Episode 102: Holy Nebuchadnezzar!: August 7, 2023

Ring Around the Riddler
September 21, 1967
"The Riddler is out to control all of prize fighting in Gotham City. He begins by kidnapping and brainwashing top prizefighters with the aid of the Siren. Then, under the guise of Mushy Nebuchadnezzar, supposed boxing champion of Southwest Asia, he challenges Batman to a fight in the ring. But when it becomes clear that the Riddler has no plans to play fair, it's up to Batgirl to help her crime fighting companions."
77 minutes

Vince can't believe how much the show has changed so suddenly. He wonders where the show could have gone. RD (aka Kid Gulliver) thinks it would still end up the same. 

Of note, RD also wrote about the episode on his other site, in connection with Adam West appearing in Memphis in his cowl and costume tracksuit to cut a promo on Jerry Lawler.

Narrator: "Night, the cloak for sinners, draws its dark folds over Gotham City, where the Riddler hides out in a little-used gymnasium."

Riddler spars with his kidnapped boxer Kid Gulliver, played by James Brolin in his third appearance (sadly not with Catwoman).
RD: "How could he go to anything bigger or better than Ring Around the Riddler?"
Riddler asks Gulliver to lose his next match at Gotham Square Garden. "I have a riddle for you. What do many boats, shovels, laundries, whistles and hot showers have in common? Steam. (To his goons) Put him in the steam room and shrink him down to size."
You can tell it is a steam room because there is a sign over a door-less frame saying so in front of a completely dark room. 

Vince, who rather enjoyed this story, thinks they used the budget on other areas. RD, who is more ambivalent, disagrees. 

Riddler's lady, Betsy "Bullface" Boldface, and with rather short 60's hair, listens to her man plan to get rid of all the other prizefighters and Batman "then control all the prizefighting in Gotham City once and for all...and everywhere else."
"When is the top of a mountain like a savings account? When it piques one's interest."

RD once worked with a wrestler named Bull Payne. At one show he had to help a rather...distracted referee during a hell turn (RD, not the referee) to award a match to "Bullpen". 

At Stately Wayne Manor, the Duo watch their study big screen in surprise as Kid Gulliver loses in the third round. (:14)
Bruce: "As chairman of Gotham City Boxing Commission, I'm gonna call an emergency meeting. It looks like undesirable elements have once again infiltrated the manly art of self-defense."
RD: "What about those poor kids in church? All they wanted was a little summer retreat!"

At the boxing box office, Riddler has a metal box with a light up question mark on the top that RD thinks may have also been used in Batman Forever. "Riddle me this! When does a painter use a trigger instead of a brush? When he's a stickup artist."
He's about to violently kiss the box office lady but seeing Barbara standing in line to buy tickets he has to run off, leaving the box behind. 

Cue spinning Batsignal, now with Batgirl.

Batgirl calls Gordon who calls Alfred who tells him that Bruce isn't home by shaking his head (over the phone). So they light the Batsignal, a surprisingly uncommon occurrence in the series as we've found out. This gets the Duo into the Office.

Vince wonders how Gordon couldn't figure out who Batgirl was.
RD: "To be fair, how many times has he talked to Bruce Wayne in person?"

Batman: " It's lucky you were in the vicinity of Gotham Square Garden."
Batgirl: "Yes. Luck is an important weapon to a woman crimefighter, Batman."
The box has been brought in for the Trio to examine with a stethoscope.
Batman: "This little blinking device is merely an added touch to pique our curiosity. Sounds like a trick of Riddler's."
The only thing inside are metal shavings and a note: "Who rules the ring? No prince, king or raja. Look for a clue on the walls of Khafajah."
Batman: "Khafajah was a famous temple in what was the land of Mesopotamia, Robin."
Gordon: "My daughter, Barbara, studied the history of Southwestern Asia in college, Batman."
Because of course history is essential for her job of...librarian.
Speaking of Barbara, Batgirl has somehow vanished without the men noticing.
Batman (lustily): "Her particular brand of vanishing cream... another weapon in her arsenal."
RD knows sudden vanishing is actually a skill of Batman more so than his protege. 

The boxing commissioner then calls to report that Kid Gulliver has vanished. This is due to him being back at the gym being shot up with "riddle juice".
Riddler: "Gentlemen, if we had our choice of laps to sit on right now, which would we choose? Kid Gulliver's temporary lapse of memory."
As the goons take him away Betsy brings a burnoose for her man. She has something for her sports show at midnight of all times (what does she think it is, SportsCenter?): "Mushy Nebuchadnezzar, unchallenged champion of Southwestern Asia's boxing world, arrived in Gotham City tonight. Ready  and willing to take on any and all comers."
Riddler: "Stroke of your usual feminine genius, Betsy."

Cut to the Duo Batclimbing up to Barbara's apartment to ask for her Southwestern Asian knowledge. (:28)
Batman: "We would've entered the building by more conventional means."
Robin: "But we didn't wanna startle the tenants." (Emphasis mine)
Barbara: "As I recall, some strange scrollwork was found on the walls of that temple indicating men used fists to fight long before the supposed beginnings of boxing in ancient Rome and Greece."
Robin: "Holy hieroglyphics. How would the Riddler know that, Batman?"
Batman: "The mind of a criminal like Riddler's is a sponge which soaks up many strange facts, Robin."
Barbara thinks Riddler is referring to the prizefighter ring.
Batman: "Perhaps Riddler himself is trying to take over."
Robin: "That punctuated pipsqueak?"

Then Gordon knocks on the door (conventionally).
Barbara: "Well, tonight seems to be my night for gentlemen callers."
The police had found Kid Gulliver on the side of the road, of course with no memory of the recent days. The Duo leave to check out the location.
Gordon then suddenly makes himself at home so he can watch Betsy's sports show - again, at midnight. (:33) He turns on the television just in time to see a masked Riddler a burnoose-d Mushy Nebuchadnezzar, unchallenged champion of Southwestern Asia's boxing world talking about eating "tamarisk berries, bulbul bird eggs and licorice, but only licorice native to my country" and "camel grass juice".
Gordon: "Enough of that. He sounds like Southwestern Asia's unchallenged nut."

Vince loves circus peanuts, to RD's disgust.

Wrote RD: "Hard cut to unneeded extreme close-up of O'Hara's face." He's stumbling around (more so than usual) by the boxing box office as the Duo try to get through to him.
Riddler: "Riddle me this, Dynamic Dullheads!  What have the following in common? Hemming, basting, purling and tacking?"
Then he vanishes.
RD is reminded of when Shaquille O'Neal was on AEW and just vanished inside an ambulance. Perhaps he was trying to evade process servers?

Batman: "Hemming and purling, basting and tacking are all words related to needlework."
Robin: "You think they gave Chief O'Hara the same injection as they gave Kid Gulliver?"
Batman: "I'll take Chief O'Hara down to headquarters. You follow in the Batmobile."
At last, Dick has a use for his new driver's license!

Meanwhile Barbara mentions to Charlie (her pet bird) how this Nebuchadnezzar's chin "didn't look much like a Southwestern Asiatic chin to this student of history. Maybe Batgirl should investigate the local source of tamarisk berries, bulbul bird eggs, licorice, and camel grass juice." 

Vince is impressed by how RD can say Nebuchadnezzar. "You don't want me saying that name."

Narrator: "So it's across her bedroom in a flash to the secret Batgirl nook, where Barbara Gordon makes her dazzling change to Batgirl! And into action on her Batgirl Cycle! And shortly, back in Riddler's little-used gymnasium..." (:39)

Betsy, giving the tamarisk berries, bulbul bird eggs, licorice, and camel grass juice, tells Riddler on Batgirl following them i.e. three steps behind her.
Riddler: "Riddle me once. What's most alluring, when it's lowest or highest? When it's in the air or in a  hole? When it's served you, yet you can't touch it?"
Batgirl: "An enchanting ace."

This gives him the space to command next week's villain, Joan Collins as the Siren, to hum a high-pitched note test of the emergency broadcast system. Unaffected, Batgirl just turns her head slightly.
Siren: "I've never tried my note two octaves above high C on a woman before."
So there is a fight, and Batgirl gets taken to the steam room. 

Regardless of the outcome, Riddler is still thrilled; "I thought my broadcast would put the Dynamic  Decimal Points on your track. But Batgirl will work just as well."
"He had also been using Siren's singing to entice men to do his dirty work. He now has three more prizefighters to be controlled, all played by actual boxers of the time. They too get the steam room treatment. Then Siren just...walks out the door. Of course Riddler watches her leave (until Betsy gets in his way so he can look at her instead).

Then all of a sudden Batgirl gets away. Off-screen.
Betsy: "Would you like a shot of camel grass juice?"
Riddler: "Oh, what's looser than a thread, a fish, flying ribbons? A woman's tongue! Possibly Batgirl's!  I've got to get on some provocative riddles if I'm going to coax Batman into the ring with Mushy Nebuchadnezzar." 

RD bullies Vince to say "Mezuchanazzer". 

Cut to next day. Gordon has Barbara in his Office to talk to since O'Hara is still recovering from being more useless than usual amnesia. (:48) He also has more riddles for her to decipher until the Duo enter, and then Riddler as Mushy calls. He means business because he is standing in front of a curtain.
Riddler: "My line is plugged into radio station GTCR. That means that all of Gotham City has heard you called - hahaha - a coward."
He hangs up, cuing an extreme close up of Batman.
Batman: "Regardless of who Mushy Nebuchadnezzar may be, or what Riddler is up to, regardless of  private or public image, one thing I cannot abide is being called a coward. You may inform all the news media that I will meet the champion of Southwestern Asia in Gotham Square Garden tonight."

Thankfully since Batman is tight with Boxing Commission chairman Bruce Wayne, it's not too hard to prepare the GSG to accommodate a boxing ring at the last minute, and by boxing ring, I mean whatever on earth this is:


RD: "I worked in front of some very, very, very small crowds. Very ghetto stuff. There was one show I worked at - with the good Lord above as my witness and I am not making this up - there were two paying customers. It looked more impressive than what this is." 

Vince: "And this is Gotham Square Garden no less!"

Betsy is at one side helping to commentate because of course she does. Batman is on another side with his corner man Alfred Egbert Gus. Aunt Harriet is on another side with the Undynamic Duo and Barbara. She gets her quota of lines for the whole season talking non-stop to the men. At least she seems to be holstered this time. 

Batman (to Robin): "This is ridiculous. [Riddler's] smaller than you are."
RD's extensive research found that Ward was in fact an inch taller than Gorshin.

Riddler: "Batman, what eats crow, yells uncle, and tosses sponges?"
Batman: "A loser. AND I'M NOT A LOSER, RIDDLER!" 

So they start "boxing". 

As much as RD has his doubts on the episode, he easily found this to be some of Gorshin's best acting.

To try and even the odds Riddler does a Popeye punch, in which he sprinkles metal shavings all over the Dark Knight. Betsy is suddenly underneath the ring (despite the canvas looking to be a foot off the ground), sitting cross legged and taking a smoke as she turns on a giant magnet. This of course pins Batman in one place because...

Alfred: "The drawing power of this fight seems to have concentrated beneath the ring."

Is this how (fucking) magnets work? 

Batman entangled, this allows Riddler to rope-a-dope whack-a-mole. 

Barbara quickly rushes to the "bathroom", changes, and manages to get under the ring without anyone noticing to take out the magnet. Perhaps their eyes were also magnetized.

Riddler (not noticing the situation): "Ladies and gentlemen, riddle me this. When is a prizefight like a  beautiful lady? Answer: when it's a knockout."
Only when he turns and sees Batman is free and out for revenge does he turn and jump out through the ropes. The Bros were saddened there wasn't a fight in the ring, as much as whatever the 'boxing' was.


RD: "It should have been a 12-parter, and it should have been 12 rounds of Frank Gorshin in a boxing ring being a clown."

Instead the fight is a short one at the lair. Even Alfred is there, and he delivers the knockout blow with a bowling pin. Because of course he has one. 

Batman: "Any final riddles, Riddler?"
Riddler: "Yes. What do you throw away that keeps returning?"
Batman: "A boomerang."
Riddler: "Correct. And I'm a boomerang. And I shall be back."

Granted it would take him 12 years, but he did come back for one more try. 

Batman deters Robin from trying to follow Batgirl, though RD knows for sure that if Batman were alone he'd definitely stalk her.
Batman: "Let us respect her disguise as she respects ours."
Robin: "I guess you're right."
Alfred: "Some camel grass juice, sir?"
Robin: "Gosh, Batman, this camel grass juice is great!"
Batman: "Beware of strong stimulants, Robin."

Back at the Office, Gordon gets a visit (through Bonnie) from the Siren, real name Lorelei Circe.
Gordon (aroused): "Ms. Circe, what can I do for you?"
Siren: "It's what I can do for you, Commissioner, that really counts." (She gives a test of the EBS.)
Narrator: "Will the Siren succeed in the plan she has for Batman and Commissioner Gordon? Will her  purring parlay pay off? Watch for the stunning surprise on the next episode!"

Vince thought 35 (he guessed 34) year old Betsy was "definitely long in the tooth" and gives her 1 Batpole. RD was "very generous" for a 4. Peggy Ann Garner was more known for being a child actor, even winning an honorary Academy Award. She too passed way too young from pancreatic cancer. Upon hearing this Vince decides to give her a 2 instead. 

Vince: "I'm getting that old timers' disease, Bro."
RD: "Well maybe it's part-timers'."


  • Special Guest Villain: The Riddler [7+1] (Frank Gorshin) [6+1]
  • Extra Special Guest Villainess: The Siren (Joan Collins)
  • Window Celebrity: 3. Jerry Quarry, Armando Ramos, Raul Rojas (the three charmed boxers)
  • (Soon To Be) Window Celebrity: 1. James Brolin
  • SPEAKING OFs: 1. Exactly what you are talking about
  • Brown Hornet Escapes: 1.Off-screen steam escape

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