Episode Title: The Riddler’s False Notion
Original Airdate: April 28, 1966
When we last left Gotham City, Robin had been captured by the Riddler and is now strapped to a conveyor belt, moving slowly toward a rotating saw blade in the style of a silent melodrama. How will Batman be able to locate and save the Boy Wonder? Let’s find out in today’s episode, The Riddler’s False Notion.
As we begin, Batman rushes from the site of the party gone wrong. As he gets to the Batmobile, two riddles shoot out of the exhaust pipe and float to the ground on parachutes. “Why is a bear like a fallen tree?” Because both “lumber.” Second, “Why is silk like grass?” Because both are measured by the “yard.” Robin must be at the Gotham Lumber Yard! Batman quickly arrives and finds Riddler dressed in a cape and top hat and sporting a curled moustache. He gives another riddle: “When is a man like a stupid relative?” But Batman doesn’t have time for that, he has to save Robin. But when he reaches the Boy Wonder he finds it is just a dummy. The answer to the previous riddle…when is a man like a stupid relative – when he’s a Manic Kin (mannequin). Robin is still nowhere to be found, but Riddler caught all the action on his film camera. Batman does end up capturing Pauline, however.
Later, at city hall, interrogating Pauline isn’t working, but Batman determines to take her back to the Batcave to “work on her” further. He uses Bat Gas to knock her out, and does the same to Commissioner Gordon so he can come with and supervise. Batman then uses a special truth detecting mask on Pauline. He asks her where Robin is, but she does not know. She does, however, know two new riddles. The answers to these riddles lead Batman to believe that Riddler plans to stage a Harold Lloyd style scene on Gotham’s Chessman Building.
Sure enough, Riddler has Robin with his hands bound and dangling on the edge of the building…and the cameras are rolling again. Riddler drops Robin off the edge, but Batman shows up just in time. From the roof, he throws down the Batrope…and, miraculously, Robin catches the Batarang at the end of the rope in his teeth! Meanwhile, Riddler and his goons escape in a chopper…leaving riddles in skywriting behind. This sends our heroes heading for Gotham Central Station, but the clues were misleading…Riddler is really headed for the home of silent film collector Van Jones. Mr. Jones is going to pay Riddler $100,000 for his film…but the crook really plans on stealing the contents of Jones’ safe. Of course, Batman figured this out and shows up just in time. A fight breaks out, with Riddler and his men all dressed as cowboys. Our story ends with all back to normal and Aunt Harriet getting to meet Batman and Robin on her birthday.
This episode is a treat for classic movie fans. After the regular cliffhanger sequence that opens the episode, we also get a cliffhanger, of sorts, later in the episode. The fun part is that it is inspired by the classic Harold Lloyd film Safety Last. How Robin gets saved, though, is one of the most bonkers moments we’ve seen in the series. I mean you just can’t beat catching a Batarang in your teeth and being pulled several stories up to safety. The best part, though, is when our heroes discuss how Robin was saved by good dental hygiene. Batman then starts to ponder, “If only more people would…” but he is interrupted when he notices the Riddler zooming off in his copter. Dentists the world over have long wondered what great dental advice Batman was about to dish out.
Frank Gorshin, once again, gets to give us some great Riddler moments in this episode. Just like in the previous installment, he dons a couple of different costumes this time. He dresses up as a moustache-twirling villain early in the episode and is in a cowboy getup toward the end. We also get some good moments with Sherry Jackson as Pauline, once again. Though, I did find it a bit frustrating that we completely abandon her character midway through the story. After she has her scene in the Batcave, we don’t hear from her again. I can only assume Chief O’Hara hauled her off to the clink, but it’s a shame that she doesn’t get one last moment at the end of the episode.
This is another really fun episode, perhaps not as madcap as part one was, but still very entertaining. So now we’re into the final stretch! We have just one more story (two episodes) to go in season one of this classic show. So don’t miss next time when Burgess Meredith returns as the Penguin in Fine Finny Fiends. Same bat-time, same bat-channel (superhero).
Bat Gadgets Used:
Universal Drug Antidote