Episode Title: The Great Train Robbery
Original Airdate: February 8, 1968
When we last left Gotham City, that outlaw Shame (Cliff Robertson) was up to no good with his gal Calamity Jan and her mother Frontier Fanny along for the ride. As our last episode closed, Shame and his gang had managed to kidnap Batgirl, but Batman and Robin nabbed Frontier Fanny, who got clunked on the head with a horseshoe and left in the dust by Shame. Let’s see what happens next in today’s episode, The Great Train Robbery.
With Batgirl trapped in the trunk of the car, Shame and his gang set out to rob Peter’s Guns & Ammo. After successfully robbing the shop, Calamity Jan convinces Shame to make a deal with the police, trading Batgirl for Frontier Fanny. Batman reluctantly agrees, but when Batman shows up for the trade things don’t seem right. It’s clear that Shame intends to gun the Caped Crusaders down as soon as Fanny is out of the way. Luckily, Batman releases a bat chemical from his utility belt which causes the guns to become too heavy to hold. The typical fight breaks out and even Batgirl manages to free herself and join in. The bad guys escape, though, when Shame manages to lift a gun just high enough to get off a shot and cause a bunch of pinatas to drop on our heroes.
Later, back at police headquarter, Batman asks Batgirl if she heard anything about Shame’s plans. She recalls something about a train. Batman soon realizes that a train carrying tattered and damaged bills turned in to Gotham banks is due to head out of town today. That must be what Shame is planning on hitting. Unfortunately, our heroes arrive too late and only see the cowering guards, hit with Shame’s fear gas.
Batman then decides that there’s only one thing to do. He challenges Shame to a one-on-one showdown by skywriting a message in the sky with a drone. The two titans meet in a part of town filled with abandoned buildings, but Shame has plans for his gang to gun down Batman before the fight can start. Luckily, Robin and Batgirl get the jump on Shame’s gang. Things close with a knock-down, drag-out fight, with Batman coming out on top, of course.
There’s not really a lot going on in this episode. It gets very talky and the plot just kind of meanders along. It has a few quality moments, though. The big fight sequence comes in the middle of the episode as opposed to the end. It’s no better or worse than any other fight, though it does have a very goofy end. I mean, when else have you seen a fight where the good guys are overcome due to being clunked on the head by a trio of pinatas? What was inside those things anyway, bricks? Candy isn’t THAT heavy!
Better than the big fight, though, is the fight at the end, which is just between Batman and Shame. They bring the property values down quite a bit as they punch each other into various buildings. The whole thing begins as a High Noon style showdown, with Shame hurling various insults at Batman. “Your mother wore army shoes,” shouts Shame. To which Batman replies, “Yes she did, as I recall she found them quite comfortable.”
Sadly, the final showdown is one of the few moments that offers the humor and quirkiness that we’ve come to love in this series. I did crack a bit of a nostalgic smile at the beginning of the episode, though, where the gun shop owner is played by an uncredited Arnold Stang. Stang was a longtime performer in radio, movies, and TV. He stands out most in my mind as the voice of Top Cat on the classic Hanna Barberra series of the same name. He was also the voice of the bee on the Honey Nut Cheerios commercials.
Overall this is a very flat episode. It’s sad to say but things are getting quite rough here as this show inches closer to its end. But before we get to the end we still have a few villains that need to give us one last appearance. Our teaser at the end of this episode shows our old pal King Tut escaping from Gotham Prison. Victor Buono makes his final appearance on the show next time in I’ll be a Mummy’s Uncle. Same bat-time, same bat-channel (superhero).
Bat Gadgets Used: