Episode 97: Holy Internet Connection!: July 3, 2023

Pop Goes the Joker
March 22, 1967
"When the Joker takes advantage of his vandalism of fine art being appreciated as pop art itself, Batman must discover his true scheme."
64 minutes

RD IS AFRAID OF MONKEY. He is also afraid of Vince's main lights being off due to the heat: "it's scary that I look more professional than you do."

Narrator: "A picturesque day in Gotham City! Even more picturesque than usual! And in one of the many picturesque art galleries where culture-loving Gothamites gather..."

Alfred is at Bernie Park's Artistic Procurers looking for something for his "millionaire Bruce Wayne", particularly an original "Muzzy". I thought he was an alien come to teach English. The shopkeeper offers to introduce the actual artist (and increase his asking price from $5000 to $7500).

Just as "Alfred Will Do" meets (Oliver) Muzzy...he has to run out the back door as the Joker enters the front. He starts spray painting the artwork in a future echo of what he would also do in Burton's Batman. RD wants to watch it for their progrem.

Unfortunately as the Bros remind, Alfred Will Do doesn't have his own utility belt, so he has to call Stately Wayne Manor from a payphone. Thankfully braless Aunt Harriet promptly answers.
Harriet: "Oh, Bruce, Alfred just called from the Park gallery. He's found a painting he thinks you'll be very interested in. It's called "The Laughing Man.""
Bruce: "That's Alfred's way of telling us that one of Gotham City's arch villains is at Park Gallery right  now."
Dick: "Holy tip-off, Joker!"
Bruce: "Exactly, and I think you better continue your art education at the Park Gallery as Robin. To The Bat-poles!"
Personally for a code name I would have gone with The Man Who Laughs, as Conrad Veidt's appearance is a well known influence to the Joker's look (and that in turn of an alternate Batman). 

Also the Batpoles don't have their names signed on them since Alfred had taken them for re-painting. RD immediately gleamed from this how the story would end. Vince wished they mixed up their positions. RD wished they wore their opposite outfits because of this.

For a change they go to Not Gordon's Office, i.e. the art gallery. Joker is still there. This immediately leads to a quick and easy fight. (:13) Joker tries to spray paint Batman and gets punched for his trouble.
Joker: "Ugh. Internal injuries. I'm going to die."
Bernie: "I hope you do, you finagling fiend! Batman, did you see what he did to the pictures? Priceless works of art destroyed forever. Think of the loss to posterity and the loss to my profits."
Batman: "Yes, the damage is irreparable. But at least you can be sure the Joker won't be doing any more decorating for a long time."

Then Vince's connection hits technical difficulties. (:16) RD has to carry the stream for a bit until he can figure things out, having experience with this sort of thing. He uses the time to recommend AEW Fight Forever.

RD: "Always keep in mind kids that when in doubt, blame Russo."

To the surprise of the others (in the gallery), Muzzy loves Joker's contributions to the art. He pops his mouth while doing so, a trademark of his actor Fritz Feld. Vince recognized this from his stint on The Odd Couple.

Joker: "Well, excuse my appearance Mr. Muzzy, but yes, these uncultured boobs have no appreciation for fine art."

Vince wants to call people boobs again.  

Joker offers Muzzy a 50/50 "split, I mean co-authorship" for their newly interpreted paintings.
Joker (to Batman): "Peasant! Philistine! Ha ha ha! Well, what can you expect from a man who appears in public in such a ridiculous outfit? (He paints a J on the Batlogo) There, Batman, now you're wearing
an original Joker, signed by the artist! Ha ha ha! Come, boys. Let's leave this zoo full of bourgeois baboons. And henceforth, Batman, stay out of art galleries, hmm? Ha ha ha!"
Robin: "Are we just going to let him walk out of here?"
Batman: "We have no choice, Robin. He's committed no crime. As a matter of fact, he's increased the  value of these paintings. I think we should discuss this with Commissioner Gordon."

RD: "So...what was Joker's original plan? Because he got caught by Batman at the beginning of this. Had Muzzy not decided that "hey, this looks a lot better", Joker would be in jail. This would be the shortest episode ever!" (:26)

Finally at the Office, O'Hara is annoyed by "the nerve of that clown" by painting on the costume, which has somehow changed appearance between scenes.
Batman: "What concerns us is his potential damage to Gotham City. I'm sure Joker has some larger
scheme of which this only the first step."
O'Hara: "You're right, Batman. That crook has something up his sleeve besides his elbow."
Batman suggests more guarding of museums and private collections while he returns to the Batcave to figure out what to do next. 

Vince's internet continues to act up but at least he's still audible.

At the Batcave Alfred Will Do tries to scrub the paint away from the costume that Batman is still wearing while apologizing about the repainted Batpoles. Gordon calls to tell them Joker has been invited to the "Gotham City International Art Contest" and wants to send 50 plainclothes. Yet again Batman declines, knowing how well that will turn out. Instead he asks for just one.
Batrman: "Preferably a man who knows Baby Jane Towser, the wealthy young socialite who organized  the contest.
Gordon: "I've got it. Bruce Wayne, the millionaire philanthropist. He's cooperated with us many times in the past and travels in the same social circles as Towser."
Towser is a reference to Baby Jane Holzer, similarly a young socialite who was associated with Warhol around that time.

We see Towser at the Contest, who RD considers attractive but "with a very grading voice" that she constantly shouted with. Vince finds more of an issue with her face than her exaggerated performance. 

Also competing are "Pablo Pincus" (who for some reason wears a sombrero), "Jackson Potluck" (a hippie with a wheelbarrow of paint), "Leonardy Devinsky" ("painter of the world famous fresco Midnight Snack" with an organ grinder monkey on his shoulder), and "Vincent Van Gauche" (with both ears). Compared to them the Joker gets applause.
Dick: "How can they clap for that crook?"
Bruce: "Don't forget, Dick, this is a hometown crowd and Joker is from Gotham City."

The contestants have three minutes to paint, and Towser shoots an actual handgun indoors as a starting pistol. Potluck dips his whole body in the paint and rolls around on the canvas. Devinsky's monkey throws tomatoes. Van Gauche uses his feet which the audience laughs at. Joker...doesn't even touch his brush to the paper.

Bruce: "Modern art tends to be rather unrestrained, Dick."

As the judges evaluate the works, the monkey gives the angriest look for some reason.
Judge: "I kind of like what the monkey did."
Joker: "My painting is titled Death of a Mauve Bat."
Baby Jane: "WHERE IS THE BAT?"
Joker: "Well the bat, gentlemen, is dead. It died in 1936, a very bad year for bats."
Other Judge: "Of course the bat is dead."
Joker: "It's symbolic."
Other Other Judge: "Symbolic of what?"

Of course Joker is declared winner, much to the increased anger of the monkey. 
Joker: "As winner of the grand prize I would like to announce the opening of a new school for aspiring  artists where I personally will instruct my students in the secrets of modern art. Yes, applications for the  Joker Art Institute are now being accepted by my assistants. Sorry, millionaires only, please."
Baby Jane volunteers for the "BIG HUNK OF GENIUS" as a heiress to a paperclip fortune. Bruce, seeing what he thinks Joker's plan is, decides to also enroll.
Bruce: "Aren't you going to give me a test to see whether I have talent?"
Joker: "Oh, the rich, the well-born and the able, Mr. Wayne, all have talent. Especially the rich."

Vince: "So this has to go, like you said, all the way back to him ruining those pieces of art to eventually open up his own art school to enroll millionaires only?"
RD: "Yes. And the only way this would've worked is if Muzzy would've decided that this is a great idea. That's why I said: if Muzzy is not in on this, I don't know how."

Robin and Alfred already are tracking Bruce back at the Batcave, leading to the ever hidden lair of...the Joker Art Institute, already open for business. (:42) Joker has his students (all women, except for Bruce), paint a still life of (plastic) fruit.
RD: "Why was this ever a thing?"

Of course Joker takes his chance to critique his students drawing with such artistic mediums as bent metal rods, red putty, barbed wire, and a blow torch (labelled by Baby Jane). Bruce easily (of course) sculptures an actual looking bowl out of modelling clay.
Joker: "Well, that's terrible. Terrible, Wayne. Why, even a 3-year-old could do better than that. Here, let me show you. (He turns the bowl upside down) There. That's more like it."
Bruce: "Yes, I see what you mean. That's about the level of a 3-year-old."
Joker: "I do the jokes around here, Wayne."
Bruce: "I'd say that was one of your better ones."
Unable to think up any better jest in response, Joker instead goes straight to having his remaining goons take everyone hostage in exchange for their art collections. 

Gordon immediately calls on the Batphone to share this new development. Robin gets going, again telling the Commissioner not to send any of his men. "If the police show up, innocent people might be hurt." And that's just from the officers!
Robin (to Alfred Will Do): "You stay here and watch the Bat-radarscope in case Joker moves while I'm en route. I'll take the emergency Bat-tunnel. It comes out on Highway One and I can catch a bus to Gotham City."

Joker hopes Bruce doesn't deliver on his art so he can just kill him. Rather than just do so right now?
Bruce: "I hope you're better at that than at painting."
Before he does so Robin enters for another fight, this time with Bruce. Well actually it's Bruce's 50 year old stunt double assisting against Joker's yellow haired stunt double. (:52) Robin doesn't have his own bad looking stunt double as he falls into and gets stuck in red putty. His mask almost comes off as he raises his head. Bruce is also quickly subdued and tied up. 

Goon: "Why ain't Batman here, Joker?"
Joker: "Because he's afraid of me, you dolt! Yes, I knew the day would come when his spine would turn to Batjelly. I'm only sorry he isn't here to enjoy a special surprise I cooked up for him. But Bruce Wayne will do as a substitute. I'm beginning to dislike him as much as Batman."

Joker's trap is a "very mobile" Mobile, though sadly not Bat or Joker. "As soon as I leave here, I will activate a motor that will start it rotating. Let's see how long you can dodge these razor sharp palette knives, Boy Bumpkin!"
Robin: "Holy hamburger, I'll be cut to pieces by these blades!"

Narrator: "Robin diced to dribbles?  Batman certainly can't help him. Will the Joker go free to master the art of crime? And make a crime of art? Find out tomorrow! Same Bat Time! Same Bat Channel!"

Big Bossman had a mother.


  • Special Guest Villain: The Joker [8] (Cesar Romero) [8]

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