Episode Title: Flop Goes the Joker
Original Airdate: March 23, 1967
If you recall, when we last left Gotham City, Robin had been captured by the Joker and tied to a giant mobile with spinning blades gradually making their way closer to the Boy Wonder. Meanwhile, poor Bruce Wayne is tied to a chair and forced to watch. How will they ever get out of this one? Let’s find out in Flop Goes the Joker.
In all honesty, despite the elaborate nature of the device Robin is strapped to, the rescue is pretty unsepectacular. Bruce manages to wiggle his way over to the contraption and stop the gears. This gives Robin the chance to free himself. Then, after a fight with Joker’s men, they confront Joker. Thing is, though, since Joker hasn’t actually managed to steal the artwork owned by the socialites he has captured, they can’t nab him for robbery. Plus, the heiress Baby Jane Towser (Diana Iverson) refuses to press charges (she’s kind of sweet on Joker) and convinces the others not to either, otherwise she will be sure they don’t rise up the social ladder. So, Robin and Bruce Wayne leave empty handed.
Joker then teams up with Baby Jane to launch a new scheme. They head for a Gotham museum to steal all the priceless works of art and then sell them back to the city for a pretty penny. Batman is ahead of them, though. In advance he replaces all the paintings with art from an artist friend…namely Alfred. Another fight with the henchmen then breaks out, during which Joker escapes with Baby Jane.
For some reason I’m not really clear about, Joker heads for Wayne Manor to try and rob the safe. While there, he ends up fencing with Alfred using fireplace pokers. Then, Joker runs into the study and discovers the switch that reveals the bat poles…aka, the entrance to the batcave. He attempts to slide down the pole, but Alfred pulls the switch for the Emergency Bat Pole Elevator, sending Joker rocketing back up. Now, why Joker doesn’t connect the dots and realize that Bruce Wayne is Batman is still a mystery to me.
This episode is not as strong as our previous installment, but it still has some fun moments. The main problem is that there’s not a whole heck of a lot of story here. We basically have the cliffhanger escape, followed by a bunch of convoluted explanations as to why Joker isn’t just locked up right away, followed by another plot that falls apart before it even gets started. Somehow this all stretched out to fill 25 minutes.
We still get some crazy moments along the way, though. Midway through the episode we see Joker create a work of art by emptying several pails a paint onto an antique table and then having his goons smash it with axes. Cesar Romero just eats this scene up, cackling like a madman throughout. This sequence once again reminded me of the art museum sequence from Tim Burton’s 1989 version of Batman, where Jack Nicholson’s Joker creates new works o “art” by destroying other pieces.
The best moment of this episode, though, comes in the fact that ultimately it is Alfred who is responsible for the Joker’s hi-jinks coming to an end. Watching Alfred and the Joker dueling is a great moment and Alan Napier is clearly enjoying his chance to be the hero. Alfred gets another moment in the end when the paintings he created to fool Joker end up being put on display in an art gallery. He even pawns one off on Chief O’Hara, who doesn’t seem all that thrilled about it. Some people just don’t appreciate art.
So, this episode has some issues, but still delivers in the end. Next time we come to our last story for season two. The final pair of episodes! It sees the return of a villain we saw earlier this season, but now played by a different actor. Last time it was Otto Preminger, but now it’s Eli Walach as Mr. Freeze in Ice Spy. Same bat-time, same bat-channel (superhero).l
Bat Gadgets Used:
Emergency Bat Pole Elevator