Episode 123: Holy Cutouts!: January 1, 2024

The Entrancing Dr. Cassandra
March 7, 1968
"Dr. Cassandra has a grand scheme against Gotham City with her invisibility pills merely the beginning of her tricks."
37 minutes

RD IS NOT THE VOICE. Good to know.

Narrator: "High noon at the Astral Avenue branch of Gotham City's Alchemical Bank and Trust Company, a financial institution so conservative it pays no interest at all. But while the customers and  tellers transact the business of the day, black magical events are brewing, for Dr. Cassandra, the evil alchemist, is about to unleash her terrible swift sword."
That's actually half-true; also with her is her fellow evil (and equally elderly aged) colleague Cabala. They book take pills that turn them invisible, allowing them to steal a stereotypical bag of money. The people watch it float away without a care in the world. 

On hearing this, O'Hara immediately reaches for the Batphone.
Gordon: "After all these years, we've come to anticipate each other's thoughts."
O'Hara: "At times like this, Commissioner, anyone can read your mind."

Unfortunately before they get to it they too get grabbed by invisible enemies, more doing of Cassandra who somehow managed to enter the Office to pick up the phone to talk to "Batfink". What, the police being too incompetent to protect their seniors from criminals? No wonder they need Batman to do all their work for them.
Anyway, she threatens him and "that junior birdman".
Bruce: "There's a new fiend in town, Dick. To the Batpoles!"

Barbara gets to the Office first before the Duo (due to the length of the titles), where she gives first aid to the other Duo for some reason, calling them "stubborn men".
Batman: "To coin a phrase, "there is less here than meets the eye.""
O'Hara: "Begorra, Batman. That Dr. Whatever-her-name-is has struck six times in the past three hours. It's impossible to stop her."
Batman: "Perhaps we've all been intentionally baffled the way a magician operates. Now you see it,  now you don't."
Robin: "Holy disappearing act."
The Duo go to check on the floor dedicated to the "oh-cult sciences" at the Batcave Library.

Narrator: "Good thinking, Batman. But you'll need more than books to vanquish this entrancing foe."
Returning to their big black warehouse lair, Cassandra and Cabala take their "anti-antidote pills" to become visible.
Cassandra: "After taking the pill, we blend into the background so perfectly that no one can see us. Not even someone else who takes the pill. That's why we keep bumping into each other."
Cabala: "Well, husbands and wives are supposed to bump into each other now and then."
RD: "I don't even know if I would want to bang her if she was invisible."

He notes they've already hauled $600,000 in one day (and the Bros wonder if that makes them the show's most successful villains on that metric), but she still requires more. "I intend to succeed where my foremothers failed. The ancient alchemy has been handed down for generations through females of my family. All abject failures, nowheresville."

RD: "They try to have these 60-year-old people talk in like hip lingo. I don't know why. It doesn't work at all."

Cassandra: "Just like my family. Couldn't wait for the depression, they went broke during the boom. My great grandmother discovered how to transmute base metals into gold but she cut out when she added CH3, CH2, H2 and NO2. Put them all together, they spell TNT. They found pieces of her as far away as Londinium."


Cassandra: "Grandma perfected a universal solvent. Fell in the stuff and was universally dissolved. We  buried her in a thimble. Dear old Mommy-o cashed in when she perfected a perpetual motion machine, tripped and was ground to bits by it."

Cabala: "Man, you sure come from a long line of winners, baby."

Thus her plan is to incapacitate the Trio via "a mess of wild vibrations", break into the Prison, break out all the supervillains within, give them all invisibility pills, and rule over them.

RD: "This woman has stolen over a half million dollars in less than a day. And now she wants to go get all these other people out? That's the stupidest plan I've heard in the history of this show."

Cut to the Library where Batman is reading a giant book on alchemy by putting it up to his face. (:11) He finds his foe is Cassandra of "a group of ne'er-do-well alchemists who couldn't even make the grade in girls' pharmacy school."
Robin: "Holy unrefillable prescriptions."
Gordon calls Batman on his portable Batphone to tell him that Cassandra is going to steal the Mope Diamond from Spiffany's Jewelry Salon within 20 minutes. 

Now, could the villains have just donned their personal cloaking device and directly stolen it? Yes. Yes, they could. But that means we wouldn't save budget by padding out the running time, or accommodating today's Window Celebrity, which while not the actual last is probably the most strangest. Yes, even more than than the one time a journalist-politician went up against Chief Prosecutor Batman.

Well actually there is also another Window Celebrity, albeit in the traditional sense of the term. One of the jewelers who shows the diamond in un-trademark silence is informational and invention personality Ron Popeil,

Our man that we want here though went by the name of G. David Schine, who plays the owner of the shop...G. David Schine. (Where do the writers come up with such creative names?) 

15 years earlier, through their shared anti-communist fervor, Gerard David Schine became acquainted with Roy Cohn, then chief counsel to Senator Joseph McCarthy. This would then lead to his being involved in the McCarthy Hearings as a "chief consultant", which mostly involved him trying and failing to get special privileges to prevent getting drafted, and when he did trying and failing to get special privileges while enlisted. 

Schine left the era and politics surprisingly under the radar while now ex-Senator McCarthy drank himself to death and Cohn found himself working for and influencing Donald Trump (before being disbarred before his death), becoming extensively involved in the private sector. This included marring a former Miss Sweden/Miss Universe 1955, becoming heir to a hotel chain, executive producing The French Connection, and trying to conduct an orchestra.

He, his wife, and a son, died in a plane crash in 1996. Supposedly it was caused by the piloting son. Feel free to make your own conspiracy theories about it though. 

Unfortunately, the couple do not immediately recognize a fellow villain and try to have him join their cause. They even address him by the completely different name of Dan! (I'm sure he probably wanted to do the same in real life too. "No, that wasn't me on TV. That was my twin brother Dan. Dan David Schine. I am totally all in for the communist cause pal. Er, comrade."
Before they just go for the theft anyway the Duo crash in.
Cassandra: "I've got your number."
Batgirl (also crashing in): "And what about me? Do you have my number too?"
Cassandra: "Other women's numbers don't interest me, Batgirl. (She pulls out a toy gun) This is the kickiest weapon you ever dug, Batman. My own unpatented Alvinoray gun. And it's the last thing you're about to see."

(The weapon is a bad pun of bandleader Alvino Rey. It was originally called the Ronald Ray Gun, which I'm sure the later president would have wanted to trade during the Iran-Contra affair.) 

She pulls the trigger, turning on a light on the top of the barrel which causes the Trio to...stand still and start shivering. That's it.
Robin: "Holy helplessness."
Batgirl (looking down at her breasts): "I feel like I'm getting flat."
Cabala: "What a pity."
Cassandra: "This gun is altering the structure of your molecular cells and revving your third dimensions."
By the time the couple steal the Diamond the Trio...have all become cutouts. Holy Flatline! 

Schine: "Just a moment, madam. Attacking the Terrific Trio is one thing. That's not my business and I  don't wanna get involved. But stealing the Mope Diamond is another matter completely."
Cassandra: "Dan, how would you like to get mailed home? COD?"
Schine: "Would you like the diamond gift-wrapped, madam?"
Unfortunately he did not also offer complimentary anti-communist pamphlets, but with hastily added anti-Batman references scribbled on them. Maybe those are only for repeat customers.

At the Office Gordon is worried on not hearing anything from the Trio in the past half an hour. (:16)
O'Hara: "Oh, they should be coming through that door right now."
Sure enough he is literally proven right. O'Hara holds one in his arms, finding it odd he can feel body warmth and a regular pulse, which is enough to prompt a commercial break.

When we return, Gordon is still stumped on what to do, even after six medical opinions. "So all we can do is make them as comfortable as possible while they live out their sightless soundless, selfless well-flattened lives."
O'Hara: "What about the voice that answers the Batphone every now and then and asks us to hold on? Maybe he can help us, whoever he is."

Yes, for some reason O'Hara thinks a disembodied spirit is on the other end of the Bat-tin can and string. 

So they call Alfred over the Batphone to inform him of the situation.
Alfred: "All right, have them sent care of general delivery to the main Gotham City Post Office and I'll  see what I can do."

Back at the lair, Cabala still wants some time to get groovy with his lady. I think he took a different pill for this, if you get me. Cassandra has him wait until they break into the prison.

Narrator: "Meanwhile, at the Gotham City Post Office, trusty Alfred, disguised as a doddering dodo, accepts delivery of the human parcel post."
Unfortunately Alfred does not dress up as an extinct bird. Instead this cover consists of...a small goatee. The cutouts still look in good condition. Perhaps that is where they spent all the budget on. 

Cut to the Prison, where alarms are blaring despite nothing being seen. This is just a diversion for the couple to sneak in yet another highly guarded and secure office. Cabala has Warden Crichton at gunpoint while Cassandra speaks over the public address system on releasing the supervillains. "I'm sorry I can't do the same for the rest of you boys. But too many crooks spoil the broth. You know how it is."

Of course the supervillains are all kept next to each other.

Of course they are all being played by their stunt doubles. All the budget went to the cutouts you know.

So we have "Riddler" (in greased and parted hair), "Catwoman" (once more White), "Penguin" (with his trademark laugh), "Egghead" (without Olga's stunt double), "King Tut" (somehow imprisoned despite being back in his normal self back at Yale), and "Joker" (in a mullet).

The Co-Bros try to be fair, noting that they at least had their recorded laughs, and the original audience would probably have not been able to see on their 15 inch screens. Also its certain the show-runners did this as a last hurrah for their stunt performers for their brief moment. 

During all this Alfred has somehow taken the cutouts by himself back to the Batcave, where he starts up the Three Dimensional Bat-Restorer to put them into. (:22) He quickly takes his leave to retrieve the Batmobile and to make sure Barbara does not see him. 

So all of a sudden, no more cutouts (unfortunately);  we are back to the Trio of actors for as much as wen pay them for the story's shooting. At least Barbara finally gets to see the Batcave for the first and only time in the season.
Batgirl: "It's very impressive."
Robin: "And functional."
Batman gets called on the breakout, but not to worry. He has "the Special Escaped Archcriminal Batlocator in the Batcomputer" for just this occasion and only this occasion, which has tracked them to "the basement of Mortar and Pestle Building on Abracadabra Alley."
The Batmobile returns and Batgirl is even more amazed. Batman has to put her to sleep so as not to figure out their location. At least it won't be like all the other women in the Batcave over the stories who either get gassed or killed. On that front she's lucky. "Guard your face, Robin," Batman warns, so the sidekick turns his face and puts up his hand.

Actually, did Alfred place Barbara in the boot so she could not know where they were going? Actually actually, if the cutouts were still 'alive', what happened to their senses? Were they blind and/or deaf this whole time? Now that is a frightening situation. 

Robin: "You know something, Batman?"
Batman: "What's that, Robin?"
Robin: "She looks very pretty when she's asleep."
Batman: "I thought you might eventually notice that. That single statement indicates to me the first oncoming thrust of manhood, old chum." (Emphasis mine.)

RD is amazed Craig did not crack a smile or laugh on hearing that line. According to Ward, West kept flubbing the original line so much the director just let him ad lib it. Honestly, it's far better this way than what was originally intended.  

At the lair, the supervillains all sit attentively (backs to the camera of course), as Cassandra divides the city among them and their stock audio cues.
"Catwoman gets all the fish market areas. Egghead, poultry farms. Penguin, ponds and park. (Cue Penguin coughing-laugh) King Tut, museums. Riddler and Joker, all the amusement parks. We get 50
percent of everything you steal. But in return, I provide camouflage pills and protection."

She begins giving them their share of the pills as the Trio arrive, noting in particular that becoming unconscious removes the cloak.  


So yes, the Trio fight invisible enemies.


And losing.


So Batgirl suggests evening the odds by turning out the lights.


So yes, the Trio fight invisible enemies in the dark.


Budget? What budget?


Thankfully instead of a shot of nothingness (because the recording film would still require a budget), there is a series of fight bubbles, and then all the villains are on the floor (and face down). And Cassandra can't use her toy gun because Batman has "an anti-Alvinoray Bat Disintegrator" to counter it. 

RD hopes the couple will share a jail cell so Cabala will finally handle his blue balls.

For a change, the episode does not end at the Office. Instead the Undynamic Duo are at Minerva's Mineral Spa.
O'Hara: "If she manages to smuggle one of her camouflage pills?"
Gordon: "The prison matron isn't named Mrs. Frisk for nothing, Chief O'Hara. Besides, the warden had  special polka dot cells painted for them. They won't blend into that background."

O'Hara tells his boss to try the "eggplant jelly vitamin scalp massage" as the aforementioned Minerva, of course Zsa Zsa Gabor appears. "After treatment in my mineral spa, you'll feel like new men. I certainly feel like a new man."

Narrator: "Commissioner Gordon and Chief O'Hara will indeed feel like new men after a treatment in  Minerva's Mineral Spa, for Minerva's treatment has many surprises. One, a startling device for relieving  Gotham City's millionaires of all their millions, as you will see in our next episode!"

At least they have the budget to put THE END right on Gabor's bottom. 


RD thinks the story was well written, but it would have been far better if it was one of the Big Four instead. The two just did not get the couple.

SPEAKING OF the title villain Vince guesses 45 years (Ida Lupino was 50) and gives her 3 Batpoles. RD thinks that "very generous" as she was "completely plain." He didn't even give a number! I assume he also has the same score. 

To be fair to Lupino, she was hardworking behind the camera as she was on it, especially during the 50s. Among other things she was the first woman to direct a film noir. She was of great influence to Martin Scorsese, and WWCR icon Bea Arthur decided to act because of her.
Howard Duff was her third husband at the time of filming, and like the other married couple last seen on the show (Cliff Robertson and Dina Merrill) the two had a lot of fun in the roles. Duff (here 54 years young), had previously been on the show as a Window Celebrity parody of his Sam Spade.

RD is trying to decide how to theme the Arcade for February. He also is preparing himself some more for Gooker voting.

  • Special Guest Villain: Dr. Cassandra Spellcraft (Ida Lupino)
  • Extra Special Guest Villain: Cabala (Howard Duff)
  • Window Celebrity: 8. Ron Popeil, G. David Schine, Riddler, Catwoman, Penguin, Egghead, King Tut, Joker
  • Brown Hornet Escapes: 1. Living in two dimensions.

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