TO THE BATPOLES #125 Minerva: Holy self-parody!

General goings on in the 1966 Batman World

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bat-rss
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TO THE BATPOLES #125 Minerva: Holy self-parody!

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TO THE BATPOLES: After nearly 5 years and many detours, we’ve reached the last episode of the ’66 series: “Minerva, Mayhem and Millionaires,” an episode where the show makes fun of itself while giving us a …. rather sub-par Batman story.

Also, Richard Bakalyan inspires deja vu, looking back at when Batman was one of the world's greatest detectives, and your mail on our "Parade of Bat-Parodies" episode!

http://tothebatpoles.libsyn.com/125-min ... elf-parody

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Re: TO THE BATPOLES #125 Minerva: Holy self-parody!

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The first article below (from early September 1966) mentions a likely reason for Zsa Zsa bowing out of playing Marsha, with the second noting her original casting presumably stemmed from that appearance in the Hanna Barbera-produced version of Alice in Wonderland earlier that year.

The third item (from August 1966) notes how she was suing McDonald's for using her voice in a commercial, though I have no idea what ended up happening. In true Zsa Zsa fashion, she was sued for the same thing two years later by none other than Leo Durocher because she mentioned his name in an Aamco commercial. She was dropped from that lawsuit a few months later.
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Re: TO THE BATPOLES #125 Minerva: Holy self-parody!

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The first article (from 1/24/66) notes how Hedda Hopper was supposedly approached to appear in Batman, but that she suggested Zsa Zsa instead. Given the timing of the article and the description of a millinery (i.e. women's hats) shop, this was likely the role of Magda in the first Mad Hatter episode.

I specifically mentioned the date of the article because six days after it appeared, Hopper went in the hospital suffering from pneumonia. She died two days later--the same day Buster Keaton died. I would imagine had she still been around the following year, it would have been Hopper in the window cameo, rather than Suzy Knickerbocker.
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Re: TO THE BATPOLES #125 Minerva: Holy self-parody!

Post by gothosmansion »

Thanks again for the show, guys. Maybe Dozier was so gung-ho to cast Zsa Zsa because he forgot to play "Know Your Gabor" and confused Zsa Zsa with her look-a-like but much more talented sister, Eva. If you're confused on your Gabor, Eva was the regular on Green Acres, one of my favorite series, and did voice work for Disney in The Aristocats and The Rescuers. Zsa Zsa seemed to be better known, though. Could that be because she guest starred on Gilligan's Island and Mr. Ed, plus her legendary performance in Queen of Outer Space. Eva's character on Green Acres once said one of her few talents was her "Zsa Zsa Gabor impressions." I really think Minerva would have been more entertaining if Eva played the part.

Of course, Dozier may have just had a crush on Zsa Zsa (Adore your Gabor?)

Ok, I have a theory on Commissioner Gordon's wife....she died sometime during season 2. That explains why Gordon took almost no interest in any of the attractive females on the show in the first two seasons, other than maybe Catwoman in the Chad & Jeremy episode and Marsha when he was drugged. Since he is single widow in season 3, he is smitten by Minerva. The grandchildren mentioned in the Chad & Jeremy episode belong to his son Tony, who appeared in the Bronze Age in the comics. I think he got a mention in the 50s or 60s. Since Tony is busy with his family, he can't take care of the Commissioner, leaving that to Barbara. Come on, you've seen Gordon and O'Hara. Somebody has to take care of them!

If you guys had watched a little more Green Acres and a little less Gilligan's Island, you would have known the Gabors were Hungarian. While I was in school, I got a question about Hungary correct because of Lisa (Eva) mentioning Budapest on Green Acres. Who says 60s sitcoms weren't educational?

Oh, I didn't mean my earlier comment as a put-down of Mr. Ed. I like it too, just not as much as Batman or Green Acres.

I almost forgot, I loved the "If we were to remove our clothes, we might reveal our....secret true identities" line. Isn't that a Charles Hoffman script? One great line floating in a sea of dreck?

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Re: TO THE BATPOLES #125 Minerva: Holy self-parody!

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Gordon mentions his wife and so does O'hara' when talking to Alfred in his office midway through the second part of the Marsha episode. So she was still "living" at that point.

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Re: TO THE BATPOLES #125 Minerva: Holy self-parody!

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First of all, many thanks to Dr. Shimel for his typically excellent research clearing up a myth and also shining a light on why Zsa Zsa had to bail on playing Marsha. It never made sense that Zsa Zsa seriously was considered for Zelda. To be frank, that role simply was not in her wheelhouse.

Honestly, and this may be an unpopular opinion, I would have preferred Zsa Zsa as MQOD as opposed to Carolyn Jones, even though Jones was a much more talented actress. But that's the thing--Jones was portraying being blase. Zsa Zsa WAS blase. It makes a difference.

Also, Jones actually was the third choice for MQOD. I do not have it on me, but I have seen Dozier correspondence offering the part to Arlene Dahl.

It's not hard to guess why. In 1953, Dahl played the titular character in the movie The Diamond Queen. Hoo, boy.
'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 #125 Minerva: Holy self-parody!

Post by Dr. Shimel »

High C wrote:
Mon Dec 16, 2019 9:11 am
Also, Jones actually was the third choice for MQOD. I do not have it on me, but I have seen Dozier correspondence offering the part to Arlene Dahl.

It's not hard to guess why. In 1953, Dahl played the titular character in the movie The Diamond Queen. Hoo, boy.
During at least the first two seasons, Dahl had a five-minute show "Arlene Dahl's Beauty Spot," which came at the end of two ABC soap operas: the obscure Never Too Young and seemingly every kid's favorite, Dark Shadows. The second season of Batman (which had the Marsha appearances) was laden with ABC cross-promotions.

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Re: TO THE BATPOLES #125 Minerva: Holy self-parody!

Post by BATWINGED HORNET »

At long last!

After years of hearing how West and Ward did not rake in what they should have been paid for the series and their images used on merchandising, its sort of a rubbing salt in the wounds moment for Dozier to be described as a millionaire in the episode. Sure, that line was about Dozier the "character", but the reality of it all was that he was not suffering from working on the show, while his stars were nowhere near the best paid actors of a successful series (well, for a short time, anyway) produced in the 1960s, such as a Donna Reed, or Lorne Greene, et al.


Paul observed something about the fights:
"The punches that they throw are taking advantage of the two-dimensionality of the medium of film--we're always behind the person being punched. The camera is always back there so that Batman can swing his fist, and be a foot away from the bad guy, as long as the bad guy throws himself back far enough to suggest the intensity of the punch. We never see the punch."
I'm not sure if he meant that was the standard for fights throughout the series, but I do recall a good number of episodes where wide shots featured great side views of fist-to-face hits, such as "Scat, Darn Catwoman" (bank vault), "The Purr-fect Crime" (museum), "Batman's Satisfaction" (GH & Kato), the movie (Wayne's well-choreographed escape from the villains' lair and the submarine), and I believe "Its How You Play the Game" (old west town).

Legendary character actor William Smith (Adonis) would work with another Bat-villain in the years to come, when he guest starred on the Planet of the Apes TV series (1974), in the episode "The Gladiators" where he was face to face with none other than the one-time Bookworm, Roddy McDowall.

Oh, and that episode guest-starred a non-Bat-associated Marc Singer, just shy of a decade before he gained a bit a fame in 1982's The Beastmaster, and V--the 1983 "must-see" miniseries, which spawned a sequel miniseries and short-lived TV show.

Finally, looking at the drop of the series from sleek, Batmobile-like action-adventure series to smoking, 50-car pile-up by season three is all the evidence one would need to know it did not deserve that mythical, debunked idea of a fourth season.

Few 60s series suffering from a similar, rapid downslide ever recovered to reclaim early glory; one can see a similar, drastic decline with Lost in Space, The Untouchables, Bewitched and Combat, to name a few. Once a lack of creative interest and/or investment abandoned ship, there was no way to turn things around, largely because the various producers were content to just crank out episodes as long as they could and/or milk a gimmick until it was dry.
Beneath Wayne Manor

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Re: TO THE BATPOLES #125 Minerva: Holy self-parody!

Post by Dr. Shimel »

BATWINGED HORNET wrote:
Mon Dec 16, 2019 1:41 pm
Few 60s series suffering from a similar, rapid downslide ever recovered to reclaim early glory; one can see a similar, drastic decline with Lost in Space, The Untouchables, Bewitched and Combat, to name a few. Once a lack of creative interest and/or investment abandoned ship, there was no way to turn things around, largely because the various producers were content to just crank out episodes as long as they could and/or milk a gimmick until it was dry.
The Untouchables took plenty of heat over their four years for the violence in the show, the fictionalizing of stories and from Italian-American groups for the obvious reliance on "businessmen" with Italian surnames.

Bewitched actually had another year to go on their deal, but a combination of factors resulted in a mutual ending of the series. The ratings had declined enough that the show was banished to Saturday nights against the second year of All in the Family, a lot of the episodes were simply re-worked past plots and the marriage of Elizabeth Montgomery and William Asher was reportedly falling apart.

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Re: TO THE BATPOLES #125 Minerva: Holy self-parody!

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As for the podcast itself, thanks for the shoutouts. Tim, I had forgotten sending you Dozier's letter to Zsa Zsa. Wow. Strangely enough, he had less than complimentary things to say about her in his 'glossary' that archivist/researcher Oscar Lilley found in Laramie and that you shared in the notes from that episode. To wit:

'ZSA ZSA GABOR -- A beached barricuda (sic), by now almost a caricature of herself.' MEOW!!!

As BWH said, Dozier and Horwitz taking bows was a bit unseemly considering the downward spiral of the show.

Another excellent point Paul made was how Gordon seemed so smitten with Minerva. As Tim said, it seemed like MQOD deja vu. Why Hoffman baked that into the script I will never know unless it was an in-joke callback as to why they got involved with Zsa Zsa as a villainess in the first place.

As a regular client of Minerva's Bruce would know the victims, so I was OK with that plot point. Oh, and Hoffman deserves credit for the 'spelunking' bit at the beginning. Spelunking is the exploration of--wait for it--CAVES. I also believe shirtless Bruce was a favor to Adam to show that Bats didn't have a beer belly.

Paul made a good point on how Adam's line readings did not emphasize the repetition of 'picture.' 'Brain mumbles' is a good way to describe the silly way the info is conveyed to Minerva.

How many Wayne Foundation safes are there??? At least this one is not behind a painting of a safe. Speaking of Wail of the Siren, Minerva's phone is the same as the one from Siren's grotto.

You guys were spot-on--yet another hackneyed 'she's gone' ending was a sad way to bid goodbye to the series. But it was strangely fitting, I suppose.
'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 #125 Minerva: Holy self-parody!

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Some more points:

Oddly enough, despite an age difference of 16 years, Zsa Zsa was a friend, or at least an acquaintance of Joan Collins and set her up with the son of a Latin American dictator circa 1958.

You guys made an interesting observation about Horwitz saying part of his philosophy was to never hire Method actors. It made me think of how noted TV researcher Martin Grams once wrote that Rod Steiger had expressed interest in playing a villain. Maybe that bias is why it never came to fruition. He certainly believed in the Method. (Susan Strasberg also would've been a much better Venus, now that I think of it.)

I'm not a fan of Steiger, nor a detractor--I could take or leave him. But I know this--if I had been sitting in Dozier's chair, and someone as bankable in films as Steiger was in 1966-68 wanted to do my show, I'm moving heaven and earth to make it happen. In fact, maybe Steiger could have made the movie a hit.
'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 #125 Minerva: Holy self-parody!

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High C wrote:
Fri Dec 27, 2019 8:10 am
Some more points:

Oddly enough, despite an age difference of 16 years, Zsa Zsa was a friend, or at least an acquaintance of Joan Collins and set her up with the son of a Latin American dictator circa 1958.

You guys made an interesting observation about Horwitz saying part of his philosophy was to never hire Method actors. It made me think of how noted TV researcher Martin Grams once wrote that Rod Steiger had expressed interest in playing a villain. Maybe that bias is why it never came to fruition. He certainly believed in the Method. (Susan Strasberg also would've been a much better Venus, now that I think of it.)

I'm not a fan of Steiger, nor a detractor--I could take or leave him. But I know this--if I had been sitting in Dozier's chair, and someone as bankable in films as Steiger was in 1966-68 wanted to do my show, I'm moving heaven and earth to make it happen. In fact, maybe Steiger could have made the movie a hit.
Steiger was filming "in the Heat of the Night" in the Fall of 1966, after having been in Italy during the summer filming "The Girl and the General," so it's doubtful he would have had time to fit in an appearance.

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Re: TO THE BATPOLES #125 Minerva: Holy self-parody!

Post by High C »

Dr. Shimel wrote:
Fri Dec 27, 2019 6:51 pm
High C wrote:
Fri Dec 27, 2019 8:10 am
Some more points:

Oddly enough, despite an age difference of 16 years, Zsa Zsa was a friend, or at least an acquaintance of Joan Collins and set her up with the son of a Latin American dictator circa 1958.

You guys made an interesting observation about Horwitz saying part of his philosophy was to never hire Method actors. It made me think of how noted TV researcher Martin Grams once wrote that Rod Steiger had expressed interest in playing a villain. Maybe that bias is why it never came to fruition. He certainly believed in the Method. (Susan Strasberg also would've been a much better Venus, now that I think of it.)

I'm not a fan of Steiger, nor a detractor--I could take or leave him. But I know this--if I had been sitting in Dozier's chair, and someone as bankable in films as Steiger was in 1966-68 wanted to do my show, I'm moving heaven and earth to make it happen. In fact, maybe Steiger could have made the movie a hit.
Steiger was filming "in the Heat of the Night" in the Fall of 1966, after having been in Italy during the summer filming "The Girl and the General," so it's doubtful he would have had time to fit in an appearance.
Be that as it may, per Grams, he expressed a desire to appear.

http://martingrams.blogspot.com/2011/05 ... eries.html

And that is my point precisely. You fit it around HIS schedule, not Oscar Rudolph's.

I'll concede I was getting too greedy thinking '66 movie. He did not have time for that. But a 6-day TV shoot? Make it work, Dough-zier.
'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 #125 Minerva: Holy self-parody!

Post by Dr. Shimel »

High C wrote:
Fri Dec 27, 2019 7:51 pm
I'll concede I was getting too greedy thinking '66 movie. He did not have time for that. But a 6-day TV shoot? Make it work, Dough-zier.
"Special Guest Villain...Rod Steiger as Clock King"

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High C
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Re: TO THE BATPOLES #125 Minerva: Holy self-parody!

Post by High C »

Dr. Shimel wrote:
Fri Dec 27, 2019 8:43 pm
High C wrote:
Fri Dec 27, 2019 7:51 pm
I'll concede I was getting too greedy thinking '66 movie. He did not have time for that. But a 6-day TV shoot? Make it work, Dough-zier.
"Special Guest Villain...Rod Steiger as Clock King"
HAHA. just as long as he wasn't 'The Illustrated Man'

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Illus ... Man_(film)
'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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