Episode Title: Marsha’s Scheme of Diamonds
Original Airdate: November 24, 1966
When we last left Gotham City, Batman’s only hope to save Robin is to marry the evil Marsha, Queen of Diamonds and then reveal the location of the Batcave so she can get her hands on the giant Bat Diamond which powers the Batcomputer. The couple is standing at the altar with the Caped Crusader struggling to get our the words “I do.” Let’s see what happens in today’s episode, Marsha’s Scheme of Diamonds.
Batman is just about to give in and utter those two magic words, but then someone interrupts the ceremony. It’s Alfred who enters with a mysterious veiled woman (Aunt Harriet in disguise). Alfred claims to be a lawyer from England representing a woman who for the last seven years has been Mrs. Batman. He’s even got the wedding certificate to prove it. Of course, the minister refuses to conduct the ceremony for a bigamist. Not only that, Alfred informs Marsha that she’s being sued for one million dollars. Of course, Marsha makes a quick exit. Batman then recruits Alfred (pretending he doesn’t know who he is) to come with him to rescue Robin, who is still caged and under the spell of the love potion. By the way, as Batman and Alfred run out they are pelted with rice by the people waiting outside, and must drive the Batmobile complete with “Just Married” sign and cans tied to the back bumper.
After rescuing Robin, the Dynamic Duo uses the Batcomputer and the Batradar to locate Marsha’s hidden lair. It has something to do with picking up the reflection pattern of Marsha’s diamonds. I’m sure it’s all scientifically accurate. When our heroes show up they find Marsha scheming with her Aunt Hilda, the witch. Hilda is intending on using a potion to turn Batman and Robin into mice…then the little creatures will lead them to the Batcave. However, when she tosses the liquid on them it doesn’t work. Marsha’s henchmen then emerge from the cauldron to battle the heroes. Meanwhile, Hilda starts trying other potions…tossing them randomly at the heroes. Finally, Marsha uses some gas to knock out Batman and Robin, then Hilda douses them with a concoction to turn them into toads.
We then cut to city hall where Gordon and O’Hara await word from the heroes. But enter Marsha and her lead henchman along with a cage containing two toads (sporting blue and yellow capes, no less). The toads then, believe it or not, speak (in Batman and Robin’s voices)! They inform the commissioner that Gordon must lead the villains to the Batcave or the toads will be fed to Marsha’s cat. Of course, Gordon doesn’t know where the Batcave is. Just before he picks up the Batphone to find the location (presumably from Alfred) Batman and Robin appear. It seems that they were really captured by Marsha, but used the powerful Batcomputer to remotely unlock their cage. Oh, and the talking toads were just a case of ventriloquism from Marsha’s henchman.
There are some wonderfully silly aspects of this episode, but I don’t know that I’d consider it an upper tier installment. The resolution to the cliffhanger is an eye roller, for sure, but it’s somehow perfect as well. We also get a crazy moment where Aunt Hilda is having a soak in her own cauldron like it were a jacuzzi. She even wears a shower cap that’s shaped like a witches hat. Top of the heap, though, is the bat toads moment. I mean, it’s fantastic enough that they try to convince us that the Dynamic Duo were turned into toads, but add to it that they are wearing these tiny little capes that look like they were bought at Build-a-Bear Workshop…classic!
The episode does stumble in a few spots, though. There is a lengthy sequence right in the middle of the episode where Alfred meets with Gordon and O’Hara to discuss how he and Aunt Harriet managed to save Batman from being trapped in a bad marriage. They then discuss what the two cops plan on telling their wives about having been under Marsha’s love spell in the previous episode. The scene just seems to go on and on and really feels like it’s just there to pad out the episode a bit. The Batcave sequence that precedes it is also kind of long and talky. Luckily, once we get to the fight sequence and the toads the episode gets back to a nice level of looniness. Of course, one of the things I loved about the toads was the explanation that Marsha’s Grand Mogul is a ventriloquist. Being a puppeteer myself, I have many friends who are ventriloquists. I don’t know any who use toads in their act, though.
Though not fantastic, these two Marsha episodes are very fun and satisfying. The character will be showing up again as we move through the series, and I welcome her return. For our next episode, though, we get a villain portrayed by Uncle Ben…as in Spider-Man’s Uncle Ben. Cliff Robertson is Shame in our next episode, Come Back Shame. Same Bat Time, same Bat Channel (superhero).
Bat Gadgets Used:
Package of Bat Antidotes
Holy Trolls and Goblins
Holy Hors d’oeuvre