Episode Title: The Sandman Commeth
Original Airdate: December 28, 1966
When I hear the name Sadman used for a super villain I think of the shape shifting character from the world of Spider-Man. But in today’s episode of Batman we get a different Sandman. He’s brought to life actor Michael Rennie, who is probably most remembered for playing the role of Klaatu in The Day the Earth Stood Still. But that’s not the only baddie we get in this episode! Julie Newmar’s Catwoman is also on hand for today’s episode The Sandman Commeth.
We begin in Catwoman’s lair, where she and Sandman are meeting to discuss a plan they will hatch together. Secretly, though, each one is planning on double crossing the other. That’s not all, though. It seems that one of Catwoman’s assistants is actually an undercover police officer. When she tries to call Commissioner Gordon, she gives herself away. Catwoman stops her, though, before she can deliver the message. Gordon has enough to realize that something is up, so he picks up the Bat Phone. Problem is, Bruce and Dick are off on a camping trip with a bunch of Dick’s pals. From the wilderness they spot the Bat Signal, but they can’t give themselves away with a quick getaway.
The next morning, an incident occurs at a local bed store. A young woman sleeping in the window display is kidnapped by a strange guy in pajamas…one of Sandman’s henchmen. The young woman isn’t actually an employee of the store, though, it’s really Catwoman. The media ends up referring to her as Sleeping Beauty, and after her “escape” she appears on TV. She explains that the reason she fell asleep in the store was that she was being treated by Dr. Somnambular, who can cure anyone of their sleeping problems. Of course, the doctor is really Sandman. The free promotion on TV leads to a call from rich and famous insomniac J. Pauline Spaghetty. Just what our villains planned. After all this, Batman and Robin finally get away from the camping trip and get on the case.
Sandman pays the rich old woman a visit and hits her with some powder that puts her into a sort of sleepwalking state. He gets he to reveal where she keeps her financial records, which he photographs. Once she snaps out of it, Batman and Robin show up and declare that the Doctor. is really Sandman and that he is out to steal Spaghetty’s valuables. However, nothing is missing, so Batman has no case. Later, our heroes show up at the bed store to investigate and are ambushed by Sandman’s men. During the fight, Robin ends up getting gassed with the sleepwalking spray and Batman ends up under a pile of mattresses. Next thing we know, Batman is strapped to mattress about to be stitched into a quilt…and it’s Robin who pulls the lever! Cue the cliffhanger narration.
Are our eyes deceiving us??
Batman quilted to a mattress!!
Robin led away by the abominable sandman??
To be the sleeping pawn in Catwoman’s cat-and-mouse game??
Wait on pins and needles!!
You’ll find out tomorrow!!
Same Bat-time, same bat-channel!!!
Well…I have to start by saying this episode is awful. Just plain awful! Where do we begin? How about that we are introduced to perhaps the most uninteresting villain in the history of this series. Sandman appears in the opening scene as a guy with slicked back oily hair wearing a ridiculously huge fur coat. If you think we’re going to find out more about him as the episode continues, HA…dream on. Why is he called Sandman? What is his basic MO? We’re never told. Other villains have all been appropriately introduced in their episodes. We learn about Joker’s tricks…Penguin’s umbrellas…Mr. Freeze’s freeze rays…and so on. Here we just get some guy called Sandman with poor fashion sense. Plus, Michael Rennie brings absolutely nothing to the role.
This episode also has terrible story structure. Unlike most episodes, we don’t open with a crime being committed. We start with our two villains chit chatting for a bit. THEN, they come right out and tell us that the two baddies are actually plotting against each other. What happened to the element of surprise? The writers give away a story twist TWO MINUTES IN!! That should be grounds for banishment from the writer’s guild! But it goes beyond lazy writing to pure simple stupidity! Get this: when Batman feeds info into his Bat Computer, the way it reveals that Sandman may be after J. Pauline Spaghetty is by actually oozing bright purple spaghetti noodles. Why didn’t Steve Jobs ever thinking of putting that feature into Apple products!?!
The only thing I appreciated about this episode was the fight sequence. With it taking place in the bed store, pillows end up getting tossed around and bursting open. So the room fills with feathers slowly floating to the ground as our heroes fight. Robin also has a moment where he repeatedly punches one of the bad guys who keeps hitting the bed and bouncing back up. Those are this episode’s few fun moments.
Hopefully the next episode will turn out better. After how awful this installment was, though, I kind of hope Batman does get stitched into a giant Bat Quilt. Join us next time for The Catwoman Goeth (A Stitch in Time). Same bat-time, same bat-channel (superhero).
Bat Gadgets Used:
Holy Alter Ego