Episode 117: Holy Pied Piper!: November 20, 2023

Nora Clavicle and the Ladies' Crime Club
January 18, 1968
"Nora Clavicle, a women's rights activist, uses her influence to have Commissioner Gordon, Chief O'Hara, and the whole police force fired and replaced with women. She cuts ties with Batman and Robin, then launches her plan to blow up Gotham City with explosive-packed mice and collect on the insurance. The Terrific Trio look for a way to neutralize her mechanical hordes before it's too late."
48 minutes

RD: Worst Episode? Not a Chance! He calls who think otherwise fools, but NOT geeks, nerds, or poindexters living in Unabomber-style shacks. The episode may be a satire of the then very active womens' movement (Nora Clavicle being a parody name of Gloria Steinem [as Sternum]), but it's not as if the whole show was also a satire of the current times right?

The first Red Lobster opened on the airdate in Lakeland, Florida.

Narrator: "A festive day in Gotham City. And at a civic luncheon at the [big black warehouse] Gotham-Astoria, Police Commissioner Gordon is being honored for 25 years of faithful service." (:06)

The main characters have large signs to identity them, in case viewers had suddenly forgotten. This includes the absent Mayor Linseed and Mrs. Linseed.
Gordon: "I really don't think I deserve all this."

The Linseeds arrive late, arguing loudly with each other. Mayor Linseed gives Gordon a gold watch - and then fires him, to be replaced by one Nora Clavicle.
Barbara: "I didn't realize her crusade for women had gone this far."
Gordon: "I'd say she's won that crusade."
O'Hara: "Saints preserve us! Saints preserve us all!"
Vince wonders where Mrs. Gordon is. There wouldn't be one until after the Crisis (On Infinite Earths) 20 years later. 

Nora then gives some words wearing a dull brown ensemble while someone pounds a large bass drum with "Women Power" on the side. Her first act is to replace O'Hara with Mrs. Linseed. Already RD approves.
Linseed: "I had no other choice, Mr. Wayne. My wife is such a devoted follower of Ms. Clavicle's  crusade for women that she refused to cook or clean or wash my shirts until I appointed Ms. Clavicle commissioner of police. I've worn this shirt for a week. I haven't had a decent meal in months."
Bruce: "It's all right, Mayor Linseed. We understand."
Vince: "The only thing this was missing was a barefoot joke."

In the Batcave Alfred answers the Batphone. To Batman with disdain: "It's her, sir."
Batman: "Yes, Ms. Clavicle?"
Clavicle: "Commissioner Clavicle, Batman, calling to tell you you can take an extended vacation. We  girls are handling things now and we won't need any help from you men, bat or otherwise. Goodbye, Batman."
She then cuts the phone line with scissors. For some reason Mrs. Linseed is in the Office wearing a police uniform. For some other reason two other women are in the Office wearing golden togas.

Batman: "There's something curious about this affair."
You don't say.
He asks Robin to go on a drive with him.
Alfred: "Well, good luck, sir. We men are counting on you, you know."

Narrator: "While, in the secret closet behind Barbara Gordon's bedroom, Batgirl has a very similar idea. But even as she starts her own investigation, what's happening in Commissioner Gordon's - er, Commissioner Clavicle's Office?" (:15)
Nora congratulates Mrs. Linseed for already replacing all the men with women. She takes her leave.
Nora (to the toga women): "Now that she's out of the way, you girls may proceed with Operation  Ransack while I proceed with Operation Disaster Insurance."
The women (named Angelina and Evelina) remind her she still has to deal with the Terrific Trio, and she can't just call them since she cut the phone line. So it's time to start a crime.

Narrator: "Later at the Gotham City Bank, Angelina and Evelina are making the scene. Of a crime."

Of course the policewomen don't have guns, even when led by other women.

Of course the policewomen have rolling pins instead. 

Of course the policewomen are checking their makeup and gossiping instead of doing anything. 

Of course the policewomen are going for clearance sales in their cars.

So despite the situation it's good to know that Gotham City's police are still just as useless.

Branch Manager: "Officer, chase them! They've just robbed my bank!"
Policewoman: "How can I chase them when they have the car? And all I have are my new Givenchy  shoes. And I'm certainly not gonna wreck them."

The Trio finally appear at the crime scene, having seen and heard everything.
Robin: "Holy bargain basements, Batman."
Batman: "Our concern is the bargain hunters at the Gotham National Bank."
He decides to use his "portable Batcomputer in the Batmobile."
Batgirl: "I think I'll tag along, Batman. The instruments in the Batgirl-cycle aren't as sophisticated as those in the Batmobile."
Batman gives a smug smile and nod at her complimenting his equipment.

Narrator: "Following the portable Batcomputer's lead, the Terrific Trio drop in on the [big black] warehouse of  Dropstitch & Company, manufacturers of fine knitting needles. But who has the drop on whom?"
Its the villains; the villains have the drop by putting a knitting needle to Batgirl's neck. This is somehow enough to stop a trained superhero.
Robin: "Holy knit one, purl two!"
Nora: "All right, girls. Let's tie the Terrific Trio into terrific Siamese human knots."
This is done by having the Trio hold each other like they're playing Twister.
Nora: "You are wise to stay motionless. Or you will be the Terminated Trio. The slightest move by any one of you will only draw the human knot tighter, crush your bones, and strangle you."
Robin: "Holy hamstrings!"
Batman (trying not to move his mouth): "Exactly, Robin. This is torture at its most bizarre and terrible."

Now this is a good cliffhanger, or at least mid-way point for the episode. But first we get Batman goading the villain into revealing their actual plan.
Batman (trying not to move his mouth): "If I dared move my head, I might recognize it. But I daren't."
Somehow Nora got a $10 million insurance policy on the whole of the city for $200.

Vince: "If the city is destroyed, who's paying the $10 million?"

Nora then does the other villain thing in leaving the three by going to their blue van truck. The two women drive it while Nora deploys explosives on the roads - plastic mice bombs, set to detonate shortly before sunset.
Robin: "Do we dare breathe, Batman?"
Batman (trying not to move his mouth): "Cautiously, Robin. Cautiously. Talking has been dangerous  enough. A deep breath might prove fatal."
Meanwhile Batgirl is making the most exaggerated faces.

On a much more important note, Gordon and O'Hara now have to visit the unemployment office like all the other former police-men.
O'Hara: "What else can we do?"
Gordon: "Get other jobs."
O'Hara: "But we've been policemen almost all of our lives. We don't know how to do anything else."
Gordon: "True enough, Chief O'Hara. We only know one trade, and suddenly that trade is closed to us. Taken over by women."
O'Hara: "Begorrah, the shame of it."

Meanwhile Batgirl is having leg cramps, which gives Batman the avenue to release their Twister hold with him intensely focused on wiggling his ears and Robin bending a finger.
Batman: "Release us, Batgirl."
RD: "I bet he's been wanting to say that ever since he met her."
Vince wonders why they don't do similar holds in wrestling.

Thus freed they get outside, seeing one of the explosive mice.

Of course the policewomen are too scared of mice to do anything about them.

Batman: "There's a legion of these lethal mice whirring through Gotham City at this very moment. Robin, call Chief O'Ha... Chief Linseed on the police channel. Tell her to mobilize her entire force and send them out to gather up these mice. I'll be back by the time you finish that call."

Of course the policewomen in the police department are inundated with the mice on the floors, scaring them all up to their desks and tables. 

Batgirl: "I might have known you can't get policewomen to help you catch mice."
Robin: "It's diabolical."

Thankfully, Batman has a solution: play a flute like a Pied Piper, causing the mice to scatter.
Robin: "How did you do it, Batman?"
Batman: "There's no time to explain, Robin. I want you both to play exactly the same tune that you just  heard."
Robin: "But - "
Batman: "Just play, Robin! Play for all you're worth!"

So we spend several moments of the three jaunting around 'tooting', which the Bros greatly enjoyed.

Narrator: "With only moments left before disaster, the Terrific Trio and their retinue of rodents arrive at dockside."
This is shown by the mice props going in a straight line on a conveyor belt into the water. RD would be willing to pay $300 for one of them so he would show it on his desk. Vince would pay $1000 in a glass case.
One mouse remains, too good to follow the herd. Batman has to frenetically toot at it a few times to make it move. Vince wished he would have just kicked it into the water instead. 

Robin: "How did you know they'd follow us, Batman?"
Batman: " I was able to determine that the guidance systems in the mice was built around the principle of high-frequency radar. So by selecting the right combination of flute toots, I was able to cause those mice and their homing mechanisms to zero in on the source of the sounds: the flutes."

RD: "I don't understand how anyone could watch this episode and think it was the worst, whenever you had this specifically: I wasn't going to bring up the big black warehouse; I have to bring it up one last time. They're "walking through the streets" of Gotham, and it literally looked like someone took chalkboards and drew buildings on them. How on earth could someone say this is the worst? Not a chance!

And the truck is stopped by Alfred of all people, backed by the Undynamic Duo - entirely off camera.
Alfred: "They were exceeding the speed limit by a considerable margin sir, so we thought it best to take them into custody."
Nora: "You can't arrest us. You have no power."
O'Hara: "Citizen's arrest, me fine-feathered females. Heh."
Robin: "You should have bought some prison insurance, Ms. Clavicle."
Gordon: "She'll need it where she's going, Boy Wonder. A long-term policy with Warden Crichton as the beneficiary."

And this was done without a single fight with the stunt doubles. RD thinks there was one with the mice.

Penguin waits until things are back to normal to call the Office: "Just let me ask you one thing, Commissioner. Did you ever hear of the lethal Lygerian fruit fly?"
Narrator: "And Commissioner Gordon certainly will hear of lethal Lygerian fruit flies. And so shall we  all when Penguin pulls his insidious insect antic...in our next episode!"

41 year old Barbara Rush did a lot of work in TV and film Vince gives her 6 Batpoles for her at least having fun with her role (he guesses 38). RD gives 6.5.
She was at least far more noticeable than the "generic" women, who get 7. British June "Evelina" Wilkinson was a well known model of the time, eventually transitioning from that and acting to the business of fitness centers. Inga "Angelina" Nielsen was best known for being over 6 feet tall, but she still had quite a varied career and now lives happily in Santa Monica

RD issues a challenge for people to meet and beat Santa at the Arcade.

RD wrote about TNA doing something funny for once.

  • Special Guest Villain: Nora Clavicle (Barbara Rush)

  • SPEAKING OFs: 1. Beautiful beautiful beautiful

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