Batman 1.11 – A Riddle a Day Keeps the Riddler Away

Let’s get one thing out of the way to begin, shall we? Frank Gorshin is just plain bugnuts as the Riddler. He genuinely seems completely unhinged and incredibly dangerous. No wonder he worries Daniel so much.

Knowing that Daniel’s most hated foe would be returning in this story, I made a special trip to the neighborhood Dairy Queen and got him a green slushie drink, and told him that would be his reward for making it through the story. He balled up his fists when Gordon and O’Hara started talking about the Riddler, and climbed in Mommy’s lap and blew raspberries pretty much the entire time that Gorshin was on screen.

From what we could make out over Daniel’s sound effects, this is a heck of a good story, with the Riddler playing insanely high stakes – kidnapping a visiting king! – just to get Batman and Robin in a trap. I don’t think that they ever really played much with the chess theme beyond this episode, but Batman and Riddler are playing chess, with King Boris demoted to a pawn, via a great line: “The better the bait, the shorter the wait.”

The end of part one features the very first planned “deathtrap” in the series: Batman and Robin strapped to giant wheels in an obsolete power plant, about to be spun to death as the turbines build speed. This obviously had a huge effect on me: I spent years strapping my Mego superhero dolls with rubber bands to whatever great big wheels I could find.

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