A Revisit To The Bookworm

General goings on in the 1966 Batman World

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AndyFish
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A Revisit To The Bookworm

Post by AndyFish »

I'm watching a few episodes while I work mixed in with other classic 60s era stuff-- I create a giant playlist on my Mac and then watch on a nearby monitor which connects via Blu Tooth-- essentially setting up my own version of Netflix-- the Mac has an external Hardrive with about 2TB of TV shows and Movies on it (over 5000).

Anyway, so I'm up to the BOOKWORM episodes and he's a much better villain than I recalled. Roddy McDowall gives a darker Gorshin type of energy to the character and when he has his tantrum in the first episode because he's a failed writer it's actually pretty intense and a bit scary. Couple this with the episode opening with the assassination of Commissioner Gordon and you've got a pretty dark episode.

I think my trouble is I only remember the comical ending where he ends up in the trash can in a pretty slapstick moment, but overall this set of episodes deserves a second look and it's a shame he never was to return. I'd take Bookworm over Puzzler, Siren or Nora Clavicle any day.

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Jim Akin
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Re: A Revisit To The Bookworm

Post by Jim Akin »

I agree. Plus it's the only two-parter I can think of with two doom-traps. That giant cookbook was a cool prop.

I wish Bookworm had been a repeat villain.

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High C
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Re: A Revisit To The Bookworm

Post by High C »

AndyFish wrote:
Thu Jun 08, 2017 7:21 am
I'd take Bookworm over Puzzler, Siren or Nora Clavicle any day.
And I'll take Siren over Lord Ffogg and Lady Peasoup anyday. That was one of the worst mishmoshes of episodes I ever saw, featuring an aging American actor playing an English nobleman with a Cockney accent for some unknown reason, thanks partly to Oscar Rudolph's awful direction. Plus a ton of plot holes and poor rewriting by Charles Hoffman.

As for Bookworm, I agree that McDowall was terrific, although the fake assassination of Gordon kind of went nowhere.
'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

elmrgraham
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Re: A Revisit To The Bookworm

Post by elmrgraham »

Definitely The Siren and The Bookworm over Lord Ffogg and Lady Peasoup anyday.

robinboyblunderer
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Re: A Revisit To The Bookworm

Post by robinboyblunderer »

Like a lot of the first season, the Bookworm episode is an example of what the show could've been. While there's still moments of surreal comedy these shows, like you said, have a "darker...energy." Bookworm about to strike Lydia is disturbingly close to real world violence. When I think about it now, did any villain ever physically threaten a moll?

The audience is shown just enough of Bookworm's lair to establish a menacing, ornate atmosphere, who knows how deep those stacks of books go, in just a few quick scenes.

The lighting is darker in many of the scenes, adding to the moodiness and contrasting nicely with the brigher colors of the Dynamic Duo.

Lydia Limpet is one of the best molls of the entire series, unlike many others she even gets a last name...! It's one thing for a moll to overpower or trick and trap Robin, but another to do it while tied up...!

Instead of something like an Acid Proof Bat costume, Batman has to use his ingenuity to save Robin from a distance.

The closing misquote from Bookworm with Bruce correcting him is a good way to end this two parter.

From his creaking leather costume to his crazy, cool and manic personality, Bookworm is one of the series' best original villains.

I still love the Londinium Trilogy though. Here's to both Ffoggs and Lady Prudence & gang! Chin chin!

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Ben Bentley
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Re: A Revisit To The Bookworm

Post by Ben Bentley »

Always been a personal favorite of mine! I also enjoy the amount of time the episode spends on the WB back lot.

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dell
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Re: A Revisit To The Bookworm

Post by dell »

I didn't like the Bookworm as a kid, but I really enjoy them now. Roddy McDowall huffing and making odd noises when things don't go as planned is a nice touch.
dell

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John Mack
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Re: A Revisit To The Bookworm

Post by John Mack »

dell wrote:
Fri Jun 09, 2017 9:05 am
I didn't like the Bookworm as a kid, but I really enjoy them now. Roddy McDowall huffing and making odd noises when things don't go as planned is a nice touch.
Absolutely Dell! One of my family's guilty pleasures are watching for villain's angry reactions in films. Roddy is great! Throwing papers around and then just as suddenly quiet. A true manic villain. Btw, one our fav moments in film comes in the first Iron Man where the villain says, "Tony Stark built one in a cave!!!...etc" referring to their inability to make a repulser beam.
Music. BAT! Music.

BatmanFan102
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Re: A Revisit To The Bookworm

Post by BatmanFan102 »

Bookworm would have been THE perfect villain for season 3, what with having Barbara Gordon working at the library especially.

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Golddragon71
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Re: A Revisit To The Bookworm

Post by Golddragon71 »

Bookworm has really become my total favorite of all the '66 Villains.
and it's funny, because I really forgot the character existed from when i watched the show as a kid in the 70s.
In fact, when the 89 Batman movie came out, I was puzzled as to why Roddy McDowell of all people would be chosen to read the audiobook to the novelization (I think at the time, I thought Adam West should've been chosen instead)
Once I started watching the show again on FX and stumbled across the Bookworm Episodes It clicked for me about how appropriate the choice was.
"Someone might be able to substitute for Batman, for a very short time, but no one could ever replace him!"

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Golddragon71
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Re: A Revisit To The Bookworm

Post by Golddragon71 »

Was watching this again after my previous post and suddenly had a few flashes in watching it
the glasses Bit
while watching the first fight between the dynamic duo and bookworm's gang, the never hit a man with glasses bit came up and I recalled the '89 Batman movie which seemed to poke fun at it. In the climatic fight between batman and Joker, Joker pulls out a pair of glasses and puts them on saying "You wouldn't hit a guy with glasses would ya?" Batman replies by punching joker in the face.
Batman's mind palace?
In the years leading up to the series being released on DVD I've watched many other shows. Of course one of my favorites is SHERLOCK with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. In a couple of the episodes Sherlock meditates and enters what he calls his mind palace. (the visual sequence in the Hounds of Baskerville is particularly effective during this exercise) In the second episode, when Batman rolls back his memory his "trance" reminds me very much of Sherlock's Mind Palace
"Someone might be able to substitute for Batman, for a very short time, but no one could ever replace him!"

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BATWINGED HORNET
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Re: A Revisit To The Bookworm

Post by BATWINGED HORNET »

robinboyblunderer wrote:
Thu Jun 08, 2017 7:35 pm
Like a lot of the first season, the Bookworm episode is an example of what the show could've been. While there's still moments of surreal comedy these shows, like you said, have a "darker...energy." Bookworm about to strike Lydia is disturbingly close to real world violence. When I think about it now, did any villain ever physically threaten a moll?
I do not think a villain struck a moll, but the Joker poisons Suzie (intending to kill her) in season one's "He Meets His Match, the Grisly Ghoul".

The lighting is darker in many of the scenes, adding to the moodiness and contrasting nicely with the brigher colors of the Dynamic Duo.
Many 1st season episodes do that, or have nighttime scenes in Gordon's office. Wonderful stuff.

From his creaking leather costume to his crazy, cool and manic personality, Bookworm is one of the series' best original villains.
One of the most memorable and challenging for the Dynamic Duo. His "gimmick" of obsession with books and cries based on them was unique, and proved one did not need to be one of the "big four" to carry a storyline successfully. His staged assassination was shocking--both for the characters, and viewers (particularly in America) still dealing with real world parallels.
Beneath Wayne Manor

Danj_83
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Re: A Revisit To The Bookworm

Post by Danj_83 »

Bookworm is the one villain I wish would've done another episode.
"You are graded C-" ---- Bookworm

riddler123
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Re: A Revisit To The Bookworm

Post by riddler123 »

Bookworm, falseface and black widow all deserved a rematch

LittleLouisGroovy
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Re: A Revisit To The Bookworm

Post by LittleLouisGroovy »

To this day, I find it surprising that Bookworm was a one-shot villain. I wonder if it had more to do with Roddy McDowall's availability than with the character. Seems to me that the writers could have done a lot with a criminal who commits literary-themed crimes. (Imagine Bookworm launching a criminal campaign against the "pop" literature of the day and targeting a Jacqueline Susann type...)

As mentioned by others, the Bookworm episodes were especially dark, and a standout moment for me was Batman's rescue of Robin from the bell tower. I felt that Batman seemed genuinely frightened that he might fail to save Robin. Of course, we all know that Robin won't die, but Batman doesn't, and that gave the scene a great deal of suspense.

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