Batman S:01 E:19

Episode Title: The Purr-fect Crime
Original Airdate: March 16, 1966

I’m sure some comic book junkies might disagree with me on this, but when I was a kid I always considered there to be four villains who were above all others in Batman’s rogues gallery. Three of them we have seen appear on the 1966 series already: Joker, Penguin and Riddler. Now, after 18 episodes it is time for the debut appearance of the fourth. Here comes the one and only Julie Newmar as Catwoman in The Purr-fect Crime.

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Our story begins with a valuable golden cat statue being swiped from a Gotham City museum. A short time later, a box arrives at Commissioner Gordon’s office containing a kitten. Around its neck is a newspaper clipping featuring a photo of multi-millionaire Mark Andrews, owner of the stolen statue, holding two identical cat statues. One has been crossed out. Gordon deduces that Catwoman intends to steal the other one as well and calls in the Dynamic Duo.

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Batman speaks with Andrews and learns that the other golden cat is on display at the Gotham City exposition. So our heroes head off to thwart the crime…or do they? The whole thing seems to simple. Why would Catwoman give so much away? Perhaps to cover up a larger plot. Batman then hatches a plot to find Catwoman’s lair. Using radiation collected from the exhaust system of the Batmobile, Batman creates a special spray. They coat the remaining cat in this radioactive mist, which will allow them to track its movements (within a range of 50 miles). While they are at the exposition, Catwoman and her henchmen strike and a fight breaks out. Though Batman knocks them around quite a bit, they manage to escape with the cat…which is exactly what Batman wants.

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Tracing the radioactive signal, Batman and Robin manage to find Catwoman’s lair. They use a special Bat-beam laser to break in, but then find themselves caught in a bizarre trap. First, walls covered in spikes begin to close in on our heroes. But it turns out that spikes are just rubber. Then Robin gets sucked up a vacuum tube and Batman is faced with a choice. Two doors…behind one is Catwoman, behind the other is a ferocious Batman-eating tiger. He chooses the door on the right and we see the tiger. Cue the cliffhanger narration…

Cliffhanger Narration:
Will Batman ever see Robin alive again?
Will Robin ever see Batman alive again?
Will our daring duo escape the claws of the wily Catwoman?
The answer to these and many other terrifying questions tomorrow night,
Same cat time, same cat channel!

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This episode has several great moments that reinforce the image of Adam West’s version of Batman being an overgrown boy scout. For example, as the Caped Crusaders get ready to drive away from Gordon’s office, an alarm goes off in the Batmobile. Batman reminds Robin that he hasn’t fastened his safety bat-belt. To which the Boy Wonder replies, “We’re only going a couple of blocks.” Batman then reminds Robin of the importance of motorist safety, especially since Robin will be old enough to drive the Batmobile soon. Later, when the heroes show up at the Gotham City Exposition, the man at the ticket booth tells them to head right in. However, Batman insists on paying just like “any ordinary citizen.” I’ve always loved these little touches that get put into this series. Batman never sees himself as above the rules. Sure there might be a supervillain causing trouble inside, but dang it Batman’s still going to buy the ticket before bursting in. What a model citizen!

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Speaking of supervillains, though, this episode has one of the best! Julie Newmar is absolutely fantastic as Catwoman. She’s so slinky, seductive, and laid back in her approach, which is a stark contrast to the cackling madmen that our heroes often have to face. She’s crafty and calculating. Though she uses some Joker or Riddler style tricks, like the rubber spikes and a fake bomb, she doesn’t go over-the-top amusing herself…giggling like an idiot as those other villains do. She’s simply toying with our heroes, like a cat playing with a mouse before she devours it. It’s a wonderful approach to this character. She does have one of the strangest lines of dialogue uttered on the show yet, however. She says to one of her henchmen, “Felix, you can brush my pussy willows before you leave…and don’t go against the fur.” O-kay!?!!?!?!  She is talking about actual pussy willows, by the way…but still.

Batman is on the verge of finding out all about being devoured, though, what with that tiger heading toward him. We’ll have to wait until next time, however, to find out what happens in our next episode, Better Luck Next Time. Same bat-time, same bat-channel (superhero).

Bat Gadgets Used:
Safety Bat Belt
Bat Communicator
Universal Drug Antidote Pills
Batometer
Bat Beam

Holys:
Holy Reshevsky
Holy Trickery
Holy Cats
Holy Ice Picks

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