Episode Title: The Funny Feline Felonies
Original Airdate: December 28, 1967
Well, on our last few episodes we’ve had to deal with the bizarre team up of Olga and Egghead. I’m all for seeing some of the bad guys joining forces, but that was just kind of weird. This week we have another team-up, but this time it involves two much more iconic villains. Get ready for Joker and Catwoman working together in The Funny Feline Felonies.
We begin at Gotham State Penitentiary where we see Warden Crichton, along with Bruce Wayne himself, releasing Joker from prison due to good behavior. As Joker exits the prison, he is picked up by Catwoman in a bizarre cat car. The two baddies make it look as if Catwoman is kidnapping Joker. Now, it should be noted that this opening scene contradicts the teaser at the end of our last episode where Batman and Robin learn that Joker and Catwoman are working together from Barbara Gordon who spots the cat car outside of police headquarters. The other problem is that I don’t believe for a second that Bruce Wayne would be a part of releasing Joker from prison, good behavior or not.
A short time later, we see the two villains hanging out at a sleazy hotel, actually called The Hotel Sleazy, which happens to be across the street from police headquarters. Catwoman fires her cat gun into Commissioner Gordon’s office from across the street to get the attention of the Caped Crusaders. The bullet even has a special message hidden inside. A few minutes later, our heroes head over to the hotel to investigate. The villains are gone but the heroes start looking for evidence. Of course, Batgirl shows up a few minutes after the Dynamic Duo (that’s because Barbara walked into her father’s office a minute or so after the shot was fired). She manages to find a scrap of paper which may be a clue and then whisk it away to examine closer.
Back at the villains’ lair, we find out that they intend to steal a large supply of gunpowder so they can blow a hole in the Federal Depository Building and then rob it. First they need to locate the gunpowder, though. The clues to its whereabouts are found in an ancient poem, which Catwoman has stolen from the Gotham Library. The poem mentions a nightshirt and a crib which will lead them to the gunpowder. The nightshirt is in the possession of a young record producer named Little Louie Groovy. Somehow, Batgirl figures this out and calls the Caped Crusaders to meet her at Little Louie’s apartment.
Of course, Joker and Catwoman show up at Little Louie’s pad first. As they try to steal Louie’s PJ’s, Batman and Robin show up. A fight ensues which completely destroys the young tycoon’s apartment. It looks like the bad guys are caught, but Joker convinces Batman and Robin to shake hands with him and thus shocks them with his deadly joy buzzers. The two villains escape, but after a brief cliffhanger that lasts as long as the commercial break, Batgirl shows up to rescue the boys with some special pills. She was late because she got caught in traffic, you see. Once our heroes are ready to go, they head off to the mansion of Karnaby Katz, who has the cradle mentioned in the poem. Sadly, they find his place already ransacked and the cradle gone. Now Joker and Catwoman have what they need to find the gunpowder, but we’ll have to wait until next time to see what happens.
This episode’s big saving grace is the teaming up of Joker and Catwoman. We’re dealing with two of the most iconic Batman villains, played by two of the most iconic performers to be a part of this series. Heck, I’d watch Cesar Romero and Eartha Kitt fold their laundry, whether or not they were appearing as Joker at Catwoman. The two have a great rapport and know how to play off each other. This episode is definitely at its best when the two are allowed to plot, scheme, and just banter with each other.
The bright spots end there, however. Once again we have a characteristically lame third season storyline that makes zero sense. We’re supposed to believe that there’s a large supply of gunpowder that has been hidden in Gotham for ages which nobody seems to be aware of. Furthermore, some sort of ancient poem tells how to find the gunpowder by locating a nightshirt and a cradle!?! I don’t know what the writer of this particular episode was smoking but whatever it was it’s not even legal here in Colorado. This episode is about as nonsensical as they come, so much so that I pretty much forgot about what the baddies were after shortly after their scheme was spoken. My brain can only handle so much. The writer of this one, by the way, is Stanley Ralph Ross, a veteran of many classic shows and many much better episodes of this particular series. He also penned the short Who’s Afraid of Diana Prince, which was Batman producer William Dozier’s test run for a possible Wonder Woman series.
Speaking of other classic shows, one other minor highlight of this episode is a cameo by Joe E. Ross as Little Louie’s manager. Ross was was a veteran of many classic shows of this era. He was probably most famous for playing Officer Gunther Toody on Car 54, Where Are You? He even does his signature “Ooooh! Ooooh!” exclamation in this episode. So, this episode is not without a few fun moments, but the storyline is painfully bad. Will it get better in part two? We’ll find out next time in The Joke’s on Catwoman. Same bat-time, same bat-channel (superhero).
Bat Gadgets Used:
Batgirl Antidote Pills
Holy Special Delivery