Episode Title: The Thirteenth Hat
Original Airdate: February 23, 1966
Today, we know many of Batman’s villains not just by their nicknames, but by their actual names. Edward Nygma is the Riddler, Selina Kyle is Catwoman, Oswald Cobblepot is the Penguin. However, these names were rarely used on the 60’s Batman television series. Our villain in today’s story, though, is an exception. Actor David Wayne makes his debut as Jervis Tetch…aka, The Mad Hatter in The Thirteenth Hat.
As this episode begins, Gotham is experiencing a strange rash of crimes. It seems that someone is going around stealing people’s hats and then kidnapping the owners. Who else could it be but the Mad Hatter? Commissioner Gordon immediately calls Batman and Robin into action. It just so happens that Batman himself was the key witness at the trial that put Tetch behind bars. That trial is the key to the Mad Hatter’s plan. All the hats, and owners, that he has grabbed were a part of the jury that put him away. He plans to hold them all for a hefty ransom…a collection of presidential hats worth millions. To top it all off, Tetch wants a thirteenth hat…Batman’s cowl.
After catching the 11th juror, Tetch only has one more to grab…the famous sculptor Octave Marbot. Marbot just happens to be working on a sculpture of Batman which is due to be displayed at the prison to strike fear into the hearts of the inmates. When Tetch arrives at Marbot’s studio, he takes the place of the artist waiting for the Caped Crusaders to arrive. He asks Batman if he could remove his cowl so as to get a closer look at it for the sculpture. Of course, Batman is on to the Mad Hatter and a fight with his henchmen breaks out. However, the villain gets the drop on Batman, showering him with plaster which quickly starts to harden around the hero. Cue the cliffhanger narration…
How does Batman get out of this plaster trap??
Has the Mad Hatter outwitted the Dynamic Duo for is own evil ends??
The web of terror is just starting to tighten!
Like the wet plaster is just starting to harden!!
The Mad Hatter is kind of a strange villain. He’s not quite as much of a madman as the likes of the Joker, or the Riddler, or the Penguin. But he has this weird obsession with hats. I love the way he sneaks up behind his victims and first grabs their hat…because even if the kidnapping fails, at least he gets the hat. Then these weird little hypnotic eyes pop out of the top of the hat and shoot yellow laser beams into the victim’s eyes. It’s extremely goofy and, quite frankly, a fun little gimmick. David Wayne may not be one of the most famous actors to play a villain on this series, but he certainly gives this role everything he’s got. His Mad Hatter is a cultured fellow, but he’s driven by revenge. He’s another great example of how this series often finds a good balance between the comedic and sinister sides of the villains.
Of course, The Mad Hatter, has a group of henchmen, which includes another lovely lady of Gotham, Diane McBain as Lisa. She has a fun scene where she gushes and giggles as Tetch shows her the nasty equipment in his hat factory for stretching and cutting fabric. I assume this dastardly device will play a role in the next episode. There is another lovely lady who steals a scene, however. Sandra Wells plays a slightly loopy hat-check girl named Babette who witnessed one of the Mad Hatter’s heists. You can tell that Batman and Robin just are’t quite sure what to make of this short-skirted redhead.
A real highlight of the episode is the final fight. It’s a pretty standard fight, at first. But when the Mad Hatter attempts to hypnotize Batman with those eyes in his hat, Batman whips out his Anti-mesmerizing Bat Reflector (basically a bat-shaped mirror). It’s a great idea, except that the beams bounce off and end up zapping Robin. Then when Batman goes to aid his chum, the Mad Hatter is able to douse him with the plaster. It makes for a fun lead in to the cliffhanger. Who knows how Batman’s gonna get out of this one? You’ll just have to tune in next time for our next episode, Batman Stands Pat. Same bat-time, same bat-channel (superhero).
Bat Gadgets Used:
Giant Lighted Lucite Map of Gotham City
Anti-theft Activator (Batmobile)
Anti-mesmerizing Bat Reflector.