Episode Title: The Pharaoh’s in a Rut
Original Airdate: April 14, 1966
When we last left Gotham City, Bruce Wayne had been kidnapped by the evil King Tut and is now strapped to gurney in the back of an ambulance. However the clever millionaire manages to wiggle enough that he knocks the back door of the vehicle open. Now, he’s rolling down the mountain road…straight for a cliff. What will he do? Let’s find out in part 2…The Pharaoh’s in a Rut.
It seems like certain death for Bruce Wayne, but just as he crashes through some barriers warning of the 300 foot drop, he frees his hands. He then manages to grab onto a guardrail. The stretcher sails out from under him and crashed down the mountain, but Bruce is perfectly safe. Meanwhile, back at Tut’s hideout, the villain sees on television that Bruce Wayne is now safe…thanks to Batman. This enrages Tut while his main squeeze, Nefertiti, simply marvels at how “hansome, and clean-cut, and groovy” Batman is. This so upsets Tut that he has her thrown in his dungeon. On the TV broadcast, Batman also announces that he must head to Egypt to do research on this strange cult terrorizing Gotham. Of course, this is part of plan to fool Tut. He figures that Tut will once again try to kidnap Bruce Wayne.
First, Aunt Harriet is sent on a trip to get her out of the way. Then a detailed dummy of Bruce Wayne is placed on the couch, as if sleeping. Then our heroes hide as it is almost 6:00…the “Hour of the Hyena,” the time when, in the 14th century, ancient Egyptian supercriminals invariably struck. Sure enough, one of Tut’s men shows up disguised as a cop. He gasses Alfred (but he took an anti-gas pill, so he’s faking being knocked out) and then gasses the dummy and wraps him up in a blanket. The cop then exits to get Tut’s other henchmen. While he’s gone, Batman switches places with the dummy. So it is he who is hauled off. Robin and Alfred go down to the Batcave to track Batman’s movements.
Meanwhile, Tut’s men decide to clunk Bruce Wayne on the head, just to be sure he’s unconscious. They then remove the blanket to see it’s really Batman. It turns out, that the clunk on the head not only knocked out our hero, but also disabled the tracking device in his cowl. He’s then taken to Tut’s lair and subjected to the Ancient Theban Pebble Torture along with Nefertiti. What is the Ancient Theban Pebble Torture, you may ask. Well…they are placed inside large jars and hundreds of pebbles are dropped on their heads one by one. After some time, Batman is reduced to a mindless slave. He obeys Tut’s order to dance for his amusement..or does he? Mid dance, Batman starts attacking Tut’s men. It seems he was able to keep his wits during the torture by reciting the multiplication tables backwards. See kids…math is good for something. Robin then shows up and joins in the fight, having been driven to the hideout by Alfred (Robin doesn’t have a driver’s license yet). Tut then makes one last effort to escape by stealing the Batmobile…but the heroes use the vehicle’s remote control to trigger the ejector seat and send Tut flying.
The first episode of this story was fantastic. This one is absolutely bonkers…and I love it! Once again, Victor Buono chews up the scenery in wondrous fashion. His King Tut is a pompous, maniacal nutcase who can put some of Batman’s more famous villains to shame. Everything is very over-the-top with Buono’s performance, but in a very carefully calculated way. He has to be my favorite guest villain of the series thus far.
But Tut doesn’t get to hog the spotlight. This episode also gives a nice showcase to Ziva Rodann as Nefertiti. The character is so adorably quirky. When Tut wants to watch the news report to hear a story about how he’s kidnapped Bruce Wayne, Nefertiti gets angry because she isn’t able to watch the demolition derby anymore. Then we have the whole pebble torture sequence, in which she and Batman recite “Twinkle Twinkle Little Bat” like a couple of fruitcakes.
Though the torture sequence is delightfully ridiculous, the highlight of the episode is when Batman dances. Imagine taking Uma Thurman’s dance moves from Pulp Fiction and mixing them with the dance scene from Napoleon Dynamite. That’s kinda sorta what we have here. This moment alone should’ve earned Adam West and Emmy. I’ve laughed many times throughout the first season of this series, but this scene is the funniest moment of the whole thing.
As this episode ends, we find out that King Tut’s ride in the Batmobile’s ejector seat resulted in a hard landing which appears to have put him back to normal. He now has no memory of his time as Tut and once again believes himself to be an Egpytology professor at Yale. However, I also know that Tut returns in season two. I can hardly wait to see what happens. But we’ll have to wait a while for that. Next time we meet another villain created specifically for this series…and played by a big name actor. Before taking up residence on the Planet of the Apes, Roddy McDowall spent some time in Gotham as the Bookworm…in our next episode, The Bookworm Turns. Join us, same Bat-time, same Bat-channel (superhero).
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Giant Lighted Lucite Map of Gotham City
Voice Control Batmobile Relay Circuit
Holy Travel Agent
Holy Hi Fi
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