Batman S:02 E:51

Episode Title: A Piece of the Action
Original Airdate: March 1, 1967

On today’s episode of Batman we journey into the realm of the crossover episode. That’s where characters from another popular program show up for a little fun. It’s like Gary Coleman showing up as Arnold Jackson on The Facts of Life, or Laverne and Shirley dropping by to visit the Fonze on Happy Days. Well, in this case, we get the main characters from William Dozier’s other late 60’s superhero series, The Green Hornet. That means guest appearances by Van Williams as well as perhaps the most famous (globally speaking) guest star to ever appear on the show, Bruce Lee. Get ready for A Piece of the Action.

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We begin in the dead of night at the Pink Chip Stamps Factory. The Green Hornet and Kato show up and get into a tussle with the foreman, one Colonel Gumm (Roger C. Carmel) and his goons (including Alex Rocco and Seymour Cassel). The next day, the factory owner, Pinky Pinkston (Diane McBain) reports the intrusion to Commissioner Gordon, who then reports to Batman that the criminal The Green Hornet has come to Gotham.

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It turns out, though, that The Green Hornet’s alter ego, Britt Reid, is good friends with Bruce Wayne. He also knows Pinky Pinkston and calls her up to meet for lunch. She, however, already has a date with Bruce. This leads to an awkward meal where the two gents each try to impress the lovely Pinky. Strangely, this lunch goes on during a lingerie fashion show where the models take turns flirting with Bruce and Britt. Meanwhile, unknown to Pinky, Colonel Gumm and his men are hatching a scheme involving counterfeit collector’s stamps.

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Later, Pinky discovers Gumm’s nefarious plans (which is more than can be said for the audience)and is captured by his men. That night, Batman and Robin stake out the stamp factory to try and catch The Green Hornet and Kato in the act. When the Hornet arrives, Batman allows him to make his way into the factory. The Hornet acts like he wants in on Gumm’s plan, but Gumm isn’t interested in a partner. He and his men shove Green Hornet and Kato in the Enlarged Perforating and Coiling Machine. Then Batman and Robin burst in for a fight, but are quickly overcome by Gumm’s men and stuck to a giant glue pad. Then Gumm pulls a giant stamp that appears to be a flattened version of the Hornet out of the machine. Surely Kato is soon to follow. Cue the cliffhanger narration…

Cliffhanger Narration:
The Green Hornet and Kato??
Blocked, gummed and perforated???
And then thumbtacked to a wall as collector’s items!!
With Batman and Robin to follow?
When they’re unglued from the undetachable glue pad!!
Don’t Stampede!!
Stay close to your stamping grounds!!
Tomorrow!
Same Bat-time, same bat-channel!

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This episode has great promise, but falls very flat. Having both the Caped Crusaders AND the Green Hornet and Kato on hand sounds like it should be great! Unfortunately, the story this time is a mess! I don’t have a clear idea of what Colonel Gumm’s plan is and I’m not doing any better on what Green Hornet is up to. There are mentions of some sort of lost stamp called the Gotham Gothic, but we’re never really given a good idea of why we should care about it. We’re definitely not given a clear picture of why the villains care about it. It’s a shame because Roger C. Carmel’s Colonel Gumm is a fairly colorful villain. He doesn’t have an interesting costume, but we can’t all have the Joker’s fashion sense.

Clearly, though, the focus of this episode was not the villain, but the presence of Green Hornet and Kato. In the opening credits, where there would normally be the name of the “Special Guest Villain,” instead we get “Visiting Hero” and “Assistant Visiting Hero.” Van Williams and Bruce Lee are both fun in their respective roles. Truth be told, they outshine the Caped Crusaders in this one. I just wish they were given more to do.

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All around this is a pretty hum-drum episode. So many of the outlandish touches that make this series special are absent from this installment. The one crazy moment is the luncheon that takes place in the middle of the 1967 version of the Victoria’s Secret fashion show. Among the models are Angelique Pettyjohn, who appeared on Star Trek and had a role in Clambake with Elvis, and Jan Watson, who was a robot in Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine.

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I hope that both sets of heroes can redeem themselves in our next episode. But how? Green Hornet has already been turned into a stamp. I don’t think you can pull that crap on Bruce Lee, though. Guess we’ll find out next time in Batman’s Satisfaction. Same bat-time. Same bat-channel.

Bat Gadgets Used:
Batcomputer

Holys:
Holy Oversight
Holy Split Seconds
Holy Fly Paper
Holy Human Collector’s Item

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