Episode Title: Green Ice
Original Airdate: November 9, 1966
Many big names played villains on the 60’s Batman series. Our guest villain for our next two episodes was a big name, but he wasn’t known so much for acting. Otto Preminger was primarily recognized as a film director having helmed such films as River of No Return, Anatomy of a Murder, and The Man with the Golden Arm. Here he takes over for George Sanders and brings the character of Mr. Freeze closer to the image we now know of the character in Green Ice.
As our story begins, Mr. Freeze kidnaps Miss Iceland (no, it’s not Bjork) from a beauty contest. Just as Commissioner Gordon and Chief O’Hara go to call the Caped Crusaders into action, they discover that Mr. Freeze is hiding out in the AC vent. He blasts them with his freeze ray…so all Batman hears on the other end of the phone is Gordon gasping for help. Of course, Batman and Robin manage to save them but later at a press conference they are raked over the coals by Nellie Majors of the Gotham City Herald. Things get worse when a block of green ice is delivered. It’s a large sum of frozen money with a message that reads “To Batman for Incidental Crime Expenses.” It looks like our heroes are being bribed.
It turns out that part of Mr. Freeze’s plan is to make public opinion of the Caped Crusaders go south. He even has two of his henchmen dressed up as Batman and Robin for some nefarious purposes. Meanwhile, Freeze is gradually trying to get Miss Iceland’s body temp to go down so she will be more like him…and fall in love with him.
Later, Batman and Robin have to interrupt their investigating for a party being thrown by Aunt Harriet. At the last minute her caterer convinced her to go with an Irish theme. So everything is green. Why even the water in the small pool is colored green. And you thought the Rio Olympics did it first. As the party is in full swing, Freeze shows up to rob the guests. Of course, Bruce and Dick are helpless to do anything…they can’t reveal their secret identities. But then Batman and Robin show up! It’s actually Freeze’s men who half-heartedly do battle with the baddies. They end up fleeing in shame, while Mr. Freeze freezes everyone’s feet into the pool. Luckily, Alfred was in the kitchen and is able to thaw everyone out during the commercial break.
Now, our heroes need to try and track down Freeze’s hideout. Checking places with large freezers, they find him at an ice cream factory. The bad guys get the jump on them, though. Next thing we know, our heroes are about to be turned into giant superhero flavored slushies. Cue the cliffhanger narration.
I mean This–
Batman being made into a pineapple frosty freezie?!!
And Robin into a lime one??
Has the diabolical Mr. Freeze out-witted the Dynamic Duo after all??
With some fancy ice-work??
Hope for a miracle, and stay frozen in your seats!!
Until tomorrow – Same time, same channel
If you recall Mr. Freeze’s first appearance on this series, he was quite different than he is now. He was just a guy in a business suit who cranked the AC a lot. He only wore his special cold suit a few times. This time he’s always in his special suit, which now has a ring of ice jets around his head to keep him cold. He’s also now bald and sporting the icey blue skin that has become the more common way of presenting the character. So the look is a vast improvement, but I don’t know that I can say the same of Otto Preminger’s approach to the role. Preminger has a heavy accent (which is even joked about in the cliffhanger narration). He sounds a bit like Bela Lugosi’s Dracula. That aside, Preminger plays the part pretty straight. Given the more extreme look the villain now has, I would’ve preferred a bit more extreme performance. The strangest thing Preminger does is this strange habit of stroking his rust-brown eyebrows…which just had me confused.
Still, there’s just something fun about a blue bald guy who goes around freezing everyone with his ray gun. I actually didn’t mind so much that Freeze doesn’t seem to have some big crime he’s working toward. At least it hasn’t been revealed to us yet, but the fact that he has gone to the effort of having a fake Batman and Robin seems to indicate that he has some more big plans. Right now, though, his biggest crime is kidnapping Miss Iceland and trying to turn her into a blue skinned beauty who will fall madly in love with him. So…he’s just horny, I guess?!
The episode does have some loony moments…like the fight sequence that involves ice cream cones being hurled around. On a whole, though, this episode is a bit lukewarm. We’ll just have to see what happens next time in our next episode, Deep Freeze. Same bat-time, same bat-channel (superhero).
Bat Gadgets Used:
Gotham City Plans and Views
Holy Polar Front