Episode Title: Tut’s Case is Shut
Original Airdate: September 29, 1966
When we last left Gotham City, Robin had been captured by King Tut and is now on a retracting bridge above Tut’s collection of crocodiles. Batman is tracking Robin through his bat radio, but will he make it in time? Let’s find out in today’s episode, Tut’s Case is Shut.
Just as Tut leaves because he dislikes the sound of his crocodiles chewing, Batman arrives on the scene. He uses a bat laser to cut away the bars on the window, and then swings down with a rope to rescue the Boy Wonder. Kind of an unspectacular rescue, to be honest.
Meanwhile, Gordon’s secretary Miss Patrick, who is really Tut’s main squeeze, is back at City Hall. She’s about to trick Commissioner Gordon into taking a dose of Tut’s Abu Rabu Simbu Tu formula in the form of one of his daily vitamins. But Gordon leaves early to celebrate his anniversary with his wife. O’Hara is left in charge, so he’s the one that ends up taking the drug. This puts him under Tut’s spell, and before we know it, the chief is doing a gymnastics routine on a high ledge of the building. Batman and Robin manage to talk him down, but somehow they must stop Tut before he slips his formula into the city’s water supply and puts the whole city under his control.
Back at the Batcave, Batman examines the few pieces of evidence he has as he sips down six glasses of buttermilk, courtesy of the loyal Alfred. Suddenly, Batman gets a call from Gordon (under the influence of Tut) informing him that Tut’s sphynx has appeared in a city park. While at the park investigating, Gordon spots a lemonade stand and offers Batman a drink. However, he slips one of Tut’s pills into the drink. Next thing we know, Batman is in a zombie-like trance, obeying Tut’s every command. Robin is quickly captured, as well, and the two are taken back to Tut’s hideout. Batman even ends up kneeling before King Tut. But then, Batman suddenly punches one of Tut’s henchmen. See, he was never under the spell at all. He protected himself by coating his stomach with buttermilk! Who knew buttermilk was so powerful. A fight breaks out and Tut ends up taking some of his own mind-control formula in the end.
Once again, we have proof that the King Tut episodes are some of this series’ best. Even though we begin with a fairly weak resolution to the previous episode’s cliffhanger, the rest of the episode is a joy. Victor Buono is delightfully unhinged as Tut! His over-the-top theatrical approach makes Tut one of the series’ most colorful villains. My only complaint with the villains this time around is that Tut’s equally colorful henchman, played by Sid Haig, takes a bit more of a backseat than he did in our last episode. A bit of a waste, if you ask me.
However, even King Tut gets upstaged this time around by none other than Stafford Repp…Chief O’Hara himself. While under Tut’s influence, O’Hara starts dancing around on a narrow ledge on the top floor of City Hall. He even grabs hold of a flagpole and starts spinning around like he’s going for the gold in Rio. The sequence has a looney, cartoonish quality that is just irresistible. Neil Hamilton as Commissioner Gordon also has some nice moments, including a poetic final speech. As Batman and Robin leave his office, their mission complete, he waxes: “So brave…so dependable…and so modest. Rare in men these days. (looking straight into the camera) Very rare.”
So far, the King Tut episodes have been wonderful. I can hardly wait for his return later this season. However, we have a lot of other episodes to tackle before then. Next week sees the introduction of another villain created for this series…and she’s played by an Academy Award winning actress. Shelley Winters is Ma Parker in The Greatest Mother of Them All. Next week, same bat-time, same bat-channel (superhero).
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