” featuring the mind-blowing combination of Joker and Penguin! But when Stephen Kandel wrote it, it was a two-parter introducing a new villain: The Astrologer. Why might it have been switched to a three-parter starring established villains?
Read the script, and listen to our comments on it, here!
Thanks for the new script! If I don't get my opinion on it before your next podcast I'll be sure to get it to you eventually.

Kandel wrote some good Batman scripts.

cheers
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Dan E Kool
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Re: TO THE BATPOLES #150: “The Astrologer”: The Proto-“Zodiac” Script

Post by Dan E Kool »

High C wrote: Mon Jan 11, 2021 8:53 am I always respect your opinion, Dan E.,
Well there's your problem...
High C wrote: Mon Jan 11, 2021 8:53 am You see, when you name a character Venus in a fantasy setting, that name has implications and connotations. It has meaning. And there is some of that in Kandel's original script. His Venus is more like Blaze--she definitely is The Astrologer's lead henchperson, even ordering around the other 'satellites' on occasion.
I tend to agree... But it's not really a standard that 66 Batman ever followed, is it? For example, Joe Di Reda hardly personifies "GOD OF WAR," does he?

To be fair to Joe (and Terry Moore), I don't think these characters are actually meant to be named for the Roman deities - just the planets.

I guess that doesn't really matter one way or the other. To get back to Paul's original point - Terry Moore is good. And she's had an impressive career (still going!) But like you said, whether one likes this particular performance or not is up to personal opinion. My only point is that, considering her career and talent, the performance she gave on Batman was entirely intentional. She set out to do it that way and I think she was successful.
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BATWINGED HORNET
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Re: TO THE BATPOLES #150: “The Astrologer”: The Proto-“Zodiac” Script

Post by BATWINGED HORNET »

Where to start.

Kandel's script seemed like it was doomed to fail; the entire Zodiac angle was not so creative a plot device that it justified the presence of two of the Dynamic Duo's greatest villains, which was apparent in the filmed version. I've always felt that "The Zodiac Crimes" arc was sort of lifeless and misguided--another attempt by Dozier to "Double the pleasure, double the fun" of the movie, but lacking the film's larger than life plot involving dehydrating / capturing the world's leaders. Thinking back to childhood, I remember seeing this arc for the 1st time, but feeling like something was missing--waiting for something more to happen...but it did not. The best Meredith and Romero could bring out of their characters was utterly absent in the arc, as if they were phoning in their performances, and for Romero in particular, it set the ground work for how childish his Joker would become in season three.

Regarding Terry Moore...while her performance can be criticized, I believe it needs to remembered that she played as the half-stereotypical, breathy Marilyn Monroe type, which was still being aped in the culture of that time, even after Monroe's death. In other words, Moore's delivery might be annoying, but she was by no means alone in delivering that kind of performance in 1960s TV and movies. Something tells me that when the script was read, anyone--from Rudolph to Horwitz--instructed Moore to take the character in that Monroe-ish direction, thinking that it would work for audiences better than a more assertive of Blaze-like woman, especially at this point in the series, when subtlety was nowhere to be found.
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robinboyblunderer
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Re: TO THE BATPOLES #150: “The Astrologer”: The Proto-“Zodiac” Script

Post by robinboyblunderer »

BATWINGED HORNET wrote: Fri Jan 15, 2021 4:31 pm Where to start.

Kandel's script seemed like it was doomed to fail; the entire Zodiac angle was not so creative a plot device that it justified the presence of two of the Dynamic Duo's greatest villains, which was apparent in the filmed version. I've always felt that "The Zodiac Crimes"[/i] arc was sort of lifeless and misguided--another attempt by Dozier to "Double the pleasure, double the fun"on three.

Regarding Terry Moore...while her performance can be criticized, I believe it needs to remembered that she played as the half-stereotypical, breathy Marilyn Monroe type,
Interesting take on the Zodiac angle; I think it lends itself perfectly to a Batman story since there are different ways to both interpret and match the astrological signs with objects, places and concepts, (like making Batman the goat). I think the script and the trilogy both do quite a bit with the material.

As for Venus/Terry Moore, I always like her performance, I never knew it ground peoples's gears till I first starting lurking at the old board, I was really surprised she had so many detractors. Would I have preferred her character to be more consistent and in line with when she stole the scorpion?

Definitely.

But I accept the seemingly random flip-flopping of her character (like those poor red herring and captured fish---I hope they got it back into a tank while filming) as part of the chaos inherent in most Joker stories; even while paired with the Penguin he's the dominant villain, I mean, how could he not be when the waddling weasel is in absentia for Part Deux?

One moment Venus is gluing some poor jeweler's feet to the tile, the next clambering onto the Caped Crusader as Robin is swallowed whole by the Giant Clam, just another humiliating yet classic moment for the Boy wonder and her shifts make sense to me in this crazy context.

The three episodes are a riot topped off with another fun Batcave fight.

I could understand why for some it's too much or that the original script kept to a somewhat tighter tale but these episodes, much like many of the Joker ones are like trying every free sample possible at a Baskin-Robbins, colorful, frustrating (for the other customers) and yet delicious even when they leave you with a headache.

Holy Gluttonous Metaphor!

Fret not fellow Bat-board members, I never pushed past one or two samples at the counter, no one likes an ever widening utility belt.
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Kite Kid
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Re: TO THE BATPOLES #150: “The Astrologer”: The Proto-“Zodiac” Script

Post by Kite Kid »

The Astrologer eventually did resurface as a guest villain on the Stanley Ralph Ross-developed Saturday morning children's series Monster Squad, a show that resembled Batman '66 in much the same way Electra Woman and Dyna Girl did. The Astrologer was played by Lost in Space's Jonathan Harris. His henchmen were named Castor and Pollux, and the episode was scripted by Greg Strangis, son of Sam Strangis.
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High C
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Re: TO THE BATPOLES #150: “The Astrologer”: The Proto-“Zodiac” Script

Post by High C »

robinboyblunderer wrote: Sat Jan 16, 2021 7:02 pm
As for Venus/Terry Moore, I always like her performance, I never knew it ground peoples' gears till I first starting lurking at the old board, I was really surprised she had so many detractors.
It's funny--because I see it the other way, I never knew she had so many champions until the internet came along! :D

Let's put it this way. Much like an individual's appearance, it's in the eye of the beholder. These two factions will never, EVER agree. I remember that on John S. Drew's podcast, he had three guests on that show--one of them Glenn Greenberg, agreed with my point of view. Drew and the rest either were positive or at least not negative, IIRC. Keith DeCandido's review on tor.com also was negative in terms of her performance.

Again, getting back to the eye of the beholder, and in the spirit and rules of this board (which I totally agree with) I certainly won't name names, but for the purpose of making a point, I can tell you there are a couple of actresses/female singers whom I find super hot and I almost can guarantee the majority of guys would be like, whatever. Conversely, there are those that are considered gorgeous by conventional standards, and I say, meh. Again, personal preference, much like Terry Moore's performance.

What I will say is this, and I think this is somewhat empirical--this was not some bold acting choice on her part. Again, Moore had the Monroe impression in her back pocket for at least 10 years before this arc was shot, so keep that in mind. This was more (Moore?) a case of falling back on a familiar theme, rather than breaking new (camp) grounds.

***
As for the differences between the Kandel script and the aired product, Tim and Paul, I am reminded of the Ken Holtzhouser line you quoted many moons ago about Sherman's Marsha solo arc rewrite. To paraphrase slightly, he noted that the script seemed to be written from a belief that fantasy television has no rules, so anything goes. One can mix Arabian and sorcery themes with wild abandon and make no attempt to connect them logically or to the story/arc as a whole. Same here with this rewrite. How did Joker grow and/or procure a giant clam? Where did it come from? How does he feed it? Nobody knows and the script makes no attempt to answer that. It's introduced because it makes for a great set piece/deathtrap and then dropped immediately with no further ado/explanation.

It would seem to be a threat to the delicate balance of its ecosystem, old chum.

Yes, Semple had crazy elements, and I've been critical of that, too. But I at least could picture some kind of 'civic responsibility' Batman discussion with him saying something about the danger of tampering with the laws of nature and aquatic life or somesuch once they escaped, as opposed to just the lame clam chowder tag at the end. Again, the dumbing down of Batman/Bruce continued at lightning speed in 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 #150: “The Astrologer”: The Proto-“Zodiac” Script

Post by robinboyblunderer »

High C wrote: Sat Jan 23, 2021 4:55 am

***
As for the differences between the Kandel script and the aired product, Tim and Paul, I am reminded of the Ken Holtzhouser line you quoted many moons ago about Sherman's Marsha solo arc rewrite. To paraphrase slightly, he noted that the script seemed to be written from a belief that fantasy television has no rules, so anything goes. One can mix Arabian and sorcery themes with wild abandon and make no attempt to connect them logically.
Is this earlier version of Marsha's first story still floating around out there somewhere?

cheers
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High C
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Re: TO THE BATPOLES #150: “The Astrologer”: The Proto-“Zodiac” Script

Post by High C »

robinboyblunderer wrote: Sat Jan 23, 2021 10:11 am
High C wrote: Sat Jan 23, 2021 4:55 am

***
As for the differences between the Kandel script and the aired product, Tim and Paul, I am reminded of the Ken Holtzhouser line you quoted many moons ago about Sherman's Marsha solo arc rewrite. To paraphrase slightly, he noted that the script seemed to be written from a belief that fantasy television has no rules, so anything goes. One can mix Arabian and sorcery themes with wild abandon and make no attempt to connect them logically.
Is this earlier version of Marsha's first story still floating around out there somewhere?

cheers
It's my understanding, per episode #70, that the To The Batpoles podcast, not to be confused with the unrelated To The Batpoles blog, is in possession of that script and will examine it in a future show at some point.
'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 #150: “The Astrologer”: The Proto-“Zodiac” Script

Post by robinboyblunderer »

High C wrote: Sat Jan 23, 2021 4:55 am How did Joker grow and/or procure a giant clam? Where did it come from? How does he feed it?
Same company that sells Sea-Monkeys, of course.
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Re: TO THE BATPOLES #150: “The Astrologer”: The Proto-“Zodiac” Script

Post by robinboyblunderer »

High C wrote: Sat Jan 23, 2021 10:20 am
It's my understanding, per episode #70, that the To The Batpoles podcast, not to be confused with the unrelated To The Batpoles blog, is in possession of that script and will examine it in a future show at some point.
Thanks for the info!
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Re: TO THE BATPOLES #150: “The Astrologer”: The Proto-“Zodiac” Script

Post by robinboyblunderer »

High C wrote: Sat Jan 23, 2021 4:55 am
robinboyblunderer wrote: Sat Jan 16, 2021 7:02 pm
As for Venus/Terry Moore, I always like her performance, I never knew it ground peoples' gears till I first starting lurking at the old board, I was really surprised she had so many detractors.
It's funny--because I see it the other way, I never knew she had so many champions until the internet came along! :D

Let's put it this way. Much like an individual's appearance, it's in the eye of the beholder. These two factions will never, EVER agree. I remember that on John S. Drew's podcast, he had three guests on that show--one of them Glenn Greenberg, agreed with my point of view. Drew and the rest either were positive or at least not negative, IIRC. Keith DeCandido's review on tor.com also was negative in terms of her performance.

Again, getting back to the eye of the beholder,

Holy Vive La Différence!

I was surprised to learn of so many Batgirl adherents (hmm...that sounds worse than it should, hold on)
...Batgirl Bat-adherents (that's better) so there's a wide spectrum amidst the fans, which of course, makes for lively discussions.

If this hadn't become a Joker/Penguin trilogy I think it could've worked with the Astrologer as his own character, much like Shame or King Tut. While usually deviations from the formula are welcome, the stinger at the end with Bruce and Dick foiling the Astrologer is a bit odd; I think as a one-off it would've been fine though definitely pushing the boundaries of how unobservant everyone is in Gotham City when it comes to secret identities.

cheers
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bat-rss
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Re: TO THE BATPOLES #150: “The Astrologer”: The Proto-“Zodiac” Script

Post by bat-rss »

High C wrote: Sun Jan 10, 2021 1:34 pm
cammy85 wrote: Sun Jan 10, 2021 10:15 am
chrisbcritter wrote: Sun Jan 10, 2021 3:34 am
Nope - no camping scene in the original Sandman script; B&R go right into action.
Thanks!! That was just a waste of time, especially when that script had two supervillains, not one on the loose.
Agreed! Of course, what would Tim and Paul have done without those now famous lines--'Sack time, fellas. You can go on down to the creek and brush your teeth and hit the old sleeping bags.' #campingtrip
And not only that, but it also gave us Dick's repeating of "To the Batpoles" at the end of the cold open - I've used that in promos for our show that play on Deconstructing Comics and other podcasts we've swapped ads with!
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