Episode Title: Shoot a Crooked Arrow
Original Airdate: September 7, 1966
When it comes to superhero TV shows, one of the most popular current shows is Arrow. But Oliver Queen is not the only person skilled with the bow and arrow. In the first episode of season two of Batman, we meet a villain who seems to take a few cues from Green Arrow’s playbook. Art Carney is the Archer in today’s episode…Shoot a Crooked Arrow.
As our story begins, Bruce Wayne is meeting with the head of the Wayne Foundation, Alan Dale. Suddenly, an arrow spewing orange gas lands in the room, knocking out everyone. The Archer and his men, Big John and Crier Tuck, bust in and steal a load of money which Bruce had intended on distributing some of Gotham’s less fortunate. However, the Archer does the job for him; riding on horseback through the streets and tossing money. Of course, Batman and Robin are called into action.
At City Hall, our heroes meet with Gordon, O’Hara and, Mr. Dale and find out that the good people of Gotham returned most of the money. Once they heard that it was stolen they wanted no part of it, according to Chief O’Hara. Suddenly an arrow flies into the room setting off flashes which blind our heroes. The Archer then appears (wearing special goggles) and gloats a bit before jumping out the window. Later, at the Archer’s hideout, we learn that he is desperate to learn the location of the Batcave. He figures that his plans cannot succeed until he destroys the crime predicting computers in Batman’s lair.
Later, Batman finds a local archery range which he suspects may be where Archer is hiding. He sends Alfred (once an archery champ himself) to serve as a distraction while the Dynamic Duo search the hideout. Unfortunately, they spring a trap which catches them in a net. Now Archer seeks to face Batman in a duel…which to him means tying our heroes to poles and charging at the on horseback with a lance. Cue the cliffhanger narration…
Doth this foul deed spell finis for the Caped Crusaders
Willst the Dynamic Duo escape to fight again the villainous swine who threaten home and hearth?
Take heart, citizens.
The answers to these and other pointed inquiries tomorrow!
Last week I mentioned that this villain was created for this series. That may not have been entirely true. It seems that there is a villain in the DC Universe called The Archer who was an enemy of Superman. It’s unclear, however, if this is the same character. It’s also unclear exactly what this villain is ultimately after. I like the idea of a Robin Hood inspired bad guy who robs from the rich and gives to the poor, but I’m not sure the execution is quite right. So far I’ve really liked pretty much all the guest stars who have appeared as villains in this series, but I’m not quite on board with Art Carney in this part. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of Carney. When I was a kid one of our local UHF stations showed The Honeymooners every night at 9:00, and I watched it religiously. Carney’s performance as Ed Norton in that series is one of the best in TV history. So it pains me a bit to say that Carney’s New York voice struggling with phrases like “thou hast” and “yay verily” just doesn’t work. I’m sure the producers thought that this would result in some comedy, but it just comes across as awkward. I also wasn’t that big on Archer’s gang. Among them are veteran actress Barbara Nichols and comedian Doodles Weaver, formerly of Spike Jones and his City Slickers. They’re fun choices but they just aren’t given anything interesting to do.
Ultimately the best moment of this episodes comes courtesy of our second celebrity window cameo. As Batman and Robin climb down the side of the building to pursue the Archer (the first time they’ve climbed down rather than up, by the way) a man leans out the window and says, “Hey, who are you?” Robin figures the guy must be new in Gotham, to which Batman points out that the man is from Philadelphia. “You dipped your dipthong,” Batman points out, “people from Philadelphia are known for that.” Batman is right, of course, because the man is none other than Dick Clark…host of Philadelphia’s own American Bandstand.
The episode has a few other fun moments here and there…such as when the normal exclamations that appear on screen during the fight are made a bit more medieval. This time we get things like “Zap-eth” and “Wham-eth!” Sadly, though, this is a somewhat disappointing start to season two. Hopefully things will turn out better once Batman and Robin escape this latest cliffhanger. But how!?! Find out next time in Walk the Straight and Narrow. Same bat-time, same bat-channel (superhero)
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