Episode Title: Come Back, Shame
Original Airdate: November 30, 1966
Perhaps one of the most significant characters in the history of the Spider-Man comics is one who didn’t live to see Peter Parker become his superhero alter ego…Peter’s Uncle Ben. Actor Cliff Robertson turned in a memorable performance as Ben in Sam Raimi’s series of Spidey films. It turns out, though, that Robertson has spent time alongside DC characters as well as Marvel. In today’s episode of Batman he appears as the villainous cowboy Shame in Come Back, Shame!
Our story begins at an auto race. During a routine pit stop, a group of masked bandits hold a driver at gunpoint and escape with his race car. The lead bandit leaves a platinum bullet behind; a calling card of sorts. It can mean just one man, Shame. It turns out that Shame has been stealing cars all over town. Normally the police would handle a ring of car thefts, but with Shame involved the Caped Crusaders are called into action. Batman and Robin quickly determine that Shame is stealing the cars for the specialized parts so he can assemble some sort of super vehicle to enter a Grand Prix that is coming up with a huge cash prize. So, our heroes decide to set a trap for Shame. They contact local DJ Hotrod Harry to mention on his show that Bruce Wayne has a new souped up limo that can go nearly 300 miles per hour. Of course, Shame will want to lift the vehicle.
Sure enough, Shame hears the radio announcement and sets out to steal the car. He has his lovely sidekick Oakie Annie distract Bruce and Dick as they are out running errands for Aunt Harriet. One of their stops happens to be a lingerie shop (awkward). Annie helps the boys get what Aunt Harriet needs, and they in turn give her a ride since her car is broke down. Along the way, they are forced to stop for a cow in the road. This is when Shame strikes and steals the limo. Luckily, the Batcycle has been following them by remote control at a safe distance so they can have a ride back to the batcave. Also lucky is that Batman coated the tires of the limo with Infrared Bat Dust so they can follow the trail to Shame’s hideout. When our heroes arrive at the rundown western movie set that Shame calls home they fight with his gang. The Caped Crusaders seem to have the upper hand, but when Annie shoots a rope causing a chandelier to drop on them, they are knocked out. Next thing we know, our heroes are tied to the ground with Shame about to unleash a stampede of cattle to trample them to death. Cue the cliffhanger narration…
Have Batman and Robin at last bitten the dust??
Is this the big casino??
Are the dynamic duo heading for the last roundup??
If you have the intestinal fortitude to learn the answer to these questions,
Tune in tomorrow!!
Storywise, this episode is nothing all that spectacular. There’s a string of crimes, we set up the villain’s plot, Batman and Robin track him down, there’s a fight, and we get the cliffhanger. Pretty standard stuff. But the western angle and a really great villain end up elevating this episode quite a bit. Robertson is fantastic as Shame. He seems to be approaching the role as if the character were your standard western hero, but he gives him a sinister edge that makes Shame a truly unique villain. He doesn’t come across like a villainous goofball like some of the baddies on this show. He definitely comes across as cold-blooded. Shame’s dialogue is also full of strange western sayings and Robertson is clearly having a great time playing cowboy.
The entire western motif of this episode is really a treat. The big fight sequence takes place in an abandoned western saloon movie set. So the fight is literally a western style bar room brawl. Characters are thrown over the bar, hit over the head with whiskey bottles, and slid across the top of the bar…like what you might see in an actual western. It’s probably one of the better fight sequences that we’ve seen in the second season.
There are also several moments of quirky humor which play off of the western theme, as well. Strangest is the inclusion of a little kid named Andy who wanders into Shame’s movie set hideout. The kid seems to have been included primarily so that he could exclaim “Come back, Shame!” in a scene parodying a famous scene from the movie Shane. The cliffhanger is also a great bit of western lunacy as our heroes are doomed to be trampled by stock footage of stampeding cattle. It also gives Batman the chance to utter the wonderful line, “Shame on you, Shame.” You’ll have to wait until next time, though, to find out if our heroes escape. Don’t miss our next episode, It’s How You Play the Game. Same bat time, same bat channel (superhero).
Bat Gadgets Used:
Precious Metals Bat-Analyzer
Infrared Bat Dust
Holy Jigsaw Puzzles