Episode Title: That Darn Catwoman
Original Airdate: January 19, 1967
Batman always attracted some pretty big names to play the villains of the show. On today’s episode, though, we get a big guest star as a part of the villain’s gang. Singing star Lesley Gore joins up with Catwoman as Pussycat. She even gets to sing a song in today’s episode, That Darn Catwoman.
As our story begins, Robin is giving the commencement speech at Gotham’s Aaron Burr High School. Waiting in the wings, though, is Catwoman and her gang, which includes her new protege, and aspiring singer, Pussycat. The young feline slinks her way up to the Boy Wonder and promptly proclaims, “I want to be alone with you, Robin.” She then scratches him on the back of the neck with special claw. Next thing we know, Robin is pushing around Chief O’Hara (who just happens to be at the graduation) before heading off with Catwoman’s gang.
Batman is called into action, but while he’s off talking to Commissioner Gordon, Robin shows up with Catwoman and her gang at Wayne Manor. They tie up Alfred and Aunt Harriet and rob the safe of $100,000. It seems that Catwoman is trying to collect capital so she can purchase the plans to Gotham City Mint. She even calls Batman and informs him that she plans to commit more crimes…but if Batman stops her she’ll have Robin killed. She starts by robbing a rich local inventor, Pat Pending, who is working on a universal solvent. Then she shows up at a foreign embassy where money equaling the weight of the countries prince is about to be donated to orphans. But, when the crooks try to grab the dough, Batman shows up. He battles with the Catwoman’s henchmen for a moment, but the bad guys escape. Batman follows them back to Catwoman’s lair and is now faced with having to fight Robin. However, he can’t bring himself to lay a punch on his old chum. Robin quickly overcomes Batman and next thing we know, Batman is strapped to a giant rat trap. He is faced with a decision: join Catwoman or be sliced in half by the trap. Of course, he refuses to join the dark side…so Robin slowly starts to cut the rope. Cue the cliffhanger narration.
What a decision!
A life of crime or no life at all!!
There’s no way out!
Or is there??
Tune in next week for the shocking answer!!
I admit, one of the big selling points of this series as a whole is the colorful collection of celebrities that fill up the rogue’s gallery. I’m certainly never one to complain about getting to see Julie Newmar as Catwoman, but I dare say she gets upstaged in this episode by the pint-sized Lesley Gore as Pussycat. Yeah, next to the statuesque Newmar, Gore looks like a munchkin. Prancing around in a pink leotard, fuzzy ears, and a bow around her neck, she’s both adorable and strangely seductive. In her big moment with Robin she purrs lines like, “I can see a very important part of your education has been grossly neglected.” Then she eyes him in the crotch and winkingly calls him “big boy.” This is all before the opening credits even roll. Plus, fans of Gore’s music will appreciate the sequence midway through the episode where she sings the song “California Nights.” After it appeared in this episode, the song climbed up the charts and became her first Top 40 single in over a year.
It’s a good thing that Gore makes such an impression in this episode, since, truth be told, the story itself is a bit lackluster. There’s not a whole heck of a lot of action in this episode. Catwoman and her gang pull a few robberies, but without any real resistance. Batman himself seems to vanish from extended sections as the episode focuses more on Catwoman and Pussycat. There aren’t even any bat gadgets used in this one. The episode also spends a bit of time setting up some things that I assume will pay off in the next installment. There’s an awful lot of talking about the universal solvent that Pat Pending is working on for it to not play into things later. I guess we’ll see.
One other highlight of this episode is the great joy Burt Ward seems to be having playing evil Robin. He seems to be channeling every teenage tough guy from those cheapo 60’s juvenille delinquent films that are so darn fun to watch. One thing’s for sure, though, Batman isn’t having much fun with this new and improved Robin. He’s about to be split in two at the hand of the Boy Wonder himself. Join us next time to see what happens in Scat! Darn Catwoman. Same bat-time, same bat-channel (superhero).
Bat Gadgets Used:
Holy Knick of Time