Batman S:01 E:11

Episode Title: A Riddle A Day Keeps the Riddler Away
Original Airdate: February 16, 1966

Despite the amazing efforts of the Caped Crusaders to capture the notorious criminals of Gotham City, the bad guys never actually stay captured all that long. Just a few episodes ago, our heroes managed to put away the Riddler, but guess what…he’s back! Let’s see what happens when the Prince of Puzzlers squares off against our heroes again in this week’s episode, A Riddle A Day Keeps the Riddler Away.

This episode begins with the arrival of King Borris (Reginald Denny) at Gotham City International Airport. As he is greeted, a young woman presents him with a bouquet of flowers. A few moments later, the flowers explode and out shoots a banner which floats to the ground on a parachute. It reads, “When is a Person Like a Piece of Wood?” Of course, this is the work of the Riddler (Frank Gorshin). Commissioner Gordon has no choice but to call in the Dynamic Duo.

Now, as we’ve learned from previous episodes, Robin is the one who really has a knack for riddles. He deduces that a person is like a piece of wood when he’s a “ruler.” That’s ruler as in a queen…and there just so happens to be a pageant to crown the Queen of Beauty. A diamond tiara is to go to the winner. This must be what the Riddler is after. Batman decides to let the Riddler get away with the crime. Of course, Batman replaces the tiara with a paste replica. But Riddler is hip to this jive. As he escapes, he tosses the tiara back to Batman, along with a new set of riddles.

This time the riddles lead Batman and Robin to the Royal Mushroom Club, where King Borris is attending a reception. The Riddler must be planning to kidnap him. Our heroes head to the club to escort the king back to his hotel, but the Riddler manages to steal the monarch away right in front of Batman’s face via a trap door. Also, two more riddles arrive. This time, the riddles point to an abandoned water treatment facility. It is here that the heroes find Riddler and his men, the River Rats Gang. They use a spider web like net to capture Batman and Robin and then tie them to giant drive shafts. The centrifugal force will tear the bones from their body. Before switching on the fans, Riddler delivers one more riddle, “Why is a woman in love like a welder?” He then throws the switch and scurries out. Cue the cliffhanger narration…

Cliffhanger Narration:
Batman and Robin to die??!!
Things certainly are turning the wrong way for them!!
Is this really the end??
If you care for Batman and Robin,
keep hoping ‘til tomorrow night!!
Same time!!
Same Bat-channel!

I always get a kick out of the Riddler episodes. I love how Robin always comes up with the rather outlandish answers to the riddles very quickly, as if they are perfectly logical. This episode has a bunch of those moments. We definitely see more of the detective side of Batman in this episode. The two heroes spend most of the episode zig zagging around Gotham trying to thwart the Riddler, only ending up with another riddle to solve. There’s no fighting in this one…but I’m sure that’ll come in part two.

Of course, one of the things that makes the Riddler episodes so great is the Riddler himself, Frank Gorshin. In this episode we get a bit more sinister version of the character than we saw in his first appearance. There’s just something about his cackle and his devilish grin that makes the character seem much more dangerous this time around. Of course, Gorshin still brings a healthy dose of comedy to the role. One of my favorite moments is when he springs out of the floor in order to steal the tiara from the newly-crowned Queen of Beauty. He doesn’t just steal the tiara, but also steals a lengthy kiss…full on the lips.

It’s a little awkward that the Riddler’s gang in this episode are the “River Rats Gang.” What exactly the Riddler has to do with rodents is a mystery, but the gang provides a few good moments. They are often nibbling on cheese and behaving in a rat-like manner. At one point, one of the gang members asks King Borris is he’d like a piece of cheese, to which the king responds, “Not without a good vintage port, you lackey.” The gang also provides our latest lovely lady of Gotham, Susan Silo as Mousey. Silo has gone on to be a sought after voice artist for many animated TV series’.

This episode is a great start for the series’ second Riddler story. But how on earth are Batman and Robin going to get out of this mess? Find out with the next episode, When the Rat’s Away the Mice will Play. Next week…same bat-time, same bat-channel (superhero).

Bat Gadgets Used:
Homing Receiver Scope
Gotham City Plans and Views Computer
Telephone Book (This is from a moment where Robin needs to look up an address. He goes to a computer, but Batman tells him there are still some things we can do the old fashioned way)

Holy Sewer Pipe


2 thoughts on “Batman S:01 E:11

  1. Ah, but wait – Batman didn’t capture the Riddler in his first story (episodes 1 and 2). He was presumed killed in the explosion, but no body was found. You’d think somebody would have told Batman not to conclude that anybody’s dead unless you can point to their corpse.

    But your broader point is true. Before long, the villains are either out on parole before their trial or the Gotham jail has a back door they all know about.


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