Episode 119: Holy Fondue!: December 4, 2023

The Great Escape
February 1, 1968
"Shame escapes from prison, and together with Calamity Jan, goes to work on his newest caper. He leaves a cryptic clue for Batman, Robin, and Batgirl describing the first part of his scheme - the robbery of two opera singers. The Terrific Trio decipher his riddle and attempt to stop him, but when Shame breaks out his "fear gas," the three are left quaking in their shoes."
47 minutes

RD WANTS TO DO SOME FUNNIN'. He wants Vince to join in.

This is the final two-parter in the show's original run. Vince has to explain to the Listeners who Shame was and why he shouldn't be confused with Shane.

Narrator: "Gotham State Prison, a grim and foreboding edifice. It, like politics, has been the last refuge of many a scoundrel. Including that criminal cowpoke Shame."

As mentioned the previous week, Shame is visited by his girl Calamity Jan and her mother Frontier Fanny. Of the two Jan gets villain crediting with him because she is played by Robertson's then wife Dina Merrill, and he would only appear if she also got a part. We will get into her own fascinating life at the next Batpole rating.

Anyway the two women are planning to get him out so he can join their posse gang and get to "funning again".
Shame: "Well, I appreciate it mighty much, Frontier Fanny and Calamity Jan. But I find this here hoosegow's tighter than a New England banker. I likewise opine it'd take more than a pack of wild horses to get me out of here."
Thankfully for him they already have 325 of them wild horses for it. Jan gives her man a kiss, "just a down payment on what you're due."
RD wonders if 'conjugal visits' are part of Warden Crichton's prison program. 

He waits for the escape by playing horseshoes with others in the auditorium.
Prisoner: "Nice timepiece you have there, Shame."
Shame: "Yeah, got it off a railroad man. They gave it to him for 50 years' dedicated service."
Prisoner: "What did you give him for it?"
Shame: "Three bullets. In the head."

Suddenly a gold red tank breaks through a wall, all 325 horsepower worth. The guards respond by shooting live bullets at it as Shame makes his getaway.
Shame: " I gotta hand it to you, Calamity. You're a woman and a half. (Looks at Fanny) If you could  just get rid of the other half."
The Bros wonder where the budget came for this and the last week.

Meanwhile Bruce and Gordon have having Barbara's fondue in her apartment. (:11) Vince has never had fondue, much to RD's sadness. He enjoys taking his wife to the nearest Melting Pot. He can even withstand Vince's voice in his head complaining about the sauces: "You know, bro, it's a lot of calories in that sauce."

Bruce: "Excellent fondue, Barbara. Not often a bachelor gets a good home-cooked meal."
Barbara: "Well, it isn't often a spinster gets to cook for a bachelor."
RD: "Alfred is always making him home-cooked meals!"
RD is a fan of her floral dress but not her giant earrings. 

Her phone rings, and of course it's for her father, as O'Hara informs him of Shame. Meanwhile Bruce has cuff-links that let him connect to the Emergency Bat-Communicator and direct a recording of his voice to "answer" the Batphone.
Bruce: "I think I should run along as well, Barbara. It wouldn't be proper for the two of us to be here  alone in your apartment without a chaperone."
Barbara (subtly): "But what about my fondue?"

After the titles, O'Hara wonders where the villains went...in a large tank that probably can't go as fast as a normal police car, assuming there were even any at the prison.  
Mayor Linseed calls to inform Gordon that they found the tank abandoned on the road.
Batman: "Is it still there?"
Gordon: "No, they towed it, the parking meter had run out."
Batman: "(Beat) I think Mayor Linseed should make some changes in his towing policy."
Bonnie then calls Gordon to tell him he has a horse in the lobby. 
Gordon: "Has the whole world gone batty?"
Cue Batman with a confused look. 

Actually it's a sawhorse with a message from Shame that he will steal "a rock and a roll" from the Gotham City Stage later that day. "I dares you to figure it out, Dynamic Dumb-Dumb."
Batman: "It's full of misspellings, and I'm full of misgivings."
Then Barbara walks in, this time in a light green dress, so she can be told what's going on.  The Duo leave to consult the Batcomputer. 

Narrator: "A short while later, under the cover of darkness, Shame and his cohorts are holed up in  Gotham City's Central Park Stables." (:22)
Shame meets his other goons. There is a typical vaquero in a Spirit Halloween cowboy outfit named Fernando Ricardo Enrique Dominguez, or Fred for short. Of course he speaks in a British accent. There is also a typical American Indian in the expected buffalo robe and war bonnet named Chief Jay Strongbow Standing Pat. Of course instead of speaking he takes a puff on his cigar.
Jan: "That means: "It's gonna be great working with you, and I hope to get to know you better real  soon.""
Shame: "You got all that from one puff?"
Jan: "He talks in shorthand."

First Shame wants to get rid of the Trio. Next he wants to commit "The Great Train Robbery", which Fred doesn't initially find original. He and Pat are to go and check the scene.
Fred: "I stand chastised. ... Your lucidity is surpassed only by your remarkable command and penchant  for gibberish."
Unfortunately Shame can't get to the next step of doing..."sparking" with Jan because of Fanny's cockblocking: "You can't get closer than two feet until a marriage is arranged." She's a bigger threat than any superhero.

Meanwhile in the Batcave, Batman figures Shame may be after a diamond rock and a bank roll when Barbara calls knowing what the Stage would be.
Batman (lustily): "We obviously need each other, Batgirl."
Cue Barbara gaining an immense blush as they arrange to meet. She puts the phone down as Gordon enters for yet more reaching around of his daugther. RD: ""Daddy may be having ribs tonight!""
Anyway he has two tickets to the Opera that she could share with Millionaire Bruce Wayne. "There's no time for cultural pursuits with Shame on the loose."
Barbara leaves to change into her costume just as Batman calls back, asking Gordon for Batgirl. Cue the two being befuddled. 
Robin: "I don't think we should even attempt to fathom it, Batman. She treasures her own anonymity every bit as much as we treasure ours." 

Narrator: "As Batman and Robin hurry to their appointment, Barbara Gordon transforms herself into  Batgirl, scourge of Gotham City's underworld and defender of truth and justice. But are their actions too late to stop Shame from robbing the Gotham City Stage of a rock and roll? The answer in one breathless minute."

This is of course the halfway mark of the day. (:30)

Narrator: "Gotham City Opera House, where a handful of unlikely visitors are already backstage."
The posse gang, already assembled, faces their greatest threat so far: a surprisingly young stage doorman named Pop. "Well, I'm 17, and it's a time-honored theatrical tradition that no matter how old  or young a stage doorman is, his name has to be "Pop."" Pat knocks him out.
Still it's a bit better than calling him Beaver, since this is in fact an uncredited cameo by Jerry Mathers.

Outside, a handful of likely visitors - the Trio - are assuming Shame will hit here due to the House's production of The Girl of the Golden West. The lead soprano wears a 283 karat diamond pendant, while the lead tenor carries $20,000 in his pocket for good luck.
Shame finds the two singers backstage, and as you'd expect they are arguing about their roles. The gang knocks them out to rob them of their valuables in time for the Trio to arrive for their very intense fight. The Bros consider it the best of the season by far, although Vince wonders why the gang doesn't just shoot them.

The Trio win because of this discrepancy, so the gang breaks out the FEAR GAS on them. This has the effect of making them overact more than usual as they beg for their lives. Batman even puts Batgirl in front of him, offering her to the gang as tribute. Vince admired how West enjoyed doing things as goofy as possible if he could get away with it.
Shame: "How do you like that, scaredy bats? (Laughs) Hey, Fred. Did you hear that? That's pretty good. "Scaredy bats.""
The gang leaves, leaving the Dynamic Duo behind still cowering in fear. 

Jump cut to the Batcave, where the Duo have managed to return to despite still being afflicted. (I'd like to think they ran down the streets whopping and hollering loudly in fear at everyone to drive them off.) Alfred tries to feed the two some antidote soup.
Batman: "What are you trying to do?"
Robin: "It's probably poison. He wants to see us dead. He's always hated us."
Batman: "Yes, he has. You're right, Robin. ... You're not to be trusted either, Boy Wonder."
Robin: "Well, neither are you."
Alfred manages to get them to eat just as the Batphone rings.
Batman: "What's that beeping?"
Alfred has to answer Gordon, who tells him that both Batgirl and Barbara are missing. He relays this to Batman who is quickly shaking the effect off. "But there seems to be a slight residue of fear left.  However, I must shunt this aside and press on."
He and Robin then dash off to the Stables lair which is just across the street from the opera house (perhaps once more running the streets whooping and hollering loudly in fear at everyone to drive them off).

This did answer RD's wonder on how the equally fear gas using but much more intimidating Scarecrow would have worked in a potential Season 4. Now he just wants a whole season of Scarecrow sharing the Trio shitless. 

Speaking of the lair, Shame argues with Fred on where to obtain an acetylene torch for their plan. "You sure he's Mexican?" he asks Jan. Meanwhile Fanny is arguing with Pat.
Jan: "You and Ma and me, living on our own spread west of Laramie, where the air is clear and smog- free, and the corn is as high as Chief Standing Pat's eye. Can't you just picture it?"
Shame: "I'm picturing about two-thirds of it."
As they still have Batgirl captured out back, Jan wants to shoot her and be done with it, but Shame prefers her alive. They move in to kiss - and Ma intervenes.
Shame: "Why couldn't you been born an orphan?"
As they turn and leave his wall-mounted lucky horseshoe falls off and hits Fanny on the head knocking her out. This is forceful enough to cause a commercial break. 

When we return the Duo find her and consider having her as their hostage.
Batman: "It hardly seems like a fair trade, does it, Robin?"
She pulls a gun on them, so Batman just immediately disarms her and holsters the gun in his utility belt. He asks about Shame.

Fanny: "Wouldn't you like to know."
Batman: "Yes, we would like to know."
Fanny: "Well, I'll tell you this, dynamic dummies. Do anything to me, and Batgirl's chances of living  through the night ain't worth a pitcher of warm tears."
Batman: "I never met a person I didn't like, Frontier Fanny. But in this case, I may have to make an  exception."

Narrator: "Have Batman and Robin been hornswoggled? Watch the next episode for the thrilling  conclusion!"

RD warns Vince not to watch the movie he's reviewing for Christmas. Vince ignores it.


  • Special Guest Villain: Shame [2] (Cliff Robertson) [2]
  • Extra Special Guest Villainess: Calamity Jan (Dina Merrill)


  • Window Celebrity: 1. Jerry Mathers

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