Episode Title: An Egg Grows in Gotham
Original Airdate: October 19, 1966
The Batman television series attracted many big names to appear as villains on the show. Today we get what may be one of the biggest…Vincent Price. The actor was especially known for his roles in horror films, but he was also skilled at comedy. Dressed in a white suit and sporting a bald oversized head he arrived in Gotham City as Egghead in today’s episode, An Egg Grows in Gotham.
As our story begins, Egghead and his gang have stolen Gotham City’s precious original charter from its vacuum sealed case at a Gotham museum. The timing of this couldn’t be worse. You see, every few years Gotham must renew the lease on the land with the Mohican tribe that originally owned the land. The price is nine raccoon pelts which must be presented by the descendants of the original settlers…one of whom is Bruce Wayne. Egghead examines the document and finds that if he can prevent the ceremony he can negotiate a new deal with Chief Screaming Chicken and take ownership of the city.
Batman and Robin try searching for new egg businesses in town which may be hideout for Egghead. They find none, but do hit upon a place selling fish eggs. Sure enough, this is the villain’s lair. A fight with Egghead and his men (Benedict and Foo Yung) breaks out, but the villains eventually escape by hitting our heroes with a laughing gas egg. No need to worry, though. It seems that Bruce and the other two descendants are still ready to perform the ceremony. That is…until Egghead kidnaps all of them. Now, back at his lair, Egghead reveals that he long ago figured that Batman was actually a Gotham millionaire…and he thinks it’s Bruce. He now plans to use a mind transfer machine to extract the knowledge from Bruce’s skull…thus turning his brain to mush in the process. Cue the cliffhanger narration…
Will the world’s greatest criminal mind EGGstract the true identity of Batman???
The EGGsplanation to these and other electric questions tomorrow!!!
Same Bat-time, same Bat-channel!!!
Egghead is often listed as a favorite villain by fans of the show. Unlike many other of the series’ bad guys who did not have comic book origins, Egghead would return a few more times. This is in large part due to the incredible charisma of Vincent Price, who just eats up this role. Truth be told, the part really isn’t all that deep. Egghead’s main gimmick seems to be using egg puns wherever and whenever possible. But Price is such an amazing screen presence that he’s a joy to behold even when the material couldn’t get any cornier. Egghead’s henchmen, though, are a bit bland. Still, we do get a nice addition to the Lovely Ladies of Gotham Club in the form of Egghead’s main squeeze, Miss Bacon (Gail Hire)
But Price isn’t the only one who nails the comedic angle of this episode. I actually thought that this episode’s funniest moment belonged to Adam West and Burt Ward. When the Caped Crusaders fall victim to an egg filled with laughing gas it’s simply priceless. First, it’s surprising to see West smile so widely while wearing the cowl. Usually if he smiles as Batman it’s very slight…but this is a Joker level grin. Eventually, though, the two are guffawing like they were sitting in the front row on Def Comedy Jam.
There is, however, a strange aspect of this episode which would probably be seen as a bit politically incorrect these days. The character of Chief Screaming Chicken is played by Edward Everett Horton (not a native American). Some may recognize Horton’s voice as the narrator of the old Fractured Fairy Tales cartoons. A sequence where the Chief exchanges a strange native greeting with Batman comes off as a bit awkward by today’s standards. The moment where he brandishes a large knife and threatens to scalp Robin is even more uncomfortable.
Overall, though, this is a very entertaining episode, thanks in large part to the great Vincent Price. But how will Bruce Wayne be able to escape having his brain turned to mush…and revealing his secret identity? Find out next time in The Yegg Foes in Gotham. Same bat-time, same bat-channel (superhero).
Bat Gadgets Used:
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