Episode 111: Holy Londinium!: October 9, 2023

The Londinium Larcenies
November 23, 1967
"Commissioner Gordon travels across the channel to Londinium by request of the President to assist in a spree of baffling burglaries. Also aboard ship are Bruce Wayne, Dick Grayson, their manservant Alfred and Gordon's daughter Barbara. Alfred sets up a make-shift Batcave under a rented mansion near Londinium while Batman & Robin visit Lord Ffogg and Lady Peasoup, who run a girl's finishing school that teaches their students a degree in shoplifting."
The Foggiest Notion
November 30, 1967
"Lord Ffogg and Lady Peasoup plan to steal a ship-worth of mod clothing material with which they can control the fashion world of Londinium. Ffogg and his men subdue Batman, Peasoup and her girls grab Robin and Lady Prudence uses the paralyzing fog on Batgirl."
The Bloody Tower
December 7, 1967
Batman, ably assisted as always by Alfred, saves Robin from being crushed by a winch at the Tower of Londinium. He also rescues Batgirl from the dungeon at Ffogg Place. But Robin gets stung by an African Death Bee as Lord Ffogg and Lady Peasoup get ready to steal the crown jewels at the Bloody Tower."
55 minutes

RD: Better Villain than Lord Ffogg. Vince gives themselves some applause for having to watch a really bad trilogy. Thus the Bros will quickly go over all three in less than an hour.

Vince's internet meandering lead him to writer Keith R.A. DeCandido's introspective as part of his own look at the series. He gave the whole misadventure a 1/10, especially for the bad plot, the sets being more Los Angeles than London, and Rudy Vallee doing British by the way of Dick van Dyke. RD: "I feel like people need to be arrested over this."

Narrator: "The great metropolis of Londinium, mighty capital of the Old World, is enjoying another of its famous crystal-clear days. But in the queen's private museum in Chuckingham Palace, something's rather foggy about Lord Marmaduke Ffogg of Ffoggshire, and his sister, Lady Penelope Peasoup. But what are these twisted twigs of Londinium aristocracy up to? Purloining Her Majesty's priceless snuffboxes? And then covering their tracks with Marmaduke's own man-made fog?" (:05)

In order words, Ffogg covers his criminal activity by...smoking.

This is enough of a concern for the Prime Minister and Scotland Yard First Minister and Ireland Yard to beg the President. Of the United States. Another country. Who then begs Gordon to beg Batman.

Barbara has of course overheard the call, and she initially declines going with her father before he tells her that Batman is also coming with.
RD: "What happened to her surfer boyfriend?"
Gordon calls Stately Wayne Manor, just to set up a bit where Dick is playing drums while wearing a wig so Bruce can shout at him to "cool it, Ringo," and Alfred accidentally calls him "Master Robin".

As this is a matter of the utmost urgency on the behest of the President, the Gordons take a plane boat. Coincidentally so do Bruce and "Young" Dick and Alfred and Harriet and a giant crate.
Bruce: "
I don't think that Dick should neglect his studies, so we brought along a thousand key works of literature, his biological specimens, and also his own desk."
O'Hara gives Gordon a parting gift "begorra" and Bruce takes the opportunity to flirt with Barbara. 

Meanwhile in the black warehouse "Easterland House", Ffogg walks around in an Inverness cape as he and Peasoup steal stuff while smoking. 

Of course Millionaire Bruce Wayne already has a mansion overseas to use as cover for a Batcave, assuming that's what the Narrator calls "the dungeon of a rented country manor house". (:14)
Bruce: "It will do the job, Alfred. And you did a great job unpacking Dick Grayson's books, biological specimens and desk. And not even a scratch on the Batmobile."
Alfred: "If I may, sir, remember to drive on the left, not the right."

Cue gratuitous stock footage of Londinium "which is suffering from a spell of unusually clear weather" including a soccer stadium that was last seen some weeks ago.

At Ireland Yard the Duo and the Gordons meet Superintendent Watson in what is clearly Gordon's Office (except his red phone is more old fashioned).
Batman: "These surroundings have a familiar feel."
Watson: "Yes, Batman, decor in a police department varies little the world over."

Through some trademark Batlogie linking the smoke fog to aftergrass, Batman decides to investigate Ffogg Place. Peasoup also has a girl's finishing school nearby, which of course teaches how to crime. And Ffogg's servants are also conveniently his goons.

We are halfway through the episode. As far as I can tell the second half consists of the following:

  • The Batmobile pulls up as Bookworm's Theme plays once more. Somehow Watson and Barbara could fit in the back. (He's babysitting her while Papa Gordon is away at a meeting.)
  • Batman expresses interest in Ffogg's nicely mowed lawn. 
  • Somehow Barbara knew Alfred's number, and calls for his help.
  • The women of the finishing school are all over Robin. "Holy contributing to the delinquency of minors!"
  • Ffogg has a beehive of African death bees because in his spare time he's reading too much Fleming.
  • Barbara manages to sneak out and somehow finds Alfred in a taxi cab ("borrowed from my second cousin Cuthbert") to take her to her rented flat.
  • Yes, Barbara managed to find time to rent a flat.
  • The villains think Barbara will join their school for scoundrels. 
  • The departing Duo are stopped by "some rather unholy highwaymen" i.e. the goons.
  • Of course Barbara manages to change into Batgirl and somehow finds the scene to help drive off the goons.
  • Yes, she does vanish immediately afterwards.
  • Robin: "What do you suppose she's doing in Londinium? And where do you suppose she went?"
    Batman: "I can't answer the first question, Robin, and I've never been able to answer the second."
  • The Duo decide to return to the Londinium Batcave to investigate further.
  • Then the Batmobile gets fogged up.
  • Narrator: "Has Basil, Lord Ffogg's friendly butler, succeeded in befogging the Dynamic Duo? Is Batman up against a sticky wicket? Our next episode will give you much more than a foggy notion."




Narrator: "Another crystal-clear day in Londinium." (:21)

And suddenly the Duo are in Watson's Gordon's Office telling Watson that Ffogg is their villain. Batman worries what Barbara is getting into joining their school. Of course we don't see how the Duo managed to escape a cliffhanger of...a "Delayed Action Knock-Out Fog Capsule" by using...a "General Emergency Batextinguisher".  I guess that speaks for itself.

Coincidentally Barbara enters with a package for Batman, with thick smoke wafting from it.
Batman (nonchalantly): "Yes, it seems about to explode. You better all stand back."
Inside are three bells, which Batman links to The Three Bells pub.
Watson: "On the river in the dock area. Many's the pint of wallop I have there. Or had, I should say, before the hippies took over."
The dock is the same one seen in the Movie., one of its docked ships carrying clothes that could be a potential target for Ffogg.
Robin: "Holy rising hemlines! Are we being dared to stop a robbery of miniskirts, Batman?"

The Batmobile gets to the pub during a scene where the villains gloat over their plan.
Robin: "Let's go!"
Batman: "Not you, Robin. They have strict licensing laws in this country. A boy of your age is not allowed in a tavern."
Robin: "But if it's been taken over by the hippies and mod set - "
Batman: "You're far from mod, Robin. And many hippies are older than you are. Why don't you wait by  the Batmobile? I have a hunch that you'll be of good use there."

Ffogg and his goons have already arrived at the pub waiting for the Dark Knight to enter. Oh, also Ffogg said he had gout and had his foot in a cast. This lasted all of ten minutes, so he's completely "healed" enough to involve himself in the expected fight. Batman beats one of the goons with a bar tap before he gets overwhelmed.

During all this the fledging criminal girls arrive to rob the boat. Since Robin's one weakness is not fighting women, he instead cuts the boat's mooring line. So the girls grab Robin instead, and he protests as they all start feeling him up. The boat drifts away, which of course means someone turning on the motor and driving it halfway into the water. 

With the Duo captured, it's up to Barbara as she is driven by Alfred back to Ffogg Place.
Alfred: "How did you get away?"
Barbara: "It wasn't easy. I'll explain later."
(It's never explained later.)
Somehow Alfred has her Batgirl outfit for her perusal. She thinks Lady Prudence, the governess of the school, has her own agenda, and asks Alfred to inform Gordon and Batman. 

She waits for him to leave before she does her transformation sequence in the glamorous locale of behind a bush. She goes to Ffogg's cricket pavillion, where he conveniently has all his thefts displayed and labelled. Prudence, who sees this, uses her being distracted to knock her out with paralyzing gas for such a contingency.

Back at the pub, Batman is still tied up as Ffogg rambles on wondering what's taking the boat robbery so long. 

Then all of a sudden he pulls out a doohickey that can remove memories.


...I don't know.

Batman: "I know nothing about your remarkable device, Lord Ffogg. But your grisly game is almost  up. Proof of your villainy is inscribed indelibly on my mind!"
Ffogg: "Which will shortly be erased."
He uses it, and rather than then take the opportunity to take off the cowl to see who he's facing, he...just lets Batman stagger out of the bar like a certain deceased Co-Hosss.
Vince: "Blade was a hobo?"

With Barbara's help and the Batmobile Bat-Tracking Device, Alfred knows where he is, and takes him back to the Londinium Batcave. "Fortunately, I packed the Recollection Cycle Bat Restorer for this little overseas trip."
One zap is apparently enough.

In Gordon's Office now O'Hara is there to receive Gordon's report on the meeting for Mayor Linseed. He most definitely flew, making him the smartest by far of the heroic contingent.


That sure says a lot.

Vince: "He knows where the bodies are buried."

Of course now O'Hara has to take a flight back home. I'm sure it won't be fully taxpayer-funded in the slightest.
O'Hara: "There's nothing like an Irish carrier pigeon."
Cue everyone laughing. Batman then calls to inform of the (somehow vanished) boat, along with Robin.

Speaking of, Batgirl wakes in the dungeon below the Place alongside Robin. Ffogg has a better idea for the young man.

In the Londinium Batcave, the Batcomputer acts up, so Batman has to slap the machinery a few times. The printed word "winch" leads him to Tower Bridge's winch room, so off he goes to save his ward stuck in a bridge mechanism. 

Surely this is a good place for a cliffhanger no?

What do you mean, no?

Batman: "Quickly, Alfred, the Anti-Mechanical Batray in the Bat-Glove Compartment! To save his life, we'll have to zero the Bat-ray in on the mechanical apparatus, and render them useless."

He unties him in time for another (boring) fight. Not even the stunt doubles can help despite their efforts. Ffogg escapes once more in smoke.

Narrator: "What's this? Batman and Robin fogbound in the winch room of Tower Bridge? And Batgirl  still paralyzed by paralyzing fog in the dungeon of Ffogg Place? By Jove, it's disturbing. By Jove, it's  exciting. By Jove, it's mystifying. By Jove, watch the next episode. By Jove."




Narrator: "Nothing has changed with the weather in the great metropolis of Londinium. It's still clear as glass." (:34)

Robin and Alfred inform Batman of the cricket pavillion and Batgirl's capture.
Batman: "You two seem to know a lot more about Batgirl than I do."
He asks Robin to drive the Batmobile while Alfred follows in the cab. "And don't forget to drive on the left, not the right."

Batgirl is still tied up down there as they drive back to the Place.  The villains state loudly their goal to steal the Crown Jewels before they throw some "lethal fog pellets" at her.

At the Place Robin sees Barbara's suitcase next to Batgirl's suitcase, but doesn't put two and two together, let alone try to rummage through them for a panty raid. Thus distracted, he trips the African death bee beehive trap wire, causing a "bee" to appear on his head.

Batman also sees the suitcases and is equally tempted, but he stops himself. He sends Alfred to inform the police as he goes to check on Robin.

Meanwhile Batgirl shows no sign of reacting to "lethal fog pellets". Ffogg aims to get more because they worked so well already.
Ffogg: "Digby, Scudder, and Basil can handle Batman."
Peasoup: "Well, they didn't before."
Ffogg: "Since that little incident, I've given them a severe talking to."

RD: "Officially, on the record, Lord Ffogg is the worst villain ever on this show."

Batman enters the dungeon, and since West had horrible peripheral vision wearing the cowl of course they didn't edit out his accidently bumping his head. Ffogg tries throwing more pellets anyway.

Meanwhile back at Gordon's Office, now Aunt Harriet is there, looking for Bruce and Dick. She was on a a pleasure cruise having some fun far away from this mess of a story. And thus is her last appearance on the series.

Back in the dungeon, Batman uses his Anti-Lethal-Fog Batspray against the smoke and a Bat-file on Batgirl's chains. The two give each other such the alluring look. Even her.

As for Robin, he's in the girl's dormitory resting after having taken his last African death bee antidote pill.
The women still continue to gawk at him. "Man, I'm ape about you, Robin," says one of them. "Oh, you're duping my mind. I'm launched."
Robin: "Were you ape and launched when you waylaid me on that dock, shanghaied me and brought me back here when you knew I was being tied to a winch in Tower Bridge?"
Woman: "Merely scholastic exercises, Boy Wonder."
Robin: "Holy homework. I'm getting out of here."

As Gordon finally calls the Place to ask about his daugther, and the villains decide to make a break for the Tower of Londinium, Batman and Batgirl have a large oak door barring their escape from the dungeon. And Batman left his Batarang in the Batmobile because it's just that kind of day.

Luckily there is some of her own Batrope for he to do "the old Indian rope trick". She stands under some grating, he says some Hindi words, and the rope stiffens.
Batman: "There's more to old Indian fakir tricks than one might suspect."
Batgirl: "And concentration magnified by the power of yoga?"
Batman: "Yes, yes, that's enough talking, Batgirl."
They meet Robin up top so he does the trick again.

So they make it to the Tower just as the villains do. The Duo even disguise themselves as Beefeaters just because. They also fight with axes. Batgirl handles the criminal girls. Ffogg goes for the smoke, which Batman stops with 


his Pipe of Fog Bat-reverser.


By which he means he reversed the film.


I give up.

Watson: "Well, this is a jolly little beanfest. Take His Lordship, Her Ladyship and these girlships to the tombs."
Prudence: "I thought if I could play all sides against each other, I would come out on top and be Her  Ladyship of Ffogg Place alone. But it didn't work."
Robin: "No, Lady Prudence, it didn't. ... But cheerio!"
Batgirl vanishes, so the Duo look at the prop Crown Jewels.
Robin: "Pip-pip, chin-chin and toodle-oo."

Finally we go to actual Gordon's Office, having taken the boat back. He takes the call from the President first before giving it to the Dark Knight.
Batman: "A weekend in Texas, sir?...With a barbecue, sir?...And bring the Batmobile, sir?...That's a greathonor, sir, but, uh, I wonder, could Robin and I take a rain check, sir...sometime around Easter?...Oh, of course, sir. I'm sorry, I completely forgot. Yes, that's convention time. But thank you for calling, sir. (To Gordon) I'm sure he has plenty of problems right now without trying to entertain average citizens such as Robin and I."

Bonnie then calls: a "very feline character" stole some of the police uniforms. The Duo run out to check, as Catwoman, now played by Eartha Kitt, escapes by...getting into an elevator.
Narrator: "How catastrophic are the days and nights to come as you will see in the next episode!"

Lady Prudnce was supposed to be "young" despite being played by 26 year old Lyn Peters (Vince gueses 30). While she had a few roles in the mid-60s (and was a model), she had far greater success creating and running Custom Catering (until her passing in 2013). RD gives her 6 Batpoles. Vince gives 5, "mediocre at best."

As for our supposed "star" villain...to quote Craig:

"Rudy Vallee was one of the worst people I ever worked with, which was disappointing. I had looked forward to working with him. He'd been in the business for a hundred years, and he came on the set; he was an absolute churl, he was the meanest, just awful. It was a three parter and we couldn't get rid of him. His cohort, Glynis Johns, on the other hand? She was a delight."

Everyone agrees: he truly was the worst.

For a palette cleanser, how about Batista absolutely demolishing a guy?

  • Special Guest Villain: Lord Marmaduke Ffogg (Rudy Vallee) 
  • Extra Special Guest Villainess: Lady Penelope Peasoup (Glynis Johns)

  • SPEAKING OFs: 1. Creepy
  • Brown Hornet Escapes: 1. Concentration magnified by the power of yoga.

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