Episode 69: Holy Hamlet!: December 4, 2022

The Puzzles Are Coming or Batman, Dark Knight of Gotham, Part 1
December 21, 1966
"The Puzzler, a villain with a fondness for both Shakespeare and aviation, indicates he is after the fortunes of Artemus Knab. He convinces the billionaire to invest in his puzzle balloon business, but when the Dynamic Duo find that Knab seems too intelligent to fall for a phony scheme, they look deeper for the criminal's true intentions. Their search leads them to Knab's airplane monopoly, but unknown to them, the Puzzler has plans to halt their investigation - permanently."
48 minutes

RD: Not Practicing Bird Calls. He's not Bitey. He tries one anyway.

Vince thinks he found a villain worse than Mr. Minstrel Man. RD still thinks MMM was the worst, but our non Riddler villain is not far. It was originally supposed to be the Riddler anyway, but Gorshin had contract issues. Vince would rather get (super)kicked in the face.

Twister was first released on the original airdate.

To try and delay talking about the story (and who can blame him?), RD mentions that he nearly died at a Target on Black Friday. (:05) Some one wearing reindeer antlers was holding up the line looking at a National Geographic. In the parking lot he was almost hit by an idiot in car were it not for the wife pulling him out of the way. He did get a good deal on a TV (from elsewhere).

It's "another serene day in Gotham City" in the penthouse of the Gotham Arms. The Puzzler awaits wearing a crooked hat and a huge bow-tie. Among his crew also with him are Glider, Ramjet, the rotund Blimpy, and an old lady named Rocket, not to be confused with Marvel's own. The penthouse is not actually theirs, but belongs to a man named Artemus Knab, who is not yet present. 

Being a Puzzler, he of course frequently quotes from Shakespeare. Because when I think of puzzles I think of Early Modern English. That was in that one Hamlet soliloquy right?

The undiscovered country, from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have,
Than fly to others that we know not of?

Also the penthouse is so high up they can see straight down into Gordon's Office in the Police HQ.

Puzzler: "This should startle the pillars of the law, the caterpillars of the Commonwealth/which I have sworn to weed and pluck away...a quotation from the Bard, young Rocket." (Richard II, Act II, Scene 3)

As expected Vince does not like Shakespeare. Neither did the show's producers who for some reason gave Puzzler Bookworm's theme. Perhaps because they are both literary fellows? 

Gordon is on the line with the Warden, talking about the prison having no more space, all thanks to the fine work of the Dynamic Duo the police. Before I can write a joke about that, a small drone-like plane drops a smoke bomb through the window. O'Hara rushes in thinking it a "child's prank" and the two just stare at it.
Gordon: "Are you thinking what I'm thinking, Chief O'Hara?"
O'Hara: "Aren't I always Commissioner?"
I initially thought it meant calling in the Duo, but they first guess it is the work of that villainous Puzzler, that scurvy companion (Henry IV Part 2, Act II, Scene 4). THEN they cry for help.
Gordon: "I know we've been working the Caped Crusader overtime lately, but I feel I'd be shirking my duty to the populous of Gotham City if I didn't call on his help in this dire crisis. " 

At Stately Wayne Manor Dick is...practicing bird calls. (:16)
Bruce: "Yes Dick! Your bird calls are close to perfect. If more people practice them, some day we might have a chance for a real communication with our feathered friends."
Dick: "In that case I think I'll polish up my Ruby Crown Kinglet, and my Rose-Breasted Yellow-Tailed Grosbeak calls."
Unfortunately before he has a chance to try out his Black-Throated Green Warbler, Alfred whispers the Batphone ringing.
Aunt Harriet: "They're always on the move."
Alfred: "Well, that's because they're young."

Back in the office, Batman: "Puzzler's maleficent methods are legendary, plus, the fact they're usually connected with an aviatic caper, along with his Shakespearean touches."
Robin: "Holy Hamlet!"

The bomb has a "backward puzzle": "I know a bank where the wild thyme blows" (A Midsummer Night's Dream, Act II, Scene 1). Batman spells 'bank' backwards to Knab, he of the penthouse, "one of the richest men in the world from his aviation monopoly". He declines Gordon's "assistance" as he wants to go by himself to personally "cross swords", like he is Romeo and Puzzler is Tybalt (and Robin is Juliet or something). 

Gordon: "Whoever they are beneath those masks they wear -"
O'Hara: "You've said that before, Commissioner."
Gordon: "And I'll say it to my dying day, Chief O'Hara! Gotham City owes the Dynamic Duo a debt which can never be repaid."
O'Hara: "Well, if this Artemus Knab is as rich as they say, maybe he can help a little?"

SPEAKING OF Knab, he and Puzzler are playing a game of actual Monopoly (though sadly it's not Batman or Stratford-Upon-Avon themed), when the Duo arrive through the window. 
Puzzler: "Now, by two-headed Janus/Nature hath framed strange fellows in her time: art thou not verily the Caped Crusaders?" (The Merchant of Venice, Act I, Scene 1)
Batman: "Yes Puzzler, I'm Batman."
Robin: "AND I'M ROBIN!"
Knab doesn't mind Puzzler's presence for a damned and luxurious mountain goat (Henry V, Act IV, Scene 4) since he has a good idea for making money: puzzle balloons, whatever the hell they are. Robin thinks otherwise.
Knab: "Young man, there's no easier buck to be made in this world than an honest buck."
Batman: "Sometimes Robin is inclined to be a bit impetuous."
Knab: "It should make an interesting addition to my airplane monopoly, not to mention my movie studio monopoly, my stock market monopoly, my ship building monopoly, and my various other lesser monopolies."
RD wonders what Bruce would be thinking on Knab being a literal billionaire with monopolies (perhaps on Boardwalk).
Puzzler hands Robin a balloon: "You're obviously not too old to play with balloons."
Robin: "I'm old enough to recognize a bunco artist!"
Knab reminds the Duo there is a perfectly fine door to use. 

Enter Batman and Robin in the Batcave. (:26)
Robin: "I just hate to see a reasonably successful multi-billionaire like Artemus Knab taken for a ride by that shady pseudo-Shakespearean swindler."
And he has such a February face! So full of frost, of storm, and cloudiness! (Much Ado About Nothing, Act V, Scene 4)
They use the Bat Air Jet on the balloon, which has another line on a hawk from a handsaw (Hamlet, Act II, Scene 2). They guess it has to do with Knab's christening of his new plane the Retsoor (or Rooster spelled backwards), which will take place at the Airport and could prove a good target for the Puzzler to hit.

Sure enough Puzzler and his retinue are at the christening with Knab in his "old jalopy". Rocket complains about not possibly networking with the rich and famous around to get into movies. The other goons wonder why they don't steal the plane as well as the peoples' valuables.

Puzzler: "Sweep on, you fat and greasy citizens!"
Blimpy: ""Fat and greasy"?"
Puzzler: "A favorite line of mine from As You Like It, Blimpy. Translated it means, "get going!" (Act II, Scene 1)
The balloons they have brought with them contain, yes, gas. Sadly it is not colored, but it does paralyze or freeze everyone in place like they're trying to stand motionless on a theater stage.
Puzzler: "A little extra pocket money is never a bad thing. Don't leave anything on the table."
Rocket aims for the jewelry left laying around. Puzzler: "Frailty, thy name is woman!" (Hamlet, Act I, Scene 2)
They wait around for the Duo to appear so they too get gassed rather than preparing for an ambush. Their brains are as dry as the remainder biscuit after voyage. (As You Like It, Act II, Scene 7)
Of course now that the two are at his mercy Puzzler...does a Hamlet and doesn't kill them straight away. No, he just...takes a picture of the plane's control panel. Then they just exit.

Return the Duo (whenever they unfreeze) to the Batcave to another balloon (rather than just having them do it at the Airport where it would make more thematic sense). The line in one of them leads their Batlogic to the lair of the Globe Balloon Factory, Shakespeare's famous theater.

The Duo are greeted at the factory by balloon animals. Ah, this mus be Puzzler's playing company then. (:34) Rocket is there looking even older than before, manually blowing up some of the balloons.

Rocket: "I'm sorry, Puzzler told me he's not seeing anyone today."
Batman: "At the risk of sounding conceited young lady, we're not just anyone!" 

So they just walk inside into a fight. Robin is thrown on his stomach where Blimpy is gyrating on top of him, like his wife's a hobby horse (The Winter's Tale, Act II, Scene 1). Batman responds with an Irish whip and Robin adds a hip attack, but Puzzler takes them out with the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune a dart.  

The Duo are thus tied in a hot air balloon basket (which Vince or Mrs. Deal would never want to take a ride in) which will detach at 20,000 feet.
Robin: "I bet even Shakespeare doesn't have such words for such villainy!"
Ramjet offers chewing gum to relieve the ear pressure, but they decline it. He takes the piece for himself and throws the wrapper into the basket.

RD re-tells winning a helicopter ride at 5 years old.

Puzzler: "This was the most unkindest cut of all! Farewell Dynamic Duo! Bon Voyage! Happy landings! Adieu! Adieu! Remember me!" (Julius Caesar, Act III, Scene 2)

Actually, a more appropriate line would have been Good-night, sweet prince/And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest! (Hamlet, Act V, Scene 2) But then the Duo would have fought over who was Hamlet and who was his surviving friend Horatio, paying no attention to how to get out of their conundrum and - huh. I'm putting more thought into this than our 'villain' ever did.

Narrator: "Horror of horrors! Is there no escape? That altimeter is rising fast! Is this the last hurrah for the Dynamic Duo? Can anything save them? We'll find out tomorrow! Same Bat Time! Same Bat Channel!" 

Neither Bro remembered to look up the work of Mr. Evans, but it's pretty obvious he had his Shakespearean background for his work. This included his then appearances on Betwitched (to also do Shakespeare).

  • Special Guest Villain: The Puzzler (Maurice Evans)

  • SPEAKING OFs: 3. Sad, Shakespeare, Christmasopoly

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