Without a doubt, one of the most maligned Batman episodes is Nora Clavicle and the Ladies' Crime Club. The episode's sexist portrayal of women obviously wouldn't fly today, but do the men in this episode fare any better? It seems to have been another of Stanford Sherman's satirical Batman episodes, arguably a failed one.
But every episode has its fans, and this time we review Nora with a fan of this one: Fred, a.k.a. "twof," the former proprietor of the defunct Batgirl Bat-Trap web site. Fred has the script and tells us of changes and cut scenes that could have helped the episode had they stayed.
http://tothebatpoles.libsyn.com/113-tyi ... -with-twof
The Singaia, the band that supplied the Batman theme for this installment, are billed as "Hungarian Surf Music" on last.fm. The Batman theme is taken from their album "Arkham Asylum."
I think I may be the source of the Nora -> Gloria/Steinem -> Sternum -> Clavicle theory on IMDB. When I formulated the theory, I checked pretty carefully to see if Steinem had enough pop currency in '67-'68 to have been the target of Sherman's spoof and I think she did. She'd been a high-profile journalist, along the lines of contemporaries Tom Wolfe, Joan Didion, Gay Talese, George Plimpton, and the like, since the early 60s.
The possible allusion to Hollywood's "Sewing Circle" is an interesting take on the Ladie's Crime Club, but there's also another "Club" Sherman might have been riffing on in the episode title: In 1963 Steinem got a lot of attention for an article on her experiences "undercover" as a Playboy bunny.
"Well, being a wife, I'm sure she wonders about my temporary absence, both from the office and from home."
In the final scene of the second Catwoman/Chad & Jeremy episode, Gordon offers this head-scratcher:
"My grandchildren insisted I come see their Chad and Jeremy. A bit on the groovy side, aren't they?"
Since the King Tut episode later in the year has him saying Barbara is:
"An only child and my pride and joy."
According to that, Barbara had at least two children as a teenager, with their musical tastes apparently more advanced than normal!
Regarding the Gloria Steinem/Batman connection: In reading about her marriage in 2000 to David Bale (who died three years later), it's noted that he was the father of actor Christian Bale--who played Batman in the Dark Knight trilogy
Typical of the regressive handling of Batgirl by the showrunners, I've always felt this episode was just another way for the PTB at Greenway to place women in a stereotypical box, where they mewed and squealed in between being sassy, thinking of fashion and spitting at "those men". Did Dozier think he was in 1948 instead of 1968? It was their last stab at fighting the rising tide of basic self respect/independence of women in America. The Donna Reed Show forever. Yay!
Er….how did Batman, Robin and Batgirl know how to play the flute? At no time in the series did we see any of the characters showing musical aptitude (if you recall, in another episode, Dick was wailing on a drum kit, but making nothing except noise, and the less said about Batman singing "Buttercup" the better). Talent convivence.
Wow...West copped a feel on Yvonne Craig? In an episode where women were stereotyped into the Stone Age, the lead heroine is felt up by Bat-Grabber. Ohh, the more you learn about this show....
Regarding villains who did not walk away from the death trap: In "Not Yet, He Ain't", The Penguin waited to see Gordon and O'Hara shoot Batman & Robin. Colonel Gumm did not leave, either; after thinking he turned the Green Hornet & Kato into human postage stamps, he was going to do the same to the Dynamic Duo, so he had to hang around.
Barbara Rush--in addition to the credits mentioned--guest starred in "Cool Air," one of the best episodes of Rod Serling's Night Gallery, based on a short story from H.P. Lovecraft. The episode also featured actor Karl Lucas, who guest starred as Acacia in "Louie, the Lilac".
Finally, by now, I guess you guys have heard about Burt getting a star of the Hollywood Walk of fame. Its about time. There's more than enough reasons to debate who was the best live action Batman, but I doubt anyone in their right mind would ever think Douglas Croft, Johnny Duncan, or Chris O'Donnell ever delivered as definitive a version of Robin as Ward.
(Full disclosure--I appeared on the podcast to discuss the Siren episode, and i wrote some fanfic for Fred/twof's defunct Batgirl site. twof approached me about possibly appearing after hearing my guest shot, and I put the two sides in touch. They took it from there.)
Fred/twof noted how he is an attorney, but not a trial lawyer, for the most part. Maybe he should change his specialty. He made his 'case' quite well and even had me buying in a lot of times. He certainly convinced me that the episode would've made more sense if so much material had not been cut. Honestly, a two-parter would have been more cohesive.
A case in point for that particular argument is the fact that scripter Stanford Sherman intended for Batgirl to go 'undercover' and work with Nora to figure out her plan. Thus, it would've been more seamless for Nora to threaten BG at 'needlepoint' because she felt she had been betrayed. In the aired ep, it appears as if Nora targets BG as the 'weak link.' It's another example of editing, before and after the show was filmed, lessening BG's impact and self-determination.
I did NOT mind that the scene with Batman being beaten up by female wrestlers was dropped. Sherman, Hoffman and Ross had done enough damage to the character already. Batman did not need to be humiliated further. I will concede the human knot made less sense once the wrestling motif was dropped. Still, it was an interesting and different type of trap.
I must admit one argument of twof's was somewhat compelling, but made less sense once I gave it more thought. Yes, it is true in the abstract that ANY hastily assembled police force would suffer from a lack of training, no matter the gender. However, Sherman's script makes it clear that not only are the women untrained, they have zero desire to do the job properly. But Fred is right in saying that the men are 'gendered' just as much as the women in the script, although I also must say there is no escaping the fact that Nora's plan is totally based on the policewomen being completely incompetent.
Still, for me the bottom line is that Fred has a valid point--this could have worked much better as a two-parter. And, as Tim said, there are way too many shots of 'mice' going down 'storm drains.' Thanks, Oscar Rudolph and the post-production editing.
As for the cast, I know Fred is frustrated that he neglected to mention Nora's other 'stoogette,' as denoted by the script, Angelina, portrayed by Inga Neilsen. With that name and that look, many people, including myself, were shocked to discover Inga is from Chicago!! She looks like she grew down the street in Sweden from Sivi Aberg.
Neilsen already had donned a Greco-Roman style gown in the 1966 comedy A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum in which she played a gorgeous mute named, I kid you not, Gymnasia (did Stanley Ralph Ross punch up the script??) She also had an uncredited role in the 1966 Matt Helm film, The Silencers, wearing a similar but even skimpier golden gown while playing a 'living statue' at a nightclub.
As for Larry Gelman, I think he's best known for his recurring roles on The Odd Couple as Vinnie, one of the poker players and as Dr. Tupperman on The Bob Newhart Show.
As always, you guys had some funny comments. I especially liked how Tim mentioned Paul was still 'in utero' when the episode debuted in 1968 and Paul said what was formed of his eyes were watching the show.
I'm not saying that Fred's 'silver-tongued oratory' will convince everyone that 'Nora' isn't as bad as its reputation. But I think this is a far more interesting podcast review than any of the others that have covered this episode and Tim, Paul and Fred are to be commended for that.
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
To really scrape the bottom of the barrel, the GCPD's most competent act, catching Clavicle, perhaps tied with arresting Catwoman in the Catwoman Goeth.
Batgirl as undercover agent could've worked with other changes made to the story though.