Episode Title: Better Luck Next Time
Original Airdate: March 17, 1966
When we last left Gotham City, the Caped Crusaders had tracked Catwoman to her secret hideout. But then Robin went and got himself sucked up a vacuum tube, and Batman was left with a choice of two doors. Catwoman is supposedly behind one, and behind the other is a hungry tiger. Of course, Batman ended up facing down the tiger. What happens next? Let’s find out in today’s episode, Better Luck Next Time.
After the recap from the narrator, we begin with Batman taking swipes at the tiger…and the tiger taking swipes at him. It’s kind of a nerve wracking shot, but it’s clearly not Adam West dancing with the deadly creature. To get away, Batman pulls some bat claws out of his utility belt and scales the walls. Then, he also grabs some bat ear plugs and proceeds to reverse the polarity on his bat communicator. This puts out a high-pitched squeal that subdues the savage beast. Meanwhile, Catwoman has Robin hanging on a platform above two other tigers. When the sand runs out, Robin will be dumped into the pit. Catwoman then sneaks off, leaving her henchmen. When Batman shows up, a fight sequence breaks out (unusual for this early in the episode). One of the villains ends up captured, and the Dynamic Duo get back the two gold cat statues stolen in the previous episode.
Back at the Batcave, our heroes examine the two statues. They notice markings on the statues that when lined up form a map. They realize that the map leads to the location of a hidden treasure placed there by a legendary pirate who once frequented early Gotham. It turns out that Catwoman is after the treasure. Luckily, our heroes are able to use the radioactive spray they placed on one of the cats in the last episode. The spray would have rubbed off slightly on Catwoman’s hands. They use the Batometer to locate her location in the caves of Gotham. She’s already got the pirate’s treasure in her sack and attempts to escape by leaping across a ravine. She doesn’t quite make it to the other side, though. She dangles on the edge by her claws, refusing to let go of the treasure so she can grab the batrope Batman offers to throw. She then loses her grip and falls into a bottomless pit. But is she dead? After all, cats have nine lives.
This episode is quite interesting as it diverges from the traditional Batman episode format quite a bit. We begin, as expected, with Batman getting out of the cliffhanger of the previous episode. This, however, leads right into another cliffhanger type situation, with Robin hanging over a pit of tigers. This leads to the fight with the henchmen, which is usually saved for the climax of the episode. So, the more spectacular action occurs in the front half of the episode. The second half really focuses more on Batman using his detective skills to track down Catwoman.
Still, the ending of this episode is pretty cool. Catwoman covers the road with land mines which means the Batmobile gets to speed through a bunch of explosions. This causes the tires to blow out which allows us to see one of the most wonderfully wacky bat gadgets yet…the Automatic Tire Repair Device. The setting of the caves is great, too, and with the pirate treasure angle it has a slight Goonies vibe to it. The cave is created with a combination of foam set pieces and scenery paintings which is pretty impressive…even if one shot shows a stalagtite that ends up wobbling a bit when a character brushes against it. Plus, I love the whole mystery as to Catwoman’s ultimate fate. Cats always land on their feet, but does that apply to bottomless pits? I have a feeling we’ll see her again…but she’ll look like Lee Meriwether (who played Catwoman in the movie spawned from this series that came between seasons 1 & 2).
Of course, there’s no time for Batman and Robin to search the bottomless pit to see what happened to the feline felon since another villain is on the horizon. Next time it’s the return of Burgess Meredith as the Penguin in The Penguin Goes Straight. Same bat-time, same bat-channel (superhero).
Bat Gadgets Used:
Bat Ear Plugs
Bat Research Shelf
Automatic Tire Repair Device